Chopin: His Life and Music in Context

The music of Chopin is among the most loved and performed in the world. An outstanding pianist, Chopin wrote primarily for his favourite instrument, but also composed songs and chamber music. The events of his life were often tumultuous, marked by exile, illness, melancholy, homesickness, and failed relationships. But his music-making and the music he responded to by other composers, helped him to transcend the tragic circumstances of his life.


DELIVERY MODE

  • This class will be delivered online via the online platform Zoom.
  • This course requires students to have an email, a reliable internet connection, a microphone/speakers and access to a tablet, smartphone or computer.


COURSE OUTLINE

  • Chopin – his early life in Poland: His family life, his schooling, first compositions and early mastery of the piano – polonaises, mazurkas, waltzes
  • His rise to fame in Poland: His first great compositions, his friendships and his romance – Variations on arias by Rossini and Mozart aria, Piano Concerto in F minor, Nocturnes, songs etc.
  • His first trips abroad: Vienna and his admiration for Handel’s 'Ode for St Cecilia’s Day' – excerpts; the distant beloved and the Warsaw uprising of 1830-31, his Piano Concerto in E minor, Piano Trio, Introduction and Polonaise for cello and piano, his Studies
  • Chopin’s settling in Paris (183I-33): His love for the Italian Bel Canto style – arias by Bellini; the ‘Raphael’ of the piano, his first visit to England July 1837 – nostalgia for Poland – his studies, the Ballade in G minor, Scherzo in B flat minor, songs etc.
  • Chopin – his growing fame in Paris as both pianist and composer: Friendship with Liszt – enter George Sand, Bach’s preludes and Chopin’s, Chopin’s songs etc.
  • Chopin’s deteriorating health: The disastrous visit to Mallorca 1838-39, Sonata in B flat minor, his Preludes, Ballade in F major, songs etc.
  • Life at Nohant with Sand and her family: The split from Sand – Cello Sonata in G minor, Ballade in A flat major, Ballade in F minor, songs etc.
  • Chopin’s final years: His last great compositions – Berceuse in D flat major, Polonaise-Fantaisie in A flat major, Sonata in B minor, Barcarolle in F sharp major, his death and funeral at the Madeleine in Paris with a performance of Mozart’s ‘Requiem’ - excerpts


PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Appreciate the special and original qualities of Chopin’s music.
  2. Assess the music that appealed to him and its influence of his own works – Handel, Bach, Mozart, Rossini and Bellini.
  3. Distinguish between his approach to composition and that of contemporaries his music he did not admire – Berlioz, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Schumann.
  4. Evaluate the contemporary accounts of his piano playing and this should influence modern performance of his works.
$232 Limited / $209

<p>The music of Chopin is among the most loved and performed in the world. An outstanding pianist, Chopin wrote primarily for his favourite instrument, but also composed songs and chamber music. The

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24 Jul

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