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The polonaise made its first appearances in stylized dance music in the late 16th century. With his own polonaises; Chopin also declared his allegiance to his native Poland. In a way; the genre had fascinated him since his childhood. His earliest printed work was a Polonaise (KK IIa no. 1 in G minor); which he had written at the age of seven. The first three posthumously published Polonaises op. 71 as well as KK IVa nos. 1-3; 5 and 8 are juvenilia from the Warsaw years. The mature works begin with the seven great Polonaises op. 26 nos. 1 and 2; op. 40 nos. 1 and 2; op. 44 and 53; and; above all; the Polonaise-Fantaisie op. 61 of 1845/46; Chopin's last great piano work. With their mixture of festiveness and refinement; of power and suppleness; of heroic pathos and graceful charm; they all testify to the inimitable artistry of this great composer.
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