Review -- Mazurka No. 4 in A-flat major, Op. 19 (1903)

The 4th Mazurka of Liapunov is one of his most delicious compositions, and one that I have found to be among the most well-received by audiences. Well-balanced and made up of memorable themes, the piece makes considerable demands on the pianist's technique, especially in the last few pages (Liapunov clearly had a big hand, and often requires wide stretches). Nonetheless, as with most of his piano music, it is beautifully crafted for the piano. In the traditional A-B-A form, the A section's sunny theme is contrasted to the more dramatic minor-key idea of the central section, in which Liapunov makes several effective modulations. The final section, with its brilliant triplet passagework, makes full use of the upper registers of the keyboard, and incorporates a major-key variation of the B-section theme before closing with delicate pianissimo chords.


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