Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/22

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


10

��POLO.

��examples of them may be found in Preciso's 'Coleccionde Las Mejores Coplasde Seguidillas, Tiraftas y Polos' (Madrid, 1816). They are sung in unison by a chorus, who mark the time by clapping their hands. Some characteristic examples of the music of the Polo will be found in J. Gansino's * La Joya de Andalucia ' (Madrid, Romero). [W.B.S.]

POLONAISE, a stately dance of Polish origin. According to Sowinski (' Les Musiciens Polo- nais ') the Polonaise is derived from the ancient Christmas carols which are still sung in Poland. In support of this theory he quotes a carol,

  • W zlobie lezy,' which contains the rhythm and

close characteristic of the dance ; but the fact that although in later times they were accom- panied by singing, yet the earliest Polonaises extant are purely instrumental, renders it more probable than the generally received opinion as to their courtly origin is correct. According to this latter view, the Polonaise originated under the following circumstances. In 15 73, Henry III. of Anjou was elected to the Polish throne, and in the following year held a great reception at Cracow, at which the wives of the nobles marched in procession past the throne to the sound of stately music. It is said that after this, whenever a foreign prince was elected to the crown of Poland the same ceremony was repeated, and that out of it the Polonaise was gradually developed as the opening dance at court festivities. If this custom was introduced by Henry III., we may perhaps look upon the Polonaise, which is so full of stateliness, as the survival of the dignified Pavans and Passomezzos which were so much in vogue at the French court in the I5th century. Evidence is not wanting to prove that the dance was not always of so marked a national character as it assumed in later times. Book vii. of Bdsard's ' The- saurus Harmonious Divini Laurencini Romani' (Cologne 1603) consists of ' Selectiores aliquot choreas quas Allemande vocant, germanico saltui maxime accomodatae, una cum Polonicis aliquot et aliis ab hoc saltationis genere haud absimi- libus,' and these ' choreas Polonicae ' (which are principally composed by one Diomedes, a natural- ised Venetian at the court of Sigismund III.) ex- hibit very slightly the rhythm and peculiarities of Polish national music. During the 1 7th century, although it was no doubt during this time that it assumed the form that was afterwards destined to become so popular, the Polonaise has left no mark upon musical history, and it is not until the first half of the i8th century that examples of it begin to occur. 1 In Walther's Lexicon (1732) no mention is made of it, or of any Polish music ; but in Mattheson's ' Volkommener Ca- pellmeister' (1739) we find it (as the author himself tells us) described for the first time. Mattheson notices the spondaic character of the

��i In the Boyal library at Berlin there Is preserved a MS. volume Which bears the date 1725, and formerly belonged to Bach's second wife, Anna Magdalena. In it are six Folonaises, written in the owner's autograph ; but it is improbable that they are all of Se- bastian Bach's composition.

��POLONAISE.

rhythm, and remarks that the music of the Polo- naise should begin on the first beat of the bar : he gives two examples (one in 3-4, the other in common time) made by himself out of the chorale ' Ich ruf ' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ.' At this time the Polonaise seems suddenly to have attained immense popularity, probably owing to the intimate connexion between Saxony and Poland which was caused by the election (1733) of Augustus III. to the Polish throne. In i 742- 43 there was published at Leipzig a curious little collection of songs entitled, ' Sperontes Singende Muse,' which contains many adapta- tions of Polish airs : in the following example (from the second part of the work) some of the peculiarities of the Polonaise may be traced.

��Deine Blicke Bind die Stricke, All - er - an - ge

��nehmstes Kind, Die die Liebe so bezwingend nicht

���Nlmmt mehr Herzen ein, Als des Mo - gols Macht

��=g

�� ��Volk an sich gebraht, Und der gr6sste Feldherr und Sol - dat,

J J-! T"T"*fa i .. :ff=

��Noch zur Zeit jemals be - zwungen hat.

From this time the Polonaise has always been a favourite form of composition with instru- mental composers, and has not been without influence on vocal music, especially in Italian opera. [SeePoLACOA.] Bach wrote two Polonaises (orchestral Partita in B minor, and French Suite, No. 6), besides a 'Polacca' (Brandenburg Con- certos, No. i, Dehn); and there are also ex- amples by Handel (Grand Concerto, No. 3, in E minor), Beethoven (op. 89, Triple Concerto, and Serenade Trio, op. 8), Mozart ('Kondeau Polo- naise,' Sonata in D minor), Schubert (Polonaises for 4 hands), Weber (op. 21, and the Polacca Brillante, op. 72), Wagner (for 4 hands, op. 2), as well as by the Polish composers Kurpinski and Ogniski, and above all by Chopin, under whose hands it reached what is perhaps the highest development possible for mere dance- forms. Attracted by its striking rhythmical capa- bilities, and imbued with the deepest national sympathy, Chopin animated the dry form of the old Polonaise with a new and intensely living spirit, altering it as (in a lesser degree) he altered the Waltz and the Mazurka, and chang- ing it from a mere dance into a glowing tone-

�� �