Frederic Chopin

Facts about Frederic Chopin

We found 40 facts about Frederic Chopin

"Chopin Frédéric - a special suitability, a musical genius"

Fryderyk Chopin , a brilliant Polish composer of the Romantic period and one of the most famous pianists of his time. In Paris he was called Chopinetto, George Sand spoke of him as Chopin, to Heine he was the Rafael of the piano, and Liszt and Berlioz called him Genius.

Frederic Chopin
Frederic was probably born on 1 March 1810 in Żelazowa Wola.
Some sources state that he was born on 22 February 1810.
He was born in the outbuilding of the manor house belonging to the Skarbeks, where his father served as tutor.
Nicolas Chopin was a polonised Frenchman. He was a French teacher and a tutor. Among other things, he worked in Czerniewo as a tutor for the Łączyński family (one of his daughters, Maria, later became the wife of Anastazy Walewski, but became famous as the lover of Napoleon Bonaparte).

He spent about six years with them, and the next he worked for the Skarbek family in Żelazowa Wola, taking care of their four children. There he met Tekla Justyna Krzyżanowska, a poor relative of the Skarbeks who lived there and ran the house. The two were united by a common passion - music. Justyna played the piano and sang, while Nicolas played the flute and violin. A year later they had a daughter, Ludwika, and in 1810 their only son, Frederic.
Chopin had three sisters: Ludwika, Izabela and Emilia, who died prematurely.

Emilia died very young. Frederick was closest with Ludwika.

Find out more ...
In the autumn of 1810 the Chopin family moved to Warsaw.
They settled in a tenement house on Krakowskie Przedmieście Street, which no longer exists, and soon moved into their official residence at Saski Palace. There was the Warsaw Lyceum, where Nicolas Chopin taught French.
Chopin began learning the piano quite early, at the turn of his fourth and fifth year.
His mother gave him lessons.
At the age of six he began taking piano lessons from Wojciech Żywny, a Polish pianist of Czech origin.
Żywny taught Chopin for six years. He acquainted Frederic with works of the baroque and classical music and explained to him the structure of the piano works of Bach, Haydn, Mozart, and Hummel.This education developed in Chopin a taste for the old composers.

The eleven-year-old Frederic dedicated to him the Polonaise in A flat major, composed in 1821. Wojciech Żywny is buried at the Powazki Cemetery in Warsaw.
Chopin's next teacher was Wilhelm Waclaw Wurfel, also of Czech origin.
At the age of seven, Frederic was already the author of several small compositions. These were polonaises, a musical dance form based on the polonaise dance. The young Chopin grew up in the atmosphere of this music.
Even as a child Frederic made numerous appearances in the salons of the Warsaw aristocracy.
Thanks to Żywny, who wrote down his compositions of variations and dances according to Frederic's instructions and showed them in various Warsaw houses, Chopin became known there. Count Skarbek also became one of the most active protectors of the young composer.
The young Frederic Chopin performed before Prince Konstantin Romanov and presented him with an unknown march.
The prince asked him to perform it again. The military march, which pleased the Duke so well, appeared in print, but without a name. The march was played by military orchestras at the prince's favourite military parades.
When the lyceum where Frederic's father worked was moved from the Saski Palace to the Kazimierzowski Palace, the Chopins settled in the outbuilding of the palace, the so-called post-rector's building.
Their neighbours were then: Juliusz Krzysztof Kolberg with his sons, Samuel Bogumił Linde and Kazimierz Brodziński.
In 1817 the first printed work by Frederic Chopin was published. It was a polonaise in the key of G minor.
It was published in the parish typographical establishment of the Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the New Town in Warsaw.
In 1818, the first review of Chopin's works was published in print.
Chopin's first public concert took place at the Radziwiłł Palace (now the Presidential Palace) in 1818.
It was a charity concert organised by Zamoyska.
The young, eight-year-old Chopin played in Warsaw for the Tsarina Maria Feodorovna, to whom he offered two of his Polish dances.
Young Chopin also played for Tsar Alexander I, who came to Warsaw for the session of the Parliament. At that time Frederic played a newly invented instrument - the eolomelodikon.

