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Frédéric Chopin

Frédéric Chopin

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Frédéric François Chopin (fʁe.de.ʁik ʃɔ.pɛ̃; Polish: Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin; 22 February or 1 March 1810 – 17 October 1849) was a Polish
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 composer and virtuoso
Virtuoso
A virtuoso is an individual who possesses outstanding technical ability in the fine arts, at singing or playing a musical instrument. The plural form is either virtuosi or the Anglicisation, virtuosos, and the feminine form sometimes used is virtuosa...

 pianist. He is considered one of the great masters of Romantic music
Romantic music
Romantic music or music in the Romantic Period is a musicological and artistic term referring to a particular period, theory, compositional practice, and canon in Western music history, from 1810 to 1900....

 and has been called "the poet of the piano".

Chopin was born in Żelazowa Wola
Zelazowa Wola
Żelazowa Wola is a village in Gmina Sochaczew, Sochaczew County, Masovian Voivodeship, in east-central Poland. It lies on the Utrata River, some northeast of Sochaczew and west of Warsaw. Żelazowa Wola has a population of 65....

, a village in the Duchy of Warsaw
Duchy of Warsaw
The Duchy of Warsaw was a Polish state established by Napoleon I in 1807 from the Polish lands ceded by the Kingdom of Prussia under the terms of the Treaties of Tilsit. The duchy was held in personal union by one of Napoleon's allies, King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony...

, to a Polish mother and French-immigrant father. A renowned child-prodigy
Child prodigy
A child prodigy is someone who, at an early age, masters one or more skills far beyond his or her level of maturity. One criterion for classifying prodigies is: a prodigy is a child, typically younger than 18 years old, who is performing at the level of a highly trained adult in a very demanding...

 pianist and composer, he grew up in Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

 and completed his musical education there. Following the Russian suppression of the Polish
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

 November 1830 Uprising
November Uprising
The November Uprising , Polish–Russian War 1830–31 also known as the Cadet Revolution, was an armed rebellion in the heartland of partitioned Poland against the Russian Empire. The uprising began on 29 November 1830 in Warsaw when the young Polish officers from the local Army of the Congress...

, he settled in Paris as part of the Great Emigration
Great Emigration
The Great Emigration was an emigration of political elites from Poland from 1831–1870. Since the end of the 18th century, a major role in Polish political life was played by people who carried out their activities outside the country as émigrés...

. He supported himself as a composer and piano teacher, giving few public performances. From 1837 to 1847 he carried on a relationship with the French woman writer George Sand
George Sand
Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, later Baroness Dudevant , best known by her pseudonym George Sand , was a French novelist and memoirist.-Life:...

. For most of his life, Chopin suffered from poor health; he died in Paris in 1849 at the age of 39.

The vast majority of Chopin's works are for solo piano, though he also wrote two piano concertos, a few chamber pieces
Chamber music
Chamber music is a form of classical music, written for a small group of instruments which traditionally could be accommodated in a palace chamber. Most broadly, it includes any art music that is performed by a small number of performers with one performer to a part...

 and some songs
Art song
An art song is a vocal music composition, usually written for one voice with piano or orchestral accompaniment. By extension, the term "art song" is used to refer to the genre of such songs....

. His piano writing is often technically demanding, with an emphasis on nuance and expressive depth. Chopin invented the instrumental ballade and made major innovations to the piano sonata
Piano sonata
A piano sonata is a sonata written for a solo piano. Piano sonatas are usually written in three or four movements, although some piano sonatas have been written with a single movement , two movements , five or even more movements...

, mazurka
Mazurka
The mazurka is a Polish folk dance in triple meter, usually at a lively tempo, and with accent on the third or second beat.-History:The folk origins of the mazurek are two other Polish musical forms—the slow machine...

, waltz
Waltz
The waltz is a ballroom and folk dance in time, performed primarily in closed position.- History :There are several references to a sliding or gliding dance,- a waltz, from the 16th century including the representations of the printer H.S. Beheim...

, nocturne
Nocturne
A nocturne is usually a musical composition that is inspired by, or evocative of, the night...

, polonaise
Polonaise
The polonaise is a slow dance of Polish origin, in 3/4 time. Its name is French for "Polish."The polonaise had a rhythm quite close to that of the Swedish semiquaver or sixteenth-note polska, and the two dances have a common origin....

, étude
Étude
An étude , is an instrumental musical composition, most commonly of considerable difficulty, usually designed to provide practice material for perfecting a particular technical skill. The tradition of writing études emerged in the early 19th century with the rapidly growing popularity of the piano...

, impromptu
Impromptu
An impromptu is a free-form musical composition with the character of an ex tempore improvisation as if prompted by the spirit of the moment, usually for a solo instrument, such as piano...

, scherzo
Scherzo
A scherzo is a piece of music, often a movement from a larger piece such as a symphony or a sonata. The scherzo's precise definition has varied over the years, but it often refers to a movement which replaces the minuet as the third movement in a four-movement work, such as a symphony, sonata, or...

 and prélude
Prelude (music)
A prelude is a short piece of music, the form of which may vary from piece to piece. The prelude can be thought of as a preface. It may stand on its own or introduce another work...

.

Childhood





Chopin's father, Nicolas Chopin, was a Frenchman from Lorraine
Lorraine (région)
Lorraine is one of the 27 régions of France. The administrative region has two cities of equal importance, Metz and Nancy. Metz is considered to be the official capital since that is where the regional parliament is situated...

 who had emigrated to Poland in 1787 at the age of sixteen. During the 1794 Kościuszko Uprising
Kosciuszko Uprising
The Kościuszko Uprising was an uprising against Imperial Russia and the Kingdom of Prussia led by Tadeusz Kościuszko in Poland, Belarus and Lithuania in 1794...

, he served in the Warsaw municipal militia, rising to the rank of lieutenant. In France he had been baptized Nicolas, but in Poland he used the Polish form of the name, Mikołaj. Though he had come from a foreign country, with time he became completely polonized
Polonization
Polonization was the acquisition or imposition of elements of Polish culture, in particular, Polish language, as experienced in some historic periods by non-Polish populations of territories controlled or substantially influenced by Poland...

 and, according to Łopaciński, "undoubtedly considered himself a Pole."

Nicolas subsequently tutored children of the aristocracy, including the Skarbeks, whose poor relation, Justyna Krzyżanowska, he married. The wedding took place at the 16th-century parish church in Brochów
Brochów, Masovian Voivodeship
Brochów is a village in Sochaczew County, Masovian Voivodeship, east-central Poland. It is the seat of Gmina Brochów and lies some north of Sochaczew and west of Warsaw....

 on 2 June 1806. (Justyna's brother would become the father of American Union
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

 General Włodzimierz Krzyżanowski.)

Frédéric Chopin was the couple's second child and only son. (The eldest child, Ludwika
Ludwika Jędrzejewicz
Ludwika Jędrzejewicz was the eldest sister of Polish composer Frédéric Chopin.- Early years :Ludwika was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1807....

, was to become his first piano teacher, and several decades later was to repatriate his heart from Paris.) He was born at Żelazowa Wola
Zelazowa Wola
Żelazowa Wola is a village in Gmina Sochaczew, Sochaczew County, Masovian Voivodeship, in east-central Poland. It lies on the Utrata River, some northeast of Sochaczew and west of Warsaw. Żelazowa Wola has a population of 65....

, forty-six kilometres west of Warsaw, in what was the Duchy of Warsaw
Duchy of Warsaw
The Duchy of Warsaw was a Polish state established by Napoleon I in 1807 from the Polish lands ceded by the Kingdom of Prussia under the terms of the Treaties of Tilsit. The duchy was held in personal union by one of Napoleon's allies, King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony...

. The parish baptismal record, discovered in 1892, gives his birthday as 22 February 1810, but a date one week later, 1 March, was stated by the composer and his family as his birthday; according to Chopin in a letter of 16 January 1833 to the chairman of the Polish Literary Society in Paris, he was "born 1 March 1810 at the village of Żelazowa Wola in the Province of Mazowsze." He was baptized on Easter Sunday, 23 April 1810, in the same Brochów church where his parents had married. The parish register cites his given name
Given name
A given name, in Western contexts often referred to as a first name, is a personal name that specifies and differentiates between members of a group of individuals, especially in a family, all of whose members usually share the same family name...

s in the Latin form Fridericus Franciscus; in Polish, he was Fryderyk Franciszek. His godfather
Godparent
A godparent, in many denominations of Christianity, is someone who sponsors a child's baptism. A male godparent is a godfather, and a female godparent is a godmother...

 was Fryderyk Skarbek (1792–1866), a pupil of Nicolas Chopin's—later a prison reform
Prison reform
Prison reform is the attempt to improve conditions inside prisons, aiming at a more effective penal system.-History:Prisons have only been used as the primary punishment for criminal acts in the last couple of centuries...

er who would design the Pawiak Prison
Pawiak
Pawiak was a prison built in 1835 in Warsaw, Poland.During the January 1863 Uprising, it served as a transfer camp for Poles sentenced by Imperial Russia to deportation to Siberia....

 of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 ill fame, and great-great-uncle of World War II SOE agent
Special Operations Executive
The Special Operations Executive was a World War II organisation of the United Kingdom. It was officially formed by Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Minister of Economic Warfare Hugh Dalton on 22 July 1940, to conduct guerrilla warfare against the Axis powers and to instruct and aid local...

 Krystyna Skarbek
Krystyna Skarbek
Krystyna Skarbek, GM, OBE, Croix de guerre was a Polish Special Operations Executive agent. She became celebrated especially for her daring exploits in intelligence and irregular-warfare missions in Nazi-occupied Poland and France....

; the godfather's son Józef Skarbek would, in 1841, marry Frédéric Chopin's erstwhile fiancée Maria Wodzińska.

In October 1810, when Chopin was seven months old, the family moved to Warsaw, where his father had accepted an offer from lexicographer
Lexicography
Lexicography is divided into two related disciplines:*Practical lexicography is the art or craft of compiling, writing and editing dictionaries....

 Samuel Linde
Samuel Linde
Samuel Bogumił Linde was a linguist, librarian, and lexicographer of the Polish language. He was director of the Prussian-founded Warsaw Lyceum during its existence , and an important figure of the Polish Enlightenment.-Life:Samuel Gottlieb Linde was born in Toruń, Royal Prussia, a province of the...

 to teach French at the Warsaw Lyceum
Warsaw Lyceum
The Warsaw Lyceum was a secondary school that existed in Warsaw, under the Kingdom of Prussia and under the Kingdom of Poland, from 1804 to its closing in 1831 by Imperial Russia following the Polish November 1830 Uprising.-History:...

. The school was housed in the Saxon Palace, and the Chopin family lived on the palace grounds. In 1817 Grand Duke Constantine
Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich of Russia
Constantine Pavlovich was a grand duke of Russia and the second son of Emperor Paul I. He was the Tsesarevich of Russia throughout the reign of his elder brother Alexander I, but had secretly renounced his claim to the throne in 1823...

 requisitioned the Saxon Palace for military purposes, and the Lyceum was moved to the Kazimierz Palace
Kazimierzowski Palace
The Kazimierz Palace is a building in Warsaw, Poland, adjacent to the Royal Route, at Krakowskie Przedmieście 26/28.Originally built in 1637-41, it was rebuilt in 1660 for King John II Casimir and again in 1765-68, by Domenico Merlini, for the Corps of Cadets established by King Stanisław August...

, which also hosted the newly founded Warsaw University
University of Warsaw
The University of Warsaw is the largest university in Poland and one of the most prestigious, ranked as best Polish university in 2010 and 2011...

. The family lived in a spacious second-floor apartment in an adjacent building. Chopin attended the Warsaw Lyceum from 1823 to 1826.

The Polish spirit, culture and language pervaded the Chopins' home, and as a result the son would never, even in Paris, perfectly master the French language. Louis Énault, a biographer, borrowed George Sand's phrase to describe Chopin as being "more Polish than Poland".

Others in Chopin's family were musically talented. Chopin's father played the flute
Flute
The flute is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening...

 and violin; his mother played the piano and gave lessons to boys in the elite boarding house that the Chopins maintained. As a result Frederic became conversant with music in its various forms at an early age.

Józef Sikorski, a musician and Chopin's contemporary, recalls in his Memoirs about Chopin (Wspomnienie Chopina) that, as a child, Chopin wept with emotion when his mother played the piano. By six, he was already trying to reproduce what he heard or make up new melodies. He received his earliest piano lessons not from his mother but from his older sister Ludwika
Ludwika Jędrzejewicz
Ludwika Jędrzejewicz was the eldest sister of Polish composer Frédéric Chopin.- Early years :Ludwika was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1807....

 (in English, "Louise").

Chopin's first professional piano tutor, from 1816 to 1822, was the Czech Wojciech Żywny. Though the youngster's skills soon surpassed his teacher's, Chopin later spoke highly of Żywny. Seven-year-old "little Chopin" (Szopenek) began giving public concerts that soon prompted comparisons with Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...

 as a child and with Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of...

.

That same year, seven-year old Chopin composed two Polonaise
Polonaise
The polonaise is a slow dance of Polish origin, in 3/4 time. Its name is French for "Polish."The polonaise had a rhythm quite close to that of the Swedish semiquaver or sixteenth-note polska, and the two dances have a common origin....

s, in G minor
G minor
G minor is a minor scale based on G, consisting of the pitches G, A, B, C, D, E, and F. For the harmonic minor scale, the F is raised to F. Its relative major is B-flat major, and its parallel major is G major....

 and B-flat major. The first was published in the engraving workshop of Father Izydor Józef Cybulski (composer, engraver, director of an organists' school, and one of the few music publishers in Poland); the second survives as a manuscript prepared by Nicolas Chopin. These small works were said to rival not only the popular polonaises of leading Warsaw composers, but the famous Polonaises of Michał Kleofas Ogiński. A substantial development of melodic and harmonic invention and of piano technique was shown in Chopin's next known Polonaise, in A-flat major, which the young artist offered in 1821 as a name-day
Name day
A name day is a tradition in many countries in Europe and Latin America that consists of celebrating the day of the year associated with one's given name....

 gift to Żywny.

About this time, at the age of eleven, Chopin performed in the presence of Alexander I
Alexander I of Russia
Alexander I of Russia , served as Emperor of Russia from 23 March 1801 to 1 December 1825 and the first Russian King of Poland from 1815 to 1825. He was also the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland and Lithuania....

, Tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

 of Russia, who was in Warsaw to open the Sejm (Polish Parliament).

As a child, Chopin displayed an intelligence that was said to absorb everything and make use of everything for its development. He early showed remarkable abilities in observation and sketching, a keen wit and sense of humor, and an uncommon talent for mimicry
Impressionist (entertainment)
An impressionist or a mimic is a performer whose act consists of imitating the voice and mannerisms of others. The word usually refers to a professional comedian/entertainer who specializes in such performances and has developed a wide repertoire of impressions, including adding to them, often to...

. A story from his school years recounts a teacher being pleasantly surprised by a superb portrait that Chopin had drawn of him in class.

In those years, Chopin was sometimes invited to the Belweder Palace
Belweder
Belweder is a palace in Warsaw, a few kilometers south of the Royal Castle. The President of the Republic of Poland, Bronisław Komorowski, resides at Belweder.-History:...

 as playmate to the son of Russian Poland's ruler
Congress Poland
The Kingdom of Poland , informally known as Congress Poland , created in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna, was a personal union of the Russian parcel of Poland with the Russian Empire...

, Grand Duke Constantine
Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich of Russia
Constantine Pavlovich was a grand duke of Russia and the second son of Emperor Paul I. He was the Tsesarevich of Russia throughout the reign of his elder brother Alexander I, but had secretly renounced his claim to the throne in 1823...

, and charmed the irascible duke with his piano-playing. (A few years later, the Duke would flee the Belweder, just in the nick of time, at the very opening of the November 1830 Uprising
November Uprising
The November Uprising , Polish–Russian War 1830–31 also known as the Cadet Revolution, was an armed rebellion in the heartland of partitioned Poland against the Russian Empire. The uprising began on 29 November 1830 in Warsaw when the young Polish officers from the local Army of the Congress...

, escaping the Polish officer cadets who rode up through the Royal Baths Park from their barracks in an effort to capture him.)

Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz
Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz
Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz was a Polish poet, playwright and statesman. He was a leading advocate for the Constitution of May 3, 1791.-Life:...

 attested to "little Chopin's" popularity in his dramatic eclogue
Eclogue
An eclogue is a poem in a classical style on a pastoral subject. Poems in the genre are sometimes also called bucolics.The form of the word in contemporary English is taken from French eclogue, from Old French, from Latin ecloga...

, "Nasze Verkehry" ("Our Intercourse", 1818), in which the eight-year-old featured as a motif in the dialogues.

In the 1820s, when teenage Chopin was attending the Warsaw Lyceum and Warsaw Conservatory, he spent every vacation away from Warsaw: in Szafarnia
Szafarnia, Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship
Szafarnia is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Radomin, within Golub-Dobrzyń County, Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, in north-central Poland...

 (1824 – perhaps his first solo travel away from home – and 1825), Duszniki
Duszniki-Zdrój
Duszniki-Zdrój is a spa town in the Klodzko Valley on the Bystrzyca River in Kłodzko County, Lower Silesian Voivodeship, Poland. It is a notable spa town and a major tourist attraction of the area.-Economy:...

 (1826), Pomerania
Pomerania
Pomerania is a historical region on the south shore of the Baltic Sea. Divided between Germany and Poland, it stretches roughly from the Recknitz River near Stralsund in the West, via the Oder River delta near Szczecin, to the mouth of the Vistula River near Gdańsk in the East...

 (1827) and Sanniki
Sanniki, Masovian Voivodeship
Sanniki is a village in Gostynin County, Masovian Voivodeship, in east-central Poland. It is the seat of the gmina called Gmina Sanniki. It lies approximately east of Gostynin and west of Warsaw....

 (1828).

At the village of Szafarnia
Szafarnia, Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship
Szafarnia is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Radomin, within Golub-Dobrzyń County, Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, in north-central Poland...

 (where he was a guest of Juliusz Dziewanowski, father of schoolmate Dominik Dziewanowski) and at his other vacation venues, Chopin was exposed to folk melodies
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

 that he later transmuted into original compositions. His missives home from Szafarnia (the famous self-styled "Szafarnia Courier" letters), written in a very modern and lively Polish, amused his family with their spoofing
Parody
A parody , in current usage, is an imitative work created to mock, comment on, or trivialise an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation...

 of the Warsaw newspapers and demonstrated the youngster's literary gift.

An anecdote describes how Chopin helped quiet rowdy children by first improvising a story and then lulling them to sleep with a berceuse
Berceuse
A berceuse is "a musical composition usually in 6/8 time that resembles a lullaby". Otherwise it is typically in triple meter. Tonally most berceuses are simple, often merely alternating tonic and dominant harmonies; since the intended effect is to put a baby to sleep, wild chromaticism would be...

(lullaby
Lullaby
A lullaby is a soothing song, usually sung to young children before they go to sleep, with the intention of speeding that process. As a result they are often simple and repetitive. Lullabies can be found in every culture and since the ancient period....

) – after which he woke everyone with an ear-piercing chord
Chord (music)
A chord in music is any harmonic set of two–three or more notes that is heard as if sounding simultaneously. These need not actually be played together: arpeggios and broken chords may for many practical and theoretical purposes be understood as chords...

.

Education


Chopin, tutored at home until he was thirteen, enrolled in the Warsaw Lyceum in 1823, but continued studying piano under Żywny's direction. In 1825, in a performance of the work of Ignaz Moscheles
Ignaz Moscheles
Ignaz Moscheles was a Bohemian composer and piano virtuoso, whose career after his early years was based initially in London, and later at Leipzig, where he succeeded his friend and sometime pupil Felix Mendelssohn as head of the Conservatoire.-Sources:Much of what we know about Moscheles's life...

, he entranced the audience with his free improvisation, and was acclaimed the "best pianist in Warsaw".

In the autumn of 1826, Chopin began a three-year course of studies with the Silesia
Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

n composer Józef Elsner
Józef Elsner
Józef Antoni Franciszek was a composer, music teacher and music theoretician, active mainly in Warsaw...

 at the Warsaw Conservatory, which was affiliated with the University of Warsaw (hence Chopin is counted among the university's alumni). Chopin's first contact with Elsner may have been as early as 1822; it is certain that Elsner was giving him informal guidance by 1823, and in 1826 Chopin officially began studying music theory
Music theory
Music theory is the study of how music works. It examines the language and notation of music. It seeks to identify patterns and structures in composers' techniques across or within genres, styles, or historical periods...

, figured bass
Figured bass
Figured bass, or thoroughbass, is a kind of integer musical notation used to indicate intervals, chords, and non-chord tones, in relation to a bass note...

, and composition
Musical composition
Musical composition can refer to an original piece of music, the structure of a musical piece, or the process of creating a new piece of music. People who practice composition are called composers.- Musical compositions :...

 with Elsner.

In year-end evaluations, Elsner noted Chopin's "remarkable talent" and "musical genius". As had Żywny, Elsner observed, rather than influenced or directed, the development of Chopin's blossoming talent. Elsner's teaching style was based on his reluctance to "constrain" Chopin with "narrow, academic, outdated" rules, and on his determination to allow the young artist to mature "according to the laws of his own nature".

In 1827 the family moved to lodgings just across the street from Warsaw University, in the south annex of the Krasiński Palace at Krakowskie Przedmieście 5
Krakowskie Przedmiescie
Krakowskie Przedmieście is one of the most impressive and prestigious streets of Poland's capital.Several other Polish cities also have streets named Krakowskie Przedmieście. In Lublin, it is the main and most elegant street...

 (the palace is now the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts
Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw
Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw is a public university of visual and applied arts located in the Polish capital. The Academy traces its history back to the Department of Arts founded at the Warsaw University in 1812. As a separate institution it was founded in 1844 during the Partitions of Poland...

). Here the parents continued running their elite boarding house for male students. Young Chopin lived here until he left Warsaw in 1830. (In 1837–39, artist-poet Cyprian Norwid
Cyprian Norwid
Cyprian Kamil Norwid, a.k.a. Cyprian Konstanty Norwid is a nationally esteemed Polish poet, dramatist, painter, and sculptor. He was born in the Masovian village of Laskowo-Głuchy near Warsaw. One of his maternal ancestors was Polish King John III Sobieski.Norwid is regarded as one of the second...

 would live here while studying painting at the Academy of Fine Arts; later he would pen the poem, "Chopin's Piano", about Russian troops' 1863 defenestration
Defenestration
Defenestration is the act of throwing someone or something out of a window.The term "defenestration" was coined around the time of an incident in Prague Castle in the year 1618. The word comes from the Latin de- and fenestra...

 of the instrument.) The Chopins' parlor (salonik Chopinów) is now a museum open to the public; here Chopin first played many of his early compositions.

In 1829, Polish portraitist Ambroży Mieroszewski
Ambrozy Mieroszewski
Ambroży Mieroszewski was a Polish painter who was Frédéric Chopin's first known portraitist.-Life:Mieroszewski was active in Warsaw, in the Kingdom of Poland, at least as early as 1829.-Works:...

 executed a set of five portraits of Chopin family members (the youngest daughter, Emilia, had died in 1827): Chopin's parents, his elder sister Ludwika
Ludwika Jędrzejewicz
Ludwika Jędrzejewicz was the eldest sister of Polish composer Frédéric Chopin.- Early years :Ludwika was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1807....

, younger sister Izabela, and, in the first known portrait of him, the composer himself. (The originals perished in World War II; only black-and-white photographs remain.) In 1913, French musicologist and Chopin biographer Édouard Ganche would write that this painting of the precocious composer showed "a youth threatened by tuberculosis. His skin is very white, he has a prominent Adam's apple and sunken cheeks, even his ears show a form characteristic of consumptive
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

s." Chopin's younger sister Emilia had already died of tuberculosis at the age of fourteen, and their father would succumb to the same disease in 1844.

According to Polish musicologist and Chopin biographer Zdzisław Jachimecki, comparison of the juvenile Chopin with any earlier composer is difficult because of the originality of the works that Chopin was composing already in the first half of his life. At a comparable age, Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

, Mozart and Beethoven had still been apprentices, while Chopin was perceived by peers and audiences to be already a master who was pointing the path to the coming age.

Chopin himself never gave thematic titles to his instrumental works, but identified them simply by genre
Music genre
A music genre is a categorical and typological construct that identifies musical sounds as belonging to a particular category and type of music that can be distinguished from other types of music...

 and number. His compositions were, however, often inspired by emotional and sensual experiences in his own life. One of his first such inspirations was a beautiful young singing student at the Warsaw Conservatory and later a singer at the Warsaw Opera, Konstancja Gładkowska. In letters to his friend Tytus Woyciechowski, Chopin indicated which of his works, and even which of their passages, were influenced by his erotic transports. His artist's soul was also enriched by friendships with such leading lights of Warsaw's artistic and intellectual world as Maurycy Mochnacki
Maurycy Mochnacki
Maurycy Mochnacki was a Polish publicist and independence activist. He participated in the November Uprising as a soldier and chronicler - Powstanie narodu polskiego w roku 1830 i 1831. After the defeat, he emigrated. In his early life, he was a supporter of Polish Jacobins ideology. He died in...

, Józef Bohdan Zaleski
Józef Bohdan Zaleski
Józef Bohdan Zaleski was a Polish Romantic poet. A friend of Adam Mickiewicz, Zaleski founded the "Ukrainian poetic school."-Life:...

 and Julian Fontana
Julian Fontana
Julian Fontana was a Polish pianist, composer, lawyer, author, translator, and entrepreneur, best remembered as a close friend and musical executor of Frédéric Chopin.-Biography:...

.

Youth



In September 1828, eighteen-year-old Chopin struck out for the wider world in the company of a family friend, the zoologist Feliks Jarocki, who planned to attend a scientific convention in Berlin. There Chopin enjoyed several unfamiliar operas directed by Gaspare Spontini
Gaspare Spontini
Gaspare Luigi Pacifico Spontini was an Italian opera composer and conductor, extremely celebrated in his time, though largely forgotten after his death.-Biography:...

, attended several concerts, and saw Carl Friedrich Zelter
Carl Friedrich Zelter
Carl Friedrich Zelter was a German composer, conductor and teacher of music.Zelter became friendly with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and his works include settings of Goethe's poems...

, Felix Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Barthóldy , use the form 'Mendelssohn' and not 'Mendelssohn Bartholdy'. The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians gives ' Felix Mendelssohn' as the entry, with 'Mendelssohn' used in the body text...

 and other celebrities. On his return trip, he was a guest of Prince Antoni Radziwiłł, governor of the Grand Duchy of Posen – himself an accomplished composer and aspiring cellist. For the Prince and his piano-playing daughter Wanda, Chopin composed his Introduction and Polonaise brillante in C major for cello and piano, Op. 3.

Back in Warsaw, in 1829, Chopin heard Niccolò Paganini
Niccolò Paganini
Niccolò Paganini was an Italian violinist, violist, guitarist, and composer. He was one of the most celebrated violin virtuosi of his time, and left his mark as one of the pillars of modern violin technique...

 play and met the German pianist and composer Johann Nepomuk Hummel
Johann Nepomuk Hummel
Johann Nepomuk Hummel or Jan Nepomuk Hummel was an Austrian composer and virtuoso pianist. His music reflects the transition from the Classical to the Romantic musical era.- Life :...

. In August the same year, three weeks after completing his studies at the Warsaw Conservatory, Chopin made a brilliant debut in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

. He gave two piano concerts and received many favorable reviews – in addition to some that criticized the "small tone" that he drew from the piano.

This was followed by a concert, in December 1829, at the Warsaw Merchants' Club, where Chopin premièred his Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor
Piano Concerto No. 2 (Chopin)
The Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21, is a piano concerto composed by Frédéric Chopin in 1830. Chopin wrote the piece before he had finished his formal education, at around 20 years of age. It was first performed on 17 March 1830, in Warsaw, Poland, with the composer as soloist. It was...

, Op. 21; and by his first performance, on 17 March 1830, at the National Theater, in Warsaw, of his Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor
Piano Concerto No. 1 (Chopin)
The Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11, is a piano concerto written by Frédéric Chopin in 1830. It was first performed on 11 October of that year, in Warsaw, with the composer as soloist, during one of his "farewell" concerts before leaving Poland....

, Op. 11. In this period he also began writing his first Études (1829–32).

Chopin's successes as a performer and composer opened the professional door for him to western Europe, and on 2 November 1830, seen off by friends and admirers, with a ring from Konstancja Gładkowska on his finger and carrying with him a silver cup containing soil from his native land, Chopin set out, writes Jachimecki, "into the wide world, with no very clearly defined aim, forever." He headed for Austria, intending to go on to Italy.
Later that month, in Warsaw, the November Uprising
November Uprising
The November Uprising , Polish–Russian War 1830–31 also known as the Cadet Revolution, was an armed rebellion in the heartland of partitioned Poland against the Russian Empire. The uprising began on 29 November 1830 in Warsaw when the young Polish officers from the local Army of the Congress...

 broke out, and Chopin's friend and traveling companion, the future industrialist and art patron Tytus Woyciechowski, returned to Poland to enlist. Chopin, now alone in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, writes Jachimecki, "afflicted by nostalgia, disappointed in his hopes of giving concerts and publishing, matured and acquired spiritual depth. From a romantic... poet... he grew into an inspired national bard who intuited the past, present and future of his country. Only now, at this distance, did he see all of Poland from the proper perspective, and understand what was great and truly beautiful in her, the tragedy and heroism of her vicissitudes."

When in September 1831 Chopin learned, while traveling from Vienna to Paris, that the uprising had been crushed, he poured "profanities and blasphemies, resembling the final verses of Konrad's improvisation," in his native Polish language
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

 into the pages of a little journal that he kept secret to the end of his life. He expressed fear for the safety of his family and other civilians, especially the womenfolk at risk of outrages by the Russian troops; mourned the death of "kindly [General] Sowiński
Józef Sowinski
Józef Sowiński was a Polish artillery general and one of the heroes of Poland's November 1830 Uprising.-Biography:Józef Longin Sowiński was born March 15, 1777 Warsaw, after graduating from the famous Corps of Cadets in Warsaw, he joined the Polish Army as a lieutenant during the Kościuszko Uprising...

" (to whose wife he had dedicated a composition); damned the French for not having come to the aid of the Poles; and expressed dismay that God had permitted the Russians to crush the Polish insurgents – "or are you [God] yourself a Russian?" These outcries of a tormented heart found musical expression in his Scherzo in B minor, Op. 20
Scherzo No. 1 (Chopin)
The Scherzo No. 1 in B minor, Op. 20 is a composition for solo piano written by Frédéric Chopin in 1831-2 and dedicated to Thomas Albrecht. The tempo marking is marked with "Presto con fuoco". The piece is very dark, dramatic, and lively....

, and his "Revolutionary Étude", in C minor, Op. 10, No. 12.

Paris



Chopin arrived in Paris in late September 1831, still uncertain whether he would settle there for good. In fact he would never return to Poland, becoming one of many expatriates of the Polish Great Emigration
Great Emigration
The Great Emigration was an emigration of political elites from Poland from 1831–1870. Since the end of the 18th century, a major role in Polish political life was played by people who carried out their activities outside the country as émigrés...

.
In February 1832 Chopin gave a concert that garnered universal admiration. The influential musicologist and critic François-Joseph Fétis
François-Joseph Fétis
François-Joseph Fétis was a Belgian musicologist, composer, critic and teacher. He was one of the most influential music critics of the 19th century, and his enormous compilation of biographical data in the Biographie universelle des musiciens remains an important source of information today...

 wrote in Revue musicale: "Here is a young man who, taking nothing as a model, has found, if not a complete renewal of piano music, then in any case part of what has long been sought in vain, namely, an extravagance of original ideas that are unexampled anywhere..." Only three months earlier, in December 1831, Robert Schumann
Robert Schumann
Robert Schumann, sometimes known as Robert Alexander Schumann, was a German composer, aesthete and influential music critic. He is regarded as one of the greatest and most representative composers of the Romantic era....

, reviewing Chopin's Variations on "La ci darem la mano"
Variations on "Là ci darem la mano" (Chopin)
Frédéric Chopin's Variations on "Là ci darem la mano" for piano and orchestra, Op. 2, was written in 1827, when he was aged only 17. It was one of the earliest manifestations of Chopin's incipient genius...

