The first of the series of Chopin’s ‘heroic’ polonaises is his opus 44, which is in F sharp minor. The Trio has an individual construction: consisting of an ostinato reprise and a long Mazurka. The Coda, which very distinctly “prepares” the conclusion of the piece, often surprising us, in all ‘heroic Polonaises’, with an exquisite example of Chopin’s compositional mastery. It, unlike most of the polonaises, has an introduction, instead of starting with the main theme.
Points of interest:
- The start, which builds up into the main theme.
- The use of trills very frequently.
- The constant use of octave semi-quavers in both hands.
- The highly ornamented style.
- The second main theme, which comes in at bar 82.
- The slow, emotional mazurka movement, starting at bar 127.
- The main introduction coming back after the ‘mazurka’ movement.
- The many, many runs
The points of difficulty throughout the piece are as follows:
- The very long and fast runs.
- The fact that the piece lasts around 10 minutes, and is 326 bars long (with a time sig. of 3-4).
- The chromatic semi-quaver octaves.
- The ‘jumping’ left hand in the middle of fast right hand bits, eg. bar 287.
- The runs and trills.
- The 5:4 and 3:2 semi-quaver rhythms, eg. bar 291.
- The demi-semi quaver section in the middle, bars 82-102.
- The thick chords throughout.
This piece is a monster. It requires immense skill to be able to play. It is technically incredibly difficult. I would suggest that only someone of incredible dexterity and skill at the piano should attempt to play it. I would give it a difficulty rating of 10/10.