Chopin Influenced by the Romantic Period


Romanticism, which means escaping from the realities of life, taking refuge in the world of dreams and emotions in many different languages, started to show its effect in the years 1800-1850 and became a great trend that shook the Western world. The Romanticism Movement, which continued its influence until 1910, developed as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century; It was perceived by artists as a rebellion against the classical system of thought. Ways of thinking such as reason and logic, which were emphasized at that time, were moved away, and works in which logic remained in the background and emotions came to the fore began to be produced. With the composers of the Romantic period, music became more personalized and emotions began to be presented clearly. Both neoclassicals advocating neoclassicism and romantics advocating romanticism were highly influenced by the social, political and intellectual structures that emerged after the 1789 French Revolution. Those who adopted neoclassicism defended the aristocracy and classical thought system by giving importance to authority and logic, while the romantics defended freedom and mediocrity by keeping human in the foreground.

They are interested in supernatural events and mystery. The way they work by putting this in the foreground in their works of art is one of the best examples of this. During these periods; Nocturnes, which are generally inspired by the beauty of the night, impromptues composed for a solo instrument such as piano, composed as one's soul desires, and rhapsodies in which emotions are brought to the fore have started to be seen frequently.

Romanticism movement; the branches of art are influenced by each other, and this effect is clearly shown to the outside world. Romantic music; It has been shaped by being influenced by different branches of art such as plastic arts, literature and poems. At the beginning of these effects, the diversification of the orchestra, the timbre and color of the instruments began to be emphasized more.

Great composers such as Ludwig van Beethoven, Robert Schumann are artists who had great influences on the 18th century romanticism movement. Later, some 19th century composers, especially Tchaikovsky and Brahms, developed some early Romantic Period ideas and musical techniques such as extended orchestration techniques.

Frédéric Chopin in the Romantic Era

Another artist who had a great influence on the Romantic period is Frédéric Chopin. The musical genius Frédéric Chopin, who stood out with the emotionality of the period, represented cultural continuity in the midst of chaos and trauma with his compositions.

Born in Poland on March 1, 1810, Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin's talent was discovered at a very young age, and at the age of 7 he graduated from G minor Polonez, KK. He composed 1 Polonaises, IIa, No.1817 (5; his first composition) and B♭ Major Polonaise, KK , IVa: 2 Polonaise. The public who saw and heard of his talent often compared him to Mozart. “God gave Mozart to the Germans and Chopin to the Poles.” Chopin was frequently mentioned in the newspapers.

Between September 1823 and 1826, Chopin began taking organ lessons at the Warsaw High School by the Czech musician Wilhem Würfel. In 1826, he studied with the Silesian musician Josef Élsner at the Warsaw Conservatory. During this period he began to give recitals and concerts in Warsaw. On June 10, 1825, he played his own Rondo Op.1 piece at his concert. This performance was published by the German Music newspaper “Liepzig Allgemenie Musickalische Zeitung”, and the magazine praised its “richness of musical ideas”, making it his first commercially published work that garnered him attention in the foreign press.

In 1825 and 1826 he was a guest at a school friend's house in Szafarnia, where he first encountered Polish rural folk music. After graduating from high school, he went to Vienna, which was the capital of music at that time. Chopin was seen as a piano genius in Vienna, and for the first time his music was outside of Poland; Rested in Austria.

On his return to Warsaw, Chopin wrote the concerto to declare his love for Konstancja Gladkowska, who studied at the conservatory and was known for his long-time fondness. He also began to compose various Waltzes and Mazurkas during this period. In the following years, Franz Liszt expressed the following thoughts about Chopin's Mazurkas:

"How mazurkas cause intense emotions at the accidental meeting of people! Even when the most trivial and absurd thoughts are swirling in one's imagination, his magic manages to stir up even the slightest emotion in the hearts.”

On October 11, 1930, he gave his farewell concert at the National Theater in Warsaw and played several pieces, including the concerto in E minor.

