Frédéric Chopin

Mazurkas (5) for piano, Op. 7, CT. 55-59

    Description by Robert Cummings

    The Op. 7 set of mazurkas is the only one containing five pieces; all the composer's other published sets consist of either three or four items each. On the whole, this set represents a step forward from the Op. 6 collection. In fact, when the Op. 7 was published in 1832, it gained Chopin both recognition and notoriety in France for bold and imaginative writing that more tradition-minded ears found revolting. The pieces range in length from about four minutes (the second piece in the set) to half a minute (the final mazurka, in C major).

    The first mazurka in this set, in B flat major and sometimes known as Mazurka No. 5, is probably the best known in the group. Marked Vivace, it is a graceful, lively piece whose elegance and debonair qualities give it a somewhat aristocratic air. But in the latter half of this piece a subdued theme appears that is more earthy, more peasant-like. The main theme returns to close this attractive work.

    The next mazurka, in A minor, has a mournful quality. The usual tempo is slow, despite the Vivo, ma non troppo marking, and the main theme is gentle in its sadness. Many will hear in this piece the composer's longing for his family and Polish homeland, from which he was exiled for political reasons in 1831. The middle section has an air of defiance, but yields to the lovely, forlorn theme from the opening to close the piece.

    The next mazurka, in F minor, begins with an ominous rhythmic idea; it then presents a lively theme whose rhythms are sharp and springy, but portending no threat or menace. The melody is colorful and Slavic in nature, containing the admixture of the peasant-like and exotic that so fascinated Parisians of the day and has lost none of its piquancy over the years. This mazurka bears no textual description but carries a metronome marking of 54 for the dotted half-note.

    The A flat major mazurka, is fast-paced, carrying a marking of Presto, ma non troppo. The main theme is playful and good-natured, mischievous in its clown-like manner. A subdued, pensive middle section evokes a dreamy atmosphere, which is ultimately short-lived as the opening theme returns to close out this one-minute romp.

    The final mazurka in the Op. 7 set, in C major and marked Vivo, is the shortest but in many ways the subtlest. It is a fine example of Chopin's sense of humor, or of what one might call his sense of mischief. In the main it is lively and happy -- or so it seems. The listener quickly becomes aware that the giddy melody cannot get untracked -- it repeats itself again and again, varying quite little. Suddenly the mazurka ends, as though collapsing in the realization that it really had little to say.

    Parts/Movements

    1. No. 5 in B flat major
    2. No. 6 in A minor
    3. No. 7 in F minor
    4. No. 8 in A flat major
    5. No. 9 in C major

    Appears On

    Year Title / Performer Label / Catalog # AllMusic Rating
    2019
    Nimbus Alliance
    NI 6386
    2018
    DUX / Dux Records
    1419
    2017
    IBA [Idil Biret Archives]
    8501503
    2017
    Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler
    PH 16100
    2017
    Erato
    0190295869205
    2016
    Brilliant Classics
    95215BR
    2016
    Continuo Classics
    116
    2016
    Steinway & Sons
    STNS 30071
    2016
    Cambria
    CD 1225
    2014
    LP Classics
    1021A/B
    2014
    ATMA Classique
    ACD 22682
    2014
    Divine Art
    DDA 25123
    2013
    Broken Audio
    BRAU 0941
    2013
    Warner Classics
    2012
    Zephyr / Zephyr Records
    Z 13610
    2012
    Avie
    AVR 2262
    2011
    RCA Red Seal
    886919369120
    2011
    Newton Classics
    8802076
    2011
    Newton Classics
    8802038
    2011
    Steinway & Sons
    30003
    2011
    Various Artists
    Fryderyk Chopin Institute
    NIFCCD000020
    2010
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099945533
    2010
    Deutsche Grammophon
    002894778445
    2010
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099996711
    2010
    RCA Red Seal
    88697686922
    2010
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099945535
    2010
    Decca
    4782282
    2010
    Fryderyk Chopin Institute
    15
    2010
    Naïve
    OP 30494
    2009
    Various Artists
    Sony BMG / Sony Classical
    88697577072
    2009
    Dux Records
    650
    2009
    X5 Music Group
    15582
    2008
    Bridge
    9276
    2008
    EMI Classics
    5754432
    2008
    Brilliant Classics
    93217
    2008
    Hyperion
    44351
    2007
    Centaur Records
    2098/2099
    2006
    Various Artists
    Brilliant
    99802
    2004
    EMI Classics
    85767
    2003
    Harmonia Mundi
    2907352/53
    2003
    Forlane
    126817
    2003
    Aura Classics
    0251
    2003
    Dorian
    93258
    2002
    Naïve
    20002
    2002
    Classica d'Oro
    3030
    2002
    London
    43947
    2001
    Rca Red Seal
    63027
    2001
    Rca Red Seal
    63006
    2000
    Harmonia Mundi
    907247/48
    2000
    Arkadia
    78590
    1999
    Various Artists
    Deutsche Grammophon
    463 047-2GCE17
    1999
    Deutsche Grammophon
    463 054-2
    1999
    Naxos
    501501
    1999
    Naxos
    554529
    1999
    Opus 111
    2007
    1999
    RCA Red Seal
    63000
    1997
    Sony Music Distribution
    63237
    1997
    London
    443738
    1996
    Concord
    42036
    1996
    London
    448086
    1996
    Decca / London
    448 086-2DF2
    1995
    London
    1994
    Philips
    442 574-2PM2
    1994
    Naxos
    550358
    1993
    EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics
    0777764933
    1993
    Naxos
    8505015
    1993
    Sony Music Distribution
    53246
    1991
    RCA Victor
    GD60822
    London
    443947/4
    Opus 111
    30287
    Finnadar
    91071
    Dux Records
    640
    Forlane
    16781
    Carriere Classics
    17
    Brilliant
    99802/8
    EMI Music Distribution
    74457
    EMI Music Distribution
    74457
    The Piano Library
    242
    Arabesque
    6730
    Forlane
    16729
    London
    417584
    RCA Victor
    60822