Mazurkas, Op. 41 (Chopin)
Mazurkas, Op. 41 is a set of four mazurkas for piano by Frédéric Chopin, composed and published between 1838 and 1839. A typical performance of the set lasts about nine and a half minutes. The set is dedicated to Chopin's friend Stefan Witwicki, a minor poet, ten of whose poems Chopin set to music as songs.
Mazurka in C# minor, Op. 41, No. 1
The first mazurka is in C-sharp minor and has a time signature of 3/4. It also has the tempo marking: Maestoso.
The Mazurka op.41 no.4 in C sharp minor should really have a subtitle: in the Phrygian mode for this is the special quality of its main theme and the crowning climax at the end. How Chopin incorporates the mode into the piece is fascinating: The mazurka starts with an outlining of the Phrygian scale as a solo right hand melody, only then repeating it with harmonization and then subjecting it to harmonic development in E major. Various episodes introduce new key areas, all very clearly marked off from one another, many developing the dotted rhythm idea from the main theme. The big dominant build-up to the climax is quite awe-inspiring both in its length (14 bars) and its ubiquitous use of dotted rhythms. In the 13 bar coda Chopin takes us back to C sharp minor and we enjoy the minor scale without the characteristic flattened supertonic of the Phrygian mode.
Mazurka in E minor, Op. 41, No. 2
The second mazurka is in E minor and has a time signature of 3/4. It also has the tempo marking: Andantino.
Mazurka in B major, Op. 41, No. 3
The third Mazurka is in B major and has a time signature of 3/4. It also has the tempo marking: Animato.
Mazurka in A-flat major, Op. 41, No. 4
The final mazurka in the set is in A-flat major and has a time signature of 3/4. It also has the tempo marking: Allegretto.