The second in the series of Chopin’s heroic polonaises is his opus 53. The question of the tempo of Chopin’s Polonaises, not discussed before, calls for a clear statement: the polonaise is a stately dance. The direction, maestoso, in the score of this polonaise, refers, in principle, to all of Chopin’s Polonaises. The virtuoso fragments of Chopin’s ‘heroic' Polonaises should not prompt performers to show off, as their playing should not interrupt the continuity of the narration but form an integral whole with it. Sudden changes of the tempo (e.g., the octave ostinato in the Trio), have no logical justification. Historical, personal and patriotic references , in which Chopin’s last Polonaises flourish, lend them a special status. The Introduction is quite long and has a refined construction (a chromatic progression of the successive fourths).

Points of interest:

Difficulties a pianist may encounter:
  • The piece is very fast and frequently there are trills, runs, ornaments, spreads, staccato etc.
  • The texture is very thick and for most of the piece there are thick, and complex chords.
  • The obscure rhythms.
  • The fact that both hands have incredibly complicated and difficult parts.
  • The length and speed of the piece.
  • The fact that it will probably make you sweat a lot from playing it.
  • The amount of time it would take to learn it!
This piece is probably the most famous of Chopin’s polonaises (This one appears in Monty Python’s song Oliver Cromwell), and it is also one of the most difficult. It requires a lot of skill and determination to play. I would give it a difficulty rating of 10/10.

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