Frédéric Chopin

Frédéric Chopin (1st March 1810 - 17th October 1849) was born in the Duchy of Warsaw, Poland. His father was French and his mother was Polish. He was considered a child piano prodigy. In 1830, at the age of twenty, he moved out of Poland and made his way to Austria, and then later to Italy, followed by France. He settled in Paris and made a comfortable living as a pianist and composer. Although he was a Polish patriot, due to problems with papers, he became a French citizen. While in France, he had a relationship with George Sand, a French author. George Sand was a pseudonym for the feminist Amandine Aurore Lucille Dupin. In the winter of 1838, they travelled to Majorca, along with Sand's two children. Chopin's piano got stuck in customs and he had to pay 300 francs (half the first demanded amount) to release it. During this holiday, Chopin's health was very bad and they made their way back to Paris stopping by Barcelona and Marseille to recover. When they returned to Paris, Chopin moved out of his apartment and moved in with Sand in her house. In 1842, the four of them moved in to adjacent buildings in an other part of Paris (Square d'Orléans).

As the composer grew more sick every day, Sand was less and less a lover, and became more of a nurse. When she had problems with her daughter, she couldn't stand Chopin anymore and in 1847, she published a novel called 'Lucrezia Floriani'. The main characters are a rich actress and a prince in poor health. The prince was not loved in the novel and it is easily recognised as Sand and Chopin. Chopin knew of the afflictions on him as he helped Sand edit the book. This ended their relationship in 1847, which had lasted ten years. Chopin became less popular and he moved to London, where he made his last performance as background music at a party. In 1848, he moved back to Paris and was now very sick. He stopped performances and classes because of the pain it caused him but he continued composing. He died of pulmonary tuberculosis in his apartment on the morning of the 17th of October, 1849.

Chopin had a fear of being buried alive, and in his last Will and Testament he stated he want to have his heart cut out and preserved (probably in brandy) and it was to be sealed in a pillar in his church in Poland. It still remains there to this day.

Chopin is most known for his waltzes, and most of his compositions are for solo piano.

Chopin Waltz

Almost all composers wrote a Funeral March, but I think Chopin's one may be the most known.

Funeral March - Chopin

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frédéric_Chopin

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