Fryderyk Chopin: A Life and Times

A video teaser for Alan Walker’s new biography

Daguerreotype of Chopin by Louis-Auguste Bisson (c. 1847)
Daguerreotype of Chopin by Louis-Auguste Bisson (c. 1847)

As the title of Alan Walker’s new biography suggests, Fryderyk Chopin is meant to be a corrective to the myths that have sprouted up about the composer whose first name has commonly been rendered as Frédéric. From Chopin’s birth in Warsaw to his death in Paris, Walker unfolds the story of 230 works over the course of the composer’s brief life (he lived to be only 39).  “Chopin’s compositions are woven so closely into the fabric of his personality that the one becomes a seamless extension of the other,” he writes. “Without the music, the hollowed-out personality that remained would contain little to interest us.” For a stirring—if unhappy—example, watch Walker’s video teaser about Chopin’s ill-fated trip to Majorca in 1838, which is inextricably wrapped up in the composition of his 24 Preludes.

Fryderyk Chopin: A Life and Times by Alan Walker will be published in October by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Video production by McIntosh Media.

Permission required for reprinting, reproducing, or other uses.

Stephanie Bastek is the senior editor of the Scholar and the producer/host of the Smarty Pants podcast.


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