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A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice. The Sunday Times (U.K.) Classical Music Book of 2018 and one of The Economist's Best Books of 2018. "A magisterial portrait." --Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, The New York Times Book Review A landmark biography of the Polish composer by a leading authority on Chopin and his time Based on ten years of research and a vast cache of primary sources located in archives in Warsaw, Paris, London, New York, and Washington, D.C., Alan Walker’s monumental Fryderyk Chopin: A Life and Times is the most comprehensive biography of the great Polish composer to appear in English in more than a century. Walker’s work is a corrective biography, intended to dispel the many myths and legends that continue to surround Chopin. Fryderyk Chopin is an intimate look into a dramatic life; of particular focus are Chopin’s childhood and youth in Poland, which are brought into line with the latest scholarly findings, and Chopin’s romantic life with George Sand, with whom he lived for nine years. Comprehensive and engaging, and written in highly readable prose, the biography wears its scholarship lightly: this is a book suited as much for the professional pianist as it is for the casual music lover. Just as he did in his definitive biography of Liszt, Walker illuminates Chopin and his music with unprecedented clarity in this magisterial biography, bringing to life one of the nineteenth century’s most confounding, beloved, and legendary artists.
From an early age, Frederic Chopin displayed natural musical ability. Often compared to Mozart, Chopin was invited to play for members of the aristocracy in small, private concerts. But, unlike Mozart, his parents did not take advantage of his childhood talent. Frederic Chopin left his Polish homeland behind when he was only 20 and lived most of his life in Paris, France, the cultural hub of Europe. His genius as a pianist and composer flowered there with the encouragement and support of the female novelist George Sand. He wrote more than 200 works for piano during the course of his life which was cut short by tuberculosis at the age of 39. Symbolically, his heart was taken from his body and returned to his beloved Poland, where he remains a national hero.
Frédéric Chopin: A Research and Information Guide is an annotated bibliography concerning both the nature of primary sources related to the composer and the scope and significance of the secondary sources which deal with him, his compositions, and his influence as a composer. The second edition includes research published since the publication of the first edition and provides electronic resources.
Chopin in Paris introduces the most important musical and literary figures of Fryderyk Chopin's day in a glittering story of the Romantic era. During Chopin's eighteen years in Paris, lasting nearly half his short life, he shone at the center of the immensely talented artists who were defining their time -- Hugo, Balzac, Stendhal, Delacroix, Liszt, Berlioz, and, of course, George Sand, a rebel feminist writer who became Chopin's lover and protector. Tad Szulc, the author of Fidel and Pope John Paul II, approaches his subject with imagination and insight, drawing extensively on diaries, memoirs, correspondence, and the composer's own journal, portions of which appear here for the first time in English. He uses contemporary sources to chronicle Chopin's meteoric rise in his native Poland, an ascent that had brought him to play before the reigning Russian grand duke at the age of eight. He left his homeland when he was eighteen, just before Warsaw's patriotic uprising was crushed by the tsar's armies. Carrying the memories of Poland and its folk music that would later surface in his polonaises and mazurkas, Chopin traveled to Vienna. There he established his reputation in the most demanding city of Europe. But Chopin soon left for Paris, where his extraordinary creative powers would come to fruition amid the revolutions roiling much of Europe. He quickly gained fame and a circle of powerful friends and acquaintances ranging from Rothschild, the banker, to Karl Marx. Distinguished by his fastidious dress and the wracking cough that would cut short his life, Chopin spent his days composing and giving piano lessons to a select group of students. His evenings were spent at the keyboard, playing for his friends. It was at one of these Chopin gatherings that he met George Sand, nine years his senior. Through their long and often stormy relationship, Chopin enjoyed his richest creative period. As she wrote dozens of novels, he composed furiously -- both were compulsive creators. After their affair unraveled, Chopin became the protégé of Jane Stirling, a wealthy Scotswoman, who paraded him in his final year across England and Scotland to play for the aristocracy and even Queen Victoria. In 1849, at the age of thirty-nine, Chopin succumbed to the tuberculosis that had plagued him from childhood. Chopin in Paris is an illuminating biography of a tragic figure who was one of the most important composers of all time. Szulc brings to life the complex, contradictory genius whose works will live forever. It is compelling reading about an exciting epoch of European history, culture, and music -- and about one of the great love dramas of the nineteenth century.
Profiles the Polish composer and discusses his legacy and style.
Johannes Brahms was born in Hamburg, Germany, to a family that lived in extreme poverty. Yet by the time of his death he had become one of the most financially successful classical music composers who ever lived. It wasn’t easy. His family had to move several times while Hannes (as he was nicknamed) was still a boy. He had to go to work when he was just 13, playing the piano in rough waterfront taverns in Hamburg. Often he wouldn’t come home until dawn. Brahms received his first big break when he was 20. The composer Robert Schumann called him a “genius” and a “young eagle.” Even then, it still took him many years to become famous. While he is most noted for his symphonies and concertos, it is likely that more people know him for his “Cradle Song,” better known as “Brahms’s Lullaby,” which millions of mothers have sung to their young children to lull them to sleep.
The most popular of all Russian composers, Peter Tchaikovsky is probably best known for his ballets. Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and Nutcracker are still performed worldwide. But a good part of Tchaikovsky's career was spent writing operas. Eugene Onegin and The Queen of Spades are two of his better-known works. A precocious child, Peter could read French and German by the age of six. At seven, he wrote verses in French. In school, he studied to be a lawyer. It was not until he was twenty-one years old that he turned his focus to music. But this man who made such beautiful melodies was unhappy most of his life. He was terrified when he stood in front of an orchestra. He had an unrealistic fear that his head would fall off and he actually held his left hand under his chin to keep his head attached! However, he left a great legacy of beautiful music. From the diaries and letters he wrote, we know about the life of Peter Tchaikovsky. In this book, young adults are introduced to one of the greatest composers of all time.

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