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Frédéric François Chopin

Frédéric François Chopin Composer

17 Polish Songs, Op.74

Performances: 23
Tracks: 201
  • 17 Polish Songs, Op.74
    Year: 1829
    Genre: Solo Song / Lied / Chanson
    Pr. Instrument: Voice
    • 1.Zyczenie (The Wish)
    • 2.Wiosna (The Song)
    • 3.Smutna rzeka (The Sad River)
    • 4.Hulanka (Merrymaking)
    • 5.Gdzie lubi (What She Likes)
    • 6.Precz z moich oczu (Out of My Sight)
    • 7.Posel (The Messenger)
    • 8.Sliczny chlopiec (Handsome Lad)
    • 9.Melodia (Melody)
    • 10.Wojak (The Warrior)
    • 11.Dwojaki koniec (The Double End)
    • 12.Moja pieszczotka (My Darling)
    • 13.Nie ma czego trzeba (I Want What I Have Not)
    • 14.Pierscien (The Ring)
    • 15.Narzeczony (The Bridegroom)
    • 16.Piosnka lietwska (Lithuanian Song)
    • 17.Spiew z mogilki (Hymn from the Tomb)
Though neglected for years by singers unacquainted with the Polish language and by audiences demanding performances of his familiar piano masterpieces, Chopin's songs for voice and piano have enjoyed a modest resurgence. Some musicologists believe that one of the earliest of these songs, "Precz z moich oczu!" (Out of My Sight!), usually dated 1830, might actually have been written as early as 1827. In any event, two decades of creative activity on Chopin's part yielded just 18 songs. (He seems to have conceived about 30, but, curiously, left some unfinished.) Sixteen were published in 1856-1857, and two others appeared in 1910. It seems that Chopin never intended to have his songs published, though he apparently left Liszt and others with the impression he did.

The 17 songs in the Op. 74 set, arranged without regard to chronology in their published edition, fall into two categories: the romantic and the historical, or, put more simply, the personal and the public. All his songs are settings of text by Polish poets, 10 by Stefan Witwicki (1801-1847) alone; all of those texts are taken from Witwicki's 1830 collection, Idylls. Chopin's apparent doubts about the artistic worth of his songs probably had something to do with his conviction that his best piano music was patently superior. The songs are indeed less distinctive works, but they offer much that is of interest, including unusual insights into the epic side of Chopin's thinking and a wealth of beautiful piano writing. It is also interesting to ponder the shortcomings of the songs in view of the fact that Chopin's pianistic language was itself heavily influenced by vocal music, specificially that of Bellini. The composer himself never partook in any concert performance of his songs, which offers further evidence of his doubts about them.

Among the romantic songs, there are several quite appealing works in Op. 74 set. "The Maiden's Wish" (No. 1, 1829), on texts by Witwicki, is a two-minute creation whose piano writing is most attractive. But the vocal part, too, is lovely and well-conceived. "Moja pieszczotka" (My Darling, 1837), No. 12, a setting of a poem by Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1855), is another worthwhile effort in the personal vein.

In the historical realm, there are several notable songs as well: "Wojak" (The Warrior, No. 10, 1830), another Witwicki setting, and two Dumkas, Nos. 11 and 13 in the set respectively, "Dwojaki koniec" (The Two Corpses) and "Nie ma czego trzeba" (I Want What I Have Not), both from 1845 on texts by Zaleski.

Other worthwhile songs in the Op. 74 collection include "S'piew z mogi/ly" (Hymn from the Tomb, No. 17, 1836), the longest of the group. The piano writing in most of the songs is imaginative, but often distracting in the sense that similarities to other, better-known compositions in the keyboard realm make themselves noticed. The entire Op. 74 set can be performed in about 50 minutes.

© All Music Guide

1.Zyczenie (The Wish)

While it is true that Chopin's friend Julius Fontana was largely responsible for the posthumous publication of the Op. 74 song collection in 1856 - 1857, he was hardly the only major figure to know of their existence after the composer's death in 1849. Chopin had been involved in private performances of them for friends and patrons. Moreover, Franz Liszt was acquainted with them, too, transcribing six of the 17 for piano solo in the period 1847 - 1860, under the title Chants Polonais. This song, "The Wish," was the first piece in that collection.

