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Difficulty (Explanation)
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Polonaise A flat major op. 53
8 difficult

About the Composer

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Frédéric Chopin

Pianist and composer. His work is concentrated around piano music that enjoys extraordinary popularity and has become an integral part of the concert repertoire. His music influenced subsequent generations in France (Franck, Saint-Saëns, Fauré, Debussy) as well as Smetana, Dvořák, Balakirev, Grieg, Albéniz.

1810Born in Żelazowa Wola near Warsaw on March 1. First compositions at age seven, his first public performance at eight.
1822Private instruction in composition.
1825Rondo in C minor, Op. 1, his first published work.
1826–29Studies at the Institute of Music in Warsaw.
1829“Fantaisie sur des airs nationaux polonaise” in A major, Op. 13; Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 8. Travels to Vienna, where he gives two concerts of his compositions and improvisations.
1829–33 and 1835–37Etudes, Opp. 10 and 25 -- a new type of virtuosic etude that also makes aesthetic demands.
1830Premieres in Warsaw of his two piano concerti, Op. 21 in F minor and Op. 11 in E minor.
1831Unable to return to Warsaw due to the Polish uprising, he goes to Paris, where he will remain until the end of his life.
1832Debut concert in Paris to great acclaim.
1835/38“Trois valses brillantes,” Op. 34.
1836/39“24 Preludes,” Op. 28, in a cyclic succession: compactly-designed short pieces.
1835/39Piano Sonata in B-flat minor, Op. 35, with the funeral march.
1842/43Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52; “Grande Polonaise brillante” in A-flat major, Op. 53; Scherzo No. 4 in E major, Op. 54.
1844Piano Sonata in B minor, Op. 58
1849Completion of the mazurkas in G minor and F minor. Death in Paris on October 17.

© 2003, 2010 Philipp Reclam jun. GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart

About the Authors

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Ernst Herttrich (Preface)

Dr. Ernst Herttrich, born in 1942 in Würzburg, read musicology, history, German and theology at the universities in Würzburg and Cologne. In 1970 he earned his doctorate in Würzburg with a study of the expression of melancholy in the music of Mozart.

From 1970 to 1990 he was an editor at G. Henle Publishers in Munich, after which he was Head of the Beethoven Complete Edition for over 15 years. In 1999 he took over as Head of the Beethoven-Haus Publishers, and from 2001 was made Head of the Beethoven-Archiv, the research centre at the Beethoven-Haus.

He has been a visiting professor at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo and has undertaken several lecture tours both there and to Kyoto. His research interests include source studies, editorial techniques and music history. Herttrich’s publications include “Beethoven. Liederkreis an die ferne Geliebte” (Bonn 1999) and “Ludwig van Beethoven. Biographie in Bildern” (Bonn, 2000). Herttrich has edited over 100 Urtext editions for G. Henle Publishers.

Feinsinnig ist seine Handschrift, die seine von Zeitgenossen so sinnlich, sensible Anschlagsnunancierung erkennen zu scheinen lässt. Auf diese Weise wird dem Spieler wie dem Zuhörer dieser Polonaise ein intensiveres Erlebnis zuteil. Und man kann nur hoffen, dass das Programm der Faksimile-Ausgaben zu einem erschwinglichen Preis bei Henle fortgefügrt wird.

Piano News, 2010

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