“Hats off, gentlemen, a genius” Robert Schumann begins his famous review of Chopin’s second opus. And he should be right: The composer, pianist and piano teacher Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849), born in Żelazowa Wola near Warsaw, is considered a revolutionary in piano playing due to innovations in the areas of melody, rhythm, harmony and form.
But his work as a teacher also has an impact on today’s piano pedagogy, for example in a light touch playing technique and with the Belcanto as a model. The piano was his artistic extension, an thus there is no composition by him that is not at least accompanied by it.
Chopin’s mother was Polish, his father French. Especially in his Polonaises and Mazurkas Chopin, who emigrated to France at the age of 21, expresses his love for his native Poland. He was thus formative for the stronger emphasis of national identity, a characteristic which can be found in similar form in compositons of Edvard Grieg or in the Hungarian rhapsodies of Franz Liszt.
Chopin - who also had French citizenship from 1835 - died in Paris as a result of tuberculosis. On his express wish his sister Ludwika brought his heart back to Poland. Since then it has been housed in the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw.