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4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  187 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Frédéric Chopin, wonderkind, virtuoos pianist, de grootste componist die Polen ooit heeft voortgebracht, een mythe. Dat de waarheid oneindig veel boeiender is dan de legende, laat Adam Zamoyski zien in deze even overtuigende als meeslepende biografie. Frédérique Chopin: in zaken een flutloze verkwister, in de liefde timide en weifelend, in zijn vriendschappen loyaal maar v ...more
Hardcover, 351 pages
Published 2009 by Balans (first published September 13th 1979)
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Dec 23, 2015 Bettie☯ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: BBC listeners

Adam Zamoyski's biography of the brief but eventful life of the great Romantic composer Frederic Chopin, from Polish child prodigy to Paris dandy, his turbulent relationship with George Sand and his early death, penniless in Paris.

Chopin's prodigious talent as a pianist is recognised early on. But despite being lauded as the great nationalist hope in his native Poland, where his polonaises and mazurkas are inspired by the harmonies of Polish folk songs, the teenage Chopin soon becomes stifled b
Mar 19, 2010 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Chrissie
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
"With the possible exception of Beethoven, no musician had ever had such a splendid funeral, and few have been so mourned. A year later, a monument was placed over the grave, and this quickly became, and remains to this day, not only a place of pilgrimage but also the recipient of letters and messages. Some merely express admiration and gratitude, but most are personal communications, often passionate and sometimes pathological in nature, professing a decidedly possessive love."

Having read thi
Sep 27, 2009 Surreysmum rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, 1983
[These notes were made in 1983:]. A most interesting book. It's written in good scholarly prose - clear, to the point, and readable without being flamboyant. Only the occasional slip in idiom betrays that the author was perhaps not always thinking exclusively in English. The research looks fairly thorough, and appears to have been derived from a great many contemporary documents, including substantial collections of letters. Zamoyski does not try to hide the fact that he has a thesis - that Chop ...more
Randall Wallace
Dec 04, 2015 Randall Wallace rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
1. Chopin, more than any other great composer was left alone enough to create his own style of writing for piano – which is why Liszt said Chopin was never able to achieve perfection with any form he had not invented himself (like the Polonaises, Ballades, and Mazurkas). 2. Chopin’s secret performance skill was a steady left hand with a tempo rubato right hand “the right would just hint at the anticipation of the phrase or else reluctance to begin it.” 3. “Fingers should fall, not strike. And ca ...more
Jul 17, 2011 Adri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought it an excellent biography. I could not put it down and went through it in one reading. It is unsentimental, and leaves one with a feeling of having had the opportunity to 'understand' Chopin a little.

This biography made me rush to my collection of Chopin CDs.
Sep 02, 2016 Derk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good, thoroughly researched biography of Chopin. The life of Chopin is beautifully portrayed against the historical events of his time, with a lot of insights by the Polish historian Zamoyski. A wonderful book for musicians and lovers of the music by Chopin.

The book makes you understand better, and marvel once more upon the miracle how the completely new and stunningly expressive musical language of Chopin came into being.

A fascinating picture emerges from this wonderful biography. For any musician, to understand what was going on in his head, and in his life, this one is way too short.
Douglas Larson
Well I have mixed feelings about it. Author Zamoyski has researched his subject well and he portrays Chopin and those around him clearly. At various points in the biography Zamoyski relates common public opinion from Chopin's contemporaries as well as opinions of Chopin's biographers and states his own well researched opinion, at times in disagreement with the commonly held belief.

So I appreciated the author's clear prose style, thoroughly reseaerched as it was but at the same time I found it s
May 04, 2015 Michaelchan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book with a good glimpse into the life of Chopin, painstakingly researched by the author. The general reader is saved by not devoting too much detail on the his musical compositions, since this is more of a general biography. But for someone who like to have a biography that is more intertwined with his music might be a little disappointed. Nevertheless, I still like this book which allow me to see into Chopin's life and with respect to the social-political scene at that time. Towards the end ...more
Czarny Pies
Sep 02, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers looking for a biography not a musicological work.
Recommended to Czarny by: I am a Zamoyski fan.
Shelves: european-history
I am giving this book three stars instead of four simply because I am unfamiliar with the biographical and musicological literature on Chopin. Zamoyski is very sure-footed when it comes to describing the social, political and cultural contexts of the two countries where Chopin passed most of his life. Similarly his comments on George Sand and the other public personalities that he was associated with throughout his life all have a ring a credibility.

