Tablet - Portrait

Tablet - Landscape


Frédéric Chopin

Chopin usually grouped his mazurkas into collections of three, four and five, but this A minor effort, from 1841, was composed separately and published in an anthology that same year entitled Album de pianistes polonais. This mazurka is often associated with its predecessor, No. 50, also in the key of A minor and written the previous summer.

The Mazurka No. 51 is marked Allegretto, like its A minor sibling, but is much livelier and brighter. The main theme here is vibrant and more than a bit exotic, containing the flavors of Spain. There is an insouciance to its mood, a playfulness and humor infusing its whole sound world. Rhythms are infectious, too, and colors brilliant, the whole a delightful confection. An alternate theme, in octaves in the right hand, is more typically Chopinesque but maintains the joyful atmosphere. The main theme returns to close this pleasant piece. Chopin's writing throughout is especially brilliant in its exploitation of color. This mazurka lasts about two-and-a-half to three minutes in a typical performance.