It is easy to see why Liszt chose to adapt this song for piano solo: the piano sets the mood right off with a charming, playful thematic morsel, then demurely steps into the background to support the attractive vocal line with a waltz-like accompaniment. The vocal music itself is vibrant in its freshness and sunny manner, brilliantly capturing the whimsy of the text by Chopin's friend, Stephan Witwicki (1802 - 1847). It tells of the hopes of a lovestruck young woman. Indeed, the song is often translated "Desires of a young girl." The main vocal melody is full of yearning and hesitation, but its sunny manner—phrases generally end on the ascent—imparts a sense of innocent fretting. Lasting a bit less than two minutes, this is an altogether charming song that will appeal to most listeners on first hearing.

© All Music Guide

2.Wiosna (The Song)

Chopin wrote the 17 songs comprising the posthumously formed Op. 74 collection of songs in the period 1829 - 1847. His two other surviving songs, Czary and Dumka, were written in 1830 and 1840, respectively. When the Op. 74 set was put together, little heed was paid to chronology, and thus the order of the individual songs cannot divulge a pattern of evolutionary growth or stylistic change. Spring, the second song in the set, was actually the 14th Chopin wrote, being contemporary with the Op. 33 mazurkas and Op. 40 polonaises.

Spring is a setting of texts by a Polish poet and Chopin's friend, Stefan Witwicki (1802 - 1847), whose descriptions of blossoming springtime flowers and animals grazing in green pastures are contrasted with gloomy ruminations. The music is melancholic and beautiful, wholly memorable in its simplicity. The piano music, while lovely in its rocking, soothing accompaniment, for once remains in the background throughout. The vocal line is beautiful in its gentle sadness and inconsolable repeating main theme. In a sense, the music overstates the grief in the text, seeming of hopeless spirit in its limp, almost listless manner. This is one of the most vocal-oriented songs in Chopin's output, a fact which nevertheless did not deter Liszt from imaginatively transcribing it for piano, as No. 2 in his (6) Chants Polonais, a collection of keyboard adaptations from Chopin's Op. 74 collection. Still, it is the Chopin song that is the most effective way to hear this moving music.

© All Music Guide

3.Smutna rzeka (The Sad River)

While this appears as No. 3 in the posthumously constructed Op. 74 collection of 17 songs, it was actually the eighth, chronologically, that Chopin completed. It was composed with two others at the time, The Bridegroom (Narzeczony), Op. 74/15, and Lithuanian Song (Piosnka Litewska), Op. 74/16. All three use texts by Chopin's friend and countryman, Stefan Witwicki, whose poetry he set to music ten times, more often than that of any other poet.

Chopin wrote this song in Vienna during the period of the unsuccessful Polish uprising, an event which would leave the composer, who was sympathetic to the insurgents, a political exile for the rest of his life. This is the first Chopin song whose text deals with the tragedy of death, in this case with the deaths of a grieving woman's seven daughters. After the piano delivers a gentle, sad introduction the vocalist presents the desolate-sounding main theme, which is without overwrought emotions, Chopin focusing more on the third-person-narration perspective of the tragic poem. The song has a gentle beauty in its lugubrious, slow music, and the sparse piano part is imaginatively atmospheric, especially in its opening theme which twice reappears. In sum, Chopin effectively conveys through subtle shades of gray the dark emotions of the text, fashioning one of his finest vocal efforts.

© Robert Cummings, Rovi

4.Hulanka (Merrymaking)

Chopin's Op. 74 is a posthumous collection of 17 of his 19 songs. Their number within the set rarely reflects their proper chronological order. Merrymaking was actually the third in his output and one of four songs he composed in the year he departed Poland (1830), never to return owing to his support of the unsuccessful uprising at home which rendered him an unwilling political exile abroad for the remainder of his career.

In fact, this song was sung by friends of the composer at a farewell gathering for him in November 1830, just before his departure. The text is by Chopin's friend, Stephan Witwicki (1802 - 1847), whose works so inspired the composer that he set nine of his other poems to music. Merrymaking (also translated as "The Feast" or "Cabaret") is a hearty drinking song, whose piano writing stands out for its peasant-like color and vigorous rhythms. It opens and closes this strophic song with emphatic, rhythmic music, and seizes center stage at the end of each of the six stanzas. The vocal part has an earthy quality in its vigor and accenting, and stands in stark contrast to the composer's more elegant efforts. In a sense, this song has much in common with the style and spirit of the Op. 6/3 Mazurka in E major, also composed in 1830. In sum, Merrymaking is a fine example of the composer's lighter, more festive songs, and though it is not a masterpiece, it is quite enjoyable still.

