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CHOPIN, Frederick  (1810-1849)

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Chopin, Frédéric (-Francois) (Fryderyk Franciszek), greatly renowned Polish composer, incomparable genius of the piano who created a unique romantic style of keyboard music; b. Zelazowa Wola, near Warsaw, in all probability on March 1, 1810, the date given by Chopin himself in his letter of acceptance of membership in the Polish Literary Soc. in Paris in 1833 (but in his certificate of baptism the date of birth is given as Feb. 22, 1810); d. Paris, Oct. 17, 1849. His father, Nicolas Chopin, was a native of Marainville, France, who went to Warsaw as a teacher of French; his mother, Tekla Justyna Krzyzanowska, was Polish. Chopin’s talent was manifested in early childhood; at the age of 8 he played in public a piano concerto by Gyrowetz, and he had already begun to compose polonaises, mazurkas, and waltzes. He received his primary musical instruction from the Bohemian pianist Adalbert Zywny, who resided in Warsaw at the time. A much more important teacher was Joseph Elsner, director of the Warsaw School of Music, who gave him a thorough instruction in music theory and form. Chopin was 15 years old when his Rondo for Piano was publ. in Warsaw as op. 1. In the summer of 1829 he set out for Vienna, where he gave highly successful concerts on Aug. 11 and Aug. 18, 1829. While in Vienna he made arrangements to have his variations on Mozart’s aria La ci darem La mano, for Piano and Orch., publ. by Haslinger as op. 2. It was this work that attracted the attention of Schumann, who saluted Chopin in his famous article publ. in the Allgemeine Musikahsche Zeitung of Dec. 7, 1831, in which Schumann’s alter ego. Eusebius. is represented as exclaiming, “Hats off, gentlemen! A genius!” The common assumption in many biographies that Schumann “launched” Chopin on his career is deceptive; actually Schumann was some months younger than Chopin, and was referred to editorially merely as a student of Prof. Wieck. Returning to Warsaw, Chopin gave the 1st public performance of his Piano Concerto in F minor, op. 21, on March 17, 1830. On Oct. 11, 1830, he was soloist in his Piano Concerto in E minor, op. 11. A confusion resulted in the usual listing of the E-minor Concerto as 1st, and the F-minor Concerto as his 2nd; chronologically, the composition of the F-minor Concerto preceded the E-minor. He spent the winter of 1830—31 in Vienna. The Polish rebellion against Russian domination, which ended in defeat, determined Chopin’s further course of action, and he proceeded to Paris, visiting Linz, Salzburg, Dresden, and Stuttgart on the way. He arrived in Paris in Sept. 1831, and was introduced to Rossini, Cherubini, and Paër. He also met Bellini, Meyerbeer, Berlioz, Victor Hugo, and Heinrich Heine; he became particularly friendly with Liszt. Paris was then the center of Polish emigration, and Chopin maintained his contacts with the Polish circle there. He presented his 1st Paris concert on Feb. 26, 1832. He also taught the piano. The Paris critics found an apt Shakespearean epithet for him, calling him “the Ariel of the piano.” In 1834 he went with F. Hiller to Germany, where he met Mendelssohn and Clara and Robert Schumann. In July 1837 he went with C. Pleyel to London. In 1836 he met Iefamous novelist Aurore Dupin (Mine. Dudevant), who publ. her works under the affected masculine English name George ~Sand. They became intimate, even though quite incompatible b character and interests. Sand was involved in social affairs ~mnd held radical views; Chopin was a poet confined within lila inner world; it has been said that she was the masculine nd he the feminine partner in their companionship. In the winter of 1838-39 Chopin accompanied Sand to the island ti Majorca, where she attended to him with total devotion; yet she portrayed him in her novel Lucrézia Floriani as a weakling. Indeed, she was quite overt in her reference to him M a lover; in a personal letter dated 1838 she said that she bad difficulty in inducing him to submit to a sensual embrace, .nd implied that she lived as an immaculate virgin most of the time they were together. They parted in 1847; by that lime he was quite ill with tuberculosis; a daguerreotype taken whim represents a prematurely aged man with facial features diowing sickness and exhaustion, with locks of black hair partly covering his forehead. Yet he continued his concert ~xeer. He undertook a tour as pianist in England and Scotland Iii 1848; he gave his last concert in Paris on Feb. 16, 1848. Lx Revue et Gazette Musicale of Feb. 20,1848, gives a precious a~unt of the occasion: “The finest flower of feminine aristocracy in the most elegant attire filled the Salle Pleyel,” the
~rrepo rted, “to catch this musical sylph on the wing.” yed his last concert in London, a benefit for Polish émigrés, on Nov. 16, 1848. He died the following year; Mozart’s Requiem was performed at Chopin’s funeral at the Madeleine, with Habeneck conducting the orch. and chorus of the Paris Cons. and Pauline Viardot and Lablache singing the solo parts. He was buried at Père Lachaise between the graves of Cherulilni and Bellini; however, at his own request, his heart was aent to Warsaw for entombment in his homeland.
