Chopin’s third polonaise, opus 61, is often referred to as the polonaise-fantaisie. It is the third in Chopin’s series of ‘heroic' polonaises. Chopin developed every element constituting his 'heroic' Polonaises. These elements include the Introduction, dual themes, the bridges, and the Coda. The Introduction in the Polonaise-Fantaisie A flat major, Op. 61, is quite long and has a refined construction. The emotional element of this Introduction should also be noted. Its intensity is the same as in the thematic parts. The piece is given its very free and asymmetric structure of the sonata allegro, instead of the Trio we can talk only about a very short development, noting that the B major fragment (bars 148-180), frequently regarded as the so-called middle part, is nothing but the second theme of the Polonaise (sonata). This delightful theme, with a polyphonic texture, represents one of the most captivating examples of Chopin’s poetry.
Points of interest:
- The arpeggios, forming the introduction to the piece.
- The frequent change of key.
- The ‘sonata’ form of the piece.
- Bar 148- The sudden change of theme as the piece enters the ‘middle’ section (the development of a piece in sonata form).
- Bar 249- The trill and run at the beginning of the ‘final’ section of the piece, known as the recapitulation (in sonata form).
- Bars 254-281-The ‘dotted’ section.
- Bars 282-288- The ending trills in the coda.
The difficulties a pianist may encounter:
- The very complicated arpeggios throughout the piece. Especially in the introduction.
- The semi-quaver triads, bars 52-55.
- Bars 117-143- the very fiddly semi-quaver right-hand section, including ornaments and 3:2 rhythms.
- The speed and length of the piece.
- The incredibly complex arrangements that make this piece incredibly difficult to memorize, and play.
This piece is very long and very difficult. I would give it a difficulty rating of 10/10.