May 20th 2012
The Musical Life of Frederic Chopin
Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) was born in a tiny village of Zelazowa about thirty miles away from Warsaw where he was raised as the son of a Polish mother and French father. While growing up in Warsaw much of his childhood compositions are known today as some of the most significant achievements for a composer in the Romantic era. At a very young age his original style of playing and composing astonished the polish aristocracy. After a fire broke out in his village many years later the home of Chopin was one of the few left standing. The house was set up for restoration as a museum and small concert hall. Chopin is the only composer labeled as "great" to write almost exclusively for the piano. Coming from a poor family he found his love for music at an early age. As a gifted child he began writing and composing his own pieces and has his first published by the age of seven. After realizing his fragile stature couldn’t last with composers like Liszt he was left to teach for most of his wages while playing in smaller concerts. Before he even set foot in high school Chopin had already written four polonaises, a variation set, and a rondo though most of his work was concentrated on virtuoso piano music.
After graduating from Warsaw University he toured in Australia and Germany playing his own compositions. By this time he had an entirely personal and original style. Though most of his pieces were short, elegant, and graceful they evoke a variety of moods ranging from melancholy to heroism. (Music History, p. 168) Chopin was also the only composer to ever gain a legendary reputation with only having played in public performances about thirty times. Chopin was able to become so successful with only about 30 public performances because it was a rare treat for people to see him perform. His intense shyness actually worked to his advantage. Him being such a great composer forced...