Chopin in Paris: The Life and Times of the Romantic Composer (Google eBook)

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Simon and Schuster, Mar 12, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 448 pages
6 Reviews
Chopin in Paris introduces the most important musical and literary figures of Fryderyk Chopin's day in a glittering story of the Romantic era. During Chopin's eighteen years in Paris, lasting nearly half his short life, he shone at the center of the immensely talented artists who were defining their time -- Hugo, Balzac, Stendhal, Delacroix, Liszt, Berlioz, and, of course, George Sand, a rebel feminist writer who became Chopin's lover and protector.
Tad Szulc, the author of Fidel and Pope John Paul II, approaches his subject with imagination and insight, drawing extensively on diaries, memoirs, correspondence, and the composer's own journal, portions of which appear here for the first time in English. He uses contemporary sources to chronicle Chopin's meteoric rise in his native Poland, an ascent that had brought him to play before the reigning Russian grand duke at the age of eight. He left his homeland when he was eighteen, just before Warsaw's patriotic uprising was crushed by the tsar's armies.
Carrying the memories of Poland and its folk music that would later surface in his polonaises and mazurkas, Chopin traveled to Vienna. There he established his reputation in the most demanding city of Europe. But Chopin soon left for Paris, where his extraordinary creative powers would come to fruition amid the revolutions roiling much of Europe. He quickly gained fame and a circle of powerful friends and acquaintances ranging from Rothschild, the banker, to Karl Marx.
Distinguished by his fastidious dress and the wracking cough that would cut short his life, Chopin spent his days composing and giving piano lessons to a select group of students. His evenings were spent at the keyboard, playing for his friends. It was at one of these Chopin gatherings that he met George Sand, nine years his senior. Through their long and often stormy relationship, Chopin enjoyed his richest creative period. As she wrote dozens of novels, he composed furiously -- both were compulsive creators. After their affair unraveled, Chopin became the protégé of Jane Stirling, a wealthy Scotswoman, who paraded him in his final year across England and Scotland to play for the aristocracy and even Queen Victoria. In 1849, at the age of thirty-nine, Chopin succumbed to the tuberculosis that had plagued him from childhood.
Chopin in Paris is an illuminating biography of a tragic figure who was one of the most important composers of all time. Szulc brings to life the complex, contradictory genius whose works will live forever. It is compelling reading about an exciting epoch of European history, culture, and music -- and about one of the great love dramas of the nineteenth century.
  

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Review: Chopin in Paris: The Life and Times of the Romantic Composer

User Review  - Fred Misurella - Goodreads

If you like Chopin and Paris, especially its history and then artists who have made it a cultural capitol, then this is a book for you. It's very well-researched by Szulc, a former NY Times reporter ... Read full review

Review: Chopin in Paris: The Life and Times of the Romantic Composer

User Review  - Katherine - Goodreads

"A wonderful account of Chopin's life, and mostly of his life in Paris, where he seems to have met all the great artists of his time, and of his love affair with the complex and tumultuous George Sand ... Read full review

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About the author (1999)

Tad Szulc, July 25, 1926 - May 21, 2001 Tadeusz Witold Szulc was born on July 25, 1926 to Seweryn and Janina Szulc in Warsaw, Poland. When his parents emigrated to Brazil in the mid 30's, Tad went to Le Rosey, a Swiss boarding school. In 1941. Szulc followed his family to Brazil and studied at the University of Brazil from 1943 to 1945. After attending school, Szulc was hired as a reporter for The Associated Press in Rio. In 1949, he arrived in New York to cover the UNited Nations for United Press International until 1953. He was then hired by the New York Times to the night rewrite desk, where he later became managing editor. He also wrote an occasional piece entitled Times Talk where Szulc discussed life in general and his various travels. Szulc was a foreign correspondent with the New York Times from 1953 to 1972. He was the first reporter to discover the beginnings of the Bay of Pigs Invasion, he covered revolutions and cold war intrigue, and generally always seemed to be in the right place at the right time to get the story. In his later years, Szulc wrote 20 books. consisting of foreign policy and politics and the many scenarios he had witnessed. He wrote biographies of both Pope John Paul II and Fidel Castro, as well as "Chopin in Paris: The Life and Times of the Romantic Composer" and "The Illusion of Peace: Foreign Policy in the Nixon Years." After retiring from the Times, Szulc wrote freelance books and articles, including "Twilight of the Tyrants." Tad Szulc died at his home on May 21, 2001 of cancer. He was 74.

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