Mazurka No.8

Frédéric Chopin

Mazurka No.8 in Ab major

Op. 7/4, B. 61/4

About this work

The Op. 7 set of mazurkas certainly contains a wide variety of pieces, with the high spirits of the B flat major, No. 5, setting the mood for a powerful contrast in the ensuing A minor Sixth, one of the composer's more depressing but effective efforts in the series. This A flat major Eighth is one of the slighter entries here, but its swift pace and quirky character make it, if not more consequential, then more unusual. The mazurka was, after all, a dance designed to be of moderate liveliness.

This piece, which runs a bit over a minute in a typical performance, opens with a theme whose demeanor is more than vaguely reminiscent of the wit and slapstick in Beethoven's Rage over a Lost Penny. Chopin's music is less vulgar here, to be sure, but this piece is more of a romp than a dance. Still, there is a measure of elegance to it, especially in the brief slow section. This is, in the end then, a colorful, witty piece whose rhythmic and thematic quirks make it a most effective offering.