My Favorite Chopin Mazurkas

My Favorite Chopin Mazurkas

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“stunning...voluptuous and mesmerizing..” (Guitar Review)

“very exciting...an impressive feat” (Acoustic Guitar Magazine)

“one marvels at Mr. Aron’s arrangements... inspired” (Classical Guitar Magazine)

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The arrangements on this recording are available in Stephen Aron's book Complete Chopin Mazurkas.

PLAYLIST

1   Mazurka Op. 41, No. 4[2:53]            

2   Mazurka Op. 50, No. 1[3:02]            

3   Mazurka Op. 6, No. 2[2:17]    

4   Mazurka Op. 63, No. 2[2:27]        

5   Mazurka Op. 56, No. 2[1:48]        

6   Mazurka Op. 24, No. 2[2:43]    

7   Mazurka Op. 6, No. 3[2:32]    

8   Mazurka a Emile Gaillard[4:00]        

9   Mazurka Op. 6, No. 1[2:45]    

10   Mazurka Op. 59, No. 2[3:29]        

11   Mazurka Op. 41, No. 3[1:32]        

12   Mazurka Op. 63, No. 1[2:50]            

13   Mazurka Op. 33, No. 1[2:22]            

14   Mazurka Op. 68, No. 1[2:08]            

15   Mazurka Op. 30, No. 3[3:16]        

16   Mazurka Op. 30, No. 4[5:01]            

17   Mazurka Op. 7, No. 1[2:40]    

18   Mazurka Op. 41, No. 1[4:13]        

19   Mazurka Op. 17, No. 1[2:59]    

20   Mazurka Op. 17, No. 4[7:55]    

21   Mazurka Op. 67, No. 4[3:30]            

22   Mazurka Op. 7, No. 3[3:17]    

23   Mazurka Op. 68, No. 4[3:53]    

 

NOTES

While at first, the very notion of playing an entire CD of this music on the solo guitar seems unlikely, close scrutiny reveals in these works an astonishingly rich resource for the guitarist. Mine is not, of course, the first effort to arrange these pieces. Many guitarists over the years, including Chopin’s contemporary and compatriot, Jan N. de Brobrowicz, and the legendary Spanish master, Francisco Tarrega, have produced versions of isolated selections. In fact, Chopin’s music is among the most frequently chosen source material by the guitarist-arranger. This is certainly, though, the first such exhaustive exploration of the genre for solo guitar.

Of all of Chopin’s works, the Mazurkas are unique in several ways. It is the only form he embraced literally throughout his lifetime; he wrote more of them than of any other form; and they feature his most chromatic and exotic-sounding passages. It is his unique and at time daring harmonic language, and this very exoticism that drew me to the pieces initially. Upon closer examination, I found a remarkably varied collection of works only some of which directly referenced the exuberant physicality of the original dance. Chopin’s frequent use of mode (especially phrygian and lydian) and frequent tonal ambiguity added to their allure. I was hooked.

In preparing the arrangements, I decided at the outset to choose keys which comfortably accommodated the guitar. Occasionally, unusual tunings were employed to facilitate the disparate key areas so common in the Mazurkas (and so atypical of guitar music from the same period). In the end, the physical execution of Chopin’s scores proved an easier task than that of developing stylistically appropriate interpretations. There is little in the guitar repertoire to prepare the guitarist for the style of performance required by these pieces. It was my desire to create for them a new (parallel) existence as guitar pieces, albeit unusually good guitar pieces.

There is no other comparable body of literature for solo guitar. Consequently, there is little frame of reference for this recording; the listening experience is a unique one. I hope you enjoy the journey.

--Stephen Aron