Two short piano works inspired by Polish folk music

Chopin, Frédéric, Polish composer (1810-1849). Autograph musical manuscript of two short works for piano: "All[egre]tto" (24 bars, in contrasting A major and A minor sections), and "Mazur" (14 bars in D minor), signed ("Ch") twice at the end of each piece.

No place, [ca. 1832-1833].

Oblong 4to (287 x 228 mm). 1 page, meticulously notated in 38 bars on five systems of two staves. Annotated in a 19th-century hand "copié par Chopin", loosely matted. Stored in a custom-made red morocco portfolio with cut signatures of Arthur Rubinstein (1931) and Vladimir Horowitz (1978), famed as interpreters of Chopin's music.


Two short piano works inspired by Polish folk music. Kobylanska considers that whilst both works are signed by Chopin, they are too unsophisticated to be his own compositions, and are perhaps transcriptions of Polish folk tunes: "Beide Stücke sind zwar mit Ch signiert, in ihrer ganzen Art jedoch zu primitiv, als daß man sie für eigene Kompositionen Chopins halten könnte. Wir ordnen sie in dieses Kapitel ein, da es sich vielleicht um Übertragungen von polnischen Volksweisen handeln mag." If so, it is fascinating not only to see Chopin in the posture of an ethnomusicologist some sixty or more years before the pioneering research of Bartók and Kodály, but also that the resulting works, notated with his characteristic exquisite neatness, should be granted the imprimatur of his discreet, repeated signature.

Provenance: 1) collection of the actor, director and playwright Sacha Guitry (1885-1957); his sale, Drouot, Paris, 21 November 1974 (lot 15); 2) collection of the Canadian chemist and physician Frederick Lewis Maitland Pattison (1923-2010), with his bookplate on the portfolio's inside front cover.


Krystyna Kobylanska, Frédéric Chopin: Thematisch-bibliographisches Werkverzeichnis (1979), VII b (Transkriptionen von Volksweisen), nos. 7 and 8. First published in Jean-Jacques Eigeldinger, "Un autographe musical inédit de Chopin", Schweizerische Musikzeitung / Revue musicale suisse, CXV/1 (Jan.-Feb. 1975), pp. 18-23. F. L. M. Pattison, "A Folk Tune Associated with Chopin and Liszt", Journal of the American Liszt Society 20 (1986), pp. 38-41. J. M. Chominski & T. D. Turlo, Katalog dziel Fryderyka Chopina (1990), p. 240 (Sketches, fragments, exercises): "Folk melodies meticulously recorded on a single sheet".

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