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Compositeur: Chopin, Fryderyk Franciszek (1810-1849)

Rechercher des événements de musique classique, opéra et ballet | Chopin
Biographie
Chopin, Fryderyk Franciszek

Delicate, refined, passionate, emotive, romantic. Many music lovers consider Chopin's piano works to be the very greatest of all music written for the instrument. It's certainly distinctive: you can listen to an awful lot of music from the same period and be in no doubt whatsoever when you hear Chopin. 

A large part of the effect comes from Chopin's talent for melody. In every generation, just a few composers have the talent for writing tune after tune that sticks in your memory as soon as you've heard it, and Chopin was certainly one of them. But what makes him special is his ability to wrap intricate tracery around his melodies and to surprise you repeatedly with shifts of key and rhythm while always putting across a feeling that every note is in the right place. Perhaps the best descriptions come from the Paris Revue Musicale, which described the 22-year old Chopin as a young man who had found “an extravagance of original ideas that are unexampled anywhere” and from Robert Schumann, who found in his music the sound of “cannon concealed amid blossoms”.

Chopin was a less versatile composer than most of the greats with whom he is frequently and fairly bracketed. There is a handful of chamber pieces and orchestral works and a few songs, none of them massively distinguished. Through and through, Chopin was a salon composer: he wrote piano music to be played in the living rooms of the rich. And within that compass, he was matchless.

Part of Chopin's unique sound comes from a unique background. Born Fryderyk Franciszek to a Frenchman settled in Poland, he became an ardent Polish nationalist Polishness and is treated as one of the great men of Polish history. By the time he was eleven, the young Chopin was already acclaimed as a great pianist and had played for the Tsar of Russia at the opening of the Polish parliament; at twenty, he set off to make his fortune in Western Europe. Just 27 days after he left, the Poles rebelled against the rule of Russia in the November uprising, a rebellion which was crushed the following year, leaving Chopin distraught and providing the creative impulse for one of his most famous works, the “Revolutionary” Etude (Op.10 no.12). He suffered from ill health throughout his life.

Chopin settled in Paris, where he became “Frédéric-François”, the name by which he is best known in English-speaking countries today, although he never learnt French perfectly. He enjoyed great concert success, but became aware that his style of playing was not suited to larger concert halls, preferring to play at his home or in salons, often on his much beloved Pleyel pianos.

In 1848, Chopin’s life was transformed by revolution once again, as the French nobility who formed his clientèle fled Paris, leaving him without income and in sharply deteriorated health. His last concert was in London in November that year: an ill-fated benefit concert for Polish refugees (no-one knows what was played since he could not be heard above the chatter of the social occasion). He died a year later in Paris, with his sister Ludwika, who had given him his first piano lessons, at his bedside.

Every lover of Chopin has their own favourite works and their own favourite performers: his music seems to lend itself to an extraordinary variety of performance styles, with endless argument possible about tempos, rubato, accenting and many other features of a performance.

Famous interpreters of the past include Artur Rubinstein, Vladimir Horowitz, Claudio Arrau and my personal favourite, the Romanian Dinu Lipatti. A “must have” play-list would include the Etudes, the Waltzes, the Preludes, the Ballades (a form that Chopin invented), and several of the Polonaises and Mazurkas. Also unforgettable are the Fantaisie-Impromptu in C sharp minor, Op. posth. 66, the Barcarolle in F sharp (a transcendent, lilting Venetian boating song) and the B flat minor Piano Sonata with its famous funeral march whose glorious gift is to uplift one’s spirits in the face of death.

