The Polonaise-Fantaisie is to be classed among the works which belong to the latest period of Chopin’s compositions which are all more or marked by a feverish and restless anxiety. No bold and brilliant pictures are to be found in it; the tramp of a cavalry accustomed to victory is no longer heard; no more resound the heroic chants muffled no visions of defeat—the bold tones suited to the audacity of those who were always victorious. A deep melancholy—ever broken by startled movements, by sudden alarms, by disturbed rest, by stifled sighs—reigns throughout. We are surrounded by such scenes and feelings as might arise among those had been surprised and encompassed on all sides by an ambuscade, the vast sweep of whose horizon reveals not a single ground for hope, and whose despair had giddied the brain, like a draught of that wine of Cyprus which gives a more instinctive rapidity all our gestures, a keener point to all our words, a more subtle flame to all our emotions, and excites the mind to a pitch of irritability approaching insanity.
—Franz Liszt, Life of Chopin.