Was Fredric Chopin the greatest pianist ever? To answer that
question we must ask ourselves, what did he do for the instrument?
How did he revolutionize the instrument? Was he only a great player
or was he also a great composer? The answer to the last question is
yes; not only was he a virtuoso with no comparison, but he was also
the brilliant composer of several massive piano concertos which
require the utmost precision and talent.
Frederic Chopin was born on March 1st, 1810 in Zelasowa Wola, just outside Warsaw. At the age of six he was already a concert pianist. At the age of seven he had already published his first piece. He was entered into the Warsaw Conservatory, and at the ripe age of nineteen he graduated with flying colors. After this he traveled to Vienna to be immersed in the mainstream world of music. Here he gave two very successful concerts and became renowned as a great pianist. After this he decided to leave his homeland of Warsaw for good and eventually settled in France.
By the age of twenty he was already considered a virtuoso pianist, second to none. He was known for his sensitive playing and innovative improvisations. Having composed two immense piano concertos already he was ready to completely enrapture the world in his beautiful playing. His pieces demanded perfect playing for often the part of the orchestra was extremely secondary to the part of the pianist.
After arriving in Paris, he mingled with high society. Although he was a great pianist, his social skills still lacked. Chopin was used to showing off on the piano to swooning ladies, not chatting with the rich and famous. His introverted style made him less exciting than his usual stellar style in concert hall performances. So he went on to perform only at the Parisian Salon. Here he was welcomed openly and his most beautiful music shone through the murky darkness of the gallery.
In 1837, he met George Sand, whom he lived with for the next ten
years. She cared for him in his times of sickness, and inspired him
to write the richest music for piano the world has ever heard.
After he left Sand, he performed in England and Scotland for the
nest two years. He died in October 17th, 1849. He left behind music
so powerful that it went on to influence great composers such as
Brahms, Debussy, and Fauré.
His Famous Compositions
His music was enshrined by soaring melodies and long sustained
lines. These attributes highlighted by extraordinary harmonies made
his pieces very enjoyable. Much of his music contains the folklore
and themes of his native country and his love of dance music was
derived from here as well. His notable pieces include Piano Sonata
no. 3, Piano Concertos in E minor and F minor and any of his
numerous solo works. Perhaps his crowning achievements in piano
music are his four ballades, which are not only technically showy
and impressive but also extremely beautiful pieces.
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