Chopin`s Pianinos and the Discovery of Their Secrets
On May 3, 2014, after the end of the Szymanowska Conference in Paris, I took a trip outside of Paris to the workshop of harpsichord maker and collector of Pleyel pianos, Oliver Fadini. I went with the renowned Chopin specialist, Prof. Halina Goldberg of Indiana University. Our tour was arranged by Fadini's friend, music journalist at Radio France, Gilles Bencimon, a fervent lover of Chopin's music and the sound of historical pianos and pianinos...
One hundred and seventy-seven years ago, on March 31, 1837, an unusual concert took place in Paris, pitting the pianistic skills of the two leading virtuosos of the time, Franz Liszt and Sigismond Thalberg. The contest was adjudged a draw.
Frédéric François Chopin (/ˈʃoʊpæn/; French pronunciation: [fʁe.de.ʁik ʃɔ.pɛ̃]; Polish: Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin, also phonetically Szopen; 22 February or 1 March 1810 – 17 October 1849) was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of French-Polish parentage. He is considered one of the great masters of Romantic music.
Chopin was born in Żelazowa Wola, a village in the Duchy of Warsaw. A renowned child-prodigy pianist and composer, Chopin grew up in Warsaw and completed his music education there; he composed many mature works in Warsaw before leaving Poland in 1830 at age 20, shortly before the November 1830 Uprising.
Following the Russian suppression of the Uprising, he settled in Paris as part of Poland's Great Emigration. During the remaining 19 years of his life, Chopin gave only some 30 public performances, preferring the more intimate atmosphere of the salon; he supported himself by sales of his compositions and as a piano teacher.
After some romantic dalliances with Polish women, including an abortive engagement, from 1837 to 1847 he carried on a relationship with the French writer Amantine Dupin (pen name "George Sand"). For most of his life, Chopin suffered from poor health; he died in Paris in 1849 at age 39.
The vast majority of Chopin's works are for solo piano, though he also wrote two piano concertos, a few chamber pieces and some songs to Polish texts. His piano works are often technically demanding, with an emphasis on nuance and expressive depth.
Chopin invented the instrumental ballade and made major innovations to the piano sonata, mazurka, waltz, nocturne, polonaise, étude, impromptu, scherzo and prélude...
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Chopin's Iconic Piano: A Historic Family Feud in Majorca
This post is in partnership with Worldcrunch, a new global-news site that translates stories of note in foreign languages into English. The article below was originally published in Süddeutsche Zeitung.
The news from the courthouse in Palma comes as a tough blow for Frédéric Chopin fans who paid good money to see what was supposed to be the piano and living space used by the legendary composer during his late-in-life sojourn on the Spanish island of Majorca.
For a century, the Ferrá-Capllonch family, which owns Cell No. 2 in the former Carthusian monastery in Valldemossa, lured tourists to where they claimed Chopin had lived with his mistress, George Sand, and her children. The site also features the piano on which he supposedly completed his 24 Preludes, Op. 28.
As it turns out, they were wrong — about both the living quarters and the famous piano. Based on extensive research, the jurists were able to show conclusively that the instrument in Cell No. 2 was built after Chopin's 1849 death, and that the composer had in fact occupied another cell — one that's owned by a family with the surname Quetglas.
The court awarded the Quetglas family exclusive marketing rights, cutting the Ferrá-Capllonch family completely out of the Chopin legacy. What's more, the Ferrá-Capllonch family must now publicly announce that their piano is not the real thing. The piano had attracted approximately 300,000 tourists per year to Valldemossa, where visitors paid for tickets based on the idea they were buying a bit of proximity to the life and work of a man who is one of music's all-time greats. (See the 50 best websites of 2011.)
Chopin arrived in Majorca on Nov. 15, 1838, accompanied by his mistress, the French writer Amantine Dupin, or Baroness Dudevant (1804-76), who used the pseudonym George Sand. At the time, Majorca was considered a remote location. Valldemossa was even more off the beaten path — a dark village in the picturesque Tramontane mountain range, an ideal place for a celebrated musician to get well away from it all. Sand wrote a book about the sojourn, Winter in Majorca, which was to become as much a part of her legend as it is of Chopin's....
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Erard paris Grand piano serial number 53450 year around 1880s
Measures 212 cm long in a rosewood case.
This piano has been signed by odd various known Pianists of the time including Francis Plante. From what I can read, there is about five with a possible sixth signature but can read what each one says...