As far as Zamoyski's assessments of Chopin's c
Ben Garrison
Apr 17, 2013 Ben Garrison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful book that explains the man behind the music as well as his times, friends and fellow musicians. It was good to know that Chopin was greatly appreciated during his time. The poetic descriptions of his music and how he played it were delightful. A very sickly man (many now think he had cystic fibrosis) who suffered greatly produced some of the best music heard by man.

A reviewer after hearing one of Chopin's concerts wrote:

Le Ménestrel called him 'the sylph of the piano, the ineffable
K.P.B. Stevens
A beautifully written book, and one that, at least early on, pays as much attention to Chopin's art as his person. But the book bogs down in its final third. Chopin is always sick and moving from place to place and playing the piano very quietly. I'm becoming convinced that most of human life lacks a narrative arc. At least Chopin's narrative arc seems to have ended by the time he and George Sand split up. He had also written most of his compositions by that point, and I wish the book had ended ...more
Doug Newdick
Apr 12, 2012 Doug Newdick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
I'm not a fan of biography, generally, but I really enjoyed this book. I am a big fan of Zamoyski, but here he seems to be a little bit too engaged in his subject. The prose got a bit too prolix and over-involved with Chopin at times, and boy does Zamoyski not like Georges Sand! Zamoyski does do a good job of placing Chopin in the cultural context that he operated in, and tt was very interesting to read about Chopin's relation ship to his native Poland, something you don't hear much about. Read ...more
Sep 22, 2016 Ekaterina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been playing the piano for 8 years, and I got this book as a gift from a friend of mine who knows how fond I am of Chopin. I loved how accurate the writer is and how greatly he shows Chopin's nature. Bravo!
Jan 23, 2016 Jos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: georges-sand
a readable overview of a fascinating man. The story with Georges Sand and how he wrote his music has a definite influence on how i liste to his music. I knew and loved his nocturnes, now I discovered hsi mazurka's.
Max Gibson
Jul 19, 2012 Max Gibson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An intense biography of Poland's greatest composer; Frederyk Chopin. Beautifully written, easy to read, a great guide to the life of Chopin. Once finished it was sad, and a bit depressing. A person such as Chopin who at times was not the easiest of people should not have had to suffer what he did.
Paul Servini
Mar 24, 2010 Paul Servini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I enjoyed this book a lot for the insights it gave into one of the greatest, European composers. His music enchants; unfortunately life brought him a lot of pain; some of it brought on by bad choices.
Dylan Treger
This book is tedious to read and provides over excess details of Chopin's life, but it also provides the most complete description, analysis, and documentation of the composer's life. Worked great for my research paper.
Ryan Kennedy
Ryan Kennedy rated it really liked it
Mar 08, 2012
Isola rated it it was amazing
Sep 02, 2016
Mark Sutcliffe
Mark Sutcliffe rated it it was amazing
Aug 25, 2013
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May 13, 2010
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Apr 06, 2014
Zachary Harless
Zachary Harless rated it it was amazing
Jun 26, 2015
Geoffrey rated it it was amazing
Dec 20, 2013
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Amy Hain rated it really liked it
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José Mardon Rullan
José Mardon Rullan rated it really liked it
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Caille rated it it was amazing
Feb 09, 2016
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A historian and a member of the ancient Zamoyski family of Polish nobility. Born in New York City and raised in England. He is Chairman of the Board of the Princes Czartoryski Foundation. On June 16, 2001, in London, England, he married the artist Emma Sergeant.
More about Adam Zamoyski...

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