David Karlin
18th December 2009

Liste des oeuvres
12 Etudes, Op.102 Nocturnes, Op.2724 Préludes24 Préludes, Op.283 Mazurkas, Op.593 Nouvelles études, Op.posth4 Mazurkas, Op.41Allegro de Concert, la majeur, Op.46Andante spianato et Grande Polonaise brillante, Op.22Ballade no. 1 en sol mineur, Op. 23Ballade no. 2 en fa majeur, Op. 38Ballade no. 3 en la bémol majeur, Op. 47Ballade no. 4 en fa mineur, Op. 52Barcarolle en fa dièse majeur, Op.60Concerto pour piano no. 1 en mi mineur, Op. 11Concerto pour piano no. 2 en fa mineur, Op. 21Etude en fa majeur, Op.10 no. 8Etude en fa majeur, Op.25 no. 3Etude en fa mineur, Op.10 no. 9Etude en fa mineur, Op.25 no. 2Etude en la bémol majeur, Op.10 no. 10Etude en la bémol majeur, Op.25 no. 1Etude en la mineur, Op.10 no. 2Etude en mi bémol majeur, Op.10 no. 11Etude en mi bémol mineur, Op.10 no. 6Etude en mi majeur « Tristesse », Op.10 no. 3Etude en sol bémol majeur, Op.10 no. 5Etude en ut dièse mineur « Torrent », Op.10 no. 4Etude en ut dièse mineur, Op.25 no. 7Etude en ut majeur, Op.10 no. 1Etude en ut majeur, Op.10 no. 7Etude en ut mineur « Révolutionnaire », Op.10 no. 12Fantaisie-impromptu en ut dièse mineur, Op.66Fantasie en fa mineur, Op.49Fugue en la mineur, KK14 c/ 2Impromptu en fa dièse majeur, Op.36Impromptu en la bémol majeur, Op.29Impromptu en sol bémol majeur, Op.51Introduction et Polonaise Brillante en ut majeur pour violoncelle et piano, Op.3La Dame aux caméliasLes SylphidesMazurka en fa dièse mineur, Op.59 no. 3Mazurka en fa mineur, Op.63 no. 2Mazurka en la mineur, Op.17 no. 4Mazurka en la mineur, Op.67 no. 4Mazurka en ré majeur, Op.33 no. 2Mazurka en si bémol majeur, Op.17 no. 1Mazurka en si majeur, Op.41 no. 3Mazurka en si mineur, Op.30 no. 2Mazurka en ut dièse mineur, Op.63 no. 3Nocturne en ut dièse mineur, « Lento Con Gran Espressione », Op.posthNocturne no. 1 en si bémol mineur, Op.9 no. 1Nocturne no. 10 en la bémol majeur, Op.32 no. 2Nocturne no. 13 en ut mineur, Op.48 no. 1Nocturne no. 14 en fa dièse mineur, Op.48 no. 2Nocturne no. 15 en fa mineur, Op.55 no. 1Nocturne no. 16 en mi bémol majeur, Op.55 no. 2Nocturne no. 17 en si majeur, Op.62 no. 1Nocturne no. 18 en mi majeur, Op. 62 no. 2Nocturne no. 19 en mi mineur, Op.72 no. 1Nocturne no. 2 en mi bémol majeur, Op.9 no. 2Nocturne no. 21 en ut mineur (posthume)Nocturne no. 3 en si majeur, Op.9 no. 3Nocturne no. 4 en fa majeur, Op.15 no. 1Nocturne no. 6 en sol mineur, Op.15 no. 3Nocturne no. 7 en ut dièse mineur, Op. 27 no. 1Nocturne no. 8 en ré bémol majeur, Op.27 no. 2NocturnesNocturnes, Op.9Other DancesPolonaise no. 1 en ut dièse mineur, Op.26 no. 1Polonaise no. 2 en mi bémol mineur, Op.26 no. 2Polonaise no. 3 en la majeur « Militaire », Op.40 no. 1Polonaise no. 4 en ut mineur, Op.40 no. 2Polonaise no. 6 en la bémol majeur, « Héroïque » Op.53Polonaise no. 7 en la bémol majeur « Polonaise-fantaisie », Op.61Prélude en mi mineur, Op.28 no. 4Prélude en ut dièse mineur, Op.45Rondo en ut majeur pour 2 pianos, Op.73Rondo à la Mazur en fa majeur, Op.5Scherzo no. 1 en si mineur, Op.20Scherzo no. 2 en si bémol mineur, Op.31Scherzo no. 3 en ut dièse mineur, Op.39Sonate en sol mineur pour piano et violoncelle, Op.65Sonate pour piano no. 2 en si bémol mineur (marche funèbre), Op. 35Sonate pour piano no. 3 en si mineur, Op.58Tarantelle en la bémol majeur, Op.43The Concert (or, The Perils of Everybody)Trio en sol mineur pour piano, violon et violoncelle, Op.8Valse en fa majeur « Grande Valse Brillante », Op.34 no. 3Valse en la bémol majeur « Valse Brillante », Op.34 no. 1Valse en la mineur « Grande Valse Brillante », Op.34 no. 2Valse no. 1 en mi bémol majeur « Grande Valse Brillante », Op.18Valse no. 12 en fa mineur, Op.70 no. 2Valse no. 13 en ré bémol majeur, Op.70 no. 3Valse no. 7 en ut dièse mineur, Op.64 no. 2Valses - diversVariations en si bémol majeur sur « la ci darem la mano » pour piano et orchestre, Op.2Écossaises: sélection