Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Chopin, Frederick Francois, was born at Zelazowa-Wola, Poland, in 1810, his family being of French origin. Through the generous help of Prince Antoine Radziwill he received an excellent general education, whilst his musical studies progressed under Elsher, the director of the Warsaw Conservatoire. In 1829 he made his debut as a pianist at Vienna, and was already a complete and fully developed artist. Indeed, his artistic career shows none of the usual progressive stages; such as he was at the end he began to be from the first. Nurtured in aristocratic and cultivated society his genius never aimed at grandeur or popularity. He appealed to the delicate artistic sense, and somewhat artificial, if subtle, sentiment of a select audience. Thus he never attempted the higher forms of composition, but confined himself exclusively to impromptus, waltzes, mazurkas, fantasias, and songs, all designed for the pianoforte, if we except two concertos and a few concerted pieces of chamber music. His works are gems in their way, but they bear to the nobler and more natural productions of the great masters much the same relation as triolets and rondeaux to poetry. As a performer Chopin was unrivalled for absence of all garish display or noisy enthusiasm. Most of the effect was produced by fingering, and the tone throughout was subdued. In 1831 he went to Paris, which henceforth became his home. He fell under the spell of George Sand, who, when his health began to fail in 1837, took him to Majorca, and nursed him so carefully that his life was prolonged till 1849, in spite of the insidious attacks of consuenption. He only visited England the year before his death. He may be said to have caught the wild native melody of the Slavonic races, and tamed it for drawing-room use. His art died with him. He has imitators, but he founded no school.