He lived in the shadow of death, painfully aware of the tuberculosis that would kill him prematurely. But Frédéric Chopin attained immortality with his piano works, which endure as pinnacles of the instrument's repertoire. This biography by one of the nineteenth century's foremost pianists — Chopin's friend and fellow artist, Franz Liszt — offers a highly informed assessment of the Polish composer's musical legacy. It is further enlivened by the author's personal acquaintance with Chopin's other friends, who constituted the very cream of Parisian intellectual and artistic society.
Born a year apart, Chopin and Liszt came of age in an era favorable to musical change, when audiences as well as performers were receptive to Romanticism's innovations. Liszt surveys the technical brilliance as well as the poetry of Chopin's masterpieces, including the "Adagio" from Piano Concerto No. 2
and Polonaise in F-sharp Minor
. He also chronicles Chopin's progress from child prodigy to the darling of Parisian salons. A source of rare and unparalleled insights into Chopin's world of private anguish and public triumph, this memoir recounts the composer's loneliness as a Polish emigré, his tempestuous romance with George Sand, and his life among a glittering social set that included Balzac, Hugo, Berlioz, Delacroix, and Schumann.
Reprint of the Oliver Ditson Company, Boston, 1880 edition.
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