CHOPIN Frédéric, Polonaise in F sharp minor Op.44

Chopin’s ability to reimagine traditional dance forms in the most startling ways is nowhere more apparent than in the Polonaise in F sharp minor, Op.44. Beginning with a mysterious and sinister opening phrase, the main polonaise theme emerges with music that is marked by a kind of restless rage. At the centre of the piece there is relief in the form of a tender mazurka, but the polonaise returns as fierce as ever until it seems to collapse, exhausted, rousing itself for the brutal final bare octaves. After finishing the work in 1841, Chopin wrote to his publisher to announce that ‘I have a manuscript for your disposal. It is a kind of fantasy in polonaise form. But I call it a Polonaise.’ 


© Nigel Simeone 


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