Regarded as the highlight among Chopin's polonaises, the great Polonaise in A flat major Op. 53 has also become known as 'octave polonaise' because of the distinctive octave passages in the middle section. As was customary at that time, the work was published in a German, English and French first edition each. There also exists an autograph which served as an engraver's copy for the German first edition. Some personal copies of Chopin's pupils occasionally contain entries of the composer, thus providing additional information, e.g. original fingerings. Unfortunately, all three first editions contain a different, not always reliable text.
The new edition of Wiener Urtext Edition is based substantially on the autograph and the – to a large extent – carefully revised German first edition, yet also takes some variants of the French first edition into account which give the impression of a last-hand version. The problems with regard to the sources and transmission are explained in detail in the preface and the critical notes. Variants containing a specific component with regard to the performance practice are commented on in the notes on interpretation.