Recorded on 12/31/1969, uploaded on 11/04/2009
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
The outbreak of the November Uprising in 1830 left Frédéric Chopin a political exile from his native Poland. When word of the uprising reached Chopin in Vienna, his travelling companion Tytus Woyciechowski returned home to enlist in the Polish cause. Chopin was left alone in Vienna, homesick yet barred from returning to his native land. Unable to fully adapt himself to Viennese society, he left that great musical city after less than a year for Paris. While en route to the French capital in September 1831, the distressing news reached him of Imperial Russia’s victory over the Polish revolutionaries. As he settled into Parisian society, Chopin harbored hopes that he could soon return to Poland once the political atmosphere had settled down. This dream, however, was never realized. Throughout all this Chopin kept the vision of his homeland alive in his composition of Polish dances—namely, mazurkas and polonaises. Unlike the traditional dances, however, Chopin infused the dances with the complex techniques associated with formal composition to create a genre uniquely his own.
The five mazurkas of opus 7 were composed during these transitory and unsettled years of 1830-31. Published a year later in 1832, they soon garnered Chopin recognition among French music circles. The third mazurka of the set, in F minor, begins with ominous two-part polyphony in the bass register—the upper voice sounding a sustained dominant embellished twice by semitones above and below while the lower voice descends abruptly from tonic to dominant. Following this introduction, however, is an animated theme more descriptive of a gypsy dance than anything foreboding or threatening. The middle section of the mazurka’s ternary-like design introduces a statelier theme in A-flat major. Then follows a reversal of roles in the hands—the left hand adopts a new melody alternating between the keys of E-flat minor and D-flat major, while the right provides the harmonic accompaniment. The return of the mazurka’s first theme is announced by a restatement of the introduction, this time embellished with harmonic accompaniment. A brief coda of alternating tonic and dominant harmonies closes the piece. Joseph DuBose
Nina Emelyanova recorded this Mazurka in 1937. Transferred from a 78 rpm record.
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