Happy Birthday to Frédéric Chopin

piano music full page cropped with titleHappy Birthday to Frédéric Chopin. The Polish Composer and virtuoso pianist will always be at the top of the list of most famous Poles. Born March 1, 1810, as Fryderyck Chopin, outside Warsaw Poland, Chopin grew up in Poland, but left for Paris, France at the age of 21. Only Chopin’s heart ever returned to Warsaw.

Chopin is a very big deal in Poland and in the music world for good reason. One journalist phrased it as “what Beethoven is to the orchestra, Chopin is to the piano.” Chopin’s music is difficult to play, memorable to the ear and just darn impressive. When I visited Poland we attended two “salon” performances where a recent fine arts graduate performed in a small space, small being a large living room or parlor. Chopin had a preference for these “salon” performances and avoided the large stage.

Multiple organizations and multiple events play homage to Chopin and his music. An International Piano Festival based in Warsaw is in its 19th year, and will convene again in July 2015. There’s a Chopin Foundation of the United States. El Paso, Texas hosts the El Paso Chopin Festival every year in October. I presume it’s outstanding as it also shows up on multiple tourist sites for El Paso. I located a Chopin competition that took place in Beverly Hills, appropriately scheduled for March 1. I know there are more. A diligent search on a search engine should reveal multiple events that include or honor the music of Frederic Chopin.

???????????????????????????????When I visited Poland, every self-respecting musician or pianist we encountered played Chopin. Maybe it’s because I’ve always lived in a home with a piano, I recognize names of classical musicians and composers like sports fans can name teams, athletes and missed plays. I found some piano music in my piano bench and photocopied a couple bars of Chopin’s Fantasie-Impromptu. Trust me, I’ve never been good enough to play this. However, I did find a video on YouTube of someone playing this piece. Please watch, if only for the first minute – it’s an overhead shot of the pianist’s hands. You’ll get a small taste of the caliber of Chopin’a piano acumen.

Cliburn Music Festival – Dallas/Ft. Worth Texas March 5-8, 2015

Fantasie-Impromptu on YouTube – amazing!

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Tags: Notable Poles

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