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Chopin in Paris: The Life and Times of the Romantic Composer
Chopin in Paris introduces the most important musical and literary figures of Fryderyk Chopin's day in a glittering story of the Romantic era. During Chopin's eighteen years in Paris, lasting nearly half his short life, he shone at the center of the immensely talented artists who were defining their time -- Hugo, Balzac, Stendhal, Delacroix, Liszt, Berlioz, and, of course, ...more
Paperback, 452 pages
Published December 31st 1999 by Da Capo Press
(first published 1998)
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Jun 26, 2009 'Aussie Rick' rated it it was amazing · review of another edition
Prior to reading this book I had no knowledge of this great composer or his music. If it were not for the previous good reviews of this book I would not have bothered buying a copy. I am so glad that I did, I just fell in love with this story, it was a captivating account! During the time I read this book I purchased about five CD's of Chopin's music. This is more a book of the man and his time in Paris than an in-depth account of his music, his style and his compositions. Regardless of that, ...more
To me, a great biography brings the subject to life, a rarity in the genre and no simple task. Doris Kearns Goodwin succeeded in doing so with Lincoln in "Team of Rivals;" David McCullough made John Adams come alive in his famous bio of the 2nd President. I cannot say the same for Tad Szulc's bio of Chopin. The reader mainly learns that Chopin was sickly and moody but could be charming (which I already knew.). Szulc basically tells the entire story by quoting letters, many of them mundane. Do I ...more
Feb 21, 2008 Barbara rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who loves Chopin or wants to learn more about him
Really enjoyed this. It wasn't just a biography of Chopin--it was an account of his times and the people he knew. Now I want to read some of George Sand's work and finally finish Un hiver a Majorque which I started years ago.
If you like Chopin and Paris, especially its history and then artists who have made it a cultural capitol, then this is a book for you. It's very well-researched by Szulc, a former NY Times reporter born in Poland and obviously familiar with Polish and French, as well as musical theory. He's written a wonderful history of Paris in the first half of the 19th century and an account of the personal, political, and aesthetic lives of Chopin, George Sand, who lived with Chopin for ten years, and the ...more
Chopin's life was not as fascinating as Liszt's, and not as sordid as Tchaikovsky's. A shy man who played piano in front of a public audience only a handful of times in his life. No wife, no children, and died at the age of 39. An interesting read if you like his music. The focus is only on his adult life in Paris; so if you are interested in his childhood in Poland this is not the book for you.
You will fall in love with Chopin reading this book! It was a little slow going for me at first with lots of names and information. But his personality starts to shine through more with the appearance of George Sand. I enjoyed his subtle sense of humor. Unknowingly I started reading this on the day after the date of his death, which was Oct 17.
A very meticulous account of Chopin's life and his relationships with his contemporaries. Told in the third person with digressions consisting of quotes from letters between Chopin and his family, friends and acquaintances, it doesn't really read like a story. The narrative follows a fairly strict chronological order. There is some interpretation but not much profound insight. The detail is rich and faithfully conveyed, but the style of the book is dry and fairly uninspiring. This is a great ...more
"A wonderful account of Chopin's life, and mostly of his life in Paris, where he seems to have met all the great artists of his time, and of his love affair with the complex and tumultuous George Sand. Richly detailed and lovingly written, it brings back to life not only the great composer but a whole society that has lost none of its power to fascinate."
A wonderful account of Chopin's life, and mostly of his life in Paris, where he seems to have met all the great artists of his time, and of his love affair with the complex and tumultuous George Sand. Richly detailed and lovingly written, it brings back to life not only the great composer but a whole society that has lost none of its power to fascinate.
What a brilliant way to look at Chopin the man and his music. Szulc focuses on Chopin's surroundings and influential friendships as well as his personal life and the life of Parisians at the time Chopin lived there so we the reader garner a much better understanding of this musical genius.