Mazurka No.35

Frédéric Chopin

Mazurka No.35 in C minor

Op. 56/3, B. 153/3

About this work

Chopin wrote this mazurka in a relatively happy time in his life: while he was suffering from tubercular infection, he was deeply in love with the writer George Sand (Aurore Dupin Dudevant). This relatively long C minor mazurka (around seven minutes), however, could hardly be heard as a keyboard incarnation of his love for her.

This work has the reputation of sounding rather intellectual and impersonal. That judgment is mostly correct, for Chopin invests very little of the music here with his usual sense for emotion and passion. This mazurka, marked Moderato, opens with a theme whose chief characteristic seems to be its tendency to probe, to search. Four notes in particular repeat hesitantly, giving the piece an air of uncertainty. A brighter melody evolves from this and eventually develops a march-like gait. Still, the somewhat philosophical mood is never completely jettisoned. The main theme returns and casts a reflective pall over the remainder of the piece. In the end, this must be judged one of the composer's more sober, more emotionally cool works. But that observation cannot be taken as a dismissal of the work's aesthetic value. Indeed, while it may lack passion and feeling, it is nevertheless an effective piece, perhaps not among his best efforts in the genre, however.