The Polonaise was a peasant dance from Poland that gained popularity in the early 18th century among composers and high society. Bach and Handel both wrote movements marked ‘Polonaise’, and in the early 19th century examples can be found in the finales of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, and Field’s Third Piano Concerto. Chopin grew up with polonaise and other forms of traditional Polish music. His teacher, Elsner was a Polonaise composer, and the business of writing and publishing sets of polonaises was a lucrative one.
There was another reason why such a traditional was so popular in Poland at this time; the country had once again been robbed of its independence, and the nationalistic pulling power of such music helped keep the national identity and spirit alive. Chopin’s genius took the simple tunes of the Polonaise and allowed him to create large-scale complex and dramatic works with myriad emotions. In many ways they captured the Polish spirit which remained defiantly unbroken.
- Folke Nauta was born in 1973 and has won many prizes in key competitions around Europe.