One often looks to Chopin's personal life for indication of events that may have brought on a particularly happy or sad mood in his compositions. He was known to be a melancholic artist who often found happiness in his love affairs. The Op. 30 set of mazurkas was composed when his romance with the teenage pianist Maria Wodzinski was in full bloom. It would end by mid-1837, and Chopin would fall into a depression. These relatively detached mazurkas show little indication of passionate love or of even lukewarm love, and may thus indicate the composer had already sensed the collapse of the relationship.
This C minor Mazurka No. 18, marked Allegro non tanto, has a certain sense of loneliness in its beautiful, gentle melody, to be sure, but never quite wallows in grief or sorrow, mostly preferring elegance and grace to be its expressive means. Here is another of those Chopin works that mix opposite feelings and manage to straddle more than two fences, thereby ending up with multiple meanings and interpretations. The melody is one of the composer's most appealing, and ultimately this two-minute mazurka must be counted among his better ones.