Chopin course 6 – Mazurka in G minor, Op.24, No.1

This week's piece by Chopin is a wistful mazurka - sad, melancholy, crestfallen (I'm starting to cry already). It makes a half-hearted effort to look up a bit in the middle section, but this is only a momentary glimpse of sunshine, and soon the wistful melody of the opening returns. Schumann said that melancholy was the natural turn of Chopin's mind, as with all his countrymen - but that's not really true at all. What he meant, I'm sure - and is true - is that eastern Europeans have a melancholy streak in their nature that is not part of the Western European mindset. The English positively frown upon dwelling upon sad thoughts - Stiff upper lip! Chin up! and all that. The French haven't got time for such nonsense. The sun always shines in Italy. The Germans can put their sensitive inclinations on hold indefinitely. Not so Poles or Russians. There's a time for everything - brooding melancholy as well as riotous celebration. As one lady I once knew in America used to say, "When the Lord sends you tribulation, you suposed to tribulate."

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