Frédéric Chopin

Polonaise for piano No. 2 in E flat minor, Op. 26/2, CT. 151

    Description by Robert Cummings

    The polonaise, contrary to what many think, was not a peasant dance, as should be inferred from its generally stately manner. Yet, this seventeenth-century form, in 3/4 timing, did make its way from the court into the Polish villages, and then into the more fashionable ballrooms. Chopin was not the first to write polonaises, as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and others dabbled in the form. But Chopin wrote the most famous works in this vein and shaped the character of the polonaise to express national pride and heroism, and also to convey deeper personal sentiments and, not surprisingly, to further expand keyboard color and scope.

    This Op. 26 polonaise is not actually the second Chopin composed -- there were nine others he had written prior to his arrival in Paris in 1831. This effort, in the exceedingly uncommon key of E flat minor, is a melancholy and dramatic piece, finely crafted and among the composer's better works in the genre. It begins ominously in the bass, then erupts briefly in preparation for a dark theme, which is absolutely Slavic in its anxious, probing character. After a repeat of this material, a vigorous dance-like theme is next presented, bringing sunlight to the mood. But its short-lived manner cannot rescue the piece from its overall melancholic temperament. A subdued, mysterious middle section, based on the opening material, is chilling and most effective. The main and alternate themes return and the piece ends in an unsettled state.

    This is a large work, like most of the composer's polonaises, lasting about nine to ten minutes in a typical performance.

    Appears On

    Year Title / Performer Label / Catalog # AllMusic Rating
    2018
    Dux Records
    DUX 1469
    2017
    La Dolce Volta
    300
    2017
    APR (Appian)
    APR 7505
    2016
    Gramola
    GRAM 99113
    2016
    La Dolce Volta
    LDV 25
    2015
    RCA Red Seal / Sony Classical
    88875127202
    2015
    Anima Records
    ANM 1412000
    2014
    Fabula Classica
    FAB 12101
    2013
    Broken Audio
    BRAU 0992
    2013
    Doremi Records
    DHR 7989
    2013
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099901924
    2012
    ATMA Classique
    ACD 22666
    2011
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2011
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4779908
    2011
    Virgin Classics
    5099902931623
    2011
    Various Artists
    Fryderyk Chopin Institute
    NIFCCD000020
    2010
    Fryderyk Chopin Institute
    12
    2010
    Hungaroton / Hungaroton Classics
    3247172
    2010
    Decca
    2010
    Hyperion
    55382
    2010
    RCA Red Seal / Sony Music Entertainment
    88697625302
    2010
    Sterling
    CDA 1668
    2009
    Deutsche Grammophon / Universal Music Classics and Jazz
    001382602
    2009
    Brilliant Classics
    93995
    2009
    EMI Classics
    13251
    2008
    Urania
    367
    2007
    Bridge
    9226
    2007
    Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler
    4069
    2007
    Rca Red Seal
    68668
    2006
    Brana Records
    0033
    2006
    Universal Classics & Jazz
    2006
    Universal
    2006
    Rca Red Seal
    82876686692
    2005
    Querstand
    9822
    2005
    Living Era
    8555
    2004
    Alpha Productions
    040
    2004
    Bridge
    9154
    2004
    Brana Records
    0018
    2001
    Aura Classics
    0152
    2001
    RCA Red Seal
    63048
    1999
    Palexa
    510
    1999
    Philips
    454987
    1999
    Philips
    456919
    1998
    Marston
    52014
    1993
    EMI Music Distribution
    764697-2
    Pearl
    9323
    Selene
    990449
    RCA Red Seal
    89814
    Canyon Classics
    3639