Waltzes (Chopin)

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Frédéric Chopin’s waltzes are pieces of moderate length adhering to the traditional 3/4 waltz time, but are remarkably different from the earlier Viennese waltzes in that they were not designed for dancing but for concert performance. Some of them are accessible by pianists of moderate capabilities, but the more difficult of them require an advanced technique. Carl Maria von Weber's Invitation to the Dance was an early model for Chopin's waltzes.

Chopin started writing waltzes in 1824, when he was fourteen, and continued until the year of his death, 1849.

Probably the most famous are the Minute Waltz in D-flat major and the C-sharp minor waltz of 1847, two of the last set of waltzes Chopin published before his death (Op. 64).

Background[edit]

There are thirty-six compositions that are of interest to students of the Chopin waltzes. But today a pianist making a record of the Chopin waltzes is playing totally 19 waltzes.

Chopin published eight waltzes in his lifetime and because he was very critical he asked not to publish the unpublished works. However Chopins sister Ludwika and Julian Fontana decided to publish the waltzes 9-13. Another six waltzes (composed 1826-1831), present in the Paris home, were preserved but later destroyed in a fire in 1863 in Ludwika's house. Publication of the waltzes 14-19 occurred later. Chopin had given them to related persons and had not guarded the manuscripts.

The waltzes include a piece that was untitled; it is in 3/4 time with the tempo indication Sostenuto, and it has some of the characteristics of a waltz, so it is often (but not universally) catalogued with the waltzes. (In addition, the last variation of his Variations on a German Air, op. posth., is in the form of a waltz.)

In addition, there remain:

  1. Extant waltzes in private hands and unavailable to researchers.
  2. Waltzes believed destroyed.
  3. Waltzes believed lost.
  4. Waltzes of which documentary evidence exists but the MSS are not known to be extant.

List of waltzes by or attributed to Chopin[edit]

Series
number
Key Composed Published Opus Number Brown Kobylańska Chominski Dedication Notes
1 E-flat major 1831 (?) 1834 (June) Op. 18 B.62 Laura Horsford Grande valse brillante; used in Les Sylphides
2 A-flat major 1835 1838 Op. 34/1 B.94 Josefine von Thun-Hohenstein The three waltzes, Op. 34 were also published as Grandes valses brillantes, but this title is usually reserved for the Waltz in E-flat major, Op. 18
3 A minor 1831 1838 Op. 34/2 B.64 Baroness C. d'Ivry
4 F major 1838 or earlier 1838 Op. 34/3 B.118 Mlle. A. d'Eichthal
5 A-flat major 1840 1840 Op. 42 B.131 Grande valse; sometimes called the 2/4 waltz since the main melody sounds as if in 2/4 time against a 3/4 bass.
6 D-flat major 1846-1847 XI 1847 Op. 64/1 B.164/1 Countess Delfina Potocka Valse du petit chien is the title Chopin gave this waltz, which is popularly known as Minute Waltz
7 C-sharp minor 1846-1847 XI 1847 Op. 64/2 B.164/2 Baroness Nathaniel de Rothschild (= Charlotte de Rothschild) Used in Les Sylphides and Secret
8 A-flat major 1846-1847 XI 1847 Op. 64/3 B.164/3 Countess Katarzyna Branicka (or Bronicka)
9 A-flat major 1835 (24 September) 1855 Op. posth. 69/1 B.95 Charlotte de Rothschild, Mme Peruzzi and Maria Wodzińska L'adieu
10 B minor 1829 1852 (Krakow) Op. posth. 69/2 B.35 Wilhelm Kolberg
11 G-flat major 1833 1855 Op. posth. 70/1 B.92 Used in Les Sylphides
12 F minor/A-flat major 1841 (June) 1852 (Krakow) Op. posth. 70/2 B.138 Marie de Krudner, Mme. Oury, Élise Gavard & Countess Esterházy
13 D-flat major 1829 (3 October) 1855 Op. posth. 70/3 B.40
14 E minor 1830 1868 Op. Posth B.56 KK IVa/15 P1/15 No autograph exists
15 E major 1829 1861 Lviv,Ukraine - B.44 KK IVa/12 P1/12 No autograph exists
16 A-flat major 1827 1902 - B.21 KK IVa/13 P1/13 Emilia Elsner[note 1] [note 2]
17 E-flat major 1827 1902 B 46 KK IVa/14 P1/14 Emilia Elsner [note 3]
18 E-flat major 1840 1955 - B.133 KK IVb/10 Émile Gaillard Headed "Sostenuto"; not always classified as a waltz.From 1938 present in the "Conservatoire Paris "
19 A minor 1847–49 ( ? ) 1955, 1958 Op. Posth B.150 KK IVb/11 P2/11 Charlotte de Rothschild or daughter Unedited edition pub. Paris 1955; ed. Jack Werner 1958. From 1901 present in the "Bibliotheque du Conservatoire de Paris "
20 F-sharp minor 1838 (?) 1932 - KK Ib/7 A1/7 Not by Chopin; first published in 1861, and in 1986 published under the name Valse mélancolique by Stanislaw Dybowski on the bi-weekly "Ruch Muzyczny", but in 2012 discovered by Luca Chierici to be a shortened version of a piece by Charles Mayer named Le Régret, op. 332.
- C major 1824 (?) - - KK Vb/8 Lost
- A minor 1824 - - - KK Vf Countess Lubienska Lost
- C major 1826 - - KK Vb/3 MS destroyed; copy of first line made by Chopin's sister Ludwika is extant
- A-flat major 1827 - - KK Vb/4 MS destroyed; copy of first line made by Chopin's sister Ludwika is extant
- D minor 1828 - - KK Vb/6 La Partenza; MS destroyed; copy of first line made by Chopin's sister Ludwika is extant
- A minor 1829 - - Discovered 1937; was in possession of H. Hinterberger of Vienna, but now believed destroyed
- A minor 1829 (?) - - - - Sketches for a brief prelude and main theme
- A-flat major 1829–30 (by 21 December 1830) - - KK Vb/5 Mentioned in a letter from Chopin to his family, 21 December 1830; MS destroyed; copy of first line made by Chopin's sister Ludwika is extant
- E-flat major 1829–30 - - KK Vb/7 MS destroyed; copy of first line made by Chopin's sister Ludwika is extant
- C major 1831 - - MS destroyed; copy of first line made by Chopin's sister Ludwika is extant
- ? 1845 (by) - - - KK Ve/12 Mentioned in diary of L. Niedźwiecki
- B major 1848 (12 October) - - B.166 KK Va/3 Madame Erskine According to a letter of Arthur Hedley (March 10 1960)

