on Feb 9th, 2009Frédéric Chopin
Frédéric Chopin (1 March 1810 – 17 October 1849) was a composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic period. He is widely regarded as the greatest Polish composer, and ranks as one of music’s greatest tone poets.
Chopin was born in the village of Żelazowa Wola, in the Duchy of Warsaw, to a Polish mother and French-expatriate father, and in his early life was regarded as a child-prodigy pianist. In November 1830, at the age of twenty, he went abroad; following the suppression of the Polish November Uprising of 1830-1831, he became one of many expatriates of the Polish “Great Emigration.”
In Paris, Chopin made a comfortable living as a composer and piano teacher, while giving few public performances. Though an ardent Polish patriot in France he used the French versions of his names and eventually, to avoid having to rely on Imperial Russian documents, became a French citizen. After some ill-fated romantic involvements with Polish women, from 1837 to 1847 he had a turbulent relationship with the French writer George Sand (Aurore Dudevant). Always in frail health, he died in Paris in 1849, at the age of thirty-nine, of chronic pulmonary tuberculosis.
Chopin’s extant compositions were written primarily for the piano as a solo instrument. Though they are technically demanding his style emphasises nuance and expressive depth. Chopin invented musical forms such as the ballade and was responsible for major innovations in forms such as the piano sonata, waltz, nocturne, étude, impromptu and prélude. His works are mainstays and masterpieces of Romanticism in 19th-century classical music.