Work: Waltz for Piano in A flat major, B 131/Op. 42 "Grande Valse"
About This Work
Frédéric Chopin's Valse in A-flat major, Op.42, is one of several of his works in the form that seem to actually be intended, to at least some degree, for use in the ballroom (as opposed to the many which are more properly dance-poems
not intended for human feet). This aristocratic work, published in 1840 (also the year during which it was most likely composed), is considered by many to be the finest of Chopin's many waltzes (the consummate craftsmanship and noble tone of the work compelled Robert Schumann to declare that if it is to be danced by mortal men and women, "half the ladies should be countesses at least").
An eight-bar introductory trill on the dominant calls the dancers, be they real or imagined, to their stations. The opening melody of the work is a lilting theme in duple time (striking in its constant, good- natured conflict with the underlying three-four meter and left-hand accompaniment), while a recurrent passage in far-flung eighth-notes and two melodies of less rhythmic activity (one, marked sostenuto, of greater duration and harmonic variety than the other) round off this colorful, well-balanced work. The traditional accelerando/crescendo is used in conclusion.
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