manuscript in a private collection (London)

- E-flat major 1829-30 - - KK Vb/7 Mentioned in letters from Breitkopf to Izabela Barcińska in 1878
- ? ? - - - KK Ve/10 Listed in auction catalogue, Paris, March 1906
- ? ? - - - KK Ve/11 Mentioned in letters from Breitkopf to Izabela Barcińska in 1878
- ? ? - - - KK Vf Several waltzes; lost

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Emilia Elsner kept an album of Chopin's manuscripts, which was destroyed during World War II.[1]:29
  2. ^ First published in 1902, from a manuscript in the possession of the family of Jósef Elsner, by F. Hoesick in Warsaw and Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig.[2]:132
  3. ^ This Waltz was published together with the Waltz in A-flat Major (see above, No 16).[3]:133

References[edit]

  1. ^ Orga, Ateş (2015). Fryderyck Franciszek Chopin. Google Books. London, New York, Sydney: Omnibus Press. p. 192. ISBN 978-1-78038-444-3. [Tomasz] Nidecki married Elsner's daughter Emilia (by his second marriage). Chopin contributed seventeen pieces to her autograph album, destroyed in World War II.
  2. ^ Paderewski, Ignacy J., ed. (1949). Fryderyk Chopin Complete Works IX Waltzes. Warsaw: The Fryderyk Chopin Institute. This Waltz was published for the first time in 1902, from a manuscript in the possession of the family of Jósef Elsner, by F. Hoesick in Warsaw and Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig (as a supplement to the collected edition of Chopin's works, Klav. Bibl. No. 23 183 II). The Warsaw Musical Society has in its collections an autograph manuscript of Chopin dedicated to Madame Le Brun (Chopin, His Life and Work, Warsaw 1904, p. 533).
  3. ^ Paderewski, Ignacy J., ed. (1949). Fryderyk Chopin Complete Works IX Waltzes. Warsaw: The Fryderyk Chopin Institute. This Waltz was published together with the Waltz in A-flat Major (see above, No. 16).