Hey guys! It’s Sam, and for this week’s #NonMetalWednesday I want to write about another legendary composer: Chopin.
Born in Poland to two musician parents, Frédéric François Chopin was a great composer of the romantic period. He was actually Polish- his name was originally Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin- but settled in Paris at the age of 21. By this time, many of his great early works had already been composed. In fact, he was a child prodigy, and had already begun to compose by the age of 6.
Chopin unfortunately lived a very short life, dying at the age of only 39. He was not a huge lover of public performances, and preferred to support himself through the sale of his compositions and through teaching piano. He was a very modest man, and was often too embarrassed to ask his pupils for money. Oftentimes, this would result in them leaving money on the mantelpiece while he looked away. When he did perform, it was usually in smaller venues or in his own apartment for small groups of friends. In 1842, Chopin’s health embarked on a serious downward spiral. Until his death in 1849, he was in a great deal of pain on a daily basis. Modern medicine suggests that, based on his symptoms, his cause of death was likely tuberculosis.
Chopin produced a great number of works in his life. However, only about 230 of them survive, and many of his earlier childhood compositions were lost. He was a great admirer of J.S. Bach, and instructed his students to play his music in order to strengthen their fingers and train their fingers. Far from the stereotype of the classical musician, Chopin is alleged to have been a great improviser, and often used his improvisations as a basis and idea source for compositions. All of his known works involve the piano.
Chopin was buried at the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris following his death at the ripe old age of 39. Mozart’s Requiem was performed at his funeral. Though he may have died a French citizen, he remained a proud Pole his entire life, and felt a very strong connection to his Polish heritage.
Thanks to CemetaryGates23 for this week’s recommendation! If there’s a classical musician or legendary composer that you’d like to see me cover in a future #NonMetalWednesday post, let me know in the comments.