Polonaise-Fantaisie (Chopin)

Last updated

The Polonaise-fantaisie in A-flat major, Op. 61, is a composition for piano by Frédéric Chopin. It was dedicated to Mme A. Veyret, written and published in 1846.

This work was slow to gain favour with musicians, due to its harmonic complexity and intricate form. Arthur Hedley was one of the first critics to speak positively of the work, writing in 1947 that it 'works on the hearer's imagination with a power of suggestion equaled only by the F minor Fantasy or the fourth Ballade', although Arthur Rubinstein, Leff Pouishnoff, Claudio Arrau and Vladimir Horowitz had been including it in their programs some decades earlier.

It is intimately indebted to the polonaise for its metre, much of its rhythm, and some of its melodic character, but the fantaisie is the operative formal paradigm, and Chopin is said to have referred initially to the piece only as a Fantasy. Parallels with the Fantaisie in F minor include the work's overall tonality, A-flat, the key of its slower middle section, B major, and the motive of the descending fourth. [1]

Jeffrey Kallberg has suggested that the Polonaise-Fantaisie represents a change in Chopin's style from 'late' to 'last'. [2] It is suggested that the formal ambiguities of the piece (particularly the unconventional and musically misleading transitions into and out of the lyrical inner section) are the most significant defining qualities of this 'last style', which only includes this and one other piece—the F minor Mazurka (Op. 68, No. 4), Chopin's last composition.

The piece plays a central role in Sandor Marai's novel Embers .

Related Research Articles

Frédéric Chopin Polish composer and pianist

Frédéric François Chopin was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic period who wrote primarily for solo piano. He has maintained worldwide renown as a leading musician of his era, one whose "poetic genius was based on a professional technique that was without equal in his generation."

<i>Fantaisie-Impromptu</i> Piano composition by Frédéric Chopin

Frédéric Chopin's Fantaisie-Impromptu in C minor, Op. posth. 66, is a solo piano composition. It was composed in 1834 and published posthumously in 1855 despite Chopin's instruction that none of his unpublished manuscripts be published. The Fantaisie-Impromptu is one of Chopin's most frequently performed and popular compositions.

Piano Sonata No. 2 (Chopin) Sonata by Chopin

Frédéric Chopin's Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35, is a piano sonata in four movements. Chopin completed the work while living in George Sand's manor in Nohant, some 250 km (160 mi) south of Paris, a year before it was published in 1840. The first of the composer's three mature sonatas, the work is considered to be one of the greatest piano sonatas of the literature.

A-flat major

A-flat major is a major scale based on A, with the pitches A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. Its key signature has four flats.

Preludes (Chopin)

Frédéric Chopin wrote a number of preludes for piano solo. His cycle of 24 Preludes, Op. 28, covers all major and minor keys. In addition, Chopin wrote three other preludes: a prelude in C minor, Op. 45; a piece in A major from 1834; and an unfinished piece in E minor. These are sometimes referred to as Nos. 25, 26, and 27, respectively.

The Ballade No. 2 in F major, Op. 38 is a ballade for solo piano by Frédéric Chopin, completed in 1839. A typical performance lasts six to eight minutes.

Ballade No. 4 (Chopin) Composition for piano by Frederic Chopin

The Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52 is a ballade for solo piano by Frédéric Chopin, completed in 1842 in Paris. It is commonly considered one of Chopin's masterpieces, and one of the masterpieces of 19th-century piano music.

Peter Katin Musical artist

Peter Roy Katin was a British classical pianist and teacher.

Fantaisie in F minor (Chopin)

The Fantaisie in F minor, Op. 49, by Frédéric Chopin is a single-movement work for the piano, composed in 1841, when he was 31 years old. From Chopin's letters it is known that he used the name "fantasy" to show some sort of freedom from rules and give a Romantic expression. Frédéric Chopin continued the tradition of a self-contained movement in his Fantaisie. This Fantaisie is one of Chopin's longest pieces, and is considered one of his greatest works.

Polonaise in F-sharp minor, Op. 44 (Chopin)

The Polonaise in F-sharp minor, Op. 44, is a piece for solo piano written by Frédéric Chopin in 1841. It is often referred to as the "tragic" polonaise, due to its dark nature. The polonaise is dedicated to Princess Ludmilla de Beauveau, a prominent member of the Polish émigré community in Paris.

<i>Berceuse</i> (Chopin)

Frédéric Chopin's Berceuse, Op. 57, is a lullaby to be played on the piano. He composed it in 1843/44 as variations in D-flat major. Chopin originally called his work Variantes. Berceuse was first published in Paris in 1844 by Jean-Racine Meissonnier, dedicated to Élise Gavard, and appeared in London and Leipzig the following year.

Alexander Scriabin's Fantasie in B minor, Op. 28, was written in 1900. This is a single sonata form movement which bridges the gap between Scriabin's third and his fourth sonata. Scriabin wrote this piece during an otherwise compositionally unproductive period during his tenure at the Moscow Conservatory. The first edition was published by Belaieff.

Nocturnes, Op. 32 (Chopin)

The Nocturnes, Op. 32 are a set of two nocturnes for solo piano written and published by Frédéric Chopin in 1837. The nocturnes are dedicated to Madame Camile de Billing, and were his 9th and 10th nocturnes published.

Over the years 1825–1849, Frédéric Chopin wrote at least 59 mazurkas for piano, based on the traditional Polish dance:

Miscellaneous compositions (Chopin)

The great bulk of Frédéric Chopin's output consists of pieces for solo piano: his ballades, études, impromptus, mazurkas, nocturnes, polonaises, preludes, rondos, scherzos, sonatas and waltzes. There are also the two piano concertos, four other works for piano and orchestra, and a small amount of chamber music.

Waltzes, Op. 70 (Chopin)

The three Waltzes, Op. 70, were composed by Frédéric Chopin between 1829 and 1842 and were posthumously published by Julian Fontana in 1855, six years after the composer's death. Waltz No. 1 is in G-flat major, No. 2 in F minor and No. 3 in D-flat major. Each of the three waltzes lasts less than three minutes to perform in typical performances.

Frédéric Chopin wrote six works for piano and orchestra, including two concertos. The Fantasy on Polish Airs in A major, Op. 13, was the second of his concertante works, written in 1828-30. The piece is also sometimes referred to as Fantasia on Polish Airs, Grande fantaisie or Fantaisie brillante. Chopin himself referred to it as his "Potpourri on Polish themes", and kept it in his repertoire for many years.

Scherzos (Chopin)

Frédéric Chopin's four scherzos are single-movement pieces for solo piano, composed between 1833 and 1843. They are often linked to Chopin's four ballades, composed in roughly the same period; these works are examples of large scale autonomous musical pieces, composed within the classical framework, but surpassing previous expressive and technical limitations. Unlike the classical model, the musical form adopted by Chopin is not characterised by humour or elements of surprise, but by highly charged "gestures of despair and demonic energy". Commenting on the first scherzo, Robert Schumann wrote: "How is 'gravity' to clothe itself if 'jest' goes about in dark veils?"


  1. Samson, Jim (1992). "Extended forms: the ballades, scherzos and fantasies". In Samson, Jim (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to Chopin. Cambridge University Press. pp. 101–123. ISBN   9780521477529.
  2. Kallberg, Jeffrey (1985). "Chopin's Last Style". Journal of the American Musicological Society . 38 (2): 264–315. doi:10.2307/831566. JSTOR   831566.