, Op. 2 (variations on a theme from Mozart's opera Don Giovanni
Don Giovanni
Don Giovanni is an opera in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and with an Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It was premiered by the Prague Italian opera at the Teatro di Praga on October 29, 1787...

), had written: "Hats off, gentlemen! A genius."

After his Paris concert début in February 1832, Chopin realized that his light-handed keyboard technique was not optimal for large concert spaces. However, later that year he was introduced to the wealthy Rothschild
Rothschild family
The Rothschild family , known as The House of Rothschild, or more simply as the Rothschilds, is a Jewish-German family that established European banking and finance houses starting in the late 18th century...

 banking family, whose patronage opened doors for him to other private salons.

In Paris, Chopin found artists and other distinguished company, as well as opportunities to exercise his talents and achieve celebrity, and before long he was earning a handsome income teaching piano to affluent students from all over Europe. He formed friendships with Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts . Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works; as a...

, Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt ; ), was a 19th-century Hungarian composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher.Liszt became renowned in Europe during the nineteenth century for his virtuosic skill as a pianist. He was said by his contemporaries to have been the most technically advanced pianist of his age...

, Vincenzo Bellini
Vincenzo Bellini
Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini was an Italian opera composer. His greatest works are I Capuleti ed i Montecchi , La sonnambula , Norma , Beatrice di Tenda , and I puritani...

, Ferdinand Hiller
Ferdinand Hiller
Ferdinand Hiller was a German composer, conductor, writer and music-director.-Biography:Ferdinand Hiller was born to a wealthy Jewish family in Frankfurt am Main, where his father Justus was a merchant in English textiles – a business eventually continued by Ferdinand’s brother Joseph...

, Felix Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Barthóldy , use the form 'Mendelssohn' and not 'Mendelssohn Bartholdy'. The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians gives ' Felix Mendelssohn' as the entry, with 'Mendelssohn' used in the body text...

, Heinrich Heine
Heinrich Heine
Christian Johann Heinrich Heine was one of the most significant German poets of the 19th century. He was also a journalist, essayist, and literary critic. He is best known outside Germany for his early lyric poetry, which was set to music in the form of Lieder by composers such as Robert Schumann...

, Eugène Delacroix
Eugène Delacroix
Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix was a French Romantic artist regarded from the outset of his career as the leader of the French Romantic school...

, Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski
Adam Jerzy Czartoryski
Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski was a Polish-Lithuanian noble, statesman and author. He was the son of Prince Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski and Izabela Fleming....

, Alfred de Vigny
Alfred de Vigny
Alfred Victor de Vigny was a French poet, playwright, and novelist.-Life:Alfred de Vigny was born in Loches into an aristocratic family...

, and Charles-Valentin Alkan
Charles-Valentin Alkan
Charles-Valentin Alkan was a French composer and one of the greatest virtuoso pianists of his day. His attachment to his Jewish origins is displayed both in his life and his work. He entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of six, earning many awards, and as an adult became a famous virtuoso...

.

Though an ardent Polish patriot
Patriotism
Patriotism is a devotion to one's country, excluding differences caused by the dependencies of the term's meaning upon context, geography and philosophy...

, in France he used the French versions of his given name
Given name
A given name, in Western contexts often referred to as a first name, is a personal name that specifies and differentiates between members of a group of individuals, especially in a family, all of whose members usually share the same family name...

s and traveled on a French passport, possibly to avoid having to rely on Imperial Russian documents. The French passport was issued on 1 August 1835, after Chopin had become a French citizen.

In Paris, Chopin seldom performed publicly. In later years he generally gave a single annual concert at the Salle Pleyel, a venue that seated three hundred. He played more frequently at salon
Salon (gathering)
A salon is a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine taste and increase their knowledge of the participants through conversation. These gatherings often consciously followed Horace's definition of the aims of poetry, "either to...

s – social gatherings of the aristocracy and artistic and literary elite – but preferred playing at his own Paris apartment for small groups of friends. His precarious health prevented his touring extensively as a traveling virtuoso
Virtuoso
A virtuoso is an individual who possesses outstanding technical ability in the fine arts, at singing or playing a musical instrument. The plural form is either virtuosi or the Anglicisation, virtuosos, and the feminine form sometimes used is virtuosa...

, and beyond playing once in Rouen
Rouen
Rouen , in northern France on the River Seine, is the capital of the Haute-Normandie region and the historic capital city of Normandy. Once one of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe , it was the seat of the Exchequer of Normandy in the Middle Ages...

, he seldom ventured out of the capital. His high income from teaching and composing freed him from the strains of concert-giving, to which he had an innate repugnance. Arthur Hedley
Arthur Hedley
Arthur Hedley , English musicologist and scholar, biographer of Frédéric Chopin.Arthur Hedley was educated at Durham and at the Sorbonne, and he devoted much of his life to the study of the composer Frédéric Chopin and his music. 1947 saw the publication of Hedley's biography of Chopin, as part of...

 has observed that "As a pianist Chopin was unique in acquiring a reputation of the highest order on the basis of a minimum of public appearances—few more than thirty in the course of his lifetime."
In 1835 Chopin went to Carlsbad
Karlovy Vary
Karlovy Vary is a spa city situated in western Bohemia, Czech Republic, on the confluence of the rivers Ohře and Teplá, approximately west of Prague . It is named after King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, who founded the city in 1370...

, where, for the last time in his life, he met with his parents. En route through Saxony
Saxony
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....

 on his way back to Paris, he met old friends from Warsaw, the Wodzińskis. He had made the acquaintance of their daughter Maria, now sixteen, in Poland five years earlier, and fell in love with the charming, intelligent, artistically talented young woman. The following year, in September 1836, upon returning to Dresden
Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

 after having vacationed with the Wodzińskis at Marienbad
Mariánské Lázne
Mariánské Lázně is a spa town in the Karlovy Vary Region of the Czech Republic. The town, surrounded by green mountains, is a mosaic of parks and noble houses...

, Chopin proposed marriage to Maria. She accepted, and her mother Countess Wodzińska approved in principle, but Maria's tender age and Chopin's tenuous health (in the winter of 1835–1836 he had been so ill that word had circulated in Warsaw that he had died) forced an indefinite postponement of the wedding. The engagement remained a secret to the world and never led to the altar. Chopin finally placed the letters from Maria and her mother in a large envelope, on which he wrote the Polish words "Moja bieda" ("My sorrow").

Chopin's feelings for Maria left their traces in his Waltz in A-flat major, "The Farewell Waltz", Op. 69, No. 1, written on the morning of his September departure from Dresden. On his return to Paris, he composed the Étude in F minor
Étude Op. 25, No. 2 (Chopin)
Étude Op. 25, No. 2, in F minor, is an étude composed by Frédéric Chopin. It is based on a polyrhythm, with pairs of eighth-note triplets in the right hand against quarter-note triplets in the left. The étude is sometimes known as "The Bees".- External links :* at...

, the second in the Op. 25 cycle, which he referred to as "a portrait of Maria's soul." Along with this, he sent Maria seven songs
Polish songs by Frédéric Chopin
Although Frédéric Chopin is best known for his works for piano solo, among his output are a number of songs for voice and piano, set to Polish texts.-Background:...

 that he had set to the words of Polish Romantic
Romanticism in Poland
Romanticism in Poland was a literary, artistic and intellectual period in the evolution of Polish culture that began around 1820, coinciding with the publication of Adam Mickiewicz's first poems in 1822. It ended with the suppression of the January 1863 Uprising against the Russian Empire in 1864. ...

 poets Stefan Witwicki
Stefan Witwicki
Stefan Witwicki was a Polish poet of the Romantic period.-Life:From 1822 Witwicki worked in the Congress Poland's Government Commission on Religions and Education ....

, Józef Zaleski
Józef Bohdan Zaleski
Józef Bohdan Zaleski was a Polish Romantic poet. A friend of Adam Mickiewicz, Zaleski founded the "Ukrainian poetic school."-Life:...

 and Adam Mickiewicz
Adam Mickiewicz
Adam Bernard Mickiewicz ) was a Polish poet, publisher and political writer of the Romantic period. One of the primary representatives of the Polish Romanticism era, a national poet of Poland, he is seen as one of Poland's Three Bards and the greatest poet in all of Polish literature...

.


After Chopin's matrimonial plans ended, Polish countess Delfina Potocka
Delfina Potocka
Delfina Potocka, née Komar , a Polish countess, was a friend and muse to noted Polish expatriate artists Frédéric Chopin and Zygmunt Krasiński.-Life:...

 appeared episodically in Chopin's life as muse and romantic interest. He dedicated to her his Waltz in D flat major, Op. 64, No. 1, the famous "Minute Waltz
Minute Waltz
The Waltz in D flat major, Op. 64, No. 1, popularly known as the Minute Waltz, and also Valse du petit chien, is a waltz for solo piano by Frédéric Chopin. It is dedicated to the Countess Delfina Potocka.-History:...

".

During his years in Paris, Chopin participated in a small number of public concerts. The list of the programs' participants provides an idea of the richness of Parisian artistic life during this period. Examples include a concert on 23 March 1833, in which Chopin, Liszt and Hiller
Ferdinand Hiller
Ferdinand Hiller was a German composer, conductor, writer and music-director.-Biography:Ferdinand Hiller was born to a wealthy Jewish family in Frankfurt am Main, where his father Justus was a merchant in English textiles – a business eventually continued by Ferdinand’s brother Joseph...

 performed J. S. Bach's concerto for three keyboards; and, on 3 March 1838, a concert in which Chopin, his pupil Adolphe Gutman, Alkan
Charles-Valentin Alkan
Charles-Valentin Alkan was a French composer and one of the greatest virtuoso pianists of his day. His attachment to his Jewish origins is displayed both in his life and his work. He entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of six, earning many awards, and as an adult became a famous virtuoso...

, and Alkan's teacher Pierre Joseph Zimmerman performed Alkan's arrangement, for eight hands, of Beethoven's 7th symphony
Symphony No. 7 (Beethoven)
Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92, in 1811, was the seventh of his nine symphonies. He worked on it while staying in the Bohemian spa town of Teplice in the hope of improving his health. It was completed in 1812, and was dedicated to Count Moritz von Fries.At its debut,...

.

Chopin was also involved in the composition of Liszt's Hexaméron
Hexameron (musical composition)
Hexaméron, Morceau de concert, S.392, is a collaborative work for solo piano, consisting of six variations on a theme, along with an introduction, connecting interludes and a finale. The theme is the "March of the Puritans" from Vincenzo Bellini's opera I puritani...

; Chopin's was the sixth (and last) variation on Bellini
Vincenzo Bellini
Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini was an Italian opera composer. His greatest works are I Capuleti ed i Montecchi , La sonnambula , Norma , Beatrice di Tenda , and I puritani...

's theme.

George Sand



In 1836, at a party hosted by Countess Marie d'Agoult
Marie d'Agoult
Marie Catherine Sophie de Flavigny, Vicomtesse de Flavigny , was a French author, known also by her married name and title, Marie, Comtesse d'Agoult, and by her pen name, Daniel Stern....

, mistress
Mistress (lover)
A mistress is a long-term female lover and companion who is not married to her partner; the term is used especially when her partner is married. The relationship generally is stable and at least semi-permanent; however, the couple does not live together openly. Also the relationship is usually,...

 of friend and fellow composer Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt ; ), was a 19th-century Hungarian composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher.Liszt became renowned in Europe during the nineteenth century for his virtuosic skill as a pianist. He was said by his contemporaries to have been the most technically advanced pianist of his age...

, Chopin met French author and feminist Amandine Aurore Lucille Dupin, the Baroness Dudevant, better known by her pseudonym, George Sand
George Sand
Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, later Baroness Dudevant , best known by her pseudonym George Sand , was a French novelist and memoirist.-Life:...

. Sand's earlier romantic involvements had included Jules Sandeau
Jules Sandeau
Leonard Sylvain Julien Sandeau was a French novelist.He was born at Aubusson , and was sent to Paris to study law, but spent much of his time in unruly behaviour with other students. He met George Sand, then Madame Dudevant, at Le Coudray in the house of a friend, and when she came to Paris in...

 (their literary collaboration had spawned the pseudonym George Sand), Prosper Mérimée
Prosper Mérimée
Prosper Mérimée was a French dramatist, historian, archaeologist, and short story writer. He is perhaps best known for his novella Carmen, which became the basis of Bizet's opera Carmen.-Life:...

, Alfred de Musset
Alfred de Musset
Alfred Louis Charles de Musset-Pathay was a French dramatist, poet, and novelist.Along with his poetry, he is known for writing La Confession d'un enfant du siècle from 1836.-Biography:Musset was born on 11 December 1810 in Paris...

, Louis-Chrystosome Michel, the writer Charles Didier, Pierre-François Bocage and Félicien Mallefille
Jean Pierre Félicien Mallefille
Jean Pierre Félicien Mallefille was a French novelist and playwright.Mallefille was born in Mauritius. He wrote a number of plays, including Glenarvon , Les sept enfants de Lara , Le cœur et la dot , and Les sceptiques , as well as two comedies, and two novels, Le collier and La confession du...

.

Chopin initially felt an aversion to Sand. He declared to Ferdinand Hiller
Ferdinand Hiller
Ferdinand Hiller was a German composer, conductor, writer and music-director.-Biography:Ferdinand Hiller was born to a wealthy Jewish family in Frankfurt am Main, where his father Justus was a merchant in English textiles – a business eventually continued by Ferdinand’s brother Joseph...

: "What a repulsive woman Sand is! But is she really a woman? I am inclined to doubt it." Sand, however, in a candid thirty-two page letter to Count Wojciech Grzymała, a friend to both her and Chopin, admitted strong feelings for the composer. In her letter she debated whether to abandon a current affair in order to begin a relationship with Chopin, and attempted to gauge the currency of his previous relationship with Maria Wodzińska, which she did not intend to interfere with should it still exist. By the summer of 1838, Chopin's and Sand's involvement was an open secret.

A notable episode in their time together was a turbulent and miserable winter on Majorca (8 November 1838 to 13 February 1839), where they, together with Sand's two children, had gone in the hope of improving Chopin's deteriorating health. However, after discovering the couple were not wedded, the deeply religious people of Majorca became inhospitable, making accommodations difficult to find; this compelled the foursome to take lodgings in a scenic yet stark and cold former Carthusian
Carthusian
The Carthusian Order, also called the Order of St. Bruno, is a Roman Catholic religious order of enclosed monastics. The order was founded by Saint Bruno of Cologne in 1084 and includes both monks and nuns...

 monastery in Valldemossa
Valldemossa
Valldemossa or Valldemosa is a village and municipality on the island of Majorca, part of the Spanish autonomous community of the Balearic Islands....

.

Chopin also had problems having his Pleyel piano
Pleyel et Cie
Pleyel et Cie is a French piano manufacturing firm founded by the composer Ignace Pleyel in 1807. In 1815, he was joined by his son, Camille, as a business partner. The firm provided pianos to Frédéric Chopin, and also ran a concert hall, the Salle Pleyel, where Chopin performed his first — and...

 sent to him. It arrived from Paris on 20 December but was held up by customs. (Chopin wrote on 28 December: "My piano has been stuck at customs for 8 days... They demand such a huge sum of money to release it that I can't believe it.") In the meantime Chopin had a rickety rented piano on which he practiced and may have composed some pieces.

On 3 December, he complained about his bad health and the incompetence of the doctors in Majorca: "I have been sick as a dog during these past two weeks. Three doctors have visited me. The first said I was going to die; the second said I was breathing my last; and the third said I was already dead."

On 4 January 1839, George Sand agreed to pay 300 francs (half the demanded amount) to have the Pleyel piano released from customs. It was finally delivered on 5 January. From then on Chopin was able to use the long-awaited instrument for almost five weeks, time enough to complete some works: some Preludes, Op. 28; a revision of the Ballade No. 2, Op. 38; two Polonaises, Op. 40; the Scherzo No. 3, Op. 39; the Mazurka in E minor from Op. 41; and he probably revisited his Sonata No. 2, Op. 35. The winter in Majorca is still considered one of the most productive periods in Chopin's life.

