Frédéric Chopin... Romantic Genius...

Frédéric Chopin...

Fryderyk...

Buried... was his... "heart"...

In his much loved homeland...

Poland...

Beneath an epitaph...

"For where your treasure is...

There will your heart be also".

Chopin's "heart" has reposed... in the Holy Cross church on... Krakowskie Przedmieście... in Warsaw...

The romantic genius... was interred... at the Père Lachaise Cemetery... according to his wishes. Chopin's Préludes No. 4 in E minor and No. 6 in B minor... were played at his funeral at "l'Église de la Madeleine"...  The organist was... Franz Liszt who wrote...

“no one compares to him: he shines lonely, peerless in the firmament of art.”

His sister Ludwika attended her brother's funeral... his lover George Sand was conspicuous by her absence...  The "Funeral March" from his Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 35 was played at his graveside... Numerous visitors... are attracted to Chopin's grave... which is always covered with the scent of lovely flowers...

I have... for a while abandoned listening to Chopin... usually preferring the... "dramatic power and intelligence" of... Mozart... Brahms... Beethoven... Schubert... to name but a few...

However...

Having received... the brilliant classical pianist Maurizio Pollini's Deutsche Grammophon nine CD Chopin collection... I have allowed myself to become...

Bewitched... by his genius...

I... succumbed...

Fryderyk Chopin...

Composer...

"Pianistic innovator"...

Virtuoso pianist...

"Master of romantic music"...

"Poet of the piano"...

Was Idolized by his adoring public...

Born in Żelazowa Wola in Poland on 1 March 1810...

His mother Justyna was Polish... his father Nicolas was a Frenchman who immigrated to Poland.

A child prodigy pianist and composer... who moved to Paris following the Russian suppression of the Polish November 1830 Uprising... never to return to his beloved homeland... he gave only thirty public performances in the remaining nineteen years of his short life... preferring the atmosphere and ambience of the more "intime"... "Salon"...

Always a sickly child and in poor health most of his adult life... he died in Paris in 1849... at the very premature age of thirty nine.

Chopin's works consisted mainly of "solo piano"... he also wrote two "piano concertos"... "chamber music"... songs to Polish texts...  His works were "technically demanding"... emphasizing "nuance and expressive depth"...  Chopin also invented the "instrumental ballad" and introduced major innovations to the "piano sonata", "mazurka", "polonaise", "nocturne", "étude"... among others...

The Chopin family were all musically inclined... his father played the flute and violin... his mother... the piano... and gave lessons to the elite students of the boarding house the Chopin family maintained... Chopin became "conversant" with music at a young age.

The Polish "esprit"... cultural life and language... was of the essence in their home... thus the description of Chopin by George Sand... "more Polish than Poland"...

He was tutored at the piano by his older sister Ludwika (Louise)...  Known for his romantic and sentimental sensibilities... Chopin would weep with emotion when his beloved mother played the piano...

Emotion... divine...

Chopin generously praised his first professional Czech piano teacher Wojciech Żywny... who tutored him from 1816-1822...

The then... seven year old "little Chopin" (Szopenek)... on giving his first public concerts... was being favourably compared to Mozart and Beethoven... the formidable seven year old pianist virtuoso composed two Polonaises, in G minor and B-flat major.  At the tender age of eleven... he performed in the presence of Alexander I, Tsar of Russia...

Awesome...

He was also remarkable for his intelligence... abilities in "observation and sketching"... his quick wit and delightful sense of humour... manifesting in a talent for mimicry as well as a literary gift...

In 1826, the young Chopin studied with the Silesian composer Józef Elsner at the Warsaw Conservatory...  Elsner tutored the... "remarkable talent"... "musical genius"... by his reluctance to "constrain" Chopin with "narrow, academic, outdated rules"... and by wisely allowing the young artist the freedom to mature... "according to the laws of his own nature"... comparisons of the young genius with earlier composers was difficult because of the originality of Chopin's works...  When Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven were apprentices... he was already masterful.

