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Episode 1: The Minute Waltz: A Mispronunciation and a Dog Named Marquis

Waltz in D-flat Major, Op. 64, No. 1

dog-clock-212Chopin's popular Waltz in D-flat, Op. 64, No. 1 is commonly known today as the "Minute" waltz and is commonly pronounced "min' it." A publisher gave the waltz that nickname because it was short, and therefore minute (meye' noot), not because it can or should be played in a minute. But that hasn’t stopped people from trying.

It was one of the last pieces Chopin wrote, as his health was already failing – and he included it in his final concert in Paris in 1848, the year before he died.

Chopin as a rule didn’t like the nicknames that became attached to his works, and this waltz actually has two. It’s also known as the “Little Dog” waltz. George Sand had a dog named Marquis, who – the story goes – was chasing his tail on the garden terrace when Sand said to Chopin: “If I had your talent, I would compose a fortepiano piece for this dog.”

It’s a small piece that can be played by piano students and virtuosos. It was a staple of Liberace’s recitals in the 1950s and 60s. According to a “Jeopardy” question, he “cut out the dull parts, and played the Minute Waltz in 37 seconds.” - Jeffrey Freymann-Weyr

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Radio Chopin Episode 1: The Minute Waltz

Waltz in D-flat Major, Op.64, No. 1

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