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

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The cover of the first edition. Tragic.png
The cover of the first edition.

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. [1] The polonaise is dedicated to Princess Ludmilla de Beauveau, a prominent member of the Polish émigré community in Paris. [2]

Despite its title, the polonaise is a composite work in ternary form. The piece opens with a short menacing passage, and soon develops into a dark and often furious polonaise theme. The central section of the piece is a mazurka in A major that provides a romantic contrast. The mazurka soon gives in to darker harmonies and the polonaise returns after two isolated torrents of notes. At length, the reprise seems to lose force and momentum, and Chopin concludes the work with a surprising fortissimo double octave on F#. One of the largest polonaises, a typical performance of the work lasts around eleven minutes. [2]

The piece is often considered the first of three "grand polonaises", (the other two being the Polonaise Op. 53 'Heroic', and the Polonaise-Fantaisie Op. 61) in which Chopin largely abandoned the old formula derived directly from dance practice. The time had come for polonaises subjected to free fantasy, for more heroic dance poems. [3] In fact, Chopin was known to have said to the publisher, ‘I  have a manuscript for your disposal. It is a kind of fantasy in polonaise form. But I call it a Polonaise’. [3]

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References

  1. "Concierto.org - Episode 116: Fryderyk de Goya". Concierto. Retrieved 2011-06-07.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. 1 2 Reel, James. "Polonaise for piano No. 5 in F sharp minor, Op. 44, CT. 154". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-11-03.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. 1 2 "Fryderyk Chopin - Information Centre - Polonaise in F sharp minor, Op. 44 - Compositions". en.chopin.nifc.pl. Retrieved 2021-05-10.