Chopin's Funeral

Chopin's Funeral

Book - 2003
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The author of the acclaimed biographyByron: Child of Passion, Fool of Famebrings to life a closely fo- cused portrait of another great romantic artist, Frédéric Chopin. At twenty-one, Chopin fled Russian-occupied Poland for exile in France. He would never see his native country again. With only two public concerts in as many years, he became a star of Parisian society and a legendary performer at its salons, revered by his great contemporaries Schumann, Liszt, and the painter Eugène Delacroix. Blessed with genius, success, and the love of Europe's most famous--and infamous--woman novelist, George Sand, Chopin's years of triumph ended with his expulsion from paradise: less than two decades after his conquest of Paris, the composer lay destitute and dying in the arms of Sand's estranged daughter, Solange. Chopin's Funeral is the story of this fatal fall from grace, of an Oedipal tragedy unfolding, and of illness and loss redeemed by the radical breakthrough of the composer's last style. Richly textured and artfully compressed,Chopin's Funeralis an intimate close-up of an embattled man, grappling with conflict on all sides: family violence, political passions, and, not least, his own dependency and pride. With consummate skill Benita Eisler tells the story of the artist as exile, of an explosive love affair, and of worlds--private and public--convulsed by momentous change.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2003.
Edition: 1st ed. --
ISBN: 9780375409455
0375409459
Characteristics: 230 p. :,ill. ;,24 cm.

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leah_p Oct 23, 2013

Reviewers reached for celestial imagery to describe the [February 16, 1848 concert]; Chopin's playing, one wrote, "has no equal in our earthly realm." Only his friend Custine grasped the new emotional depths that recent months had granted the composer in exchange for what he had lost: "You have gained in suffering and poetry; the melancholy of your compositions penetrates ever deeper into the heart. Each of us feels alone with you in the midst of the crowd. It's not a piano that you play, but a soul. Take care of yourself for your friends' sake; we need the consolation of listening to you. In the hard times ahead, only an art like yours has the power to unite men otherwise divided by the harsh realities of life. We love and understand each other through Chopin...the man and the artist are one. What else is there to say?"

leah_p Oct 23, 2013

Composed in the summer of 1844, the Berceuse in D-flat Major surprises us, like happiness itself. Chopin had originally called the piece "Variations" (Variantes) before settling on the more evocative name for lullaby or cradle song, from bercer, to rock. It was the only composition to which Chopin ever gave this title ... Melodic shifts float over the hypnotic rocking ostinato of the left hand; the modulations are as subtly varied, yet as dramatic in texture and shape as those formed by the barest turn of a kaleidoscope whose bits of coloured glass, shivering into patterns, defy us to explain their magic. "Who will open the nightingale's throat," one Chopin scholar asked of the Berceuse, "to discover where the song comes from?"

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