The Life And Music Of Frederic Chopin

Considered Poland’s best composer, Frédéric Chopin focused his efforts on the piano composition and had the high influence on the composers who followed him.

Frédéric Chopin was born on March 1, 1810. He was a virtuoso pianist and Polish composer of the Romantic era who wrote mostly for the solo piano. Chopin gained and had maintained famous worldwide as the greatest musician of his time.

Frédéric’s “poetic genius depended on a professional technique which was without equal in his own generation.” This great composer was born in what was then known as Duchy of Warsaw and grew up in the Warsaw that in 1815 became part of the Congress Poland.

As child prodigy, he finished his musical education and did compose his earlier works in the Warsaw before he left Poland at the age of 20, less than a month before an outbreak of the Nov. 1830 Uprising.

It’s clear that Chopin’s love for music started at an extremely young age since his father was a musician of various instruments and his mother a piano teacher and player. Nonetheless, his decision to become a musician was on account of his sister Ludwika who taught him basic tunes and how to play the piano. Many scholars give thanks, Ludwika as a first piano teacher of Chopin.

All of the Frédéric’s compositions include the piano. Many are for solo piano, even though he also wrote a few chamber pieces, two piano concertos, and a number of songs to Polish lyrics.

Chopin’s Musical Styles

The music of Frederic Chopin is world-famous for its captivating moods and delicate gracefulness. He wrote music which was to be understood in musical terms only and didn’t depend on evoking pictorial or literary elements from the past. Pretty much all of the songs Chopin wrote is for solo piano.

His most popular works, on which his reputation is established, are his Preludes and Nocturnes. His Mazurkas and Polonaises are also famous. Each of these special styles had a tradition before Frédéric, but his experimental talent and nature transcended what had been carried out with each form of the music.

Frédéric endowed his Nocturnes, short-lyrical pieces whereby a simple melody expresses a broad range of emotions, into what’s possibly his most seminal works. The Preludes, written while he lived in the Majorca with George Sand, are at once melancholic and ecstatic.

1. Raindrop Prelude in D-flat Major, Opus 28. No. 15

2. Nocturne in E-flat Major, Op. 9 No. 2

The mazurkas and the polonaises are Polish dance forms which Frédéric used to express his love and the longing for his home country.

1. Mazurka Op. 17 No. 4

2. Fantasie Impromptu in C-sharp Minor Op. 66

The unique sound of the Chopin’s music is because of a number of things.

First of all, his style of playing was light, delicate, and had flexibility to it which developed lots of different emotion layers. These qualities are all shared by the songs he wrote.

Frédéric was (apparently) much more suited to playing in a drawing room or any other intimate settings rather than a concert hall.

Perhaps, it makes sense because most of his pieces have a lot more power when they are performed in a cozy setting. The melodies in his pieces are either exciting and grand, or reflective and touching. The harmonies develop subtle shades of color and provide the music a fragile feeling.

In fact, there are very many ways to describe Chopin’s music, here is a short list of words:

1. Thoughtful

2. Liquid

3. Dark

4. Frail

5. Refined

6. Graceful

Frédéric music is also important since it benefits a lot from a rhythmic technique known as rubato (that he mainly used when he played). This is basically speeding down or slowing up the melody based on the flow of the piece. The nocturnes particularly sound excellent with the rubato!

He also used characteristic chromaticism (Greek word for “colored,” means using notes not part of the existing scale) to develop inky and thoughtful moods. Chopin always puts these little chromatic runs throughout the place. They are tricky to play but very funny!

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Biography of Johannes Brahms, The Great Composer

Johannes Brahms was one of the most important composers at the end of the 19th century, writer of four symphonies. He was known for his keeping with the classical traditions of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, in contrast with Wagner, and the Romantic school of his time.
Brahms was born in Hamburg, Germany, on May 7, 1833, the son of an innkeeper/musician named Johann Jakob. He started composing music at a tender age, and when he was a teenager, he gave lessons and played in the bars and dance halls to help out his family. His first more professional work was conducting a small male choir, for which he wrote some of his first vocal music. In 1850, he met, Eduard Remeny, a Jewish Hungarian violist, who introduced to Brahms the world of gypsy music, which would later inspire his Hungarian dances.
In 1853, Brahms’ career took a positive turn when he met Joseph Joachim, a young violin virtuoso, who noticed his talent, introducing him to Franz Liszt, and Robert Schumann, who helped Brahms become recognized in the musical world. Later on, he would become great friends with Schumann, and when Schumann became ill, he helped to take care of his large family.
In 1859, Brahms was appointed conductor of a women’s choir in Hamburg, where he gained valuable experience, at the same time continuing composing two Serenades for orchestra, and his first String Sextet, as well as his first Piano Concerto, which at the time was only well received in Hamburg.
In 1863, after giving concerts in Vienna, Brahms became the conductor of the Singakademie there. He became more and more famous, able to earn an income through his composition. When his mother died in 1865, he began to work on the German Requiem, one of his most famous works, with texts from the German Luther Bible. At this time he also wrote two volumes of Hungarian Dances, which were a great success. He also wrote his Waltzes for vocal quartet and four-hand piano. In this time he also wrote some of his greatest songs.
In the 1870’s, Brahms wrote more and more chamber music and felt ready to begin his first symphony. Because he had been compared with Beethoven, he felt compelled to make this symphony perfect, so it was a very tedious process. He soon after published the second symphony. Later one, he would write two more symphonies.
In 1879, by which time, his popularity had spread into Switzerland, the Netherlands, and to Poland, Brahms was given an honorary degree from the University of Breslau. In thanks, Brahms composed the Academic Festival Overture, which is based on some German student songs. In this period he also wrote his Violin Concerto in D major, and his second Piano Concerto in B-flat major. He remained in Vienna for the rest of his life, continuing to compose many great works.
In his final years, he continued dedicating himself to composition, particularly to music for the clarinet. After this, he felt his creativity had come to an end, although he was able to write Four Serious Songs, which came about as his dear friend, Clara Schumann’s, health was declining. They are about the vanity of life and welcoming death. She died in 1896, and it would not be long before Brahms too would pass on. He appeared in concert for the last time in March 1897, and the next month, on April 3, the great composer died of liver cancer. Upon his death, he was greatly honored by the musical world. Max Kalbeck published a multiple volume biographies about him in 1906, and about 20 years later, a collection of all of his work took up 26 volumes.
In contrast to the music of Wagner and Liszt, who were extremely progressive, Brahms stayed somewhat conservative, hoping to create music which would endure. Although he was greatly criticized for going against the tide, the generations to come would greatly appreciate his music, identifying the unique intensity and compositional mastery that characterizes so much of his work.
Some of his notable quotes:
Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind.
„I would prefer to be inspired by a beautiful melody than to receive the order of Leopold.” This was an Austrian award given by the emperor in the early 19th century.


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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Musical Genius Defined

Born on 27th of January, 1756, Salzburg , Austria, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart commonly referred to as Mozart shaped the growth and future of classical music by his wonderful talents as a song composer, pianist and a player of many other instruments. He had learned playing piano when he was just three years of age and by the time he was 6 he began to play in public. The iconic artist and Austrian music composer was able to create a string of operas, sonatas, symphonies, concertos and many others that played a huge role in shaping what would later be called Classical music. He composed 600 classical works and up to date he is esteemed as one of the greatest composers of all time. His versatility and diversity in all musical creations and platforms associated with Classical music has brought him great honor even unto this day.

Classical music is an artistic kind of a music that is produced or created from the traditions of Western music, whether religious or secular. Mozart’s steps towards growing in classical music dated back in the 1760s and that is why he is seen to be one of the main artists who developed classical music because classical music saw foundation and growth from the 1750s to 1820s. Classical music has been recognized for its ability to appreciate highly sophisticated instrumental music such as the concerto, symphonies, sonata and a mixture of vocals and instrumental styles such as opera of which when these kind of music is written down can reach very high complexity levels. Classical music is written using musical language of notations and leads to creation of a musical part that informs about the rhythm, pitch, and the coordination acceptable where many singers are performing together. It’s one of the most orderly music genres ever.

His music was marked with vivid emotions and complicated and sophisticated textures after aligning himself with various European venues and patrons. Mozart took to the steps of his parents who were also musical and greatly gifted in the art of music. Mozart being the only surviving child to his parents, Leopold and Maria, he learned music from his father. Leopold was a great music composer, violinist and assistant concert master at the Salzburg court. Mozart showcased his excellency in the understanding of music as he was able to compose as early as five years old. Wolfgang was taken for a long journey to Italy by Leopold his father who had accepted and was proud of his wonderful artistic abilities and aimed to showcase his son’s amazingly excellent performances to as many people as he could arrange for. He continued to grow in music and at 21, he had been appointed as assistant concert master in the church they were worshiping which gave him an avenue to interact with some instrumentals that he was not familiar with. Up to date, Mozart’s compositions and instrumentals are termed as one of the best classical music ever. Though Wolfgang died an early death, at 35, he and his father had touched the world with music that would build a legacy for them to be remembered and honored many years, many decades and several centuries after their departure from the face of the world.


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Beethoven: One Of The Most Influential Composers In Western Classical Music

Born in December 1770 in Bonn, Germany, Beethoven was a great composer and pianist. Considered to be one of the most influential composers in Western Classical Music, he wrote nine symphonies, nine concerti and a variety of orchestral work, overtures and incidental music and other occasional work.

Beethoven started learning music at a very young age from renowned musicians of those times. With his extraordinary talent, he captured the attention of several famous musicians and made his first public appearance at Vienna in 1795 where he was to play his own work. This was followed by a tour to Prague, Dresden, Leipzig and Berlin. He had debuted with a piano concerto in the same year in Budapest. Till then he had established himself as a piano virtuoso.

Beethoven Piano Concertos

Beethoven Piano Concertos were admired throughout the world and are still known as masterwork. He wrote several concertos out of which seven are very famous. These include Piano Concerto No. 1 in 1796-97, Piano Concerto No. 2 in 1795, Piano Concerto No. 3 in 1800-01, Triple Concerto for violin, cello and piano in 1805, Piano Concerto No.4 in 1805-06, Piano Concerto No. 5 in 1809-10 and an unpublished Piano Concerto in 1815. The last one was performing version and was incomplete. It was later on completed by Nicholas Cook. Along with this, he had also written Violin Concerto in 1806 and Romance in E minor for three soloists and orchestra.

Beethoven Sonatas

Beethoven Sonatas constitute a great treasure that have been researched and studied by numerous pianists and musicologists. He had written thirty-two piano sonatas creating a new and impressive form of art. He played an important role in transforming and evolving of the sonata form. He had imposed his personality and joys and sorrows of his own life on the sonatas.

Beethoven Symphonies

Beethoven had also composed nine symphonies including Symphony No. 1 in 1799-1800, Symphony No. 2 in 1801-02, Symphony No. 3 in 1803-04, Symphony No. 4 in 1806, Symphony No. 5 in 1804-08, Symphony No. 6 in 1804-08, Symphony No. 7 in 1811-12, Symphony No. 8 in 1812 and Symphony No.9 in 1817-24. He also intended to write the tenth symphony but because of his ill health, he could not do so.

Other Works

His other works include five orchestral works, around ten overtures and incidental music composition, chamber music including string trios, piano trios, sonatas for violin, works with wind instruments and cello with piano. String quarters, string quintets and trio for piano, flute and Bassoon, and so on are some other noticeable works of Beethoven.

In 1801, Beethoven confessed to his worry of becoming deaf but he carried on with his music compositions and explored many other musical domains. His handicap was getting worse day by day and in later years he stopped talking to people. It was during this time that he wrote exceptional sonatas and symphonies for piano music, his greatest work. He also wrote one opera, Fidelio.

In conclusion, Even though we tune in to music and enjoy it in various ways under distinct conditions and circumstances, there’s no single definition for music. To some, music might be a voice or sound which makes them feel soothing and harmonious while for others it might be something to encourage, excite and relieve the moods through high bass. The history of music expands between prehistoric to recent times. It’s enriched with big names of excellent musicians.

Beethoven was bedridden during last of months of his life and died on March 26, 1827 during a thunderstorm.


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The Delight of Baroque Music and the Contributions of Johann Sebastian Bach

Bach Music Style (Baroque)

Johann Sebastian Bach contributions to the baroque music era are patently amongst the most significant contributions in the music history. He is considered as a genius of baroque music. This music genre is undoubtedly dramatic and very complex style of music that peaked in the early 1700’s.

Baroque is a style of the classical music and its divided into three. The early baroque which lasted until the mid-17th century, the middle baroque that lasted until the late 17th century and the late baroque which ended with the deaths of G.F Handel and J.S Bach in 1759.

Baroque music is easily recognizable; it is the fantastic and expressive music incorporated in many historical films. The high projection of emotion and a sense of underlying spirituality are the particular characteristics which underpin baroque music performance. In other words, it is a unique style that makes the deliberate use of strong contrast to heighten dramatic effect. For instance putting different sections of a piece against each other.

It has been accepted that three composers symbolize the main achievements of the Baroque. Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), George Fredrick Handel (1685-1759) and Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) and

Johann Sebastian Bach Biography

Born on 21st March 1685, in Eisenach, Bach was the youngest child of Elizabeth Lammerhirt Bach and Johan Ambrosius Bach. His father was a church organist, and many of his family members were also musicians.

The members of his family were talented and skilled at playing many musical instruments such as organ, clavichord, harpsichord, and violin. Bach was capable of training in all these areas during his early years of music training.

His parents passed on when he was only nine years, and at the age of 10yrs, Bach moved on to live with his elder brother Johan Christoph who became his music teacher.

In 1700, he was awarded a singing scholarship through an opening at St Michael School in Luneburg. He tremendously improved on his singing skills and started playing the violin. Later in 1702, Bach graduated.

In 1703 he was hired as a church organist in Armstead Germany. This opportunity provided him with the chance to practice his favorite instrument. In 1707, he became a church organist for a church in Muehlhauser, Germany. He later married his Cousin Maria Barbara Bach later the same year. Also Cantata no. 71 God is My King was composed the same year.

Bach later moved to Weimar where he became a court musician to Duke Wilhelm Ernst. He was able to write many original organ musics during 1708 to 1710.

His wife died in 1720 and remarried again in 1721 to Anna Magdalena Wulken. In 1723 he was named the choir leader of Leipzig where he provided choral music to the churches St. Nicholas and St. Thomas. During this period he also gave private singing lessons and taught music classes. The majority of his choral music was composed during this time.

Sadly, he lost his eyesight during his final years and went blind during his last year of his life and on 28th July 1759 Bach died due to complications from high fever and stroke.


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Some Welcome Music

Hi everyone, welcome! I’ll be posting a lot about classical music, musicians, and all things in the wonderful world of classical music. While I’m getting everything set up, please enjoy this compilation of Bach melodies. It’s the best collection I’ve found to date. Check back soon as I’ll be adding lots more!