Chopin spoke of that day in the letter he wrote on October 12:

“Yesterday's concert was a success; I can't wait to let you know. I want to let you know that I was in no way nervous during the concert. I played it like I did when I was alone and it went well. The hall was full!"

The first Goerner Symphony… Allegro in E minor, written by my noble self; I played it without any problems: anyone can play it on a Streicher piano too. Then there was an angry applause.”

After saying goodbye to his people, Chopin went to Austria with his friend Tytus Woyciechowski with the aim of going to Italy. A few days after they left for Vienna, they heard that an uprising had broken out in Warsaw. This outbreak, also known as the November Uprising, was the beginning of the Russo-Polish war that would last for months in the following years. These armed actions against the invading Russian Empire in Poland, which began to disintegrate, would later result in the complete disintegration of Poland and Poland would come under the protection of the Russian Empire.

Chopin, who was deeply affected by the war in Poland, was left under strong and dramatic feelings, away from his homeland struggling not to be torn apart by war and turmoil. For this reason, during these eight months he spent in Vienna, he began to compose in a different way from his previous styles. It began to show itself in different styles with new etudes, including the Skerzo in B minor and the Revolutionary Etude.

Chopin was left alone when Woyciechowski returned from Vienna to Warsaw to enlist. In a letter to his friend, he expressed how sorry he was to leave Warsaw. From that day “…. I curse the moment I leave...” he had mentioned. He then left Poland for Paris in 1930 . He expressed his pain on the pages of his private notebook: my god! … You are there and yet you do not take revenge!”. 

Chopin arrived in Paris in September 1931, never to return to Poland. In his passport were written the following words: “In Paris with the aim of moving to London”. Years later, when he resided and became a naturalized citizen of France, he often laughed: "I'm just passing through Paris." he would say. 

During his years in Paris, he met artists including Hector Berlioz, Franz Liszt, Ferdinand Hiller, Heinrich Heine, Eugène Delacroix and Alfred de Vigny.

Around the end of 1831, Robert Schumann, Chopin's Op. When he reviewed the 2 variations, Chopin received his first major endorsement from an outstanding contemporary: Schumann said to him, “Let's take off our hats, gentlemen! This is Genius.” He had mentioned it.

Although he was highly regarded by the most famous artists, he still had much left to desire. He had come to Paris very modestly, seeking neither fame nor patronage, but he did not want to depend on his father, who was far from wealth and had to take care of his brothers.

As much as Frederic loved France, especially Paris, he felt alienated and began to have financial difficulties. Under these circumstances, he reduced his spending as much as possible and shared his lodgings with needy friends. He hoped that his concert on December 25, 1831 would make him a household name among the musical public, but the concert was postponed until February 26, 1832.

Chopin's friends (including artists such as Franz Liszt, Hiller and Sowinksi) tried to comfort him by describing the difficulties famous artists had to contend with in their early days. His friends told him he had plenty of opportunity and advised him to appeal more to the social segment of society, but he would not be convinced beyond that point. Therefore, he started to establish a different life plan. Some young Poles, unwilling to stay in Paris, had decided to go to America.

Knowing that good artists were lacking in the New World, Chopin thought that by going there he would not be a burden to his family. His family didn't want him to go to America, they wanted him to go back to Warsaw in the worst case. Just on the day he was going, he met someone miraculously, it was Prince Valentine Radziwill. The prince made a promise that he would spend the evening with Chopin at the Rothschilds. In this way, Chopin had the opportunity to meet the most noble family of Paris at that time, in the evening of the same day.

Losing all hope, the artist was asked to steal something. After playing his pieces, the audience admired Chopin; They competed with each other to express their respect and admiration and praised Chopin's talent. From that evening on, his position changed like magic; The future smiled upon him once more, the mists that hid the sunlight of his life vanished before the bright rays of their rising wealth.

