Frédéric François Chopin (1810-1849)
“Chopin is a pianist of conviction. He composes for himself, plays for himself… and everyone listens with interest,with delight, with infinite pleasure… Nothing indeed equals the lightness and sweetness of his preluding on the piano, nothing compares his works in originality, distinction and grace. Chopin is unique as a pianist—he should not and cannot be compared with anyone.”
-La France Musicale
Their relation began on 1836, at a party honoring Franz Liszt, hosted by Countess Marie d’Agoult. In the big garden of the Countess’s house, Chopin sat in front of the piano and improvised a beautiful music piece that instantly penetrated the heart of George Sand. At 6 years older, the femme fatale at that time fell in love with him, and after earning his heart, she became the motherly lover that the history of music would never forget. The two of them moved over to the Mallorca Island, since Chopin’s health was in a serious condition. Afterwards, they moved over to her house at Nohant; however, his health didn’t show any improvement. Although Sand devoted herself to curing Chopin, as time passed by she got tired of that kind of love. Their love didn’t end as beautifully as its started, but still, it became an unforgettable memory within people’s minds. Professionals say that the masculine and sociable characteristic of Sand and the feminine and quiet characteristic of Chopin collided against each other; however, it was also the source of inspiring their artistic temperaments.
One said that Chopin not only writes music with great technique, but also adds his own scent to it which makes the piece even more special. He wrote various types of music such as Etudes, Preludes, Waltzes, Mazurkas, Nocturnes, Scherzos and Polonaises. It is recommendable to listen to his music in the fall. His music, as in Nocturnes, comprehends a romantic and sentimental ambiance which would make your fall even more beautiful.
∙Nocturnes: Nocturnes are the indispensable genre of Chopin’s music. There is a story about Liszt being heartedly inspired by them when he heard Chopin playing a piece with the lights gone in the dark. He said, “Chopin truly is the poet and I am just an unworthy clown.’
∙Preludes: Chopin wrote 24 Preludes when he was in Mallorca Island with George Sand. The ‘Raindrop Prelude (Preludes Op.28 No.15)’ is one of the most popular preludes he wrote. This piece has a relevant story to it. On such a rainy day, he was writing the piece, and he was so absorbed in writing it that he knew nothing of the rain pouring above his head which came down through the broken roof. It is said that the Preludes he wrote are practically his diaries about the nature and his life he spent there.
∙Waltzes: Waltzes are based on three-four time and are for dancing. Chopin decided to write this genre when he visited Vienna, Austria. He wasn’t satisfied with the waltzes written so far and decided to compose his own by incorporating the blissful and gloomy atmosphere of Vienna. Eventually, a unique style of Waltz which also required ponderous inner emotions was born. Among these Waltzes, the “Minute Waltz (Op. 64 No.1)” is the most famous and friendly to us, and it was written also when he was with Sand. He wrote this piece looking at the dog that Sand was raising. It is a cute and lovely piece describing a blissful dog jumping here and there.
∙Polonaises: Chopin is known as a great lover of his fatherland, Poland. Many of his Polonaises are about his fatherland, Poland. It describes the brave and honorable image of it. Chopin produced 16 Polonaises during his life and made it seen as one clear genre of music. While his fellow contemporary musicians, such as Schuman, wrote music based on inspirations through literature or art, Chopin wrote his based on his love of his life and fatherland. This makes his music even more exceptional than others.
2010 is Chopin’s 200th anniversary year. Many musicians around the world are celebrating this year by opening various parties and events. Even in Jeonju, many piano recitals were held already during the summer. There are still many concerts and performances to be held, such as those thatChopin associations around the world are independently carrying on. The ‘International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition’ of Poland could be said to be the best in all. It is one of the most famous three competitions, along with the ‘International Tchaikovsky Competition’ of Russia and the ‘Queen Elisabeth Competition’ of Belgium. The preliminary competition already ended, and the finals are held in October. For those who are interested in Chopin, you may also watch movies that are about or includes stories of him. The movies Impromptu (1991) and La note bleu (1991) are those that are about Chopin and George Sand. You may also find various movies that use Chopin or his music as an element, as in The Pianist (2002).
Autumn is the season when your eyes and emotions become sentimental with your friends or your lovers. Music lasts for a lifetime, and it is capable of making your life fruitful. The 200th anniversary of a world famous Romantic musician is not an event that comes every day. Through this opportunity, why not find out about Chopin and listen to his music? How good would it be to listen to the pieces introduced above and imagine his life and enthusiastic love?
Frédéric François Chopin (1810-1849)