The Tsar was delighted, he gave the artist an expensive diamond ring, which Chopin later sold during his stay in Paris. He also received an offer to become the Tsar's court composer, but refused it.
During his studies at the Warsaw Lyceum, Frederic often left Warsaw and visited a large part of Poland.
He visited Szafarnia, from where he sent his famous letters to his parents, "Kuriery Szafarskie" ("Couriers Szafarskie"), where he celebrated idyllic holidays at the Juliusz Dziewanowski estate, as well as in Sannik, Poturzyn, Duszniki, Toruń, Gdańsk, Płock, and other towns in Greater Poland, Pomerania, and Silesia. He became acquainted with the treasures of Polish culture and folk music, which was one of his main sources of inspiration throughout his life.
In addition to his musical talent, Chopin also revealed others. Many biographers claim that he was a universal genius.
He drew caricatures of his teachers, which aroused the admiration of those drawn. He also improvised stories for his loved ones, wrote poems and comedies for fun, and showed his skills as a painter and actor. Honore de Balzac once said that Chopin had an intimidatingly genuine gift for imitating anyone he wanted.
Chopin studied at the Warsaw School of Music, where he began learning harmony and counterpoint with Joseph Elsner.
Joseph Elsner was a Polish composer of German origin, educator, music culture activist, music theorist, and teacher. In his report after the third year of study he wrote: "The third year of Chopin Frederic - a special suitability, musical genius".
During his student years, Chopin was fascinated by folk music, and it characterises his work from this period.
The first serious compositions were written at this time:
  • Sonata in C minor
  • Fantasy on Polish Airs
  • Variations in B flat major Op. 2 on the theme "La ci darem la mano" from Mozart's opera "Don Giovanni".

At school, Chopin was exempt from the instrument because of his unusual playing character and style.
Chopin made his first trip abroad to Berlin in 1826.
The period of his first compositional successes coincided with the period of his first love affair with Konstancja Gładkowska, the singer he called the ideal.
After completing his studies in 1829, Frederic went to Vienna with his friends. This journey proved to be a phenomenal success.
Chopin aroused the enthusiasm of the public there, and after the publication of his Variations Op. 2 by a Viennese publisher, he received an enthusiastic review by Schumann with the famous "Hats off, here's a genius." Soon after, he composed two piano concertos that were considered masterpieces of the genre.
After his return from Vienna, Chopin spent a week in Puturzyn at the home of his friend, Tytus Woyciechowski, and then travelled to Kalisz, where he spent the last three days in his home country.
Before leaving, he said goodbye to Konstancja Gładkowska and gave her the ring, which she kept for the rest of her life.
On November 5, 1830, Chopin left Poland for good.
During his journey to Paris, Stuttgart,he learned of the fall of the November Rising and suffered a nervous breakdown. It was probably at this time that the first sketches for the 'Revolutionary' Etude were written.
In Paris, Chopin presented himself in the salons of Pleyel, an elite of the musical world of the time, and achieved great success.
He quickly entered the circle of the most outstanding artists of the era. He made friends with Liszt, Berlioz, Hiller, Hein, Mickiewicz, Delacroix and others, established contacts with the Polish Great Emigration, befriended Prince Adam Czartoryski and Delfina Potocka.
He was famous, leading the life of a virtuoso, composing works that quickly became fashionable in the salons. He moved quickly from a small apartment at Boulevard Poissonniere to the fashionable district of Paris, and his friends called his apartment Olympus, because of the heavenly music that came from there.
He gave piano lessons to many great people: Baroness Rothschild, Princess Noailles, Caroline Hartmann and Adolf Gutmann.
He preferred composing to the role of a virtuoso, to which he devoted himself between 1835 and 1846.
He also maintained constant contact with Polish intellectuals (Adam Mickiewicz, Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, Cyprian Kamil Norwid, Józef Bem), and hosted his closest childhood friend Jan Matuszyński.
In 1836 Frederic Chopin got engaged to Maria Wodzińska, but the wedding never happened.
Maria's family did not agree to the wedding, claiming that Frederic was too sickly a candidate for a husband and the engagement was broken off.
At that time Chopin did indeed begin to fall seriously ill, probably with tuberculosis, although recently it has been said that it could be cystic fibrosis.
As early as 1836, Chopin met the French writer Aurora Dudevant, known as George Sand, who was six years older.
The couple existed as a relationship only in gossip; George Sand herself claimed to be Chopin's second mother, and their nine-year friendship was a life of cloistered celibacy. There were various rumours about her, about her fascinating life, about the number of her lovers, among whom were Balzac, Musset, and Merimee.

She wore men's clothes, smoked cigars and swore a lot. With Baron Dudevant she had two children: a daughter Solange and a son Maurice, a painter.

