Chopin’s first two Polonaises, in G minor and B flat major (which are identical in form), already have in the Introductions a rhythmic formula characteristic of the polonaise (the beginning bar – the so called polonaise rhythm, an eighth and two sixteenths). This formula allows the listener to unmistakably tell the polonaise from other dance compositions in three-four time.
The first of the two has several identifying features:
- They sequence used in bars 4-5 which keeps making a reappearance throughout the piece.
- The original double dotted/demi-semi quaver theme keeps making appearances.
- The small ‘runs’, of nine notes each.
- The quite frequent trills in the left hand.
The difficulties a pianist
may encounter when trying to play this piece are as follows:< cr>
- Getting the necessary fff at the start of the piece in the original 2 bar motif.
- Playing the large chords well: they are very big and very difficult to remember.
- One of the hardest things to do is to play the runs. They contain unusual intervals and must be played quite fast.
- The occasional 3:2 or 4:3 rhythm may prove to be quite difficult.
Overall this is one of the middle-difficulty polonaises, which I will give a difficulty rating of about 7/10.
< cr>The Second
of the set is more difficult than the first. The identifying features are:< cr>
- The 2 semi-quaver and 1 quaver motif. This is used constantly.
- The vast runs. These are much bigger than the runs in the first polonaise. They are also much more difficult to play.The huge contrast in dynamics. This piece moves from pp to fff very quickly.
- The trills, which, in this polonaise, always precede a run.
< cr>The difficulties are as follows:
- The very large runs are very difficult to play. Like in the first polonaise, some of the chords are very large, and the staccato quite frequently used. These may create problems for an inexperienced pianist.
- The speed of the piece: It is a fast piece and it is quite demanding to be played at full speed.
< cr>This polonaise is more demanding than the first one, and I will give it a difficulty rating of 8/10.