Chopin Mazurkas Part I Introduction
Is there anything more interpretively elusive than a Chopin mazurka? Berlioz wrote that “virtually nobody but Chopin himself can play his music and give it this unusual turn, this sense of the unexpected […], a thousand nuances of movement of which he alone holds the secret, and which are impossible to convey by instructions.” It must have been even more true of his mazurkas, as Chopin infused them with elements that find their roots in the soil of the Polish countryside, in the songs of the beet pickers of Szafarnia, where the composer spent a few summer months as a teenager. The mazurkas are an intense, inebriating lyrical diary that accompanied Chopin’s existence. But how do we make sense of their essence and spirit, and guide our young students to find a convincing voice in these complex pieces? Can we find any clues about their structure, rubato, inflection, colors, in the way they are notated? What can we learn from their origins — the three main national dances of Poland, which Chopin disseminated in these unique pages?