Fleeing from her jealous lover, Sand took Chopin and her children to Valldemossa, Mallorca, where they lived in a former convent. There Chopin's health deteriorated and he began to spit blood.
When his health improved, the couple returned to France.Chopin spent six successive summers at George Sand's summer estate at Nohant, and these were undoubtedly his happiest moments in life after leaving his homeland.
There he composed, among other works, the Ballade in A flat major, Nocturnes Op. 48, the Fantasy in F minor, the Polonaise in A flat major, the Scherzo in E major, and the Berceuse in D flat major. Nohant was visited by Balzac, Liszt, singer Paulina Viardot and Delacroix.
Chopin's relationship with George Sand lasted almost until the last years of the composer's life, ending in 1847.
Chopin greatly outlived this separation, and after leaving Nohant he did not compose any significant works.
After the outbreak of the revolution in Paris, Chopin went to England and Scotland. He was already in very poor health, and the journey aggravated it.
In London, Chopin's last public concert took place in 1848. The concert was organized by his pupil Jane Stirling, a Scotsman who loved Chopin and even proposed to him. Frederic, however, declined, feeling too ill and did not return feelings. Jane Stirling was called "Chopin's widow".
The composer returned to Paris shortly before Napoleon Bonaparte was elected President of the Second French Republic.
Chopin's state of health was very bad, and the only homeopath doctor who could help the artist died.
He worked less and less, limiting the number of lessons to more advanced students.
His apartment became a place for evening meetings of friends. Most of his time was spent in the company of Eugene Delacroix, who for many years was Chopin's closest friend and partner in intellectual disputes.
For the sake of Chopin's health and life, as a cholera epidemic was spreading in Paris, his friends found an apartment in Chaillot for him.
Stirling took care of him, but she annoyed Chopin, the Czartoryski family sent the musician one of their nannies. When Frederic's state of health began to deteriorate, his sister Ludwika tried to come to Paris.
Chopin died on the night of October 17, 1849.
In his last moments he was surrounded by a few people close to him. In the death certificate tuberculosis was indicated as the cause of death.
Chopin was buried at the Pere-Lachaise Cemetery to the sounds of Mozart's Requiem and his own Funeral March.
Auguste Clesinger made a posthumous cast of the artist's face and hand. He also designed and manufactured the Chopin tombstone.
The dying Chopin asked that after his death his heart be taken from his body and sent to Warsaw.
The heart, which was in a vessel filled with alcohol, was secretly smuggled into the country in January 1850 by his sister Ludwika Jędrzejewiczowa. At first she kept the vessel in her own apartment, later entrusting it to missionary priests from the Holy Cross Church. The heart was placed in the pillar of the nave of the church. The epitaph in the form of a plaque designed by Leonardo Marconi was placed on it.
Since 1927 the Frederic Chopin International Piano Competition has been held in Warsaw.
It is the oldest monographic music competition in the world. Its author was Jerzy Żurawlew, a Polish pianist, composer, professor and later rector of the Warsaw Conservatory. The competition is held every five years.
Hadi Karimi, a graphic artist with Iranian roots, has recently made a very realistic portrait, the latest reconstruction of Frederic Chopin's face.
He created 3D models of various celebrities and created a computer version of Chopin's silhouette. He had at his disposal two photographs of the composer, a clump of his hair from the museum in Warsaw and a posthumous mask, made by Clesinger.
Hungry for more facts?

Latest topics

42 facts about Kyshtym disaster
42 facts about Kyshtym disaster
The first nuclear accident in Earth's history
Before information about it saw the light of day, the Soviets hid it for over 30 years. The explosion at the Mayak combine was the first nuclear accid ...
37 facts about Saint Petersburg
37 facts about Saint Petersburg
A city of many names
It was a dream and a matter of prestige for the Romanov dynasty to gain access to the Baltic Sea and build a metropolis to testify to Russia's emergin ...
32 facts about Peter the Great
32 facts about Peter the Great
The first Emperor of all Russia
Peter the Great is considered one of Russia's greatest rulers. He was a great reformer, strategist, and builder who was the first of the tsars to trav ...
39 facts about Dyatlov Pass incident
39 facts about Dyatlov Pass incident
Mysterious tragedy in the Ural mountains
The case of a group of students at the Ural Polytechnical Institute in Sverdlovsk continues to arouse great interest and raise many questions. A group ...
11 facts about Brooklyn Bridge
11 facts about Brooklyn Bridge
The first steel suspension bridge in the world
It is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the world. It connects Brooklyn with Manhattan, runs over the East River, and was completed in 1883. ...
31 facts about Brazil
31 facts about Brazil
South America's largest country
Brazil is the largest and most populous country in South America and one of the largest and most populous countries in the world. A former Portuguese ...
44 facts about Ghent
44 facts about Ghent
City of three towers
Ghent is one of Belgium's most visited cities by tourists. This beautiful old Flanders city combines dignity, beauty, culture, and creativity. It is a ...
31 facts about Thailand
31 facts about Thailand
A country on the Indochinese Peninsula
Thailand is an Asian country located in its south-eastern part, famous for its interesting culture and religious architecture. This exotic country, wh ...

Similar topics