Frédéric Chopin

Mazurka for piano No. 7 in F minor, Op. 7/3, CT. 58

    Description by John Palmer

    The mazurka originated in the Polish province of Mazovia, near Warsaw. In the seventeenth century, the dance began to spread beyond the boundaries of Poland. Stylized mazurkas, such as Chopin's, combine aspects of this and several other dances, but some characteristics are consistently present: an accented third beat (occasionally the second) in a 3/4 measure; the use of both the natural and raised versions of some scale degrees, particularly the fourth; and a drone bass. During the 1830s and 1840s "art" music mazurkas were very popular in drawing rooms throughout Europe.

    Some of the melodies of the mazurkas are unusual in comparison to the melodies of European "art" music. Many of these are related to folk mazurkas in their "modular" melodies consisting of tiny rhythmic and melodic units. Also, some use cross rhythms, chromatic scales, and modes typically not found in Western music. Often, we find remote keys used as colorful excursions from the tonic.

    Most of Chopin's Mazurkas are in strict ternary form, some of them actually sporting a da capo to indicate the return to the first section. Chopin's later Mazurkas are more stylized than the earlier ones and are in many cases the testing ground for some of his most experimental ideas. Unlike other Romantic-era manifestations of "folk" music, Chopin's Mazurkas contain no actual folk tunes. He uses typical rhythms associated with Polish music, fragments of Polish melodies and Polish rhythmic and cadential formulas and combines them in an original way. Chopin's mazurkas are far more advanced than those by his contemporaries. Chopin borrowed sounds he found outside the European "art" music tradition and used them to create music within that tradition. Some consider Chopin's mazurkas to be the most original of his works.

    Chopin composed the Five Mazurkas, Op. 7, in 1831; they were published in Leipzig the next year, not long after he had moved to Paris. The five pieces are in B flat major, A minor, F minor, A flat major and C major.

    In the third of the Op. 7 set, in F minor, we find Chopin stretching the typical boundaries of the mazurka. Instead of jumping right into the main theme, the piece begins with an introductory idea in the lower register featuring a sinister open-fifth drone. The main theme is an arching line of mostly eighth notes over broken chords in the left hand that also contain an open fifth. As we would expect, this melody sounds twice. What we don't expect, however, is the lengthy, harmonically adventurous trio section, which is twice as long as the introduction and main theme combined. Each of its three, eight-measure melodies is played twice and each, with an aggressive, repeated-note pattern, provides a stark contrast to the main theme. Most striking is the quiet, highly dramatic transition back to the main theme, which includes a partial return of the introduction.

    Uncharacteristically, Chopin alters the final return of the main theme to create a an actual close to the piece as opposed to the abrupt "stop" we hear at the end of most of his mazurkas.

    Appears On

    Year Title / Performer Label / Catalog # AllMusic Rating
    2019
    Naxos
    8574058
    2017
    Edition Records
    EDN 1086
    2016
    A Life of Music Records
    2016
    Deutsche Grammophon
    B002475702
    2016
    Sony Classical
    88875183392
    2015
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4795448
    2015
    Navona Records
    NV 5992
    2015
    Sony Classical
    88843062432
    2015
    Deutsche Grammophon
    B002403702
    2015
    Sony Classical
    88843054582
    2014
    Lawo Classics
    LAW 1049
    2014
    Warner Classics
    2564625135
    2014
    Deutsche Grammophon
    B001999602
    2013
    Melodiya
    MYD 1002093
    2013
    Urlicht / Urlicht Audiovisual
    5997
    2013
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099901924
    2012
    MDG / Zebralution
    2012
    Sony Classical
    88691912562
    2011
    BIS
    SACD 1838
    2011
    Pro Piano
    PPR 224507
    2011
    Camerata Records
    CMCD 99054
    2010
    Decca
    2010
    Hyperion
    55391
    2010
    Sony Classical / Sony Classics
    88697604812
    2010
    Arbiter
    158
    2010
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2010
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4778827
    2009
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4778167
    2009
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2009
    Deutsche Grammophon / Universal Music Classics and Jazz
    001382602
    2009
    Bridge
    9289
    2009
    Hungaroton
    32469
    2009
    Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2009
    Documents
    222913
    2009
    Various Artists
    Brilliant Classics
    9014
    2009
    First Hand Records
    4
    2009
    Doron Music
    4012
    2009
    Sony Music Distribution
    88697575002
    2008
    Brilliant Classics
    93217
    2008
    Mirare
    075
    2008
    EMI Classics
    4768572
    2008
    Sony Classical Essential Classics
    731846
    2007
    Danacord
    657
    2007
    Doremi Records
    7883
    2007
    APR (Appian)
    6004
    2006
    Brana Records
    0033
    2006
    Idis
    6495
    2005
    MDG
    6031296
    2005
    Various Artists
    Andante
    AN1190
    2005
    Palexa
    536
    2005
    EMI Music Distribution
    76858
    2005
    EMI Classics
    2005
    EMI Classics
    2005
    Nonesuch
    2005
    Archipel
    0246
    2004
    Sony Classical
    92743
    2004
    Biddulph Recordings
    LHW044
    2004
    Brana Records
    0018
    2003
    Deutsche Grammophon
    000120102
    2003
    Naxos
    8110690
    2003
    Sony Music Distribution
    90426
    2002
    Opus KURA
    2009
    2002
    Andante
    2980
    2001
    Aura Classics
    0231
    2001
    Royal Classics
    700962
    2001
    Brilliant
    99228
    2001
    Rca Red Seal
    63050
    2000
    Amadis
    7108
    1999
    Philips
    462232
    1999
    Pearl
    9262
    1999
    Philips
    456784
    1999
    Philips
    456841
    1998
    Deutsche Grammophon
    459 070-2GCC11
    1998
    Deutsche Grammophon
    459052
    1997
    Nonesuch
    79452
    1997
    APR (Appian)
    5516
    1995
    Sony Music Distribution
    64399
    1995
    APR (Appian)
    7025
    1995
    Connoisseur Society
    4181
    1995
    Iron Needle
    1303
    1995
    Koch Schwann
    310292
    1994
    Sony Classical
    53468
    1993
    EMI Music Distribution
    764697-2
    1993
    RCA Victor
    60987
    1993
    Sony Classical Essential Classics
    53456
    1992
    Pearl
    IF 2000
    1990
    CBS Records
    42306
    1990
    EMI Music Distribution
    763538-2
    1986
    Deutsche Grammophon
    419 499-2GH
    Lydian
    18108
    Opus 111
    9101
    Pickwick
    1159
    Donau
    8108
    Special Music Company
    4970
    Patria Productions Inc.
    KIE 2000
    Brilliant
    99229
    Grammofono 2000
    78619/21
    Dante
    9652
    Various Artists
    West
    0314097759
    Magic Master
    37027
    Stradivari
    6045
    The Piano Library
    262
    Fone
    04
    Town Hall
    29
    RCA
    5614
    Magic
    48014
    Artists
    62
    Music & Arts
    1071