Frédéric chopin chopin - the robin hood dell orchestra of philadelphia - fantaisie-impromptu / waltz

Several young ladies appear to have been the object of Chopin's affections over the years, but the most celebrated female with whom he had a relationship was Aurore Dudevant, known as George Sand, whom he met in 1836. For nine years, beginning in 1838, after he had composed the "Funeral March" (which later became part of the B-flat Minor Sonata), she was his closest associate. Despite failing health, the composer completed his twenty-four Preludes in Valldemosa, Majorca (one of the Balearic Islands in the western Mediterranean).

By the mid-1840s, both Chopin's health and his relationship with George Sand were deteriorating. His behavior had also become erratic, possibly due to an undiagnosed form of epilepsy. Their affair ended in 1848 after, among other things, Sand's unflattering portrayal of their relationship in her 1846 novel Lucrezia Floriani . At the end, both parties were too proud to reconcile, and Chopin's spirit and health were broken. He made an extended tour to the British Isles, where he struggled under an exhausting schedule, making his last public appearance on November 16, 1848. He then returned to Paris, where he died on October 17, 1849, at age 39. His body was buried at Père Lachaise cemetery, but his heart was interred at a church in Warsaw, near the place of his birth.

Chopin created or developed a number of new forms of piano music, vehicles for his own poetic use of the instrument, with its exploration of nuance, its original harmonies and its discreet but often considerable technical demands. He used the popular form of the waltz in a score of such compositions, of which the so-called Minute Waltz is probably the best known of many of almost equal familiarity. A Polish dance, the polonaise, elevated from village to ballroom, provided the basis of another characteristic form in sixteen such works, written between 1817, when Chopin was seven, and 1846. The best known, among generally familiar works, are the Polonaise in A major, Op 40, No 1, the Polonaise in A flat, Op 53, and the Polonaise-Fantaisie, Op 61. Other Polish dances used by Chopin include the 62 mazurkas. The four ballades are supposedly based on patriotic poems by Chopin’s friend Mickiewicz, evocative narrative works with no precise extra-musical association. The 21 nocturnes continue an evocative form initiated by the Irish pianist John Field. Chopin wrote 26 preludes, 24 of them completed during an ill-fated winter with George Sand in Mallorca, and 27 études, of which the Revolutionary Étude is perhaps the best known. Other compositions include four scherzos, expansions of the earlier form into a more extended virtuoso piece, three sonatas, a berceuse, a barcarolle, four impromptus and a number of other works. The whole body of Chopin’s music is of the greatest musical and technical importance, melodies often of operatic inspiration and harmonies and forms of considerable originality.

⇒ 11 more : Oboe 1/2 • Clarinet 1/2 (B♭) • Bassoon 1/2 • Horn 1/2 (F) • Trombone • Timpani • Violins I • Violins II • Violas • Cellos • Basses

From September 1823 to 1826, Chopin attended the Warsaw Lyceum, where he received organ lessons from the Czech musician Wilhelm Würfel during his first year. In the autumn of 1826 he began a three-year course under the Silesian composer Józef Elsner at the Warsaw Conservatory , studying music theory , figured bass and composition . [17] [n 3] Throughout this period he continued to compose and to give recitals in concerts and salons in Warsaw. He was engaged by the inventors of a mechanical organ, the "eolomelodicon", and on this instrument in May 1825 he performed his own improvisation and part of a concerto by Moscheles . The success of this concert led to an invitation to give a similar recital on the instrument before Tsar Alexander I , who was visiting Warsaw; the Tsar presented him with a diamond ring. At a subsequent eolomelodicon concert on 10 June 1825, Chopin performed his Rondo Op. 1 . This was the first of his works to be commercially published and earned him his first mention in the foreign press, when the Leipzig Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung praised his "wealth of musical ideas". [18]

The issue is largely academic because Chopin’s two piano concertos were composed within a year of each other. As you listen to this deeply expansive and expressive work, it has the mark of a composer who has reached full emotional and musical maturity, so it’s astonishing to think that Chopin wrote it while in his late teens. At its premiere in 1830, he played the piano part himself, and the concert marked his final public appearance in Poland. Within weeks, Chopin had left for Vienna and then Paris, where he remained for the rest of his life.

Although best known for its lyrical middle movement, this concerto also contains melodic gems throughout the two outer movements. It’s unashamedly heart-on-your-sleeve stuff, with Chopin allowing the rich sounds of the piano to be cushioned by some gloriously rich string accompaniment. The majority of Chopin’s output was for solo piano. But, as his two concertos for the instrument prove, he was adept at writing for piano and orchestra too.

Recommended Recording

Janina Fialkowska (piano); Vancouver Symphony Orchestra; Bramwell Tovey (conductor). ATMA: ACD 22643.

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