WALTZ IN E FLAT MAJOR
This edition of the Waltz in E flat major is based on the autograph copy in the Paris Conservatoire collection (no ref. no.). It was published for the first time in April 1955 by Francis, Day & Hunter in London under the title Waltz in E flat with a commentary by M. J. E. Brown. The manuscript of this work was presented to the Paris Conservatoire by Joseph Gaillard, the son of the banker Emile Gaillard (1821-1902), a pupil and close friend of Chopin, to whom the composer dedicated the Mazurka in A minor, published without an opus number by J. Chabal, Paris 1841. The autograph of the Waltz in E flat major, although without a dedication, is signed by Chopin and dated Paris le 20 Juillet 1840. It is therefore highly probable that the composer gave the manuscript to E. Gaillard, and perhaps he even wrote the work specially for him. Chopin did not put a title to the autograph, confining himself merely to indicating the basis tempo of the work - Sostenuto. The title "Waltz" was added by the publisher; it is fully justified, because the rhythmical and melodie style of the piece, its form and its expressive character, so close to the Waltz in F minor op. 70 no. 2, from the same period, leave no doubt that we are here dealing with a waltz (a lyrical waltz in the style of the "valse melancolique").
WALTZ IN A MINOR
The source of this edition of the Waltz in A minor is the autograph (a rough sketch and a fair copy) in the Paris Consenvatoire Library, ref. no. M, S. 119. This manuscript was first brought to the attention of the public by J. G. Prodhomme in an article published in The Musical Quarterly of January 1939. The piece was not printed until May 1955, when it was published by the Paris Revue Musicale (Richard-Masse, Editeurs). This publication, entitled Une Valse inedite de Chopin, with a facsimile of the MS, contained an introduction by the editors, Suzanne and Denis Chainaye.
The autograph copy was presented to the Library by a member of the Rothschild family in 1901. We can therefore assume that the manuscript was Chopin's gift to the French Rothschilds. As is known, he was a friend of theirs as early as 1832. Baroness Nathaniel de Rothschild, born Charlotte de Rothschild (1825-1899), was Chopin's pupil until 1847. The composer presented her with a number of autographs and dedicated some of his works to her, among them some waltzes (e. g. the manuscript of the Waltz in A flat major op, 69 no. 1 with his own dedication, and the Waltz in C sharp minor op. 64 no. 2 printed with a dedication to the baroness).
The manuscript of the Waltz in A minor unfortunately bears neither dedication, date nor signature. Certain melodic phrases of this piece, together with its key (very common in Chopin's mazurkas, rare in his waltzes) and the characteristic deviations into C major and A major, are reminiscent of the famous Waltz in A minor op. 34 no. 2, composed probably in Vienna in 1831, with its lyrical Slavonic mood in the melody. The present waltz may be its precursor and may have been written earlier, perhaps even in Poland; this might to a certain extent explain the polonized title of the fair copy which seems to read "Walec" or "Walse". Spelling of this kind — not to be found in the other manuscript of Chopin's waltzes, which are all entitled "Valse" or "Tempo di Valse" - was very common among Polish composers of the period before Chopin. We cannot, however, exclude the possibility that the work dates from a later period of Chopin's life, especially as the autograph copy was held by the Rothschilds in Paris.