During that winter, the bad weather had such a serious effect on Chopin's health and chronic lung disease that, in order to save his life, the entire party were compelled to leave the island. The beloved French piano became an obstacle to a hasty escape. Nevertheless, George Sand managed to sell it to a French couple (the Canuts), whose heirs are the custodians of Chopin's legacy on Majorca and of the Chopin cell-room museum in Valldemossa.

The party of four went first to Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

, then to Marseille
Marseille
Marseille , known in antiquity as Massalia , is the second largest city in France, after Paris, with a population of 852,395 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Marseille extends beyond the city limits with a population of over 1,420,000 on an area of...

, where they stayed for a few months to recover. In May 1839, they headed to Sand's estate at Nohant
Nohant-Vic
Nohant-Vic is a commune in the Indre department in central France. It is located near La Châtre, on the D943, approximately south-east of Châteauroux and consists of two villages, Vic and Nohant, extended along the road.-Geography:...

 for the summer. In autumn they returned to Paris, where initially they lived apart; Chopin soon left his apartment at 5 rue Tronchet to move into Sand's house at 16 rue Pigalle. The four lived together at this address from October 1839 to November 1842, while spending most summers until 1846 at Nohant. In 1842, they moved to 80 rue Taitbout in the Square d'Orléans, living in adjacent buildings.

It was around this time that we have evidence of Chopin's playing an instrument other than the piano. At the funeral of the tenor Adolphe Nourrit
Adolphe Nourrit
Adolphe Nourrit was a French operatic tenor, librettist, and composer. One of the most esteemed opera singers of the 1820s and 1830s, he was particularly associated with the works of Gioachino Rossini....

, who had jumped to his death in Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

 but whose body was returned to Paris for burial, Chopin played an organ
Organ (music)
The organ , is a keyboard instrument of one or more divisions, each played with its own keyboard operated either with the hands or with the feet. The organ is a relatively old musical instrument in the Western musical tradition, dating from the time of Ctesibius of Alexandria who is credited with...

 transcription of Franz Schubert
Franz Schubert
Franz Peter Schubert was an Austrian composer.Although he died at an early age, Schubert was tremendously prolific. He wrote some 600 Lieder, nine symphonies , liturgical music, operas, some incidental music, and a large body of chamber and solo piano music...

's lied Die Gestirne.

During the summers at Nohant, particularly in the years 1839–43, Chopin found quiet but productive days during which he composed many works. They included his Polonaise in A flat major, Op. 53, the "Heroic", one of his most famous pieces. Sand describes Chopin's tumultuous creative process, filled with emotion, weeping, complaints, and hundreds of changes of concept eventually returning to the initial inspiration, on an evening in Nohant with friend Eugène Delacroix
Eugène Delacroix
Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix was a French Romantic artist regarded from the outset of his career as the leader of the French Romantic school...

:
As the composer's illness progressed, Sand became less of a lover and more of a nurse to Chopin, whom she called her "third child." In the years to come she would maintain her friendship with Chopin while often affectionately venting her impatience in letters to third parties, referring to him as a "child," a "little angel," a "sufferer" and a "beloved little corpse."

In 1845, as Chopin's health continued to deteriorate, a serious problem emerged in his relations with Sand. Those relations were further soured in 1846 by problems involving her daughter Solange and the young sculptor Auguste Clésinger
Auguste Clésinger
Auguste Clésinger was a 19th-century French sculptor and painter.- Life :...

. In 1847 Sand published her novel Lucrezia Floriani, whose main characters – a rich actress and a prince in weak health – could be interpreted as Sand and Chopin; the story was uncomplimentary to Chopin, who could not have missed the allusions as he helped Sand correct the printer's galleys
Galley proof
In printing and publishing, proofs are the preliminary versions of publications meant for review by authors, editors, and proofreaders, often with extra wide margins. Galley proofs may be uncut and unbound, or in some cases electronic...

. In 1847 he did not visit Nohant. Mutual friends attempted to reconcile them, but the composer was unyielding.

One of these friends was mezzo-soprano
Mezzo-soprano
A mezzo-soprano is a type of classical female singing voice whose range lies between the soprano and the contralto singing voices, usually extending from the A below middle C to the A two octaves above...

 Pauline Viardot. Sand had based her 1843 novel Consuelo
Consuelo (novel)
Consuelo is a novel by George Sand, first published serially in 1842-1843 in La Revue indépendante, a periodical founded in 1841 by Sand, Pierre Leroux and Louis Viardot. According to the Nuttall Encyclopædia, it is "[Sand's] masterpiece; the impersonation of the triumph of moral purity over...

on Viardot, and the three had spent many hours at Nohant. An outstanding opera singer, Viardot was also an excellent pianist who had initially wanted the piano to be her career and had taken lessons with Liszt and Anton Reicha
Anton Reicha
Anton Reicha was a Czech-born, later naturalized French composer. A contemporary and lifelong friend of Beethoven, Reicha is now best remembered for his substantial early contribution to the wind quintet literature and his role as a teacher – his pupils included Franz Liszt and Hector Berlioz...

. Her friendship with Chopin was based on mutual artistic esteem and similarity of temperament. The two had often played together; he had advised her on piano technique and had assisted her in writing a series of songs based on the melodies of his mazurkas
Mazurkas (Chopin)
Over the years 1825-1849, Frédéric Chopin wrote at least 69 mazurkas, based on the traditional Polish dance :* 58 have been published** 45 during Chopin's lifetime, of which 41 have opus numbers...

. He in turn had gained from Viardot some first-hand knowledge of Spanish music.

In 1847, Sand and Chopin quietly ended their ten year relationship. Count Wojciech Grzymała, who followed their romance from the beginning, commented, "If (Chopin) had not had the misfortune of meeting G.S. [George Sand], who poisoned his whole being, he would have lived to be Cherubini
Luigi Cherubini
Luigi Cherubini was an Italian composer who spent most of his working life in France. His most significant compositions are operas and sacred music. Beethoven regarded Cherubini as the greatest of his contemporaries....

's age." Chopin died at thirty-nine; his friend Cherubini died in Paris in 1842 at the age of eighty-one. The two composers are buried four meters apart at Père Lachaise Cemetery
Père Lachaise Cemetery
Père Lachaise Cemetery is the largest cemetery in the city of Paris, France , though there are larger cemeteries in the city's suburbs.Père Lachaise is in the 20th arrondissement, and is reputed to be the world's most-visited cemetery, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually to the...

.

Final years


Chopin's public popularity as a virtuoso waned, as did the number of his pupils. In February 1848 he gave his last Paris concert. In April, with the Revolution of 1848
French Revolution of 1848
The 1848 Revolution in France was one of a wave of revolutions in 1848 in Europe. In France, the February revolution ended the Orleans monarchy and led to the creation of the French Second Republic. The February Revolution was really the belated second phase of the Revolution of 1830...

 underway in Paris, he left for London, where he performed at several concerts and at numerous receptions in great houses. This tour was suggested to Chopin by his Scottish pupil and sometime secretary, Jane Stirling
Jane Stirling
Jane Stirling was a Scottish amateur pianist who is best known as a student and later friend of Frédéric Chopin; two of his nocturnes are dedicated to her. She took him on a tour of England and Scotland in 1848, and took charge of the disposal of his effects and manuscripts after his death in 1849...

 and her elder sister, the widowed Mrs. Katherine Erskine. Jane Stirling also made all the necessary arrangements and provided much of the necessary funding.

Toward the end of the summer he was invited by Jane Stirling to visit Scotland, staying at Calder House near Edinburgh and the castle (Johnstone, in Renfrewshire
Renfrewshire
Renfrewshire is one of 32 council areas used for local government in Scotland. Located in the west central Lowlands, it is one of three council areas contained within the boundaries of the historic county of Renfrewshire, the others being Inverclyde to the west and East Renfrewshire to the east...

, near Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

), both owned by Jane Stirling's family members. It was by then being rumored, even internationally, that Miss Stirling and Chopin would soon announce their engagement but apparently Chopin had no amorous feelings for her. While in Edinburgh he also spent time at 10 Warriston Crescent, residing at the home of the Polish GP
General practitioner
A general practitioner is a medical practitioner who treats acute and chronic illnesses and provides preventive care and health education for all ages and both sexes. They have particular skills in treating people with multiple health issues and comorbidities...

, Dr. Adam Łyszczyński, and being treated by him. He was generally so weak that Łyszczyński or his servant had to carry Chopin up and down stairs. He gave a single concert in Edinburgh, at the Hopetoun Rooms on Queen Street (now Erskine House).

In late October 1848, at the home of Dr. Łyszczyński, Chopin wrote out his last will and testament—"a kind of disposition to be made of my stuff in the future, if I should drop dead somewhere," he wrote his friend Wojciech Grzymała. In his thoughts he was now constantly with his mother and sisters, and conjured up for himself scenes of his native land by playing his adaptations of its folk music on cool Scottish evenings at Miss Stirling's castle.

Chopin made his last public appearance on a concert platform at London's Guildhall
Guildhall, London
The Guildhall is a building in the City of London, off Gresham and Basinghall streets, in the wards of Bassishaw and Cheap. It has been used as a town hall for several hundred years, and is still the ceremonial and administrative centre of the City of London and its Corporation...

 on 16 November 1848, when, in a final patriotic gesture, he played for the benefit of Polish refugees. His appearance on this occasion proved to be a well-intentioned mistake, as most of the participants were more interested in the dancing and refreshments than in Chopin's piano artistry, which cost him much effort and physical discomfort.

At the end of November, Chopin returned to Paris. He passed the winter in unremitting illness, but in spite of it he continued seeing friends and visited the ailing Adam Mickiewicz
Adam Mickiewicz
Adam Bernard Mickiewicz ) was a Polish poet, publisher and political writer of the Romantic period. One of the primary representatives of the Polish Romanticism era, a national poet of Poland, he is seen as one of Poland's Three Bards and the greatest poet in all of Polish literature...

, soothing the Polish poet's nerves with his playing. He no longer had the strength to give lessons, but he was still keen to compose. He lacked money for the most essential expenses and for his physicians. He had to sell off his more valuable furnishings and belongings.

On 24 March 2011, Warsaw's Frédéric Chopin Museum recovered long-lost letters belonging to the composer. The letters are dated from 1845 to 1848, and describe his daily life and his Cello Sonata in G minor
Cello Sonata (Chopin)
Frédéric Chopin wrote his Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 65 in 1846. It is one of only nine works of Chopin published during his lifetime that were written for instruments other than piano . Chopin composed four sonatas, the others being all piano sonatas...

. The letters were up for display at the Frédéric Chopin Museum until 25 April 2011.

Death



Feeling ever more poorly, Chopin longed to have a family member with him. In June 1849 his sister Ludwika Jędrzejewicz
Ludwika Jędrzejewicz
Ludwika Jędrzejewicz was the eldest sister of Polish composer Frédéric Chopin.- Early years :Ludwika was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1807....

, who had given him his first piano lessons, agreed to come to Paris.

In September 1849, Chopin took a very beautiful, sunny apartment at Place Vendôme 12
Place Vendôme
Place Vendôme is a square in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, France, located to the north of the Tuileries Gardens and east of the Église de la Madeleine. It is the starting point of the Rue de la Paix. Its regular architecture by Jules Hardouin-Mansart and pedimented screens canted across the...

. The second-floor, seven-room apartment had previously housed the Russian embassy; Chopin could not afford it, but Jane Stirling
Jane Stirling
Jane Stirling was a Scottish amateur pianist who is best known as a student and later friend of Frédéric Chopin; two of his nocturnes are dedicated to her. She took him on a tour of England and Scotland in 1848, and took charge of the disposal of his effects and manuscripts after his death in 1849...

, his wealthy Scottish pupil, rented it for him.
On 15 October, when his condition took a marked turn for the worse, his numerous visitors were asked to leave, and a handful of his closest friends remained with him. A couple of times during those last two days, they thought that the end had come, but the composer was able to catch his breath again. He asked Delfina Potocka
Delfina Potocka
Delfina Potocka, née Komar , a Polish countess, was a friend and muse to noted Polish expatriate artists Frédéric Chopin and Zygmunt Krasiński.-Life:...

 to play sonata
Sonata
Sonata , in music, literally means a piece played as opposed to a cantata , a piece sung. The term, being vague, naturally evolved through the history of music, designating a variety of forms prior to the Classical era...

s and prayed and called out to God, though only a few days earlier he had refused confession, saying that he did not believe in it. He complained that George Sand had promised that he "would die in her arms." He asked for a piece of paper and wrote: "Comme cette terre m'étouffera, je vous conjure de faire ouvrir mon corps pour [que] je ne sois pas enterré vif." ("As this earth will suffocate me, I implore you to have my body opened so that I will not be buried alive
Fear of being buried alive
Fear of being buried alive is the fear of being placed in a grave while still alive as a result of being incorrectly pronounced dead. The abnormal, psychopathological version of this fear is referred to as taphophobia , which is translated as "fear of graves".Before the advent of modern medicine,...

.")

On Wednesday 17 October, after midnight, the physician leaned over him and asked whether he was suffering greatly. "Not any more," Chopin replied. He died a few minutes before two o'clock in the morning.

Frédéric Chopin's illness
Frédéric Chopin's illness
Frédéric Chopin's disease, and the reason for his premature death at age 39, remain unclear. Though he was diagnosed in his lifetime with tuberculosis and treated for it, since his death in 1849 a number of alternative diagnoses have been suggested....

 and the cause of his death remained unclear and consequently have become a matter of medical argument. His death certificate stated the cause as tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

. In 2008 an alternative cause of Chopin's death would be proposed: cystic fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis is a recessive genetic disease affecting most critically the lungs, and also the pancreas, liver, and intestine...

. In counterpoint, it can well be argued that survival with cystic fibrosis in the 19th century until the age of 39 was virtually impossible, without modern respiratory therapy and medical support. A full review of the possible causes of Chopin's long illness has recently been published. Given the contextual facts, it is much more likely that Chopin suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis.

Many people who had not been present at Chopin's death would later claim to have been there. "Being present at Chopin's death," writes Tad Szulc, "seemed to grant one historical and social cachet." Those actually around his bed appear to have included his sister Ludwika Jędrzejewicz
Ludwika Jędrzejewicz
Ludwika Jędrzejewicz was the eldest sister of Polish composer Frédéric Chopin.- Early years :Ludwika was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1807....

, Princess Marcelina Czartoryska, Solange and Auguste Clésinger
Auguste Clésinger
Auguste Clésinger was a 19th-century French sculptor and painter.- Life :...

 (George Sand's daughter and son-in-law), Chopin's friend and former pupil Adolf Gutmann, his friend Thomas Albrecht, and his confidant, Polish Catholic priest Father Aleksander Jełowicki.


Later that morning, Clésinger made Chopin's death mask
Death mask
In Western cultures a death mask is a wax or plaster cast made of a person’s face following death. Death masks may be mementos of the dead, or be used for creation of portraits...

 and a cast of his left hand, to which Chopin had given prominence in his compositions. Before the funeral, pursuant to his dying wish, his heart was removed. It was preserved in alcohol (perhaps brandy) to be returned to his homeland, as he had requested. His sister smuggled it in an urn to Warsaw, where it was later sealed within a pillar of the Holy Cross Church
Holy Cross Church, Warsaw
The Church of the Holy Cross is a Roman Catholic house of worship in downtown Warsaw, Poland. Located on Krakowskie Przedmieście opposite the main Warsaw University campus, it is one of the most notable Baroque churches in Poland's capital....

 on Krakowskie Przedmieście
Krakowskie Przedmiescie
Krakowskie Przedmieście is one of the most impressive and prestigious streets of Poland's capital.Several other Polish cities also have streets named Krakowskie Przedmieście. In Lublin, it is the main and most elegant street...

, beneath an epitaph
Epitaph
An epitaph is a short text honoring a deceased person, strictly speaking that is inscribed on their tombstone or plaque, but also used figuratively. Some are specified by the dead person beforehand, others chosen by those responsible for the burial...

 sculpted by Leonard Marconi
Leonard Marconi
Leonard Marconi was a Polish and Austro-Hungarian architect and sculptor. He was active chiefly at Warsaw, then in Galicia, notably at Lwów ....

