Five Mazurkas, Op. 7:
B flat major, A minor, F minor, A flat major, C major
Four Mazurkas, Op. 33:
G sharp minor, D major, C major, B minor
Three Mazurkas, Op. 59:
A minor, A flat major, F sharp minor
Two Polonaises, Op. 26:
C sharp minor, E flat minor
Polonaise, Op. 44 in F sharp minor
Allegro de concert, Op. 46 in A major
Louis Lortie’s Chopin series is achieving landmark status, as confirmed by the increasingly enthusiastic reviews of progressive volumes. This fifth one sumptuously highlights the Polish influences in Chopin’s music, offering gems from among the mazurkas and polonaises.
Relatively brief in duration and simple in structure, the mazurkas reveal other aspect of Chopin’s music: quirky melodies, strangely chromatic harmonies, oddly accented rhythms, irregular phrase lengths, and wildly contrasting keyboard textures. They represent a fascinating part of Chopin’s output, for audiences and pianists alike.
The vigour of the polonaises featured here, including the first two to be published, confirms Chopin as a radical, yet idiomatic transformer of the genre. The Allegro de concert, which Chopin was said to have kept for his projected return to ‘a free Warsaw’, is another link to his beloved country.
Recording: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk; 1 – 3 March 2017