Chopin represents the full liberation of the piano from traditlonalorch. and choral influences, the authoritative assumption dits role as a solo instrument. Not seeking “orchestral” sonorides, he may have paled as a virtuoso beside the titanic Liszt, but the poesy of his pianism, its fervor of expression, the pervading melancholy in his nocturnes and ballades, and the bounding exultation of his scherzos and etudes were never equaled. And, from a purely technical standpoint, Chopin’s figurations and bold modulatory transitions seem to presage the elaborate ~anstonal developments of modem music.
Worn:   SOLO PI.& Albuinleaf (Moderato) in E major (1843); Allegro de concert in A major, op. 46(1832-41); Andante spianato in C major, op. 22 (1834); Andantino in G minor (1838); 4 ballades: G minor, op. 23(1831-35); F major/A minor, op. 38 (1836-39); A-flat major, op. 47 (1840-41); F minor, op. 52 (1842); Barcarolle in F-sharp major, op. 60 (1845-46); Beweuse in P-flat major, op. 57 (1843-44); Introduction in C major and Bolero in A minor/A major, op. 19 (1833); Canon In F minor (1839?); Cantabile in B-flat major (1834); 3 Ecosarises, in P major, G major, and P-flat major, op. 72, no. 3 (1826); 24 etudes: 4, in F major, F minor, A-flat major, and E-flat major, op. 10, nos. 8-11(1829); 2, in G-flat major and E-flat minor, op. 10, nos. 5-6 (1830); 2, in C major and A minor, op. 10, nos. 1-2 (1830); C minor, op. 10, no. 12 (1830); C major, op. 10, no. 7 (1832); E major, op. 10, no. 3 (1832); C-sharp minor, op. 10, no. 4 (1832); 6, in A minor, E minor, C-sharp minor, P-flat major, G-flat major, and B minor, op. 25, nos. 4-6 and 8-10 (1832-34); A minor, op. 25, no. 11 (1834); F minor, op. 25, no. 2 (1836); C-sharp minor, op. 25, no. 7 (1836); 2, in F major and C minor, op. 25, nos. 3 and 12 (1836); A-flat major, op. 25, no. 1 (1836); Fantaisie in F minor/A-flat major, op. 49 (1841); Fantaisie-impromptu in Cdurp minor, op. 66 (1835); Fugue in A minor (1841-42); F,meral March in C minor, op. 72, no. 2(1827); 3 impromptus:
A-flat major, op. 29 (1837); F-sharp minor, op. 36 (1839); C- Nat major, op. 51(1842); Introduction and Variations on the German air Per Schweizerbub in E major (1826); Introduction hCmajor and Rondo in E-flat major, op. 16(1832); IntroducNot and Variations on Hérold’s “Je vends des scapulaires” from
Ludovic in B-flat major, op. 12 (1833); Largo in E-flat major (1837?); 56 mazurkas: P major (1820?; not extant); A-flat major (1825; earlier version of op. 7, no. 4); A minor (1825; earlier version of op. 17, no. 4); 2, in C major and B-flat major (1826); A minor, op. 68, no. 2 (1827); F major, op. 68, no. 3 (1829); C major, op. 68, no. 1(1829); P major (1829); A minor (1829; earlier version of op. 7, no. 2); 4, in F-sharp minor, C-sharp minor, E major, and E-flat minor, op. 6 (1830); 5, in B-flat major, A minor, F minor, A-flat major, and C major, op. 7 (1831); B-flat major (1832); 4, in B-flat major, E minor, A-flat major, and A minor, op. 17 (1832-33); C major (1833); A-flat major (1834); 4, in C minor, C major, A-flat major, and B-flat minor, op. 24 (1834-35); 2, in G major and C major, op. 67, nos. I and 3 (1835); 4, in C minor, B minor, P-flat major, and C-sharp minor, op. 30 (1836-37); 4, in G-sharp minor, P major, C major, and B minor, op. 33 (1837-38); E minor, op. 41, no. 2 (1838); 3, in C-sharp minor, B major, and A-flat major, op. 41, nos. 1, 3, and 4 (1839-40); A minor (1840); A minor (1840); 3, in G major, A-flat major, and C- sharp minor, op. 50 (1842); 3, in B major, C major, and C minor, op. 56 (1843); 3, in A minor, A-flat major, and F-sharp minor, op. 59 (1845); 3, in B major, F minor, and C-sharp minor, op. 63 (1846); A minor, op. 67, no. 4 (1846); G minor, op. 67, no. 2 (1849); F minor, op. 68, no. 4 (1849); Military March (1817; not extant); 21 nocturnes: E minor, op. 72, no. 1(1827); C-sharp minor (1830); 3, in B-flat minor, E-flat major, and B major, op. 9 (1830-31); 2, in F major and F-sharp major, op. 15, nos. 1-2 (1830-31); C minor, op. 15, no. 3 (1833); C-sharp minor, op. 27, no. 1 (1835); P-flat major, op. 27, no. 2 (1835); 2, in B major and A-flat major, op. 32 (1836-
