12 Apr 2015

Chopin, the Quiet Revolutionary

From Composer of the Week, 9:00 pm on 12 April 2015

Chopin by WodzinskaWhat lies at the heart of Chopin’s music?

It would be a mistake to over-politicise the 19th century Polish pianist-composer but there’s certainly a compelling historical backdrop. As a young man, he’d barely left Poland when his countrymen rose up against Russian domination. The subsequent crushing from imperial forces threw Chopin into deep anguish. His ‘Revolutionary’ Etude is the most famous response, but the pain, pride and longing of this Polish exile can be found in every corner of his music.

Margaret Ogilvie gets up close and personal in this introduction to Chopin’s life and works, which include at least 69 mazurkas Schumann called “cannons hidden beneath flowers.”

Portrait of Chopin by Maria Wodzinska