Saturday, June 10, 2017


in A major, op. 40 no.1
(Polonaise Militaire)
by Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)

Chopin is a sublime composer and I've always loved his music. There's one particular composition, however, that I never warmed up to. In fact, I could almost say that I loathe it.

This is the Polonaise in A major, the infamous Military Polonaise.

Perhaps I dislike it because it is mercilessly over-played. It's been a concert stage warhorse forever.

Reasons for my dislike?
The endless repeats in the piece make it seem eternal. You keep hoping it will eventually end, but it doesn't. 

The piece is brazenly loud....and only gets louder. Forte inevitably crescendos to Triple Forte, without mercy.

I have dared pianists to incorporate a pianissimo into this piece and it's a complete impossibility.
turn your volume down

Reasons that I like it:
It's fun to play.  Lot's of unabashed piano-pounding.
The thing is, the pianist has to have stamina and it helps to have large hands. 
My hands are large. I can span an eleventh with my right hand - - and a twelfth with my left. That's very impressive. 

My YouTube video of this piece leaves a lot to be desired. It's merely a "practice" video - - recorded while I was practicing, not performing.

It was recorded in Texas, when I was in my late 40's and way past my prime. It was recorded on a summer day that was nearly 110 degrees (Fahrenheit).

If nothing else, I should get kudos for successfully turning the pages.....



  1. Magnificent! Especially like the happy smile after intense concentration. You are remarkable.

  2. I remember this! (...and remember feeling bad for your fingers!)
    Egads, is that a typewriter on the desk behind you?

  3. having never heard this before, i have no preconceived notions. kudos for a job well done.

  4. Impressive. And, you are an excellent page-turner.

  5. Maybe Chopin was in an angry mood when he wrote this or it was composed for a large crowd where he was worried they wouldn't be able to hear it in the back...LOL! Great job, though. :)

  6. Frederic Chopin is one of my favorites, but do agree about this piece being over played. Did you have a strong cock-a-tail when done performing this piece? Such command!

  7. Nice piece ... I quite liked it. You know you're excellent at piano so it can't hurt to hear it again. Take care !

  8. Playing this little ditty must help let off steam. I wish my hands were large enough to tackle the piece. Who doesn't love Chopin. Often I seek out new pianists who are preforming the g minor Ballade on YouTube.

  9. Just the fact that you can read and play classical music is a miracle in this day and age. Most music, poetry, film, painting - it's all pretty sad (and I don't mean that in a good way). But I love to watch you play - so much emotional intensity and life force. You put YouTube to shame...

  10. Jon,

    Of course this piece would be a warhorse, it is a military polonaise. That's probably why it has built in so many FORTes as well. Yeah, sorry about that, can pass up a pun when I see it. It fascinates me to watch a pianist play, to see the finger work by a good player is as entertaining as hearing the music. I don't know how you hit the right keys on those long reaches.



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