Polonaise-Fantaisie (Chopin)

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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 .

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Nocturnes, Op. 32 (Chopin)

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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.

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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?"

References

  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.