About this work
Chopin drew upon both the classical traditions of Poland and its folk songs and dances to create the 57 mazurkas for piano, which stand as some of his most personal and intimate compositions. In composing the dance form, Chopin actually drew upon three traditional dances: the mazur, the kujawiak, and the oberek. Each is in triple meter and often has the third or second beats accented. Some of his mazurkas draw directly from one of these dances, but most are a combination of the three, along with more classical influences. Thus Chopin was able to create a genre both personal and unique, adding much to the piano repertoire. The Mazurkas of Op. 67, published posthumously, seem to represent a return to the compositional style of the earlier collections, with the four-movement format, the shorter pieces, and the more good-natured tone. The first mazurka is amusing and flamboyant, with many flourishes and a dance-like character. The cheerful dialogue between the melody's two ranges is innovative and playful. The second piece of the set, marked cantabile, is a brief but pleasant reflection. The contentment is found in the rhythmic and melodic stability; there are no surprises, but there are no disappointments. The third piece in the collection, again very brief, seems to have shed the pathos of the Op. 63 Mazurkas, with its agreeable melody and character. The final mazurka, the first in the minor key, adds some heart to the collection. It displays the flourishes and rhythm of the dances, but with effortless melodic subtlety and warmth of tone.