Chopin received several requests to teach noble families in Paris. His monetary affairs improved every day. He was relieved of being a burden to his parents and gave up the idea of ​​returning to Warsaw altogether. It also saved him from public concerts, which he disliked but had to give because he was short of money. Chopin rarely performed in Paris after that. In the following years, he gave a concert in Salle Playel once a year. Often with acquaintances and friends Chopin ; 1 Rue de la Chaussée-d'Antinwas performing at his apartment in Paris. Franz Liszt, one of his close friends at that time, lived a few apartments away from Chopin. The two were going to visit each other, so much so that Franz Liszt has this to say about Chopin's apartment and piano:

"His apartment was lit with only a few beeswax candles, which surrounded the Pleyel piano. He loved his piano for its lightly veiled but deep sound, and the delicate touches it allowed to distinguish sounds…”

Chopin and Franz Liszt gave 1833 concerts between 1842 and 7. Although the two had great respect and admiration for each other, their friendship was uneasy and they had a love-hate relationship. Chopin's student, Joseph Nowakowski, described the day when one of the conflicts between them took place:

 One evening, when they were all gathered in the hall, Liszt played one of Chopin's nocturnes, where he took the liberty of adding some embellishments. Chopin's delicate intellectual face, still bearing the scars of illness, looked uneasy; At last he could no longer control himself and said, 'I beg you, my dear friend, when you have done me the honor of playing my compositions, please play them as they are written. 'Then play it yourself,' said Liszt, getting up from the piano quite brokenly. 'With pleasure,' replied Chopin. At that moment, a moth fell into the lamp and extinguished the burning light. As they were going to turn the lamps back on, Chopin said, 'No, turn off all the lamps, the moonlight is quite enough. Then he started to improvise and played the piano for about an hour ' And he played it like that ! It would be impossible to explain, because the emotions evoked by Chopin's magic fingers can never be put into words.” His audience was in tears when he left the piano; Liszt was deeply moved and told Chopin, embracing him, “Yes, my friend, you were right; the pieces you wrote should not be mixed; 'You are a true poet.' 'Oh no, it was nothing I did,' said Chopin, 'we each have our own style; That's the whole difference between us."

Although many different sources say that Chopin and Lizst's friendship broke down for other reasons, Chopin referred to Franz Liszt as 'my friend Liszt' even in his 1948 letters. 

After 1942, Chopin's illness gradually worsened. On February 21, 1842, after a solo recital in Paris, he wrote to his friend: “I lie in bed all day, my mouth and tonsils hurt so much.”  On March 1, 1843, he was invited to attend a repeat performance of the Beethoven Seventh Symphony arrangement at Érard's, but due to illness he had to decline the written invitation. Chopin's health continued to deteriorate, especially from this time. In February 1848, Cello Sonata Op. He gave his last Paris concert, which included three movements of the 65th. In the last days of his death, he asked his family to be with him. His brother Ludwika came to Paris with him.

In a letter to his friend on August 14, 1849, he said (this was one of the last letters he wrote):

“My sister and nephew have been with me for 5 days. I'm too tired. They are tired like me. I wish you happiness these days, but I am weaker and sicker than ever.”

The last words he wrote in French on a blank piece of paper before his death were:

"I feel like I'm about to choke on my cough, so I want you to open my body and make sure I'm not buried alive."

He died in Paris on October 17, 1849. 

The pieces composed by Chopin have succeeded in representing sincerity and inwardly spoken emotions. Instead of connecting these feelings to the national self, it has enabled us to unite us with today's poetry and emotions in all its tones and nuances. Chopin represented one of the most beautiful flowers of romance and had the same beauties and the same flaws as romantic poems.

As we can see from his compositions, although he is original, rich in thought and form, touching the highest and deepest points of emotions; It also carried traces of melancholy and anguish. He made great contributions to Romanticism and the Romantic Period, and succeeded in bringing a new perspective to music with his different style.


Life Of Chopin - Franz Liszt
Chopin's Letters
Frederic Chopin: His Life, Letters and Works -Maurycy Karasowski


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