© Robert Cummings, Rovi

5.Gdzie lubi (What She Likes)

Though numbered as the fifth of Chopin's songs, this was actually the second of his vocal efforts, though some older catalog listings claim it as the first. In any event, this exuberant song and The Wish (Zyczenie), were the earliest, dating from 1829, the last full year Chopin spent in Poland. There Where She Loves is light and wistful in mood, but its artistic yield is higher than that description would normally suggest, and is in fact a significant achievement for an artist testing the waters of vocal music.

Using texts from one of his favorite poets and friend, Stephan Witwicki (1802 - 1847), Chopin deftly fashioned a work with a theme whose mixture of sunshine and misgiving effectively conveys a young girl's thoughts and hopes about love. The piano delivers a brief introduction and closes the song with gentle, almost child-like music. The vocal line begins with a bright soaring theme but quickly turns hesitant and reflective. While the mood returns to the hopeful character of the opening, it remains in a realm straddling optimism and doubt. For a one-minute song, Chopin manages to subtly express even more than the relatively shallow character of the text.

© Robert Cummings, Rovi

6.Precz z moich oczu (Out of My Sight)

Chopin's first songs were written in 1829 and this, his fourth effort—despite the numeral prefix—was actually begun in 1827 but abandoned, the then-17-year-old composer apparently doubtful of his abilities in the vocal realm. What inspired him was the text by Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz, whose poem, "My darling," Chopin would also set to music, in 1837. Out of my sight! was assigned the rather arbitrary "No. 6" in the Op. 74 collection, which was assembled posthumously without regard to the chronology of its 17 songs. Two other songs, Czary (Charms) and Reverie (Dumka), were not included in the set and were designated Nos. 18 and 19 respectively, though they were the sixth and fifteenth in order of composition.

Precz z moich oczu can also be translated as "Your eyes pursue me." It deals with the subject of lost love, the poet painfully detailing his obsession with memories of a beloved consort. This song is intense and unsettling, one of Chopin's most profound creations in the vocal realm. After a brief, somber introduction by the piano the singer intones assertively "Out of my sight!...Out of my heart!...Out of my thought!" But after this dramatic, grim beginning the vocal music turns mournful and pathetic in character, with a lovely, sad theme. The piano provides several brief interludes, the first comprised of a repeating motif to reinforce the feeling of obsession. The accompaniment throughout is soft and subtly atmospheric. In sum, this is one of Chopin's greatest songs.

© Robert Cummings, Rovi

7.Posel (The Messenger)

This was the last song Chopin completed before departing Poland for good in November, 1830. It was his eighth song, but numbered his seventh in the posthumously-assembled Op. 74 collection. Its title, when translated as The Envoy, can be misleading, sounding almost political in subject matter. An alternate translation is often given—The Female messenger, which can be equally misleading. The subject of the title actually refers to a swallow that visits the poet at the dawn of spring. The text is by Chopin's favorite poet (in terms of setting his words to music), Stephan Witwicki (1802-47). There are a total of ten Chopin settings of Witwicki's poems.

Like many of Chopin's songs, the subject matter of the text is lost love. Here the poet welcomes the aforementioned returning "faithful swallow", but laments the rejection by his unfaithful lover. He wonders if the swallow has brought news of her fate. The music begins with a gentle, reflective introduction on the piano. The vocal line features a sad theme whose several components all possess an arch-like contour, giving the music here a rising-falling sense, as if hope tumbles to despair, and love to loss. The mood is oddly soothing, however, partly because of the effective and atmospheric piano writing—which caresses rather than cries—and partly because the emotional character of the music never becomes overwrought. In the end, this song comes across as a subtle and beautiful creation whose tempered emotions might suggest the composer's own slightly detached and youthful take on the feelings expressed in the text.

© Robert Cummings, Rovi

8.Sliczny chlopiec (Handsome Lad)

While this is labeled Chopin's eighth song in the Op. 74 collection, and is so numbered in his overall vocal output consisting of 19 songs, it was actually his 16th chronologically. The hallmark of this song is its charm; indeed, because of its text about the appearance and charm of a certain young man, the music must convey a sense of attraction and infatuation by the young woman who is in love with him. It does so handsomely.

