Friday, March 1, 2013
Composer and virtuoso pianist Frédéric Chopin was born on March 1, 1810, near Warsaw in what is now Poland. His father was a French émigré. A child prodigy, he composed many piano works before fleeing to Paris in 1831 ahead of the Polish Uprising against Russia. He carried on a turbulent, 10-year affair with French writer George Sand (Amandine Dupin), during which his health deteriorated. Every one of his works was written for the piano, either as solo instrument or in combination with other instruments, including 20 nocturnes, 25 preludes, 17 waltzes, 15 polonaises, 58 mazurkas (folk dances) and 27 etudes. He invented the ballade and reinvented the scherzo. His passionate yet lyrical Sonatas in B-flat minor and B minor are among his greatest creations. He is viewed as an immortal of music “by reason of his insight into the secret places of the heart” and the magical sonorities he drew from the piano. Pictured: 1849 photo, his piano.