Frédéric Chopin - Mazurka in F Minor, Op. 68, No. 4

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  • Published on:  Wednesday, December 20, 2017
  • The Mazurka in F minor – known as the ‘last’, as it remained unfinished – has its story and its question marks. It was found among the composer’s notes and sketches by Jane Stirling. Auguste Franchomme was the first to attempt to read and decipher the barely legible manuscript, which is currently held in Warsaw, at the NIFC Museum. After Franchomme, the next to try was Fontana, who published the work, though without those bars which he was unable to read.

    The work’s opening bars sound melancholic, nostalgic. With their augmented chromaticism, they anticipate Wagner. They are followed by a moment of enlivenment – a couple of bars played con anima, in the bright relative key.

    In our times, a number of scholars have attempted to read the parts which Fontana could not understand: Arthur Hedley, Ludwik Bronarski, Jan Ekier, Miłosz Magin and Wojciech Nowik.

    For Jan Ekier, the bars that bring a variant of the opening theme sound strangely beautiful, though bitter. The part of the work that proceeds in the relative key of F major had to be reconstructed. It would seem that we have before us a notation that is merely stenographic, sketched, but not a full, final realisation.

    It is difficult to listen to this work as a whole, in its presumed, reconstructed form, without being moved. One is reminded of words once uttered by Witold Lutosławski: ‘For all its fantasy, the imagined world of Chopin’s works is a deeply human world – deeply human like the burning desire for some ideal’.

    Author: Mieczysław Tomaszewski
    [Cykl audycji "Fryderyka Chopina Dzieła Wszystkie"]
    Polish Radio, program II
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