Frédéric Chopin Remains an Icon of Polish Pride

Daughter-playing-grand-pianoFrédéric Chopin remains an icon of Polish pride.  Born March 1, 1810, he died a young man at age 39. The piano music he left behind remains a favorite among classical music fans, and a high standard for any pianist. I am a fan of classical music, and actually have two pianos in my living room. The first is a Yamaha grand piano passed down from my mother-in-law as my daughter’s inheritance, and the second is the upright Cable-Nelson piano I grew up with. Trust me – if you can play Chopin you have my utmost admiration. And you’re invited to my house for a private recital.  See below for a video.

Frédéric Chopin Statue in Lazienski Park in WarsawFrédéric Chopin Remains an Icon of Polish National Pride

Prior to visiting Poland, I didn’t really understand just how revered Frédéric Chopin is in Poland. There’s a museum dedicated to his memory in Warsaw; his birthplace 34 miles outside Warsaw is a minor tourist attraction, and his heart is interred in a Warsaw church. Yes, his heart. His dying wish was that his ‘heart’ always remain in Poland. I believe Poles even hid it during WWII, to prevent the Nazi’s from stealing it and destroying a treasured Polish relic. A huge statue of Chopin stands in Warsaw’s beautiful Łazienki Park, and serves as the backdrop for free concerts on Sunday afternoons in the summer.

Give me a Name to Remember Music

I know a lot of classical music by ear as I listen to it as background music when I’m writing or concentrating, but don’t ask me to name many compositions outside of a few more famous tunes or symphonies. They all seem to be named “the ninth xxx” or the “fifth movement in xxx.” Give me a name, like Moonlight Sonata, or Tchaikovsky’s famous 1812 Overture which is played to fireworks every July 4th, and then I’ll remember it.

Chopin’s Minute Waltz sets a High Standard for skilled pianists

I’ve included a YouTube video below of the Spanish pianist Albert Guinovart playing Chopin’s Minute Waltz (again I love names instead of numbers.)  It’s actually just under two minutes long, and is played far faster than I imagine any ballroom dancer could execute a graceful waltz. I bet many readers will recognize it; if not welcome to a sample of Chopin. Guinovart plays the Minute Waltz in a beautiful concert hall and there’s a great shot of his hands moving rapidly across the piano keys. Chopin preferred a smaller salon setting with a few dozen in the audience, but I still think he would be proud of his musical legacy.

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Tags: Notable Poles, Polish History

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