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The Waltzes have never lost their original attraction for pianists, either in public or in private. Their rhythmic verve, their wealth of melody, their power to evoke well-difined moods and to re-create the atmosphere of excitement, nostalgia, or languor have exercised an irresistible fascination upon generations of music-lovers. Chopin wrote his Waltzes spanning his whole lifetime. They have very little in common with Schuberts's waltzes, neither resemble they the Viennese of the Lanner and Strauss circle, who wrote "unterhaltungsmusik" for a wide audience. Chopin's waltzes are designed for the salons of the aristocracy, they are sophisticated works in which, behind the glitter and glamour, deeper and often melancholic feelings are hiding.

The Chopin Waltzes     Back to library

Click on an Opus number for a description / recording.

        - Op. 18
        - Op. 34
        - Op. 42
        - Op. 64
        - Op. 69
        - Op. 70
        - Posth.
        - Lost



Waltzes in Opus 18

No. 1, Grand Valse brillante, Vivo in E Flat Major, (BI:62)

This waltz might well be the successor of Weber's 'Invitation to the Dance'. It is one of Chopin's most popular and glittering works, full of sparkle and pianistic virtuosity (note the fast repeated notes and the witty appoggiaturas).

      Recording :: Sheet Music

Waltzes in Opus 34

No. 1, Grand Valse brillante, Vivace in A Flat Major (BI:94)

The first of Opus 34 is a genuine concert piece in rondo form and coda, calling for considerable technical powers.

      Sheet Music

No. 2, Grand Valse brillante, Lento in A Minor

This waltz shows the 'other' side of Chopin: this piece is full of melancoly, gloom and grief, expressed in mournful simplicity.

      Sheet Music

No. 3, Grand Valse brillante, Lento in F Major

This waltz is a perpetuum mobile in polymetrical figuration.

      Recording :: Sheet Music

Waltzes in Opus 42

No. 1, "Grande Valse Nouvelle", Lento in A Flat Major

This is the most ambitious and substantial of all Chopin's waltzes. The opening trill leads into a charming melody in 2/4 metre, set against the 3/4 left hand accompaniment. The charming themes, the virtuosic figurations, and the exhilarating coda make this waltz a favoutite with every audience.

      Recording :: Sheet Music

Waltzes in Opus 64

No. 1, Molto Vivace in D Flat Major

This first waltz of Opus 64 was written for George Sand's dog. It is nicknamed "Minute Waltz", although it would be madness to play it within the time of one minute. The sostenuto calm of the central section is a typical feature of many Chopin Waltzes, where often a swiftly moving section is set off against a contemplative middle section.

Vladimir de Pachmann arranged this Waltz in thirds. When he played his arrangement during a recital in London , he crouched over the keyboard so nobody could see his hands. When being asked why he did this he answered "Why I do this? I will tell. I see in the audience mein alte freund Moriz Rosenthall, and I do not wish him to copy my fingering."

      Recording :: Sheet Music

No. 2, Tempo giusto in C Sharp Minor

This second waltz of Opus 64 is just as popular as No. 1, although here a yearning melancholy and sorrowful expression brings the piece on a deeper plane of emotion.

Arthur Rubinstein did play this waltz many times.When people asked him how he could continue to play the same Waltz for over 75 years, he replied 'Because it's not the same, and I don't play it the same way.'

      Recording :: Sheet Music

No. 3, Moderato in A Flat Major

This one is said to be one of Chopin's own favourites: he played it frequently. Its possesses a certain inner nobility of bearing. The central section in C major, in which the theme sounds in the bass, is of especial beauty. Only the closing section has a build-up of tempo, ending in a sudden whirlwind of scales and triads.

Arthur Rubinstein said:"This Waltz is the most original of all. This waltz is not for dancing , nor is it a 'salon-piece' , no , it is a thing directly from Chopin's heart and soul"

      Recording :: Sheet Music

Waltz in Opus 69

No. 1, Lento in A Flat Major

Also known as: "L'addieu"; Chopin fell in love with Maria Wodzinska,(1819-1896), but her father didn't want them to marry.

      Sheet Music

No. 2, Moderato in B Minor

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      Recording :: Sheet Music

Waltzes in Opus 70

No. 1, Molto vivace in G Flat Major

This waltz is a gay display of virtuosity. The melody leaping in fantastic caprices recalling some of the more exuberant Mazurkas.

      Sheet Music

No. 2, Tempo giusto in F Minor

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      Sheet Music

No. 3, Moderato, in D Flat Major

The thematic material is laid out in contrapuntal parts, resulting in a rich and colourful polyphony.

Chopin in a letter of 3 october 1829 to his friend Titus: " O, perhaps, unfortunately, I already have my ideal, whom I have served faithfully, though silently, for half a year, of whom I dream, to thoughts of whom tha adagio of my concerto (No.2) belongs, and who this morning inspired the little waltz I am sending you."

The girl Chopin refers to in this letter was a young and pretty Polish soprano, Konstancja Gladkowska. But Konstancja had many admirers, and Chopin did only idealise her at a distance.

      Sheet Music

Posthumous Waltzes

No. 14

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      Recording :: Sheet Music

No. 19

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      Recording :: Sheet Music

Lost Waltzes

After Chopin's death in 1849 most of his possessions and some non-published manuscripts went to his family in Warsaw. Chopin's sister Ludwika made a catalogue of the manuscripts, copying only the first bars of them. In 1863 all manuscripts were destroyed by a fire, and the only thing that left of them was the catalogue of Ludwika.

Here are 6 waltzes that were lost in the fire...

Waltz in C Major (1826)

Waltz in A Flat Major (1827)

Waltz in A Flat Major (1829-1830)

Waltz in D Minor (1827)

Waltz in E Flat Major (1829-1830)

Waltz in C Major (1831)


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