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Polonaise in A flat major, Op 53

1842; nick-named 'Heroic'

‘Héroique’, the Polonaise in A flat Major, Op 53, took form at the same time (1842-43) as the fourth ballad and the fourth scherzo. Already the contemporary accounts of its performance invoked images of patriotism, nationalism and the call to arms. Chopin seemed to be unhappy when the piece was played fast and did not increase volume much in the octaves (Gutman/Niecks). According to Liszt, the composer often played the episode in F minor (bars 138-151) ‘like the muffled rumbling of a distant cannon’. In this polonaise, Chopin no longer used the form of the early Warsaw ones and instead reinterpreted it as an evocation of past splendour and a symbol of Poland, a true agent of cultural nationalism. Indeed, works like this one became a model for composers who referred to their own native folk music and thus launched the so-called ‘national schools’.

from notes by Robert Andres 2005


Chopin: Reminiscences
Studio Master: CKD248Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Chopin: The Complete Works
CDS44351/6616CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Chopin: The Great Polonaises
CDH55382Last few CD copies remaining


Track 6 on CDH55382 [7'00] Last few CD copies remaining
Track 4 on CDS44351/66 CD7 [7'00] 16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 10 on CKD248 [7'26] Download only

Track-specific metadata for CDH55382 track 6

Recording date
25 August 1993
Recording venue
Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, State University of New York, USA
Recording producer
Adam Abeshouse
Recording engineer
Adam Abeshouse
Hyperion usage
  1. Chopin: The Great Polonaises (CDH55382)
    Disc 1 Track 6
    Release date: January 2010
    Last few CD copies remaining
  2. Chopin: The Complete Works (CDS44351/66)
    Disc 7 Track 4
    Release date: November 2008
    16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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