From Frederic Chopin's birth in Poland and eventual flight in the wake of the Polish rebellion against the Russians, through his life in Paris and his ill fated love affair with George Sand, until his eventual death of tuberculosis, this latest entry in the popular Master Musicians Series examines the life and work of the great pianist and composer. As with the other titles in the series, chapters of musical analysis alternate with biographical chapters to provide readers with a complete understanding of the man and of his music.
-- Biography of one of the greatest pianists and composers
-- Includes Chopin's complete life story and commentary on his works
-- The ideal single-volume introduction to Chopin
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
This if one of the Master Musicians series from Oxford University Press. This biography takes an interesting approach. The chapters alternate between history and musical analysis. So a chapter will detail Chopin’s early life, and the next chapter will discuss his early compositions during that period. I think that’s an effective approach – those readers who are not interested in detailed musical analysis can skip those chapters, and those readers who are interested in the music can use it as a reference. Of course, no book on Chopin can succeed without dealing with the elephant in the room – his relationship with George Sand. I think this book does an excellent job of reporting the facts that can be verified about their life together without vilifying Sand or even placing blame. It’s much better to report the facts and let the readers reach their own conclusion. Now that I have read it I’ll weigh in with my opinion, for what’s it worth. Obviously they would not have stayed together as long as they did (9 years?) if each had not gotten something of value from the relationship. The fact that they were probably platonic after the second year means that it wasn’t sex that keep them together. Sand mothered Chopin, and he let her. She provided stability and a place of refuge for him. She nursed him back to health several times. She also reinvented her past to suit her own purposes, probably to justify her own actions. Chopin seemed easily manipulated by Sand’s daughter, who at least provided the immediate reason for the breakup. But I don’t think the facts, as presented in this book, support the idea that Chopin would have lived much longer and written more and better music if he had not lived with Sand. In my opinion the opposite is probably true. She provided some stability in his life during his most productive periods. So read this biography and make up your own mind already!
Review: ChopinUser Review - Goodreads
One of the two definitive bios on Chopin.
A virtuoso in his own right
A rebirth of pianistic art
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