Friday, 2 July 2010

Frederic Chopin in Paris

Chopin first went to Paris at the start of the 1830s. He was a quick success, and established himself as a teacher of aristocratics piano students.

Surrounded by the Parisian elite, Frederic Chopin made many famous and influential friends, from poets and authors to countesses and princesses. He knew everyone important in Paris, and was even called a bit "snobbish" in the later years of his life!

Chopin was happy in those years, enjoying a simple life of teaching, composing, and having fun. He used to chat merrily, imitate people (he was a very good mimic), and sometimes used to stand on his head! He was also very witty, and his letters are full of clever little jokes.

It was really his playing style which made him a lasting hit in Paris.

He was a lot more suited to playing in the drawing room or other intimate settings rather than the concert hall. This was because of his light playing style. This makes sense, since I think a lot of his pieces have much more power when they're performed in a cozy setting.

Since this was the case, he was almost always invariably invited to the latest and most fashionable soirees, where he would hobnob with all sorts of high circles, performing dazzling pieces such as a Chopin etude for them.

One story goes that Frederic Chopin and Franz Liszt swapped places in the dark during a performance to trick the audience. Liszt said this wasn't true, but he did like to light-heartedly imitate Chopin's delicate playing style on occasion though!

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