Frédéric François Chopin

220px-Frédéric_Chopin_by_Bisson,_1849

Frédéric François Chopin ( 22 February or 1 March 1810 – 17 October 1849), born Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin, was a Romantic-era Polish composer. A child prodigy, Chopin grew up in Warsaw, completed his musical education there, and composed many of his works there before leaving Poland, aged 20, less than a month before the outbreak of the November 1830 Uprising.
Effectively cut off from Poland, at 21 he settled in Paris. During the remaining 18 years of his life, he gave only some 30 public performances, preferring the more intimate atmosphere of the salon; he supported himself by selling his compositions and as a sought-after piano teacher. He formed a friendship with Franz Liszt and was admired by many of his musical contemporaries, including Robert Schumann. After a failed engagement with a Polish girl, from 1837 to 1847 he maintained an often troubled relationship with the French writer George Sand. A brief and unhappy visit with Sand to Majorca in 1838–39 was also one of his most productive periods of composition. In his last years, he was financially supported by his admirer Jane Stirling, who also arranged for him to visit Scotland in 1848. Through most of his life, Chopin suffered from poor health; he died in Paris in 1849, probably of tuberculosis.
All of Chopin’s compositions include the piano; most are for solo piano, although he also wrote two piano concertos, a few chamber pieces, and some songs to Polish lyrics. His keyboard style, which is highly individual, is often technically demanding; his own performances were noted for their nuance and sensitivity. Chopin invented the concept of instrumental ballade; his major piano works also include sonatas, mazurkas, waltzes, nocturnes, polonaises, études, impromptus, scherzos, and preludes. Many of these works were published only after Chopin’s death. Stylistically, they contain elements of both Polish folk music and of the classical tradition of J.S. Bach, Mozart and Schubert, whom Chopin particularly admired. Chopin’s innovations in style, musical form, and harmony, and his association of music with nationalism, were influential throughout the late Romantic period and since.
Both in his native Poland and beyond, Chopin’s music, his status as one of music’s earliest ‘superstars’, his association (if only indirect) with political insurrection, his amours and his early death have made him, in the public consciousness, a leading symbol of the Romantic era. His works remain popular, and he has been the subject of numerous films and biographies of varying degrees of historical accuracy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s