The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music notes: Polish pianists playing Chopin mark the composer’s 200th birthday

March 4, 2010

By Jacob Stockinger

In case you missed it, Monday, March 1, was the 200th anniversary of the birth of composer Frederic Chopin, seen below in an actual photograph taken a year or so before he died in 1849.

My guess is that we will hear a lot of radio programs and some TV programs about Chopin this year since it is his bicentennial.

But few pieces, print or broadcast, will do as much in 10 minutes to explain what makes for great Chopin playing and then give you examples as this piece about Polish pianists and their affinity for Chopin that appeared last Sunday on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” It includes some great historical and contemporary  pianists playing excerpts of some pieces and other pieces in their entirety.


And here are some other good links.

The first goes to another NPR story about Chopin’s famous “Funeral March” movement from the Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35. (Below is a drawing Chopin on his death bed.)

And the second is to a celebration at the Piano Street forum and blog, which also allows you to download a free copy of the autograph for Chopin’s Ballade No. 2 in F Major, Op. 38 (below), a piece also performed masterfully and poetically on the site by Krystian Zimerman:

Do you know of other Chopin stories in print or on the air that I should know about and link to?

The Ear wants to hear.

Posted in Classical music

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