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mazurkas 

opus number
56 
Burghauser catalogue number
111 
composed
June 1880 
premiere - date and place
premiere - performer(s)
parts / movements
1. Allegro non tanto
2. Vivo e risoluto
3. Allegro
4. Lento ma non troppo
5. Allegro non troppo
6. Allegro 
duration
approx. 21 min. 


The cycle of six piano mazurkas from June 1880 originated at a time when, thanks to numerous commissions from various music publishers, Dvorak was devoting much of his time to piano compositions. With this series of mazurkas, Dvorak joined the ranks of composers whose music helped to put the Polish national dance on the world map. In fact, he became one of the leading names among them, since this work is one of his most successful piano compositions, both from a musical point of view and in terms of its instrumental stylisation. Dvorak based his ideas on a highly idealised conception of this Polish dance, as codified in his work by Fryderyk Chopin: short musical poems, all of which preserve the characteristic rhythmical elements, but each has a different mood. Before the publication of the cycle, Dvorak excluded the fourth mazurka and replaced it with a completely new piece based on the themes from the first part of his Eclogue cycle. He did not consider the latter worthy of publication and used its opus number, 56, for his Mazurkas, which were published that same year by Bote & Bock.