Nocturnes, preludes, waltzes, drama, and fame – Chopin was a Polish composer who gave artistic birth to some of the greatest piano music, appreciated by both classical music lovers and by the casual listener. If you want to learn more about him, his life and his body of work, these interesting facts I’ve put together should satisfy your curiosity.
Frédéric François Chopin was born in Poland, Europe, and he was part of the Romantic era. Ever since his debut, he was called a poetic genius and praised for the complexity of his pieces. He grew up in Warsaw and showed signs he was a prodigy ever since he was a young child.
Although he loved his native country, at the age of 20, he left for France, where he settled in Paris, a city much more fitted for his artistic endeavors. It’s a well-known fact that for the first eighteen years of his life, he only gave around thirty public performances, mostly because he was shy and loved the intimacy of the salon.
An interesting piece of trivia is the fact that he didn’t grow up rich, despite his immense talent. He had to support himself like most artists nowadays, by selling his compositions to the highest bidder. In this tumultuous period, he became friends with another musical genius, by the name of Franz Liszt.
Initially, he did have many problems, both professional and financial. He made his debut in February 1832, in Paris, where Chopin realized that he was too delicate with the keyboard, too emotional, a thing which was less than ideal for the masses gathered in larger concert spaces. But, as fate had it, he soon met the wealthy Rothschild banking family which changed everything.
His kindness and elegance made him a favorite among the members of the family, in whose house he could often be found playing his compositions. However, even in the middle of the glamorous Paris, his art was strongly influenced by his nationalist feelings, as his body of work contained many mazurkas and polonaises.
In 1835, the musician obtained French citizenship. A sadder aspect of Chopin’s life is that he never seemed able to maintain healthy relationships with the women around him, as all his love connections failed. Also, for most of his short life, Chopin was in bad health. He went on and died in Paris, in 1849 at the crude age of thirty-nine, probably of what doctors suspect was tuberculosis.
The last thing you should know is that all of Chopin’s compositions include the instrument he loved the most, which is the piano. Many of them are for solo piano, though he did also write two piano concertos which are lesser known by the general public. And even though he had a short life, his legacy still lives today, which is no small feature.