Classical Music | Piano Music

Karol Szymanowski

Mazurka No. 2, Op. 50  Play

Miki Sawada Piano

Recorded on 05/03/2017, uploaded on 01/25/2018

Musician's or Publisher's Notes

Selections from 20 Mazurkas, Op. 50          Karol Szymanowski
From the very first measures of the first mazurka, the strange harmonics of Polish composer Karol Szymanowski draws us into a distant world. The mazurka is a Polish folk dance in triple meter with prominent dotted rhythms and accents that occur unpredictably either on the second or third beat. The form was incorporated into the classical piano repertoire most notably by Frederic Chopin, who wrote around 60 mazurkas. Szymanowski surely felt the pressure of Chopin’s precedent as he wrote the 20 mazurkas that are part of this op. 50 set; he took an unusually long time to complete the compositions and finalize their publication.
I enjoy these mazurkas for the spontaneity they inspire in the performer. There is freedom to decide in the moment whether to linger on a juicy harmony, enthusiastically rush to the end of a phrase, or to make the accents extra jagged. This freedom is largely owing to the miniature scale of the mazurka - each piece is short, and each section within a piece is also short, so there can be less concern for such spontaneity detracting from the cohesiveness of the whole. In fact, it is these spur of the moment decisions that make the piece.     Miki Sawada