Composer Profile: Frederic (Fryderyk) Chopin (1810-1849)

Chopin at 25 by his then fiancee Maria Wodzinska
Chopin at 25 by his then-fiancée Maria Wodzinska

The unquestionable musical genius of Frederic Chopin is perhaps most remarkable for the extreme narrowness of its focus: he composed almost exclusively for the piano, and none of his music fails to feature the instrument. Continue reading “Composer Profile: Frederic (Fryderyk) Chopin (1810-1849)”

Classical Music: The Romantic Period

school of philosophy
The School of Athens, by Raphael 1509-1511, captures the Enlightenment ideal of a calm, ordered world dominated by intellectual pursuits.

The eighteenth century fascination with ancient Greek and Roman culture wasn’t limited to the artistic world. The intelligentsia, too, were exploring their ideas through books and scrolls faithfully preserved and copied by the monks of Europe and the scholars of the Near East. In them they found a philosophy and science which had since been overwhelmed in European thought by the squabbling feudal states and the vested interests of Church hierarchies. Invigorated by what they found (and conveniently overlooking the Roman penchant for conquest, oppression, infanticide, mass slavery and execution as sport and entertainment) they championed a world of order, logic and cool rationalism, presided over  in benevolent dictatorship by the kind of philosopher-princes envisioned by Plato. It wasn’t long before the artistic world rebelled. Continue reading “Classical Music: The Romantic Period”