Mazurka in D major, Op. 33 No. 3 Op. 33 No. 3
The set of Mazurkas, Op. 33 brings both similarities and contrasts. The Mazurka in D major – second in the German editions, but third in the French – brings to the opus a reminder of the folk provenance of the Mazurkas. It rouses the listener to dance with its exuberant oberek, although it was not actually written for dancing, before passing into the rhythm of a swaying mazur.
With a little imagination, one may picture what that dance might look like. The inestimable Ferenc Liszt, a brilliant observer of everything that went on around Chopin, comes to our assistance with his admiration. ‘All the women in Poland are gifted with a magical knowledge of this dance’, he writes in his monograph, ‘the less happily endowed are able to find improvised charms within it. Here, timidity and modesty are turned to advantage, as is the majesty of those who are fully aware of being the most admired. Is it not so because of all dances this is the most chastely amorous? Since the female dancers do not ignore the public, but on the contrary address themselves to it, there reigns in the very essence of this dance a mixture of intimate tenderness and mutual vanity that is filled in equal measure with decency and allurement.’
This was another mazurka to attract the attentions of Pauline Viardot, who confessed in a letter to George Sand: ‘His mazurkas in my rendering have become favourites with audiences, who demand them at every soirée with The Barber of Seville[as we know, during the ‘singing lesson’ scene, it was the custom for something put forward by the audience to be sung] and in all the concerts in which I sing’.