Waltzes and other works
Waltzes belong to those Chopin works that became famous at the very beginning of their existence. They represent the trend, which consists in unique symbiosis of drawing-room mass aesthetics and unquestionable artistry of Chopin’s genius.Our album includes the works that were created between 1833 and 1847. They are usually described as dance poems: works that seem to be just a draft of applied waltz to be further developed into a form free from any patterns of applied art. The waltzes originate from a stylised model created by Karl Maria Weber, but they gain virtuoso character due to addition of introduction and coda, both tightly related to main body of the composition. Simple arranging segments and their recapitulations is replaced by the overall treatment of a composition. There are two main patterns of discussed works. The first one includes a fanfare introduction leading to a climax and a strong whirling conclusion (E flat major Op. 12, A flat major and F major Op. 34), whereas in the second pattern an introduction gently rises to a climax and finally turns into a subdued conclusion. This classification is complemented by the division into the valse lente pattern, which in Chopin takes the form of a separate lyrical miniature in minor key (A minor Op. 34, C sharp minor Op. 64); and into the virtuoso pattern in major key.Waltzes in question were dedicated to the Parisian drawing-rooms ladies. They were inspired by the specific society and they assimilated its colour and charming beauty. Therefore, they are fully described only by means of expressions depicting this colour, such as: sprightliness, airiness, velocity, spin, intensity, movement, brillance, eroticism, aristocracy from the very first till the very last note (Schumann), fascination with sham paradises (Iwaszkiewicz), and an introduction into a different world (Chomiński).
Recorded stylisation of Mediterranean dances is incidental in Chopin Bolero, created in 1833, and effective and full of dance temperament, uniquely combines completely different genres. Spanish colour corresponds to elements of Polonaise and Mazurka. Although Chopin did not like the Italian Tarantella, written in 1841 (I hope I will not write anything worse soon), this quasi-variation on Rossini’s Tarantella is original and impressive. One rhythmic model, full of impulsive energy, maintains mono-rhythmicity from the beginning till the very end. In opposition to its merry and simple original, Chopin’s Tarantella is dramatic and feverishly euphoric. This effect is emphasised by piquant sound and strange harmonic transitions at the background of a simple tonal plan.
Undoubtedly, Barcarolle F sharp major is a masterpiece. With its erotic emphasis, it originates from the tradition of Italian gondoliera, its 12/8 metre, and the manner of ornamental melody in thirds. It is classified as a nocturne combining the form of reprise and unusual coda, with the ostinato and variational technique. Dynamism of Barcarolle is strengthened by the facture of full tone, and contrasted with the static of movement on the spot. Due to its features, Barcarolle has been repeatedly imitated.
Translation: Joanna Janecka