Frédéric François Chopin Composer
Tarantelle in Ab, Op.43Performances: 18
Musicology:Chopin wrote in many dance forms: waltz, mazurka, polonaise, ecossaise, bolero, bourrée, contredanse, and tarantelle. This is the only piece he composed in the latter genre, and its energy, virtuosity, and high spirits would seem out of character for a man in his then-deteriorating state of health. Yet, while Chopin had increasingly frequent bouts of sickness from tubercular infection, he also had his good periods, which would account for this effervescent, technically challenging work.
Tarantelle in Ab, Op.43Key: Ab
Genre: Other Keyboard
Pr. Instrument: Piano
Chopin's music races along here and divulges much humor and color in its lightness. The main theme comes in a bustling wave of notes up and down the keyboard. The mood of the music is rather playful, and if the dance is associated with a disease, Chopin seems not to have been cognizant of that fact. It should be mentioned that the tarantelle (or tarantella) has origins dating back to fifteenth century Italy. It is reputed to have connections with tarantism, a disease caused by a tarantula bite. Its resultant hysteria was said to be the reason for the dance's fast pace and frenzied movements, although some claim the tarantelle was actually devised as therapy for those suffering the illness. In any event, this is one of the composer's most good-natured, rollicking and colorful works. A typical performance of it lasts about three minutes.
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