Surviving sketches for the Bolero
in A minor in the Paris Conservatoire indicate a composition date of around 1833 – which makes it contemporary with drafts for the G minor ballade and the Op 25 studies. C F Peters of Leipzig published it first in October 1834, with Wessel of London issuing an edition the following August under the title Souvenir d’Andalousie
. More Spanish than a polonaise, more Polish than a bolero (hence Nieck’s tag, ‘Bolero à la Polonaise’), its structure is that of a rondo in A minor/major prefaced by a brillante introduction in C major. Polish is the rhythm of its accompaniment. Iberian is the Aeolian flattened 7th modality of its refrain and the nature of its metric stress (in a true bolero all periods conclude on an assertive downbeat, in a polonaise they don’t, they favour the weaker accent – a nicety of cadencing Chopin observes with alacrity).
from notes by Ates Orga © 1992