The Waltzes of Chopin have little in common with those by Schubert or those by the Strauss circle – he even wrote home from Vienna pouring scorn on the waltz, horrified by the fact that “they actually call waltzes works”. But perhaps with the intention of raising it to a higher level, he went on to make continuous efforts in the genre himself, producing music that has never lost its attraction for pianists or the public. Chopin started writing waltzes in 1824, when he was fourteen, and continued until the year of his death, 1849. Only eight of the waltzes were published during Chopin's lifetime - a further five were published and given opus numbers by Julian Fontana a few years after the composer's death. Since then, a large number of waltz manuscripts and sketches have been unearthed. Of these, seven have been published, two of them as late as 1955.
Chopin’s Waltzes fall into two distinct categories: on the one side sparkling, highly ornamented works, at least theoretically suitable for actual ballroom use; and on the other more introspective, melancholy, nostalgic or even gloomy ones.