The text is by Polish poet Bohdan Zaleski (1802 - 1886) and its opening lines practically sum up the entire spirit of the poem: "Young and tall and striking, oh, he's my choice and he's my liking." The enamored young girl gushes her feelings and hopes about the young man, as well as her anxieties over the littlest detail of their relationship. Chopin's elegant music captures the youthful emotions of the young girl, affording her a lovely, dreamy theme, full of hesitation and featuring moments where the music soars or dives, depending on her hopes and anxieties. The piano part, as usual for Chopin, is deftly fashioned both in its subdued accompaniment and brief interludes between stanzas. In a sense, this is one of the composer's most aristocratic songs, for while it deals with the commoner's subject of youthful love, the girlish fretting in the text and Chopin's musical elegance betray a delightful patrician manner.

© Robert Cummings, All Music Guide

9.Melodia (Melody)

Despite its number, this was the last of Chopin's nineteen songs, all of which he suppressed and never intended for publication. Many musicologists are quick to assert there was little development in Chopin's style after about 1830. True, he was somewhat eclectic and could sound Romantic in one piece and Classical in the next, but he divulged significant growth in his music and this profound song clearly documents that advancement. That said, many Chopin mavens may find the stylistic direction this song suggests not to their liking.

Chopin uses a text by Polish poet Zygmunt Krasinski (1812-59). Its poetry tells of a "Promised Land" and a people descending to a place where "their bones will lie maybe forever…" The composer wrote on the original manuscript the words, "nella miseria". This was a reference to the passage in Dante's Inferno, whose whole translates as: "There is no greater grief than to recall a happy moment in a time of misery." This music largely encapsulates the spirit of those words. Without doubt, this is the darkest, most ominous-sounding song in Chopin's output. Its textures, especially from the keyboard are barren, and its vocal writing is starkly athematic near the end. It is there where the "Melody" disintegrates into fragments, arriving at a despairing climax. The song opens with a mellow introduction on the piano, after which the vocal music divulges a sense of struggle. There is one brief moment midway through when a lovely melody is sung, after which the pulse of the song breaks up and the dark conclusion comes on dramatically. This is perhaps Chopin's greatest vocal masterpiece, though it will probably not appeal to a wide audience.

© Robert Cummings, Rovi

10.Wojak (The Warrior)

This was one of the last songs Chopin wrote before departing Poland, first for Austria, then for Paris where he would spend most of his remaining years as a political exile. He could not return to his homeland because of his support of the failed 1831 uprising against Russian rule. This song, The warrior, written shortly before the insurrection, is widely believed to be an expression of the patriotic fervor and spirit of revolt then sweeping Warsaw and gripping the composer. While it is numbered "10" among Chopin's songs, The warrior was in fact the composer's fifth effort, chronology having been largely ignored in the posthumous endeavor of assembling his songs.

The text, written by one of Chopin's favorite poets, Stephan Witwicki (1802 - 1847), recounts the feelings of a brave and enthusiastic young soldier who bids farewell to his family and forecasts victory. The music is epic and colorful, beginning with the quiet fanfare and ensuing heroic theme on piano that open the song. The vocalist enters with an ascending theme whose valiant manner and defiant muscle grow upon repetition, until a grand climax is reached with a rapturous sense of triumph, truly one of the most inspired moments in Chopin's vocal music. It is here that the singer intones the bold final words, "No, the die is cast, so onward to the fray!" While the text is rather shallow in its fervency, Chopin's music is on a higher level, making this one of his better songs.

© Robert Cummings, Rovi

11.Dwojaki koniec (The Double End)

This was one of three last songs that Chopin wrote, coming at about the same time as I Want What I Have Not (Nie ma czego trzeba). Melodia (Melody), from 1847 was the composer's last vocal effort. There are 19 songs comprising Chopin's entire surviving output in vocal music, and while The double end was posthumously designated as No. 11, it was chronologically the 17th.