, bearing an inscription from Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

VI:21: "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Chopin's heart has reposed there – except for a period during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, when it was removed for safekeeping – within the church that was rebuilt after its virtual destruction during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising
Warsaw Uprising
The Warsaw Uprising was a major World War II operation by the Polish resistance Home Army , to liberate Warsaw from Nazi Germany. The rebellion was timed to coincide with the Soviet Union's Red Army approaching the eastern suburbs of the city and the retreat of German forces...

. The church stands only a short distance from Chopin's last Polish residence, the Krasiński Palace at Krakowskie Przedmieście 5
Krakowskie Przedmiescie
Krakowskie Przedmieście is one of the most impressive and prestigious streets of Poland's capital.Several other Polish cities also have streets named Krakowskie Przedmieście. In Lublin, it is the main and most elegant street...

.

The funeral, to be held at the Church of the Madeleine
Église de la Madeleine
L'église de la Madeleine is a Roman Catholic church occupying a commanding position in the 8th arrondissement of Paris. It was designed in its present form as a temple to the glory of Napoleon's army...

 in Paris, was delayed almost two weeks, until 30 October. Chopin had requested that Mozart's Requiem
Requiem (Mozart)
The Requiem Mass in D minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was composed in Vienna in 1791 and left unfinished at the composer's death. A completion by Franz Xaver Süssmayr was delivered to Count Franz von Walsegg, who had anonymously commissioned the piece for a requiem Mass to commemorate the...

 be sung. The Requiem had major parts for female voices, but the Church of the Madeleine had never permitted female singers in its choir. The Church finally relented, on condition that the female singers remain behind a black velvet curtain.

The soloists in the Requiem included the bass Luigi Lablache
Luigi Lablache
Luigi Lablache was an Italian opera singer of French and Irish heritage. He was most noted for his comic performances, possessing a powerful and agile bass voice, a wide range, and adroit acting skills: Leporello in Don Giovanni was one of his signature roles.-Biography:Luigi Lablache was born in...

 – who had sung the same work at the funerals of Haydn
Joseph Haydn
Franz Joseph Haydn , known as Joseph Haydn , was an Austrian composer, one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical period. He is often called the "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet" because of his important contributions to these forms...

 and Beethoven, and had also sung at Bellini
Vincenzo Bellini
Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini was an Italian opera composer. His greatest works are I Capuleti ed i Montecchi , La sonnambula , Norma , Beatrice di Tenda , and I puritani...

's funeral – and Chopin's and George Sand's friend, the mezzo-soprano Pauline Viardot. Also played were Chopin's Préludes No. 4 in E minor and No. 6 in B minor. The organist was Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt ; ), was a 19th-century Hungarian composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher.Liszt became renowned in Europe during the nineteenth century for his virtuosic skill as a pianist. He was said by his contemporaries to have been the most technically advanced pianist of his age...

.

The funeral was attended by nearly three thousand people, but George Sand was not among them.

The funeral procession traversed the considerable distance from the church, in the center of town, adjacent to the Opera
Paris Opera
The Paris Opera is the primary opera company of Paris, France. It was founded in 1669 by Louis XIV as the Académie d'Opéra and shortly thereafter was placed under the leadership of Jean-Baptiste Lully and renamed the Académie Royale de Musique...

, to Père Lachaise Cemetery
Père Lachaise Cemetery
Père Lachaise Cemetery is the largest cemetery in the city of Paris, France , though there are larger cemeteries in the city's suburbs.Père Lachaise is in the 20th arrondissement, and is reputed to be the world's most-visited cemetery, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually to the...

 at the city's eastern edge. It was led by the dean of the Polish Great Emigration
Great Emigration
The Great Emigration was an emigration of political elites from Poland from 1831–1870. Since the end of the 18th century, a major role in Polish political life was played by people who carried out their activities outside the country as émigrés...

, the aged Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski
Adam Jerzy Czartoryski
Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski was a Polish-Lithuanian noble, statesman and author. He was the son of Prince Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski and Izabela Fleming....

; immediately after the casket, which was borne by shifts of artists (including Eugène Delacroix
Eugène Delacroix
Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix was a French Romantic artist regarded from the outset of his career as the leader of the French Romantic school...

, cellist Auguste Franchomme
Auguste Franchomme
Auguste-Joseph Franchomme was a French cellist and composer.Born in Lille, Franchomme studied at the local conservatoire with M...

 and pianist Camille Pleyel), walked Chopin's sister Ludwika
Ludwika Jędrzejewicz
Ludwika Jędrzejewicz was the eldest sister of Polish composer Frédéric Chopin.- Early years :Ludwika was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1807....

.

Chopin was interred at Père Lachaise Cemetery
Père Lachaise Cemetery
Père Lachaise Cemetery is the largest cemetery in the city of Paris, France , though there are larger cemeteries in the city's suburbs.Père Lachaise is in the 20th arrondissement, and is reputed to be the world's most-visited cemetery, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually to the...

, in accordance with his wishes. At the graveside, the Funeral March from his Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 35, was played, in Napoléon Henri Reber
Napoléon Henri Reber
Napoléon Henri Reber was a French composer.He studied with Anton Reicha and Jean François Lesueur, wrote chamber music, and set to music the new poems of the best French poets...

's instrumentation.

Chopin's tombstone, featuring the muse
Muse
The Muses in Greek mythology, poetry, and literature, are the goddesses who inspire the creation of literature and the arts. They were considered the source of the knowledge, related orally for centuries in the ancient culture, that was contained in poetic lyrics and myths...

 of music, Euterpe
Euterpe
In Greek mythology, Euterpe + τέρπειν terpein ) was one of the Muses, the daughters of Mnemosyne, fathered by Zeus. Called the "Giver of delight", when later poets assigned roles to each of the Muses, she was the muse of music. In late Classical times she was named muse of lyric poetry and...

, weeping over a broken lyre
Lyre
The lyre is a stringed musical instrument known for its use in Greek classical antiquity and later. The word comes from the Greek "λύρα" and the earliest reference to the word is the Mycenaean Greek ru-ra-ta-e, meaning "lyrists", written in Linear B syllabic script...

, was designed and sculpted by Auguste Clésinger. The expenses of the funeral and monument, in the amount of five thousand francs, were covered by Jane Stirling, who also paid for Chopin's sister's return to Warsaw. Jane Stirling wore black mourning dresses for a long time thereafter (some sources say for the rest of her life).

Chopin's grave attracts numerous visitors and is consistently decorated with flowers, even in winter.

Memorials


In 1909, to celebrate Chopin's centenary, the Russian composer Sergei Lyapunov
Sergei Lyapunov
Sergei Mikhailovich Lyapunov was a Russian composer and pianist.-Life:Lyapunov was born in Yaroslavl in 1859. After the death of his father, Mikhail Lyapunov, when he was about eight, Sergei, his mother, and his two brothers went to live in the larger town of Nizhny Novgorod...

 wrote a "symphonic poem
Symphonic poem
A symphonic poem or tone poem is a piece of orchestral music in a single continuous section in which the content of a poem, a story or novel, a painting, a landscape or another source is illustrated or evoked. The term was first applied by Hungarian composer Franz Liszt to his 13 works in this vein...

 in memory of Chopin", titled Zhelazova Vola, Op. 37 , a reference to Chopin's birthplace
Zelazowa Wola
Żelazowa Wola is a village in Gmina Sochaczew, Sochaczew County, Masovian Voivodeship, in east-central Poland. It lies on the Utrata River, some northeast of Sochaczew and west of Warsaw. Żelazowa Wola has a population of 65....

.

In 1926 a bronze statue of Chopin, designed by sculptor Wacław Szymanowski in 1907, was erected in the upper part of Warsaw's Royal Baths (Łazienki) Park, adjacent to Ujazdów Avenue
Ujazdów Avenue
Ujazdów Avenue is a major thoroughfare parallel to the Vistula River in the Śródmieście district of Warsaw, Poland.Origins of the avenue go to 1724-1731, when King August II ordered construction of the Calvary Road . By 1766 it was already a part of the Royal Route as Belweder Avenue leading to...

 (Aleje Ujazdowskie). The statue was originally to have been installed in 1910, on the centenary of Chopin's birth, but its execution was delayed by controversy about the design, then by the outbreak of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

.

On 31 May 1940, during the German occupation of Poland in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the statue was destroyed by the Nazis
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

. It was reconstructed after the war, in 1958. Since 1959, free piano recitals of Chopin's compositions have been performed at the statue's base on summer Sunday afternoons. The stylized willow
Willow
Willows, sallows, and osiers form the genus Salix, around 400 species of deciduous trees and shrubs, found primarily on moist soils in cold and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere...

 over Chopin's seated figure echoes a pianist's hand and fingers. Until 2007, the statue was the world's tallest monument to Chopin.

A 1:1-scale replica of Szymanowski's Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau is an international philosophy and style of art, architecture and applied art—especially the decorative arts—that were most popular during 1890–1910. The name "Art Nouveau" is French for "new art"...

statue is found in Warsaw's sister city of Hamamatsu, Japan. There are also preliminary plans to erect another replica along Chicago's lakefront in addition to a different sculpture commemorating the artist in Chopin Park
Chopin Park (Chicago)
Chopin Park is an park located at 3420 North Long in the Portage Park community area of Chicago, Illinois. The park stretches from Roscoe Street on the south to Cornelia Avenue to the north between Linder and Long avenues. The historic fieldhouse was designed by Albert A...

 for the 200th anniversary of Chopin's birth.

A bronze bust memorializing Chopin stands at Symphony Circle outside Kleinhans Music Hall
Kleinhans Music Hall
Kleinhans Music Hall, home of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, was built in the late 1930s and opened October 1940. It is located on Symphony Circle. The music hall was built as a part of the last will and testament of Edward L. and Mary Seaton Kleinhans, owners of the Kleinhans mens clothing...

 in Buffalo
Buffalo, New York
Buffalo is the second most populous city in the state of New York, after New York City. Located in Western New York on the eastern shores of Lake Erie and at the head of the Niagara River across from Fort Erie, Ontario, Buffalo is the seat of Erie County and the principal city of the...

, New York.

There are numerous other monuments to Chopin around the world. The most recent, by a small margin taller than the Warsaw statue, is a modernistic bronze sculpture by Lu Pin
Lu Pin
Lu Pin, born 1972 in Shanghai, is a Chinese sculptor. Completed her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw under the tutelage of professor Janusz Pastwa...

 http://www.lupinsculpture.com http://www.lupinjewelry.com in Shanghai, China, that was unveiled on 3 March 2007.

The world's oldest monographic music competition, the International Chopin Piano Competition, founded in 1927, is held every five years in Warsaw.

Established in 1954, the Fryderyk Chopin Museum
Fryderyk Chopin Museum
Muzeum Fryderyka Chopina is a museum in Warsaw, Poland dedicated to the great composer Fryderyk Chopin. It was established in 1954.Birthplace of Fryderyk Chopin in Żelazowa Wola is one of its major departments.-History:...

 is housed in Warsaw's Ostrogski Palace
Ostrogski Palace
Ostrogski Palace, or Ostrogski Castle , is a mansion in the city center of Warsaw, on ulica Tamka.Begun by the powerful Ostrogski family who gave their name to the building, it currently houses the Fryderyk Chopin Society and Fryderyk Chopin Museum.-History:The spot for the palace, a large lot of...

, seat of the Fryderyk Chopin Society. Refurbished for the 200th anniversary (2010) of Chopin's birth, the Fryderyk Chopin Museum is the most modern museum in Poland.

Periodically the Grand prix du disque de F. Chopin is awarded for notable Chopin recordings, both remastered and newly recorded work.

Named for the composer are the largest Polish music conservatory, the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw; Warsaw Chopin Airport; the Chopin crater on Mercury; and asteroid
Asteroid
Asteroids are a class of small Solar System bodies in orbit around the Sun. They have also been called planetoids, especially the larger ones...

 3784 Chopin
3784 Chopin
3784 Chopin is a small main belt asteroid with a diameter of 28.53 +/- 4.4 km. It was discovered by Eric W. Elst in 1986. It is named after Frédéric Chopin, the nineteenth century Polish composer.-External links:*...

.

Music




The great majority of Chopin's compositions were written for the piano as solo instrument; all of his extant works feature the piano in one way or another. Chopin, according to Arthur Hedley
Arthur Hedley
Arthur Hedley , English musicologist and scholar, biographer of Frédéric Chopin.Arthur Hedley was educated at Durham and at the Sorbonne, and he devoted much of his life to the study of the composer Frédéric Chopin and his music. 1947 saw the publication of Hedley's biography of Chopin, as part of...

, "had the rare gift of a very personal melody, expressive of heart-felt emotion, and his music is penetrated by a poetic feeling that has an almost universal appeal.... Present-day evaluation places him among the immortals of music by reason of his insight into the secret places of the heart and because of his awareness of the magical new sonorities to be drawn from the piano."

It is very difficult to characterise Chopin's oeuvre briefly. Robert Schumann
Robert Schumann
Robert Schumann, sometimes known as Robert Alexander Schumann, was a German composer, aesthete and influential music critic. He is regarded as one of the greatest and most representative composers of the Romantic era....

, speaking of Chopin's Sonata in B-flat minor, wrote that "he alone begins and ends a work like this: with dissonances, through dissonances, and in dissonances," and in Chopin's music he discerned "cannon concealed amid blossoms." Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt ; ), was a 19th-century Hungarian composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher.Liszt became renowned in Europe during the nineteenth century for his virtuosic skill as a pianist. He was said by his contemporaries to have been the most technically advanced pianist of his age...

, in the opening of his biography about Chopin (Life of Chopin), termed him a "gentle, harmonious genius." Thus disparate have been the views on Chopin's music. The first systematic, if imperfect, study of Chopin's style came in F. P. Laurencin's 1861 Die Harmonik der Neuzeit. Laurencin concluded that "Chopin is one of the most brilliant exceptional natures that have ever stridden onto the stage of history and life, he is one who can never be exhausted nor stand before a void. Chopin is the musical progone of all progones until now."

According to Tad Szulc
Tad Szulc
Tadeusz Witold Szulc was a reporter and writer of non-fiction books.-Life:Szulc was born in Warsaw, the son of Seweryn and Janina Baruch Szulc. He attended school in Switzerland. In 1940 he emigrated from Poland to join his family in Brazil...

, though technically demanding, Chopin's works emphasize nuance and expressive depth rather than sheer virtuosity. Vladimir Horowitz
Vladimir Horowitz
Vladimir Samoylovich Horowitz    was a Russian-American classical virtuoso pianist and minor composer. His technique and use of tone color and the excitement of his playing were legendary. He is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century.-Life and early...

 referred to Chopin as "the only truly great composer for the piano."

Chopin's music for the piano combined a unique rhythmic sense (particularly his use of rubato
Tempo rubato
Tempo rubato is a musical term referring to expressive and rhythmic freedom by a slight speeding up and then slowing down of the tempo of a piece at the discretion of the soloist or the conductor...

), frequent use of chromaticism
Chromaticism
Chromaticism is a compositional technique interspersing the primary diatonic pitches and chords with other pitches of the chromatic scale. Chromaticism is in contrast or addition to tonality or diatonicism...

, and counterpoint
Counterpoint
In music, counterpoint is the relationship between two or more voices that are independent in contour and rhythm and are harmonically interdependent . It has been most commonly identified in classical music, developing strongly during the Renaissance and in much of the common practice period,...

. This mixture produces a particularly fragile sound in the melody
Melody
A melody , also tune, voice, or line, is a linear succession of musical tones which is perceived as a single entity...

 and the harmony
Harmony
In music, harmony is the use of simultaneous pitches , or chords. The study of harmony involves chords and their construction and chord progressions and the principles of connection that govern them. Harmony is often said to refer to the "vertical" aspect of music, as distinguished from melodic...

, which are nonetheless underpinned by solid and interesting harmonic techniques. He took the new salon genre of the nocturne
Nocturne
A nocturne is usually a musical composition that is inspired by, or evocative of, the night...

, invented by Irish composer John Field
John Field (composer)
John Field was an Irish pianist, composer, and teacher. He was born in Dublin into a musical family, and received his early education there. The Fields soon moved to London, where Field studied under Muzio Clementi...

