Frederic Chopin Biography


Frederic Chopin Biography (1810-1849)

One of the most profoundly original composers in history, Frederic Chopin was not at all a traditional "Romantic" musician; in fact, most of his music defines a separate category all its own. Born in Zelazowa Wola, a small city near Warsaw, Poland on February 22, 1810, Chopin first studied the piano at the Warsaw School of Music, and was quite proficient on that instrument by his early teens. He played his first public concert at age 7, and was a published composer at 15. By the late 1820s, Chopin had won a great reputation as a piano virtuoso and composer of piano pieces. He toured Europe, giving concert performances for ecstatic audiences and critics. In 1831 he arrived in Paris for such a concert; so immediate was his love for this city that he promptly decided to make it his new home. He was never to return to Warsaw.

In Paris, Chopin was in constant demand as a performer and teacher. He was a favorite at Parisian salons, and was befriended by many artistic luminaries of the day, including Hugo, Balzac, Liszt, Berlioz, Schumann, Dumas and Delacroix. The intense poeticism in his music made him a Romantic icon to many of his contemporaries, and he was embraced by the society elite.

In 1837, Chopin met the novelist Mme. Aurore Dudevant, who used the pseudonym George Sand. The two began a mercurial and ultimately tragic relationship which would prove the most influential and devastating development in Chopin's life. By 1847, their relationship at fallen apart. Heartbroken over the loss of his beloved, Chopin continued to compose, but was soon stricken by illness. Sapped by tuberculosis, he grew too sick to work, and suddenly died on October 17, 1849, at the age of only 39.

Chopin's music, no matter what the setting, is instantly recognizable. His unique sense of lyricism and unparalleled melodic genius produced some of the most purely beautiful music ever written - music which would influence many composers who followed, from Brahms to Debussy. His works tend to fall into one of three categories - small "technical" pieces (or ้tudes) for piano, published between 1833 and 1837; larger, more developed works for the piano (nocturnes, preludes, impromptus, mazurkas, polonaises); and the even larger, freely-conceived works (ballades, fanatasies, scherzos). He also wrote several sonatas, piano concertos, and a smattering of music for other instruments. He was a revolutionary light in Romantic music, the ultimate craftsman of whimsical melody and heart-rending harmony. In the structure and form of his compositions, he is quite alone; his sense of balance and architecture in music was not particularly related to the Classical or budding Romantic tradition, but seemed to spring from some unknown well-source. The overwhelming power and influence of his musical legacy is forever assured.

Frederic Chopin is the best piano composer of all time, even to this date. His music has inspired pianists all over the world. The music of Frederic Chopin is not only original, but has the most emotional impact for piano music. He took advantage of the piano in every way possible, trying not to be too ridiculous, as some composers are today, but trying not to be too conservative. Frederic Chopin was creative in a way that still makes his music far superior than all piano composers of this time. Proof that the music of Frederic Chopin is highly valued is that the average person probably would have heard of one or two of his piano compositions, even if they never listen to piano music.

Frederic Chopin composed all of his music experimenting at the piano for countless hours. He was concerned with the musicality and poetic nature of every single one of his piano pieces, rather than how virtuosic it would sound. This is why the piano music of Frederic Chopin is the best right now. No other piano composer seems to have gotten it right. Chopin improvised many of his complicated piano music works, especially the Fantasie Impromptu. The reason Frederic Chopin improvised is because he was fond of "free form" and all of his music is of that type. He did not want to be restricted. The Fantasie Impromptu was his most free form piece, which is why he gave it the name, Impromptu. Even though Frederic Chopin was fond of improvision, his music was carefully planned, logically written for the pianist, and was the most poetic piano music in history. Perhaps the reason he liked free form is because he wanted to explore the piano musically, in ways that all piano composers today still cannot even comprehend. No one comes close, musically, to the piano music of Frederic Chopin, and that is a fact. He never had any competition, and still has no competition.

If Fredric Chopin had concentrated on symphonies, he would write better symphonies than Beethoven. But he did not concentrate on symphony writing, which is the reason why Frederic Chopin wrote poor for anything else but the piano. The only reason Frederic Chopin concentrated on the piano was probably because he could not write music in his head. He was extremely creative but needed an aid, and the aid being the piano. Another reason why he concentrated on the piano was probably because he realized that the piano has many more possibilities than an orchestra. Frederic Chopin was a true hero to the piano, and gave the piano justice. Before his time, the piano only created boring piano music tunes. After Frederic Chopin, it was realized that the piano had capabilities of playing music that can be more musical than an orchestra.
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