As a lover of classical music, Tunde Folawiyo is no doubt familiar with the work of Frederic Chopin. He is considered to be one of the greatest composers of the Romantic era, despite the fact that his most well-known works were primarily small-scale pieces such as polonaises, mazurkas, preludes and nocturnes. His technical prowess, coupled with the delicacy and expressive nature of his melodies, continue to enthral people today, more than 165 years after his death.
Born in Poland in 1810, Chopin had a precocious gift for music, and began composing at the age of six. By the time he turned eight, he had started to perform publically and at the age of 16, he chose to enrol at the Warsaw Conservatory of Music. Following this, he spent a period of time travelling around Europe, giving concerts, after which he returned to his homeland and focused on composing. This led to the creation of works such as Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor, and Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor.
Chopin moved to Paris during his early twenties, and quickly earned a reputation as a brilliant piano teacher. However, his career as a performer only took off in France after he became acquainted with the Rothschild family. A chance meeting with them resulted in Chopin becoming one of the most popular parlour musicians in Paris. He also continued to teach and compose, creating some of his best known pieces, such as Sonata in B-flat minor (Opus 35), and Scherzo in B-flat minor (Opus 31), during this time.
In 1838, he travelled to Majorca, where he lived for one winter. During his short stay, his health began to deteriorate, and he was subsequently diagnosed with tuberculosis. He then chose to move to Nohant, where he remained for several years. He was exceptionally productive throughout this period of his life, composing what many now deem to be his greatest masterpieces, including the Barcarolle, and Fantastie in F Minor. These are works which Tunde Folawiyo, and almost all other classical music fans, are likely to have heard of. Chopin’s health problems worsened during the 1840s. Following a brief trip to the British Isles, he went to live in Paris once again, and it was here that he died in 1849.