Chopin Mazurka Op. 33 No. 4
Frédéric Chopin’s Op. 33 set of Mazurkas, published in 1838, exemplifies his affinity for the traditional dances of his homeland, Poland. In fact, he was largely responsible for the popularization of the Mazurka throughout Europe in the 19th century -- this simple folk dance in ¾ time found its way into mainstream European culture because of the composer’s work.
Here, Erika Gingery performs Mazurka Op. 33 No. 4, the final piece in this brief set of dances:
The music is defined by its A-B-A-B-C-A structure. There is a great deal of repetition; for instance, the “A” section is played three separate times. Only one element is missing from giving this piece a “rondo” form: A-B-A-B-A-C-A. Chopin chose to forego the additional repetition of the “A” section needed for the rondo designation.
Rhythmically, you will notice the lilting triple meter that was so popular in 19th century European ballrooms. The piece also exhibits many of the ornaments (mainly grace notes and trills) for which Chopin gained a reputation. While it’s an accessible piece, the technical and musical demands make it valuable both as a piece of teaching literature and in performance situations.
Chopin Wasn’t The First Composer To Publish Mazurkas
While Chopin is credited with bringing the Mazurka (and other Polish folk dances) to the fingers of solo pianists, he was beaten to the punch by someone else. Maria Szymanowska, a prominent virtuoso pianist who also came from Poland, wrote a collection of 25 mazurkas in 1825, just six years before her death in a Cholera epidemic.
Learn More About Erika Gingery Music
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