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Polonaise Brillante

This delightful piece came to me as a surprise just a few days ago. I logged on to Napster, and as usual I got on the classical music radio channel. Well, the first song on the list was Henryk Wieniawski’s Polonaise brillante no. 1.

A polonaise is a Polish dance, festive and noble in nature, made popular in the 19th century by composers like Frederic Chopin.

After hearing it just one time, I was hooked. Henryk's Polonaise brillante no. 1 is a highly technical piece; the opening bars alone encompass two-octave and greater leaps, grace notes, and rapid triplets. Yet, however technical it may be, it's an absolute joy to listen to.

Henryk Wieniawski was an extremely gifted violinist, graduating from the Paris Conservatoire with first prize in violin at the age of 11.

This little genius, then, went on touring around Europe with his younger brother, Józef, at the piano. Henryk Wieniawski was 18 when he wrote this fantastic polonaise.

Henryk’s violin virtuosity was the greatest of his time. Many people have said they have never heard such mastery of the violin, nor will there ever be any one greater than he. Quite an accomplishment for a young man.