, to a deeper level of sophistication. Three of Chopin's twenty-one Nocturnes were published only after his death in 1849, contrary to his wishes. He also endowed popular dance forms, such as the Polish mazurek
Mazurka
The mazurka is a Polish folk dance in triple meter, usually at a lively tempo, and with accent on the third or second beat.-History:The folk origins of the mazurek are two other Polish musical forms—the slow machine...

and the Viennese Waltz
Viennese Waltz
Viennese Waltz is the genre of a ballroom dance. At least three different meanings are recognized. In the historically first sense, the name may refer to several versions of the waltz, including the earliest waltzes done in ballroom dancing, danced to the music of Viennese Waltz.What is now called...

, with a greater range of melody and expression.

Chopin's mazurkas
Mazurkas (Chopin)
Over the years 1825-1849, Frédéric Chopin wrote at least 69 mazurkas, based on the traditional Polish dance :* 58 have been published** 45 during Chopin's lifetime, of which 41 have opus numbers...

, while based somewhat on the traditional Polish dance (the mazurek
Mazurka
The mazurka is a Polish folk dance in triple meter, usually at a lively tempo, and with accent on the third or second beat.-History:The folk origins of the mazurek are two other Polish musical forms—the slow machine...

), were different from the traditional variety in that they were suitable for concerts halls as well as dance settings. With his mazurkas, Chopin brought a new sense of nationalism, which was an idea that other composers writing both at the same time as, and after, Chopin would also incorporate into their compositions. Chopin’s nationalism was a great influence and inspiration for many other composers, especially Eastern Europeans, and he was one of the first composers to clearly express nationalism through his music. Furthermore, he was the first composer to take a national genre of music from his home country and transform it into a genre worthy of the general concert-going public, thereby creating an entirely new genre.

Chopin was the first to write ballades and scherzi
Scherzo
A scherzo is a piece of music, often a movement from a larger piece such as a symphony or a sonata. The scherzo's precise definition has varied over the years, but it often refers to a movement which replaces the minuet as the third movement in a four-movement work, such as a symphony, sonata, or...

 as individual pieces. He also took the example of Bach's preludes
Prelude (music)
A prelude is a short piece of music, the form of which may vary from piece to piece. The prelude can be thought of as a preface. It may stand on its own or introduce another work...

 and fugue
Fugue
In music, a fugue is a compositional technique in two or more voices, built on a subject that is introduced at the beginning in imitation and recurs frequently in the course of the composition....

s, transforming the genre in his own Préludes.

Chopin reinvented the étude
Étude
An étude , is an instrumental musical composition, most commonly of considerable difficulty, usually designed to provide practice material for perfecting a particular technical skill. The tradition of writing études emerged in the early 19th century with the rapidly growing popularity of the piano...

, expanding on the idea and making it into a gorgeous, eloquent and emotional showpiece. He also used his Études to teach his own revolutionary style, for instance playing with the weak fingers (3, 4, and 5) in fast figures (Op. 10, No. 2), playing in octaves (Op 25, No.10) and playing black keys with the thumb (Op. 10, No. 5).

Influence



Several of Chopin's pieces have become very well known—for instance the Revolutionary Étude (Op. 10, No. 12), the Minute Waltz
Minute Waltz
The Waltz in D flat major, Op. 64, No. 1, popularly known as the Minute Waltz, and also Valse du petit chien, is a waltz for solo piano by Frédéric Chopin. It is dedicated to the Countess Delfina Potocka.-History:...

(Op. 64, No. 1), and the third movement of his Funeral March Sonata No. 2 (Op. 35), which is often used as an iconic representation of grief. Chopin himself never named an instrumental work beyond genre
Music genre
A music genre is a categorical and typological construct that identifies musical sounds as belonging to a particular category and type of music that can be distinguished from other types of music...

 and number, leaving all potential extra-musical associations to the listener; the names by which we know many of the pieces were invented by others. The Revolutionary Étude was not written with the failed Polish uprising against Russia in mind; it merely appeared at that time. The Funeral March was written before the rest of the sonata within which it is contained, but the exact occasion is not known; it appears not to have been inspired by any specific personal bereavement. Other melodies have been used as the basis of popular songs, such as the slow section of the Fantaisie-Impromptu
Fantaisie-Impromptu
Frédéric Chopin's Fantaisie-Impromptu in C-sharp minor, Op. posth. 66, is a solo piano composition and one of his best-known pieces. It was composed in 1834 and dedicated to Julian Fontana, who published the piece in spite of Chopin's request not to do so....

(Op. posth. 66) and the first section of the Étude, Op. 10, No. 3
Étude Op. 10, No. 3 (Chopin)
Étude Op. 10 No. 3, in E major, is a study for solo piano composed by Frédéric Chopin in 1832. It was first published in 1833 in France, Germany, and England as the third piece of his Études Op. 10. This is a slow cantabile study for polyphonic and legato playing. Chopin himself believed the...

. These pieces often rely on an intense and personalised chromaticism, as well as a melodic curve that resembles the operas of Chopin's day – the operas of Gioachino Rossini, Gaetano Donizetti
Gaetano Donizetti
Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti was an Italian composer from Bergamo, Lombardy. His best-known works are the operas L'elisir d'amore , Lucia di Lammermoor , and Don Pasquale , all in Italian, and the French operas La favorite and La fille du régiment...

, and especially Vincenzo Bellini
Vincenzo Bellini
Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini was an Italian opera composer. His greatest works are I Capuleti ed i Montecchi , La sonnambula , Norma , Beatrice di Tenda , and I puritani...

. Chopin used the piano to recreate the gracefulness of the singing voice, and talked and wrote constantly about singers.

Chopin's style and gifts became increasingly influential. Robert Schumann
Robert Schumann
Robert Schumann, sometimes known as Robert Alexander Schumann, was a German composer, aesthete and influential music critic. He is regarded as one of the greatest and most representative composers of the Romantic era....

 was a huge admirer of Chopin's music, and he used melodies from Chopin and even named a piece from his suite Carnaval
Carnaval (Schumann)
Carnaval, Op. 9, is a work by Robert Schumann for piano solo, written in 1834-1835, and subtitled Scènes mignonnes sur quatre notes . It consists of a collection of short pieces representing masked revelers at Carnival, a festival before Lent...

after Chopin. This admiration was not generally reciprocated, although Chopin did dedicate his Ballade No. 2 in F major to Schumann.

Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt ; ), was a 19th-century Hungarian composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher.Liszt became renowned in Europe during the nineteenth century for his virtuosic skill as a pianist. He was said by his contemporaries to have been the most technically advanced pianist of his age...

 was another admirer and personal friend of the composer, and he transcribed for piano six of Chopin's Polish songs
Polish songs by Frédéric Chopin
Although Frédéric Chopin is best known for his works for piano solo, among his output are a number of songs for voice and piano, set to Polish texts.-Background:...

. However, Liszt denied that he wrote Funérailles
Funérailles
Funérailles is the 7th piece in Harmonies poétiques et religieuses , a collection of piano pieces by Franz Liszt...

(subtitled "October 1849", the seventh movement of his piano suite Harmonies poétiques et religieuses
Harmonies Poétiques et Religieuses
Harmonies poétiques et religieuses is a cycle of piano pieces written by Liszt at Woronińce in 1847...

of 1853) in memory of Chopin. Though the middle section seems to be modeled on the famous octave trio section of Chopin's Polonaise in A flat major, Op. 53, Liszt said the piece had been inspired by the deaths of three of his Hungarian compatriots in the same month. However, Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, S.244/2, is the second in a set of 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies by composer Franz Liszt, and is by far the most famous of the set. Few other piano solos have achieved such widespread popularity, offering the pianist the opportunity to reveal exceptional skill as a virtuoso,...

 in C-sharp minor borrows heavily from the "funeral march" third movement of Chopin's Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor. This influence can be seen in the first segment of Liszt's piece: this section expands on Chopin's minimalist melody.

Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist, and one of the leading musicians of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria, where he was a leader of the musical scene...

 and the younger Russian composers, too, found inspiration in Chopin's examples. Chopin's technical innovations became influential. His Préludes (Op. 28) and Études
Études (Chopin)
The Études by Frédéric Chopin are three sets of solo studies for the piano, There are twenty-seven overall, comprising two separate collections of twelve, numbered Opus 10 and 25, and a set of three without opus number.-Composition:...

 (Opp. 10 and 25) rapidly became standard works, and inspired both Liszt's Transcendental Études
Transcendental Etudes
The Transcendental Etudes , S.139, are a series of twelve compositions for solo piano by Franz Liszt. They were published in 1852 as a revision of a more technically difficult 1837 series, which in turn were the elaboration of a set of studies written in 1826:...

and Schumann's Symphonic Studies. Alexander Scriabin
Alexander Scriabin
Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin was a Russian composer and pianist who initially developed a lyrical and idiosyncratic tonal language inspired by the music of Frédéric Chopin. Quite independent of the innovations of Arnold Schoenberg, Scriabin developed an increasingly atonal musical system,...

 was also strongly influenced by Chopin; for example, his 24 Preludes, Op. 11, are inspired by Chopin's Op. 28.


Jeremy Siepmann, in his biography of the composer, lists pianists whose recordings of Chopin are generally acknowledged to be among the greatest Chopin performances ever preserved: Vladimir de Pachmann
Vladimir de Pachmann
Vladimir von Pachmann or Pachman was a pianist of Russian-German ethnicity, especially noted for performing the works of Chopin, and also for his eccentric on-stage style.-Biography:...

, Raoul Pugno
Raoul Pugno
Stéphane Raoul Pugno was a French composer, teacher, organist, and pianist known for his playing of Mozart's works.Raoul Pugno was born in Paris. He made his debut at the age of six, and with the help of Prince Poniatowski he was then able to study at the École Niedermeyer. He then went to the...

, Ignacy Jan Paderewski
Ignacy Jan Paderewski
Ignacy Jan Paderewski GBE was a Polish pianist, composer, diplomat, politician, and the second Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland.-Biography:...

, Moriz Rosenthal
Moriz Rosenthal
Moriz Rosenthal was a great Polish pianist. He was an outstanding pupil of Franz Liszt and a friend and colleague of some of the greatest musicians of his age, including Johannes Brahms, Johann Strauss, Anton Rubinstein, Hans von Bülow, Camille Saint-Saëns, Jules Massenet and Isaac...

, Sergei Rachmaninoff
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. Rachmaninoff is widely considered one of the finest pianists of his day and, as a composer, one of the last great representatives of Romanticism in Russian classical music...

, Alfred Cortot
Alfred Cortot
Alfred Denis Cortot was a Franco-Swiss pianist and conductor. He is one of the most renowned 20th-century classical musicians, especially valued for his poetic insight in Romantic period piano works, particularly those of Chopin and Schumann.-Early life and education:Born in Nyon, Vaud, in the...

, Ignaz Friedman
Ignaz Friedman
Ignaz Friedman Ignaz Friedman Ignaz Friedman (also spelled by languages Ignace or Ignacy; exactly Solomon (Salomon) Isaac Freudman(n), (February 13, 1882January 26, 1948) was a Polish pianist and composer. Critics (e.g. Harold C. Schonberg) and colleagues (e.g...

, Raoul Koczalski, Arthur Rubinstein
Arthur Rubinstein
Arthur Rubinstein KBE was a Polish-American pianist. He received international acclaim for his performances of the music of a variety of composers...

, Mieczysław Horszowski, Claudio Arrau
Claudio Arrau
Claudio Arrau León was a Chilean pianist known for his interpretations of a vast repertoire spanning from the baroque to 20th-century composers, especially Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Brahms and Debussy...

, Vlado Perlemuter
Vlado Perlemuter
Vlado Perlemuter was a Lithuanian-born French pianist.-Biography:Vlado Perlemuter was born to a Polish Jewish family, the third of four sons, in Kovno, Russia . At the age of three, he lost the use of his left eye in an accident.His family settled in France in 1907...

, Vladimir Horowitz
Vladimir Horowitz
Vladimir Samoylovich Horowitz    was a Russian-American classical virtuoso pianist and minor composer. His technique and use of tone color and the excitement of his playing were legendary. He is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century.-Life and early...

, Dinu Lipatti
Dinu Lipatti
Dinu Lipatti was a Romanian classical pianist and composer whose career was cut short by his death from Hodgkin's disease at age 33. He was elected posthumously to the Romanian Academy.-Biography:...

, Vladimir Ashkenazy
Vladimir Ashkenazy
Vladimir Davidovich Ashkenazy is a Russian-Icelandic conductor and pianist. Since 1972 he has been a citizen of Iceland, his wife Þórunn's country of birth. Since 1978, because of his many obligations in Europe, he and his family have resided in Meggen, near Lucerne in Switzerland...

, Martha Argerich
Martha Argerich
Martha Argerich is an Argentine pianist.-Early life:Argerich was born in Buenos Aires and started playing the piano at age three...

, Maurizio Pollini
Maurizio Pollini
Maurizio Pollini is an Italian classical pianist.- Biography and career :Pollini was born in Milan to the Italian rationalist architect Gino Pollini. Maurizio studied piano first with Carlo Lonati, until the age of 13, then with Carlo Vidusso, until he was 18...

, Murray Perahia
Murray Perahia
Murray Perahia KBE is an American concert pianist and conductor.-Early life:Murray Perahia was born in the Bronx borough of New York City to a family of Sephardi Jewish origin. According to the biography on his Mozart piano sonatas CD, his first language was Judaeo-Spanish or, Ladino. The family...

, Krystian Zimerman
Krystian Zimerman
Krystian Zimerman is a Polish classical pianist who is widely regarded as one of the finest living pianists.-Biography:...

, Evgeny Kissin
Evgeny Kissin
Evgeny Igorevitch Kissin is a Russian classical pianist and former child prodigy. He has been a British citizen since 2002. He is especially known for his interpretations of the works of the Romantic repertoire, particularly Frédéric Chopin and Franz Liszt.-Biography:Kissin was born in Moscow to...

.

Arthur Rubinstein
Arthur Rubinstein
Arthur Rubinstein KBE was a Polish-American pianist. He received international acclaim for his performances of the music of a variety of composers...

 said the following about Chopin's music and its universality:

Style



Although Chopin lived in the 19th century, he was educated in the tradition of Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart and Clementi
Muzio Clementi
Muzio Clementi was a celebrated composer, pianist, pedagogue, conductor, music publisher, editor, and piano manufacturer. Born in Italy, he spent most of his life in England. He is best known for his piano sonatas, and his collection of piano studies, Gradus ad Parnassum...

; he used Clementi's piano method with his own students. He was also influenced by Hummel
Johann Nepomuk Hummel
Johann Nepomuk Hummel or Jan Nepomuk Hummel was an Austrian composer and virtuoso pianist. His music reflects the transition from the Classical to the Romantic musical era.- Life :...

's development of virtuoso, yet Mozartian, piano technique. Chopin cited Bach and Mozart as the two most important composers in shaping his musical outlook.

The series of seven Polonaises published in his lifetime (another nine were published posthumously), beginning with the Op. 26 pair, set a new standard for music in the form, and were rooted in Chopin's desire to write something to celebrate Polish culture after the country had fallen into Russian control. The Polonaise in A major, Op. 40, No. 1, the "Military," and the Polonaise in A-flat major, Op. 53, the "Heroic," are among Chopin's best-loved and most-often-played works.

Chopin also wrote 24 different preludes as a tribute to J. S. Bach's "The Well Tempered Clavier." Chopin's preludes move up the circle-of-fifths, whereas Bach uses the chromatic scale to create a prelude in every major and minor tonality achievable on the clavier.

Rubato


Chopin's music is well known for benefiting from rubato
Tempo rubato
Tempo rubato is a musical term referring to expressive and rhythmic freedom by a slight speeding up and then slowing down of the tempo of a piece at the discretion of the soloist or the conductor...

(which was how he himself performed his music),
as opposed to a strictly regular playing. Yet there is usually call for caution when the music is performed with wobbly, over-exaggerated, inappropriate "rubato" (e.g. attempting to justify insecure playing, with reference to expressive rubato).
However, while some can provide restrictive quotes about Chopin such as the above, often to the effect that "the accompanying hand always played in strict tempo", these quotes need to be considered in better context in terms both of the time when they were made and of the situations that may have prompted the original writer to set down the thoughts. Constantin von Sternberg (1852–1924) has written:
There are also views of contemporary writers such as Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts . Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works; as a...

.

