Frederic Chopin (06:21)
Accompanying Liszt and Beethoven, Chopin revolutionized piano technique and composition. He was born in Zelazowa Wola in 1810 to parents serving in the Countess Justyna Skarbek’s home. The family moved to Warsaw soon after.
Chopin in Warsaw (04:32)
At six months, Chopin’s family moved to Warsaw, where his father taught French, and his mother taught piano. Chopin played organ at the Church of the Holy Cross, whose reconstruction was completed in the 1970s after it was destroyed during World War II.
Chopin's Education and Appreciation (06:22)
Chopin was a virtuoso pianist and a published composer by age eight, studying with Wojciech Zywny. He attended Warsaw School of Music, learning composition. Handel's time in Warsaw is variously memorialized, including a bronze monument in Lazienki Park.
Chopin and Political Turmoil (04:54)
Chopin travelled to Vienna after suffering from depression in 1830. The Warsaw Uprising made him unpopular, prompting his sense of Polish nationalism and his first mazurka. After 18 months, he went to Paris, knowing he could not go home.
Emigrate Chopin (06:24)
Paris’s music culture and sympathy for Polish migrants suited Chopin. In 1832, he gave his first concert at Salle Pleyel, befriended Franz Liszt, and started teaching. Chopin published "Étude Op. 10, No. 12" in 1833, gaining a reputation as an instructor and performer.
Chopin's Developments (08:48)
Chopin published “Siberian Polonaise” in 1836, expressing his Polish identity. His marriage proposal to fellow emigrate Maria Wodzinska was denied, resulting in prolific, mature compositions. George Sand became his lover; he wrote the "Funeral March Sonata" in 1839 at her Nohant home.
Chopin's Influence and Hardships (06:09)
Beethoven, Liszt, and Chopin developed the modern grand piano. In 1840, Chopin studied counterpoint, fugues, and cannon, spurring polished compositions that required pianists with great technique. He and Sand split in 1846, resulting in less composition. In 1848, Chopin performed his last concert in Paris.
Chopin's Last Days (03:04)
Chopin traveled to Britain at the onset of the French Revolution but returned to Paris. He wrote four waltzes, including "The Minute Waltz," before he died in October 1849. Before his death, Chopin requested his heart be returned to Poland, where it remains today.
Chopin's Legacy (04:52)
Chopin and Beethoven’s lives overlapped, but their writings vastly differed; both tested the piano’s potential. During his 39 years, Chopin composed for 30, writing technically challenging and emotional pieces.
Credits: F. Chopin (01:31)
Credits: F. Chopin
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