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What did Chopin compose when Morrison died of drug overdose…

There is something you could call „Club 27“. Its members are musicians that did not live beyond their twenty-eighth year of age. It was the year when Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain or a bluesman Robert Johnson died. The latest new-comer into the club where no-one is really drawn to, is Amy Winehouse. All these people remained young forever and they don´t have to be bothered with the saying: „Don´t believe anyone over thirty“.

In our series on interesting music from the youth of the biggest composers today we introduce Fryderyk Chopin.

 

He was born in 1810 and died in 1849, so in his case you cannot say he exceeded a magic border of his thirties by very much. Chopin played piano, composed mostly for the same instrument and once custom officers confiscated his piano and he could not play he felt very sick and referred to that experience: “I was as sick as a dog in last two weeks.  Three medics visited me. The first one was saying I’m dying, the second one commented I am obviously taking my last breath and the third believed I was already dead.”

 Chopin was a piano child protégé; he first performed first when he was seven. Six years later he went studying to Warsaw and was proclaimed the best pianist in the city. At the age of twenty one he moved to Paris; although he was the best pianist of his age, he suffered from a terrible stage fright and felt annoyed with public performance; it is believed that in his whole life he played only about thirty concerts. An income from private lessons and a sale of his compositions provided him a good living outside stage.

In Paris he met a writer and a feminist, George Sand when he turned twenty five. It probably was no love at first sight; the writer confessed to his friend: „Sand is a very unsympathetic woman! Is she a woman at all? I have certain doubts.“ His suspicions obviously turned out wrong and he and Sand were lovers for several years during which his health was getting worse; he probably suffered from tuberculosis, so it was more of a patient and a nurse relationship and when they started to get on each other´s nerves, they only remained friends. He died at the age of thirty nine; he wished Mozart´s Requiem played at his funeral.

 

Regarding his music work, it is true that “Chopin played poetry on piano”. These poems were tender, furious  and sometimes also quite weird. His favourite genre was waltz, polonaise and mazurka. To choose one representative recording is a pretty hard job; everyone has a different favourite composition. We though we´d look for recommendation right at the source, that is in Poland; Chopin is a national treasure and in a recent public poll he was voted the second best polish name, closely following the pope Jan Pavel II.

A representative selection from Chopin´s work was found at ambitious publishers BeArTon that in its catalogue contains almost everything Chopin has ever composed. We recommend an interesting selection of  The Chopin`s National Edition Box, which is four boxes containing four CD each. A single box costs fifty Euro. But if you´re not such  fans at all, you definitely won´t go wrong if you get this one.

 

 

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