This suggests that Chopin is not to be found at commonly encountered one-sided extremes. The unbalanced views are:
  • that Chopin requires metronomic
    Metronome
    A metronome is any device that produces regular, metrical ticks — settable in beats per minute. These ticks represent a fixed, regular aural pulse; some metronomes also include synchronized visual motion...

     rhythm in the left hand;
  • that insecure performances of Chopin can be justified with reference to rubato;
  • that performances with particular inflections, that result from technical limits/insecurities rather than a performer's intentions, can be justified with reference to rubato.


Some performers' (and piano-schools') "too strongly held one-sided views on Chopin's way of playing rubato" may account for some unsatisfactory interpretations of his music.

Romanticism


Chopin is considered one of the great masters of Romantic music
Romantic music
Romantic music or music in the Romantic Period is a musicological and artistic term referring to a particular period, theory, compositional practice, and canon in Western music history, from 1810 to 1900....

.

Chopin regarded most of his contemporaries with indifference, though he had many acquaintances who were associated with romanticism
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

 in music, literature, and the fine arts—many of them via his liaison with George Sand. Chopin's music is, however, considered by many to epitomise the Romantic style. The relative classical purity and discretion in his music, with little extravagant exhibitionism, partly reflects his reverence for Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

 and Mozart.

Chopin never indulged in explicit "scene-painting" in his music, or used programmatic titles. He castigated publishers who renamed his compositions in this way.

Nationalism



Chopin's Polish biographer Zdzisław Jachimecki notes that "Chopin at every step demonstrated his Polish spirit – in the hundreds of letters that he wrote in Polish, in his attitude to Paris' [Polish] émigrés, in his negative view of all that bore the official stamp of the powers that occupied Poland." Likewise Chopin composed music to accompany Polish texts but never musically illustrated a single French or German text, though he numbered among his friends several great French and German poets.

According to his English biographer Arthur Hedley
Arthur Hedley
Arthur Hedley , English musicologist and scholar, biographer of Frédéric Chopin.Arthur Hedley was educated at Durham and at the Sorbonne, and he devoted much of his life to the study of the composer Frédéric Chopin and his music. 1947 saw the publication of Hedley's biography of Chopin, as part of...

, Chopin "found within himself and in the tragic story of Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 the chief sources of his inspiration. The theme of Poland's glories and sufferings was constantly before him, and he transmuted the primitive rhythms and melodies of his youth into enduring art forms."

In asserting his own Polishness, Chopin, according to Jachimecki, exerted "a tremendous influence [toward] the nationalization
Nationality
Nationality is membership of a nation or sovereign state, usually determined by their citizenship, but sometimes by ethnicity or place of residence, or based on their sense of national identity....

 of the work of numerous later composers, who have often personally – like the Czech Smetana
Bedrich Smetana
Bedřich Smetana was a Czech composer who pioneered the development of a musical style which became closely identified with his country's aspirations to independent statehood. He is thus widely regarded in his homeland as the father of Czech music...

 and Norway's Grieg
Edvard Grieg
Edvard Hagerup Grieg was a Norwegian composer and pianist. He is best known for his Piano Concerto in A minor, for his incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt , and for his collection of piano miniatures Lyric Pieces.-Biography:Edvard Hagerup Grieg was born in...

 – confirmed this opinion..."

The Hungarian composer Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt ; ), was a 19th-century Hungarian composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher.Liszt became renowned in Europe during the nineteenth century for his virtuosic skill as a pianist. He was said by his contemporaries to have been the most technically advanced pianist of his age...

, Chopin's contemporary, referred to Chopin's Polish homeland when he wrote that Chopin "may be ranked first among musicians who have had an individual poetic sense of a particular nation." He referred to Chopin as "a Polish artist." Composer Robert Schumann
Robert Schumann
Robert Schumann, sometimes known as Robert Alexander Schumann, was a German composer, aesthete and influential music critic. He is regarded as one of the greatest and most representative composers of the Romantic era....

 acknowledged the strength of Chopin's personal reaction to Russia's suppression of the November 1830 Uprising
November Uprising
The November Uprising , Polish–Russian War 1830–31 also known as the Cadet Revolution, was an armed rebellion in the heartland of partitioned Poland against the Russian Empire. The uprising began on 29 November 1830 in Warsaw when the young Polish officers from the local Army of the Congress...

 when he wrote that in Chopin's music one found "guns buried among the flowers."

Some Polish writers have used, for Chopin's surname, the Polonized phonetic spelling, "Szopen" .

Works


Over 230 Chopin works survive; some compositions from early childhood have been lost. All his known works involved the piano. Only a few ranged beyond solo-piano music, as either piano concerto
Piano concerto
A piano concerto is a concerto written for piano and orchestra.See also harpsichord concerto; some of these works are occasionally played on piano...

s or chamber music
Chamber music
Chamber music is a form of classical music, written for a small group of instruments which traditionally could be accommodated in a palace chamber. Most broadly, it includes any art music that is performed by a small number of performers with one performer to a part...

.

Chopin composed:
  • 59 mazurka
    Mazurkas (Chopin)
    Over the years 1825-1849, Frédéric Chopin wrote at least 69 mazurkas, based on the traditional Polish dance :* 58 have been published** 45 during Chopin's lifetime, of which 41 have opus numbers...

    s
  • 27 étude
    Études (Chopin)
    The Études by Frédéric Chopin are three sets of solo studies for the piano, There are twenty-seven overall, comprising two separate collections of twelve, numbered Opus 10 and 25, and a set of three without opus number.-Composition:...

    s (twelve in the Op. 10 cycle, twelve in the Op. 25 cycle, and three in a collection without an opus number)
  • 27 preludes
  • 21 nocturne
    Nocturnes (Chopin)
    The Chopin nocturnes constitute 21 short pieces for solo piano written by Frédéric Chopin between 1827 and 1846. They are generally considered among the finest short solo works for the instrument and hold an important place in contemporary concert repertoire...

    s
  • 20 waltz
    Waltzes (Chopin)
    Frédéric Chopin’s Waltzes are pieces of moderate length adhering to the traditional 3/4 waltz time, but are remarkably different from the earlier Viennese waltzes in that they were not designed for dancing but for concert performance. Some of them are accessible by pianists of moderate...

    es
  • 18 polonaise
    Polonaises (Chopin)
    Most of Frédéric Chopin's polonaises were written for solo piano. He wrote his first polonaise in 1817, when he was 7; his last was the Polonaise-Fantaisie of 1846, three years before his death. Among the best known polonaises are the "Military" Polonaise in A, Op. 40, No. 1, and the "Heroic" or...

    s, including one with orchestral accompaniment and one for cello and piano accompaniment
  • 5 rondo
    Rondo
    Rondo, and its French equivalent rondeau, is a word that has been used in music in a number of ways, most often in reference to a musical form, but also to a character-type that is distinct from the form...

    s
  • 4 ballade
    Ballades (Chopin)
    Frédéric Chopin's four ballades are one-movement pieces for solo piano, composed between 1835 and 1842. They are some of the most challenging pieces in the standard piano repertoire....

    s
  • 4 impromptus
  • 4 scherzi
  • 4 sets of variation
    Variation (music)
    In music, variation is a formal technique where material is repeated in an altered form. The changes may involve harmony, melody, counterpoint, rhythm, timbre, orchestration or any combination of these.-Variation form:...

    s, including Souvenir de Paganini
    Niccolò Paganini
    Niccolò Paganini was an Italian violinist, violist, guitarist, and composer. He was one of the most celebrated violin virtuosi of his time, and left his mark as one of the pillars of modern violin technique...

  • 3 écossaise
    Ecossaise
    Écossaise is a type of contra dance in a Scottish style that was popular in France and Great Britain at the end of the 18th century and at the beginning of the 19th...

    s
  • 3 piano sonata
    Piano sonata
    A piano sonata is a sonata written for a solo piano. Piano sonatas are usually written in three or four movements, although some piano sonatas have been written with a single movement , two movements , five or even more movements...

    s
  • 2 concerti
    Concerto
    A concerto is a musical work usually composed in three parts or movements, in which one solo instrument is accompanied by an orchestra.The etymology is uncertain, but the word seems to have originated from the conjunction of the two Latin words...

     for piano and orchestra, Op. 11
    Piano Concerto No. 1 (Chopin)
    The Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11, is a piano concerto written by Frédéric Chopin in 1830. It was first performed on 11 October of that year, in Warsaw, with the composer as soloist, during one of his "farewell" concerts before leaving Poland....

     and 21
    Piano Concerto No. 2 (Chopin)
    The Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21, is a piano concerto composed by Frédéric Chopin in 1830. Chopin wrote the piece before he had finished his formal education, at around 20 years of age. It was first performed on 17 March 1830, in Warsaw, Poland, with the composer as soloist. It was...


He also composed: a fantaisie
Fantaisie in F minor (Chopin)
Frédéric Chopin's Fantaisie in F minor, Op. 49, is a single-movement work for the piano, composed in 1841, when he was 31 years old.- Musical form :...

, an Allegro de concert
Allegro de Concert (Chopin)
Frédéric Chopin’s Allegro de concert, Op. 46, is a piece for piano, published in November 1841. It is in one movement and takes between 13 and 15 minutes to play. The principal themes are bold and expressive...

(which is possibly the remnant of an incomplete concerto), a barcarole, a berceuse
Berceuse (Chopin)
Frédéric Chopin's Berceuse Op. 57 is a lullaby to be played on piano. It consists of variations in D-flat major. At first the composer titled the work Variations, but the title was altered for publication to the current Berceuse....

, a bolero
Bolero (Chopin)
The Bolero, Op. 19, was written by Frédéric Chopin in 1833 and published the following year. It is one of his lesser-known piano pieces, although it has been recorded numerous times....

, a tarantelle
Tarantelle (Chopin)
The Tarantelle in A-flat major, Op. 43 is a short piano piece in tarantella form, written by Frédéric Chopin in June 1841 and published in October 1841. It takes about 3 minutes to play....

, a contredanse, a fugue
Fugue
In music, a fugue is a compositional technique in two or more voices, built on a subject that is introduced at the beginning in imitation and recurs frequently in the course of the composition....

, a cantabile
Cantabile
Cantabile is a musical term meaning literally "singable" or "songlike" . It has several meanings in different contexts. In instrumental music, it indicates a particular style of playing designed to imitate the human voice. For 18th century composers, the term is often used synonymously with...

, a lento
Tempo
In musical terminology, tempo is the speed or pace of a given piece. Tempo is a crucial element of any musical composition, as it can affect the mood and difficulty of a piece.-Measuring tempo:...

, a Funeral march
Funeral march
A funeral march is a march, usually in a minor key, in a slow "simple duple" metre, imitating the solemn pace of a funeral procession. Some such marches are often considered appropriate for use during funerals and other sombre occasions, the most well-known being that of Chopin...

, and a Feuille d'album.

Chopin's other works include: a krakowiak
Krakowiak
The Krakowiak, sometimes referred to as the Pecker Dance, is a fast, syncopated Polish dance in duple time from the region of Krakow and Little Poland. This dance is known to imitate horses, the steps mimic their movement, for horses were well loved in the Krakow region of Poland for their civilian...

 for piano and orchestra; Variations on "Là ci darem la mano"
Variations on "Là ci darem la mano" (Chopin)
Frédéric Chopin's Variations on "Là ci darem la mano" for piano and orchestra, Op. 2, was written in 1827, when he was aged only 17. It was one of the earliest manifestations of Chopin's incipient genius...

for piano and orchestra; fantasia
Fantasia (music)
The fantasia is a musical composition with its roots in the art of improvisation. Because of this, it seldom approximates the textbook rules of any strict musical form ....

 on themes from Polish songs with accompanying orchestra; a trio for violin, cello and piano
Piano Trio (Chopin)
The Piano Trio, Op. 8, is a piano trio in G minor composed by Frédéric Chopin. It has four movements:#Allegro con Fuoco#Scherzo#Adagio Sostenuto#Finale: Allegretto...

; a sonata for cello and piano
Cello Sonata (Chopin)
Frédéric Chopin wrote his Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 65 in 1846. It is one of only nine works of Chopin published during his lifetime that were written for instruments other than piano . Chopin composed four sonatas, the others being all piano sonatas...

; a Grand Duo in E major
Grand Duo concertant (Chopin and Franchomme)
The Grand Duo concertant in E major, B. 70 is a composition for piano and cello, written jointly by Frédéric Chopin and Auguste Franchomme. It was written in 1832 and published in 1833....

for cello and piano on themes from Giacomo Meyerbeer
Giacomo Meyerbeer
Giacomo Meyerbeer was a noted German opera composer, and the first great exponent of "grand opera." At his peak in the 1830s and 1840s, he was the most famous and successful composer of opera in Europe, yet he is rarely performed today.-Early years:He was born to a Jewish family in Tasdorf , near...

's opera Robert le diable
Robert le diable (opera)
Robert le diable is an opera by Giacomo Meyerbeer, often regarded as the first grand opera. The libretto was written by Eugène Scribe and Casimir Delavigne and has little connection to the medieval legend of Robert the Devil. Originally planned as a three-act opéra comique, "Meyerbeer persuaded...

, co-written with Auguste Franchomme
Auguste Franchomme
Auguste-Joseph Franchomme was a French cellist and composer.Born in Lille, Franchomme studied at the local conservatoire with M...

; and 19 Polish songs for voice and piano
Polish songs by Frédéric Chopin
Although Frédéric Chopin is best known for his works for piano solo, among his output are a number of songs for voice and piano, set to Polish texts.-Background:...

.

Opus numbers



The last opus number that Chopin himself used was 65, allocated to the Cello Sonata in G minor
Cello Sonata (Chopin)
Frédéric Chopin wrote his Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 65 in 1846. It is one of only nine works of Chopin published during his lifetime that were written for instruments other than piano . Chopin composed four sonatas, the others being all piano sonatas...

.

Chopin expressed a deathbed wish that all his unpublished manuscripts be destroyed. However, at the request of the composer's mother and sisters, his pianist friend and musical executor Julian Fontana
Julian Fontana
Julian Fontana was a Polish pianist, composer, lawyer, author, translator, and entrepreneur, best remembered as a close friend and musical executor of Frédéric Chopin.-Biography:...

 selected 23 unpublished piano pieces and grouped them into eight opus numbers (Opp. 66–73). These works were published in 1855.

In 1857, 17 Polish songs
Polish songs by Frédéric Chopin
Although Frédéric Chopin is best known for his works for piano solo, among his output are a number of songs for voice and piano, set to Polish texts.-Background:...

 which Chopin wrote at various stages of his life were collected and published as Op. 74—the order within that opus having little regard to the actual order of composition. Two other songs were published in 1910.

Works that have been published since 1857 have not received opus numbers. Instead, alternate catalog designations have been applied to them.

Publishing


Chopin published much of his music simultaneously in Germany, France, and England. While this certainly earned the composer triple exposure and likely a good sum of revenue, the discrepancies between these three (or more) editions can be quite the conundrum. Ever the romantic, Chopin lived in a constant state of inspiration and improvisation, and was certainly prone to editing and revising his own music even after sending final drafts to his publishers. Especially considering that all published editions of his work during his lifetime were in fact proofed and approved by the composer himself, this is a popular source of anxiety amongst pianists and scholars.

How is one to know what the composer truly meant and wanted when we are presented with autographs and first drafts bearing the composer’s approval that differ in content? Details such as phrase markings, dynamics, fingerings, even the notes themselves are often subject to suspicion. The several editions of the time had different ways of dealing with this problem; the Germans of course believed that their version was infallible, the French called Chopin their own, having spent most of his adult life based in Paris, and the English publisher (a German who largely copied the French editions) annoyed Chopin by insisting on adding flowery titles to his pieces. Nearly 200 years later, the state of affairs in regards to Chopin editions has turned over a new leaf.

Today, several scholarly editions exist that attempt to organize the vast array of sources and compile the information in one presentable volume, notably the Paderewski and Polish National editions which contain lengthy and scholarly explanations and discussions regarding choices and sources. Even so, it is ultimately up to the taste of an editor as to which version of which piece suits them most at the given time, and perhaps Chopin himself faced the same dilemma, resulting in the variations we have today.

