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Episode 26: Chopin Waltzes in 2/4 Time

Waltz in A-flat Major, Op. 42

rc-026-waltz-in-2-200Everybody knows a waltz, right? Like Johann Strauss Jr.’s On the Beautiful Blue Danube.

ONE two three, ONE two three, ONE two three…a waltz! Three beats to a measure, with the emphasis on the first beat.

But Fryderyk Chopin’s Waltz in A-flat major, opus 42 begins with a trill, then ONE two, ONE two, ONE two, ONE two, but there's also a ONE two three, ONE two three in there as well.

This cross-rhythm that opens Chopin’s “2/4 Waltz” isn’t the only clever touch that make this waltz a stand-out.

Robert Schumann, struck by how sheer a fabric Chopin weaves in the work, remarked, “it must never be danced—unless, at least, it were to be danced by a countess.”

Chopin biographer James Huneker hears in it “charms beyond compare”… “echoes of evening,” “coquetry, hesitation, [and] passionate avowal”…

From the delicate trill that invites the dancers to the floor - to a breathless and undeniable statement of what transpired between them, you could say that Chopin’s “2/4 Waltz” holds special…sway in its genre. - Jennifer Foster

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Radio Chopin Episode 26: Chopin Waltes in 2/4 Time

Waltz in A-flat Major, Op. 42

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