For this song (also sometimes translated as Double destiny) Chopin used a poem by Bohdan Zaleski (1802 - 1886), which tells of former lovers, parted for many years, who now lie on their deathbeds. The tone of the song is somber, almost funereal, but its music ultimately quite effective. Chopin's relationship with his lover, George Sand (real name, Aurore Dupin Dudevant), one of the leading female writers of the day, was then experiencing increasing strain, and some music historians have perhaps wrongly associated it with events in the song. For one thing, so much in the text would seem not to fit the circumstances in the composer's life, chief of which, of course, was that Chopin and Sand were still lovers in 1845 and would remain so until May 1847, even if problems from her scheming children were already developing. In any event, the main theme is appealing in its gentle, march-like gait, and the piano accompaniment is subdued and bleak, but ever-subtle. This two-minute song is a fine, if morbid effort then, but one that may not appeal to certain listeners.

© Robert Cummings, Rovi

12.Moja pieszczotka (My Darling)

"My darling" is one of Chopin's happiest songs. Not surprisingly, it is a love song, and the subject of love could inspire this composer to write music of the greatest ecstasy and passion—as here—but also of the greatest anguish and disappointment. The text is by Adam Mickiewicz; what his poetry might lack in subtlety, it compensates for in its enthusiasm and spirit. The last lines are full of youthful passion: "Into her eyes then, her eyes, stare I bolder, close up her mouth at last, wanting to hold her, only to kiss her, to kiss her."

The piano opens the song with a brief, gentle introduction, after which the singer introduces a bright but excited theme, full of yearning and passion. A powerful climax comes on several sustained high notes, after which the vocal line turns vertiginous momentarily in its sensual passion. The piano then closes the song with a reprise of its introductory material. Chronologically, this was actually Chopin's 13th song, but in the posthumous unearthing by his friend, Julius Fontana, of most of his songs—songs he never intended to be published—it was designated No. 12, for once a reasonable approximation compared with the chronologically heedless numbers assigned to most of his other 18 songs.

© All Music Guide

13.Nie ma czego trzeba (I Want What I Have Not)

Composed at about the same time as The double end (Dwojaki koniec), Op. 74/11, this was Chopin's penultimate effort in the vocal realm. Only the gloomy and profound Melodia (1847) would follow. The numbering of I want what I have not in the Op. 74 set merely reflects the order it was given at the time of its posthumous (and premiere) publication. This is an unusual song in the composer's output in several ways: it is another setting of the same poem Chopin used for his song No. 19, Reverie (Dumka), B. 132, but with two additional strophes; it is, at about five and a half minutes, also the longest song the composer wrote, and its music bears a resemblance to that of Reverie. The text was written by Bohdan Zaleski (1802 - 1886), one of the composer's favorite poets.

The song opens with a gentle march-like introduction on the piano, and then a funereal theme is given by the vocalist. The words tell of the sorrow and grief of the poet, owing to a lost love. Listeners will notice a despairing sense here, the words intoned with a feeling of struggle and sadness. There is something exotic in the vocal line, too, mainly in the high-note passages that seem to mimic moaning. The slow gait of the gloomy piano music emerges from its accompanying role between stanzas to divulge a similarity to Chopin's famous "Funeral March" from the Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 35. This song may be the equal of the composer's last, the aforementioned Melodia, and together they are his probably his greatest vocal efforts. Moreover, the two demonstrate that Chopin was deepening his expressive language and very possibly headed in new and experimental directions, at least in his vocal music.

© Robert Cummings, All Music Guide

14.Pierscien (The Ring)

Even those with a casual interest in classical music are aware that Chopin is almost exclusively known for his piano compositions. His 19 songs, however, are all worthwhile compositions and all quite short affairs, able to be accommodated on a single CD with room for fillers. This song, The Ring, at a minute-and-a-half, is rather typical of the composer's terse manner in the vocal realm, but its quality is fairly high. It should be noted that although The Ring is counted as No. 14 in his output, it was chronologically his 12th song. Its text is derived from a poem by Stefan Witwicki (1802-1847) and deals with man's rejection by his lover and his lamenting over the rebuff. The ring in the title pertains to the ring he gave to his betrothed in his youth, a ring he cannot forget. The song, while not chipper or joyous in mood, surprisingly does not come across as melancholy or sad, either. The piano begins with a rather sunny, energetic introduction, presenting music seemingly at odds with the text. The vocal line, however, exudes regret and anguish, even expresses moments of anger. Chopin feels the heartrending emotions here, but also exhibits a measure of scorn for the young woman. Still, the brighter music from the introduction makes two more appearances in the song. This is an attractive though probably minor masterwork.

