Chopin's Mazurkas - Part 7

This article is part 38 of 47 in the 2022 music project series.
This article is part 7 of 7 in the Reviewing Chopin's mazurkas series.
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I was planning to cover the guitar solo from Days of the New's Touch, Peel and Stand, but I'm in the process of migrating my recording computer to a more powerful laptop, and also switching from Xubuntu to Ubuntu Studio, and it has not gone as swimmingly as I had hoped. So most of this week was spent debugging Ardour crashes and buying USB hubs with a power supply.

So I'm going to do what I always do in these situations: give up and listen to more mazurkas. Luckily there are only three in Opus 50, so I can smash through them in the next 24 hours and not feel like a loser for missing a week.

Trois Mazurkas

For à Mr. Léon Szmitkowski.

Op. 50, No. 1 in G major

Some interesting passing tones in the A section here. Very minuet-like.

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Passing tones in the left hand
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A passing tone stands and ends this phrase

After repeating the A/B sections twice there's a very abrupt modulation to C minor as the left hand takes over the melody.

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Not-so-subtle modulation to C minor

Some kind of neat diminished triads lead into the Coda involving the iv (C minor). Like a Picardy third variation. I'm sure there's a music theory name for it.

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Diminished triads resolve to D which is the V of G which is the V of C minor

Op. 50, No. 2 in A♭ major

A slow and subtle lead in reminded me of the intro to Chopin's 3rd Ballade. But there aren't really any similarities beyond starting on the same note in the same key.

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Intro to Op. 50, No. 2
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Intro to Ballade No. 3 in A-flat Major

This mazurka strikes me as kind of a cross between a Waltz and a Nocturne. It's got the Waltz meter and rhythm but it's kind of melancholy, like many of his nocturnes. And then it modulates to D♭ and now it's a Polonaise. And of course it just repeats for a while, in case you forgot it was actually a mazurka.

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A quick polonaise-like diversion in D♭

This was very pleasant and nice, and actually looks like it might be fun to play.

Op. 50, No. 3 in C♯ minor

I really like the intro on this piece. Kind of a call-and-response between left- and right- hands, featuring my favorite V of the V stuff, of course. And then it ruins it by just blindly repeating.

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Intro/main theme of Op. 50, No. 3

Then comes some Polonaise-like pounding on the keyboard, which is followed up with some truly beautiful left-hand phrasing.

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Very nice left-hand phrases with lots of accidentals

The C section modulates to the V in B major. This section ends with a nice transition to G♯ which leads back to the intro/A section motif in C♯ minor. This intro motif is expanded into what appears to be a four-voice fugue. It sounds very cool. Probably hard to play, though.

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C section in B major leads back to C♯ minor
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Suddenly a four-voice fugue

Some interesting ascending chord pregressions in the D section (or whatever). Rachmaninoniff basically ripped off this chromatic technique in every one of his concertos.

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Rachmaninoff clearly used this chromatic part as inspiration for everything he ever wrote