37); C minor (1837); C minor, op. 37, no. 1 (1838); G major, op. 37, no. 2 (1839); 2, in C minor and F-sharp minor, op. 48 (1841); 2, in F minor and E-flat major, op. 55 (1843); 2, in B major and E major, op. 62 (1846); 15 polonaises: G minor (1817); B-flat major (1817); A-flat major (1821); G-sharp minor (1822); P minor, op. 71, no. 1 (1825?); B-flat minor, Adieu (1826); B-flat major, op. 71, no. 2 (1828); F minor, op. 71, no. 3 (1828); C-flat major (1829); 2, in C-sharp minor and E-flat minor, op. 26 (1834-35); A major, op. 40, no. 1(1838); C minor, op. 40, no. 2 (1839); F-sharp minor, op. 44 (1840- 41); A-flat major, op. 53 (1842); Polonaise-fantaisie in A-flat major, op. 61 (1845-46); 26 preludes: A-flat major (1834); 24, op. 28 (1836-39); C-sharp minor, op. 45 (1841); rondos:
C minor, op. 1 (1825); F major, op. 5, “a la Mazur” (1826); C major (1828; earlier version of the Rondo in C major for 2 Pianos, op. 73); 4 scherzos: B minor, op. 20 (1831-32); B- flat minor, op. 31(1837); C-sharp minor, op. 39 (1839); E major, op. 54 (1842); 3 sonatas: C minor, op. 4 (1828); B-flat minor, op. 35, Funeral March (1839; 3rd movement is a Funeral March in B-flat minor, composed in 1837); B minor, op. 58 (1844); Sostenuto in E-flat major (1840); Tarantelle in A-flat major, op. 43 (1841); 3 nouvelles etudes, for Moscheles’s Methode (1839); Variation No. 6, in E major, from the Hexameron (Variations on the March from Bellini’s I Puritani) (1837; other variations by Liszt, Thalberg, Pixis, Herz, and Czerny); Variations in A major, Souvenir de Paganini (1829); 19 valses:
A-flat major (1827); E-flat major (1827); B minor, op. 69, no. 2 (1829); P-flat major, op. 70, no. 3 (1829); E major (1829); E minor (1830); E-flat major, op. 18 (1831); A minor, op. 34, no. 2 (1831); C-flat major, op. 70, no. 1 (1833); A-flat major, op. 34, no. 1(1835); A-flat major, op. 69, no. 1, L’Adieu (1835); F major, op. 34, no. 3 (1838); A-flat major, op. 42 (1840); F minor, op. 70, no. 2 (1841); A minor (1843?); 3, in P-flat major (Minute), C-sharp minor, and A-flat major, op. 64 (1846- 47); Galopp in A-flat major (1846); B major (1848). i’i.’uvo, 4- HANDS: Introduction, Theme, and Variations in P major (1826). 2 ,‘asnos: Rondo in C major, op. 73 (1828; later version of Rondo in C major for Solo Piano).
PIANO AND ORCH.: Variations on Mozart’s “Li ci darem Ia mano” from Don Giovanni in B-flat major, op. 2 (1827); Fantasia on Polish Airs in A major, op. 13 (1828); Krakowiak, rondo in F major, op. 14 (1828); Piano Concerto No. 2, in F minor, op. 21(1829-30; Warsaw, March 17, 1830, composer soloist; although listed as “No. 2,” it was his 1st concerto in order of composition); Piano Concerto No. 1, in E minor, op. 11(1830; Warsaw, Oct. 11, 1830, composer soloist; although listed as “No. 1,” it was his 2nd concerto in order of composition); Grand Polonaise in E-flat major, op. 22 (1830-31).
CHAMBER:  Piano Trio in G minor, op. 8(1828-29); Introduction and Polonaise for Cello and Piano, in C major, op. 3 (1829- 30); Grand Duo on Themes from Meyerbeer’s “Robert Ie diable” for Cello and Piano, in E major (1832); Cello Sonata in G minor, op. 65 (1845-46).
SONGS:            17, op. 74 (to Polish texts; 1829-47).