© Robert Cummings, Rovi

15.Narzeczony (The Bridegroom)

All of Chopin's songs were suppressed by him but then finally published the decade after his premature death from tuberculosis. The arrangement of the seventeen (out of nineteen in his output) that comprise the Op. 74 collection, was not based on chronology: only his first, "The wish (Zyczenie), appeared in its proper order; most of the others, including this song, The bridegroom, No. 15, were inserted a considerable distance within the set from their rightful chronological spot. This was actually Chopin's ninth song, and was one of the first he composed after his departure from Poland, his beloved homeland which he would never again see, owing to his support of the uprising against Russian rule.

Using texts by Stephan Witwicki (1802-47), Chopin composed one of his most dramatic and powerful songs here. The piano writing augurs that in Liszt's intense Transcendental Etude No. 12, Chasse-neige (Snow-whirls). The vocal line is urgent and passionate, almost militant, seeming quite at odds with the title of the song. But the bridegroom in this pathetic narrative has lost his bride, is grieving for her as he dashes wildly on horseback on terrain near her resting place. Chopin's music so perfectly captures the ghostly atmosphere and ominous anxiety of Witwicki's poetry. What is unusual about this song is the nearly equal roles of the piano and vocalist, making this seem almost a quasi-vocal creation. Both, however, are at one in shaping the dark and threatening atmosphere of the work. Truly, this is one of Chopin's most neurotic and brilliant creations in the vocal genre. Only I want what I have not (Nie ma czego trzeba), No. 13, and Melody (Melodia), No. 9, are of similar expressive depth among his nineteen songs.

© Robert Cummings, Rovi

16.Piosnka lietwska (Lithuanian Song)

Chopin's first surviving song dates to 1829. Lithuanian Song was one of three he completed in 1831 and, chronologically, was the tenth, not the sixteenth, as its posthumously assigned number suggests. Clearly, in dividing the composer's small vocal output into groups or periods, one can designate this as the last from his early period. Chopin did not write another song until 1836, when he turned out Hymn From the Tomb (No. 17) and The Ring (No. 14). Some will insist the composer's departure from Poland in November 1830 eventually affected his inspiration in the vocal genre, thereby creating this five-year gap, while others will suggest he simply lost interest in it for a time. The truth is, Chopin did write two songs in 1833 on texts by Wincenty Pol, but the manuscripts were later lost.

Lithuanian Song is a setting of text by Ludwik Osinski. Certainly, this is one of the most beautiful and mellifluous songs in Chopin's output. While it may lack the expressive depth of Melody (No. 9) and I Want What I Have Not (No. 13), its vocal line is bright and full of youthful passion, a fitting creation to convey the text about a young woman who tries to conceal a rendezvous with her lover from her suspicious mother. The piano writing, whether in its atmospheric and gentle introduction or in its subtly shaped accompanimental role, is masterful throughout. This two-minute-plus song will not conjure up images of Lithuania, but will provide a pleasant listening experience.

© Robert Cummings, All Music Guide

17.Spiew z mogilki (Hymn from the Tomb)

The Polish title of this song has also been given as Spiew grobowy, but still translates as Hymn from the tomb. It has also been listed under the title of its first line, "Leci lis'cie z drzewa" (Leaves are falling). To add to the confusion regarding its identity—at least as listed in Chopin's works catalog—this song, like most of Chopin's, carries a posthumously assigned number that does not reflect its chronological position in his output. Hymn from the tomb was actually his 11th surviving song and uses texts from Wincenty Pol's collection entitled Songs of Janusz. This would have been the third consecutive text by Pol that Chopin set, but two efforts from 1833 were lost.

Hymn from the tomb is one of Chopin's longest songs—only I want what I have not (No. 13) is longer, and marginally at that. The text of Hymn paints a bleak picture of life in the composer's beloved Poland under Russian rule. Not surprisingly, Chopin's music here is sad and gloomy, its piano writing sparse in texture, and the vocal line often having a start-and-stop manner. Near the middle a march-like rhythm is played emphatically by the piano and the vocalist delivers a spirited theme in announcing hope for Poland, alluding to its uprising against Russia. But this moment of hope is fleeting (the uprising failed) and the mood turns back to sadness. The piano closes with the same gloomy music it opened the song with. One must assess this as one of Chopin's more profound and finely crafted songs.

© Robert Cummings, Rovi
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