Artistic heaven...

A Legend...

Chopin was a youth... threatened by tuberculosis...  His younger sister Emilia had died of the disease at age fourteen, as did his father succumb to the same unforgiving malady.

Chopin never gave... "thematic titles"... to his instrumental works... he merely identified his works by "genre" and "number". His compositions were also greatly inspired by his own emotional and sensual experiences... and, his friendships with the foremost figures of Warsaw's artistic and intellectual world... as Maurycy Mochnacki, Józef Bohdan Zaleski and Julian Fontana... After a brilliant début in Vienna, Chopin gave two piano concerts with favourable reviews... some however... criticised the "small tone" that he drew from the piano"... However... his success as a piano virtuoso and composer... opened doors to Western Europe...

Chopin bade farewell... to his homeland... his friends and admirers... on November 2, 1830... wearing a ring from a beautiful young singer of the Warsaw Opera... Konstancja Gładkowska... and touchingly... carrying a silver cup containing soil from his native Poland... he embarked onto a journey into the unknown...

Alone in Vienna... afflicted by nostalgia...

"Disappointed in his hopes of giving concerts and publishing", Chopin, "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."

Chopin arrived in Paris... in September 1831... never to return to Poland.

François-Joseph Fétis, the influential musicologist and critic wrote in "Revue musicale"... after Chopin gave a concert in 1832 that was universally accoladed and admired...

"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..."

Robert Schumann... earlier reviewing Chopin's Variations on "La ci darem la mano", Op. 2 (variations on a theme from Mozart's opera Don Giovanni)... wrote...

"Hats off, gentlemen... A genius"...

Chopin participated and played frequently at Salons... special gatherings of the aristocracy and artistic literary elite... preferring to play at his Paris apartment... for a small "intime" group of friends...

"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."

Countess Marie d'Agoult... mistress of friend and fellow composer Franz Liszt... introduced Chopin to the French author and feminist... Amandine Aurore Lucille Dupin... the Baroness Dudevant... better known by her pseudonym... "George Sand"... A chance encounter that led to eternal fame... Initially... our composer felt an aversion to her... declaring...

"What a repulsive woman Sand is... But is she really a woman?  I am inclined to doubt it."...

However... Sand... in a letter to Count Wojciech Grzymała... a friend to both her and Chopin... did admit to strong feelings for him. Chopin's and Sand's... legendary love affair... was an "open secret" by 1838...

In spite of a turbulent and miserable winter together in Majorca...  It was considered one of the most productive periods in Chopin's life... Sand also penned... "Un hiver à Majorque"... (A Winter in Majorca)... whereby the controversial author described the period she and her lover Chopin spent on the Island in 1838-1839.

During the years 1839-43... Chopin composed the Polonaise in A flat major, Op. 53, the "Heroic"... one of his most famous works.  In 1845, his health deteriorated drastically... so did his relationship with Sand... which ended in 1847...

For Chopin... George Sand... was the love of his life... lover... mother... nurse... companion... and muse... but Chopin... was one of many famous lovers in Sand's life... After their... "rupture"... he rarely composed again... before his death two years later.

His health deteriorated markedly on October 15th 1849 ... Chopin complained that George Sand promised that he... "would die in her arms"... on Wednesday October 17th... a few minutes before two o'clock...

Chopin... died.

A divine light...

Extinguished...

Forever...

There will never be another...

Like him...

With the brilliant pianist Pollini... playing Chopin's piano concerto no.1...dreamily poetic... divine music flooding my space...  Emerging shapes and shadows... reflections of emotions... summer nights... dreams of moonlight... memories... profound feelings...

Emotions that moved me to tears...

I had... have... fallen...

Hopelessly...

Deeply...

Passionately...

In love...

With...

Frédéric...

Fryderyk...

Chopin...

a.

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