TV documentaries


In 2010, the 90-min. BBC TV documentary Chopin – The Women Behind The Music explores Chopin's life, notably his encounters with the singers who enchanted the composer with their voices. The BBC announcement for the premiere refers to Jenny Lind as the "Swedish opera star, who so affected Chopin in the final years of his life."
Another documentary about Chopin was realized by Angelo Bozzolini and Roberto Prosseda for Italian Television in 2010: "Fryderik Chopin". Featuring interviews with Martha Argerich, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Daniel Barenboim, Charles Rosen, it is currently distributed by Euroarts.

Fiction



Possibly the first venture into fictional treatments of Chopin's life was a fanciful operatic version of some of its events. This opera, entitled Chopin, was written by Giacomo Orefice
Giacomo Orefice
Giacomo Orefice was an Italian composer.He was born in Vicenza. He studied under Busi and Mancinelli at the Liceo Bologna, and later became professor of composition at the Milan Conservatory...

 and produced in Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 in 1901. Orefice incorporated Chopin's music, arranged as arias; the operatic arrangements have been described as "coarse". Various arias have been recorded by well-known singers, but the opera has long been out of the repertoire. Orefice also applied an operatic treatment to one of George Sand
George Sand
Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, later Baroness Dudevant , best known by her pseudonym George Sand , was a French novelist and memoirist.-Life:...

's novels, Consuelo
Consuelo (novel)
Consuelo is a novel by George Sand, first published serially in 1842-1843 in La Revue indépendante, a periodical founded in 1841 by Sand, Pierre Leroux and Louis Viardot. According to the Nuttall Encyclopædia, it is "[Sand's] masterpiece; the impersonation of the triumph of moral purity over...

.

Chopin's life and his relations with George Sand have been fictionalized in film. The 1945 biopic
Biographical film
A biographical film, or biopic , is a film that dramatizes the life of an actual person or people. They differ from films “based on a true story” or “historical films” in that they attempt to comprehensively tell a person’s life story or at least the most historically important years of their...

 A Song to Remember
A Song to Remember
A Song to Remember is a 1945 Columbia Pictures biographical film which tells a fictionalised life story of Polish pianist and composer Frédéric Chopin...

earned Cornel Wilde
Cornel Wilde
Cornel Wilde was an American actor and film director.-Early life:Kornél Lajos Weisz was born in 1912 in Prievidza, Hungary , although his year and place of birth are usually and inaccurately given as 1915 in New York City...

 an Academy Award nomination as Best Actor
Academy Award for Best Actor
Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry...

 for his portrayal of the composer. Other film treatments have included: La Valse de l'adieu (France, 1928) by Henry Roussel, with Pierre Blanchar as Chopin and the collaboration of musicologist Édouard Ganche as special historical advisor; Impromptu
Impromptu (1991 film)
Impromptu is a 1991 movie, based on a screenplay written by Sarah Kernochan, directed by James Lapine, produced by Daniel A. Sherkow and Stuart Oken, and starring Hugh Grant as Chopin and Judy Davis as George Sand. This movie was rated PG-13 by the MPAA...

(1991), starring Hugh Grant
Hugh Grant
Hugh John Mungo Grant is an English actor and film producer. He has received a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA, and an Honorary César. His films have earned more than $2.4 billion from 25 theatrical releases worldwide. Grant achieved international stardom after appearing in Richard Curtis's...

 as Chopin; La note bleue (1991); and Chopin: Desire for Love
Chopin: Desire for Love
Chopin: Desire for Love is a film created by director Jerzy Antczak based on the life story of the famous Polish pianist and composer Fryderyk Chopin.The plot covers the affair between Chopin and feminist writer George Sand...

(2002). The 1975 Ken Russell
Ken Russell
Henry Kenneth Alfred "Ken" Russell was an English film director, known for his pioneering work in television and film and for his flamboyant and controversial style. He attracted criticism as being obsessed with sexuality and the church...

 film Lisztomania outlandishly portrayed Chopin and Sand's relationship as dominant and submissive, with Sand fulfilling the role of dominatrix
Dominatrix
Dominatrix or mistress is a woman or women who takes the dominant role in bondage, discipline and sadomasochism, or BDSM. A common form of address for a submissive to a dominatrix is "mistress", "ma'am", "domina" or "maîtresse"...

 over Chopin's submissive
Bottom (BDSM)
In BDSM, a bottom or submissive is the partner in a BDSM relationship or a BDSM scene who takes the passive, receiving, or obedient role, to that of the top or dominant....

 attitude.

Another reference to Chopin in cinema occurs in Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman
Ernst Ingmar Bergman was a Swedish director, writer and producer for film, stage and television. Described by Woody Allen as "probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera", he is recognized as one of the most accomplished and...

's Autumn Sonata
Autumn Sonata
Autumn Sonata is a 1978 Swedish drama film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. The film stars Ingrid Bergman, Liv Ullmann and Lena Nyman. It tells the story of a celebrated classical pianist who is confronted by her neglected daughter...

. The difference of interpretation of Chopin's Prelude No. 2 in A minor by the pianist Charlotte Andergast and her daughter Eva constitutes a major scene in the film.

Kate Beaton
Kate Beaton
Kate Beaton is a Canadian webcomic artist. Originally from Mabou, Cape Breton, she has a degree in history and anthropology from Mount Allison University. She began drawing comics for the university newspaper, the Argosy, during her third and fourth years at school. Previously she worked in the...

 did a series of comics starring Chopin and Liszt, focusing on a fictionalized account of their friendship.

Chopin is the main character in the console role-playing game titled Eternal Sonata
Eternal Sonata
is an original role-playing video game created by Tri-Crescendo. The Xbox 360 version of the game was released on June 14, 2007 in Japan, September 17, 2007 in North America, and October 19, 2007 in Europe...

. The game depicts Chopin's final moments before his death while he explores a magical world in his dream full of music, while Chopin struggles to decide which world is truly the real world.

See also


  • Cyprian Norwid
  • Maria Kalergis
    Maria Kalergis
    Maria Kalergis was a countess, Polish pianist and patron of the arts.-Life:...

  • Salon Frédéric Chopin
    Salon Frédéric Chopin
    The Salon Frédéric Chopin is a small museum dedicated to Frédéric Chopin. It is located within the Bibliothèque Polonaise à Paris in the 4th arrondissement of Paris at 6, Quai d'Orléans, Paris, France...

    in Paris
  • Toruń gingerbread (young Chopin's enthusiasm for the Polish confection).
  • Chopin's disease
  • List of Poles

External links


  • Klasikal.com, Website dedicated to classical music. Includes video performances and sheet music of every composition of Frédéric Chopin.
  • The Chopin Project, A guide to Chopin's solo keyboard music, with individual entries, on-demand audio, essays, quotes, references, biographies, and abundant links.
  • The Chopin Society, The website of the Chopin Society in London provides information about their monthly concerts, membership of the Society, and offers insights into the life of the composer.
  • listen to Chopin, This website is dedicated to Chopin's music. Includes almost all of the composer's music; Etudes, Mazurkas, Nocturnes, Preludes, Waltz, Ballades, Impromptus, Rondos, Scherzos, Concertos, and Sonatas .
  • Chopin Music, Website and forum devoted to the life and works of Chopin: biographies, study guides, recordings, sheet music.
  • Chopin: the poet of the piano, A favourite Chopin place since 1999 with biography, images, complete music and score, discussion forum, work list and analysis, quizzes and contests, noted interpreters/great pianists...
  • Internet Chopin Information Centre, Chopin portal including calendar, catalogues, other information about Chopin, Chopin on the Web, and pianists' biographical notes.
  • Chopin.pl, website under the auspices of Warsaw-based Fryderyk Chopin Society. Contains a biography, an outline of Chopin's works and musical style and pictures of original manuscripts.
  • Bachtrack.com, Listings of live concerts of Chopin's music at Bachtrack, also see anniversary page at
  • Frédéric Chopin and Samuel Barber, ArtsEditor.com opinion article 2010: Certain composers are so ubiquitous that to celebrate them seems unnecessary, especially as many others languish in relative obscurity. Still, every few years the public is reminded of the anniversary of a particular composer's birth, prompting a slew…

Biographies


Music scores

  • Chopin scores from Mutopia Project
    Mutopia project
    The Mutopia Project is a volunteer-run effort to create a library of free content sheet music, in a way similar to Project Gutenberg's library of public domain books.The music is reproduced from old scores that are out of copyright...

  • Chopin Early Editions, a collection of over 400 first and early printed editions of musical compositions by Frédéric Chopin published before 1881.
  • Chopin's First Editions Online features an interface that allows three navigable scores to be open simultaneously in frames to facilitate comparison.

Recordings


Some of the most critically praised recordings of Chopin's music are those of Martha Argerich
Martha Argerich
Martha Argerich is an Argentine pianist.-Early life:Argerich was born in Buenos Aires and started playing the piano at age three...

, Claudio Arrau
Claudio Arrau
Claudio Arrau León was a Chilean pianist known for his interpretations of a vast repertoire spanning from the baroque to 20th-century composers, especially Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Brahms and Debussy...

, Vladimir Ashkenazy
Vladimir Ashkenazy
Vladimir Davidovich Ashkenazy is a Russian-Icelandic conductor and pianist. Since 1972 he has been a citizen of Iceland, his wife Þórunn's country of birth. Since 1978, because of his many obligations in Europe, he and his family have resided in Meggen, near Lucerne in Switzerland...

, Alfred Cortot
Alfred Cortot
Alfred Denis Cortot was a Franco-Swiss pianist and conductor. He is one of the most renowned 20th-century classical musicians, especially valued for his poetic insight in Romantic period piano works, particularly those of Chopin and Schumann.-Early life and education:Born in Nyon, Vaud, in the...

, Shura Cherkassky
Shura Cherkassky
Shura Cherkassky was an American classical pianist known for his performances of the romantic repertoire. His playing was characterized by a virtuoso technique and singing piano tone...

, Dang Thai Son
Dang Thai Son
Đặng Thái Sơn is a Vietnamese pianist, winner at the Tenth International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw.-Musical career:...

, Samson François
Samson François
Samson Pascal François was a French pianist and composer.-Biography:François was born in Frankfurt where his father worked at the French consulate. His mother, Rose, named him Samson, for strength, and Pascal, for spirit...

, Vladimir Horowitz
Vladimir Horowitz
Vladimir Samoylovich Horowitz    was a Russian-American classical virtuoso pianist and minor composer. His technique and use of tone color and the excitement of his playing were legendary. He is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century.-Life and early...

, Evgeny Kissin
Evgeny Kissin
Evgeny Igorevitch Kissin is a Russian classical pianist and former child prodigy. He has been a British citizen since 2002. He is especially known for his interpretations of the works of the Romantic repertoire, particularly Frédéric Chopin and Franz Liszt.-Biography:Kissin was born in Moscow to...

, Dinu Lipatti
Dinu Lipatti
Dinu Lipatti was a Romanian classical pianist and composer whose career was cut short by his death from Hodgkin's disease at age 33. He was elected posthumously to the Romanian Academy.-Biography:...

, Nikita Magaloff
Nikita Magaloff
Nikita Magaloff was a Georgian-Russian pianist.He was born in Saint Petersburg to a Georgian noble family named Maghalashvili. Magaloff and his family left Russia in 1918 for Finland and then Paris, where he studied with Isidor Philipp, chair of the piano department at the Paris Conservatory...

, Arturo Benedetti-Michelangeli, Ivan Moravec
Ivan Moravec
Ivan Moravec is a Czech concert pianist whose performing and recording career, spanning nearly half a century, has gained him a worldwide following....

, Janusz Olejniczak
Janusz Olejniczak
Janusz Olejniczak is a Polish classical pianist and actor.Olejniczak's piano teachers were Ryszard Bakst and Zbigniew Drzewiecki. In 1970 he won 6th place in the International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, and two years later he placed in the Alfredo Casella Piano Competition in...

, Murray Perahia
Murray Perahia
Murray Perahia KBE is an American concert pianist and conductor.-Early life:Murray Perahia was born in the Bronx borough of New York City to a family of Sephardi Jewish origin. According to the biography on his Mozart piano sonatas CD, his first language was Judaeo-Spanish or, Ladino. The family...

, Vlado Perlemuter
Vlado Perlemuter
Vlado Perlemuter was a Lithuanian-born French pianist.-Biography:Vlado Perlemuter was born to a Polish Jewish family, the third of four sons, in Kovno, Russia . At the age of three, he lost the use of his left eye in an accident.His family settled in France in 1907...

, Maurizio Pollini
Maurizio Pollini
Maurizio Pollini is an Italian classical pianist.- Biography and career :Pollini was born in Milan to the Italian rationalist architect Gino Pollini. Maurizio studied piano first with Carlo Lonati, until the age of 13, then with Carlo Vidusso, until he was 18...

, Sviatoslav Richter
Sviatoslav Richter
Sviatoslav Teofilovich Richter was a Soviet pianist well known for the depth of his interpretations, virtuoso technique, and vast repertoire. He is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century.-Childhood:...

, Arthur Rubinstein
Arthur Rubinstein
Arthur Rubinstein KBE was a Polish-American pianist. He received international acclaim for his performances of the music of a variety of composers...

, Tatiana Shebanova, Fou Ts'ong
Fou Ts'ong
Fou Ts'ong is a Chinese pianist.Born in Shanghai to a family of intellectuals , Fou first studied piano with Mario Paci, the Italian founder of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra...

 and Krystian Zimerman
Krystian Zimerman
Krystian Zimerman is a Polish classical pianist who is widely regarded as one of the finest living pianists.-Biography:...

 (all these pianists have at least 5 achievements of outstanding recordings of Chopin).
  • Performances by Angela Lear: http://www.angelalear.com 'The Chopin Collection' volumes 1–5, include rarely-heard original variants.
  • www.200chopin.com, Recordings by all Deutsche Grammophon and Decca artists, full track streaming for free: Argerich, Freire, Pollini, Zimerman, Pires, Wang, Ott etc.
  • Performances by Daniel Wnukowski
    Daniel Wnukowski
    Daniel Wnukowski is a Polish Canadian pianist from Windsor, Ontario, Canada.- Early years and training:At age 3 and a half, he showed strong fascination for a grand piano made completely out of glass in a music store and begged his parents to begin taking piano lessons.He studied piano at the...

    : 'Heroic' polonaise, 2 nocturnes, 1 scherzo, 1 prelude
  • Performances by Michael Sayers: Preludes Op. 28 Nos. 1 and 20
  • Performances by Donald Betts: 3 ballades, 3 études, 2 nocturnes, 1 mazurka
  • Performances by Paul Cantrell from In the Hands
  • Performances by Alberto Cobo: Sonata No. 3, Ballade No. 1 and Fantasie-Impromptu, Sonata No. 2, Scherzo No. 2, Prelude No. 16
  • Various performers from PianoParadise (some links are broken)
  • MIDI files from Kunst der Fuge
  • Preludes No. 4 and No. 6 arranged for voices, guitar, and bass by the John Link Project
  • Performances of works by Frédéric Chopin in MP3 and MIDI formats at Logos Virtual Library
  • Free Chopin Downloads (MP3 and WMA)
  • the original Chopin Chopin as played by Angela Lear from autograph manuscripts. "Hear what Chopin really intended" BBC Music Magazine; "...Her Chopin recitals were altogether exceptional for perfect interpretation and maximum faithfulness to Chopin's intentions " Le Matin.
  • Chopin selected works (MP3)
  • Piano Society – A short biography and some free recordings in MP3 format, performed by Chiara Bertoglio, Roberto Carnevale
    Roberto Carnevale
    Roberto Carnevale is an Italian composer, pianist and conductor.- Biography and career :Born in Catania, he started studying piano at the age of seven. He took a degree in Arts at the University of Catania and he attended the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena...

    , Eric Clark
    Eric Clark
    Eric Clark is a former Secretary of State of Mississippi. A Democrat, he was elected in 1995 and re-elected in 1999 and 2003. He did not seek reelection in 2007 and was succeeded in office by Republican Delbert Hosemann....

    , Alexander Djordjevic
    Alexander Djordjevic
    Alexander Djordjevic is an American classical concert pianist.-Biography:Born in Chicago, Alexander Djordjevic began his piano studies at age three, performing as a concerto soloist at ages twelve and fifteen...

    , Ken Sasaki, Robert Ståhlbrand, Evelina Vorontsova

Miscellaneous