QUOTE(Mad Tom @ Feb 8 2010, 12:19 PM)
QUOTE(wurlitzer @ Feb 7 2010, 09:30 PM)
Theres a big celebration going on in Poland (at the end of this month I think!) where the Polish military wind band will be playing several Chopin pieces.
Why is Chopin thought to be such a great Polish patriot? I understand why Chopin wants to claim him as uniquely Polish, but the French have an equal claim on him. He left Poland when he was 20, just before the Revolution, and never went back. He spent most of the rest of his life in Paris, and was buried there. Surely a patriot would have asked to be buried in his homeland, even if the politics of the times made it impossible for him to return there while he was alive? Of course there is a strong Polish character to much of his music - but that is to be expected in someone that grew up there. It does not by itself make him a patriot.
I don't know much Polish history, and the "information" on the net looks like a hundred sites repeating the same unsubstantiated twaddle. Can any Chopin scholar enlighten me?
I'm by no means a Chopin scholar, but can volunteer the following (all of which is gleaned from books, not from the internet. Unfortunately not all of it is fact, but some of it is reasonably well-argued conjecture).
- while Chopin was buried in Paris, his heart was taken from his body and was sent to Poland. It was sealed in a pillar of the Holy Cross Church, Krakowskie Przedmiescie.
- Warsaw was not a major musical centre at the time. You could argue that Chopin needed the artistic stimulation that he got in Paris; he wouldn't necessarily have got it in Poland
- Chopin made an enormous amount of money teaching in Paris. Possibly he would not have been able to make the same amount in Poland
- There was a large Polish ex-pat community in Paris, particularly a number of the Polish nobility who had fled Poland. This would have given him the opportunity to speak his language, and share experiences with people of similar backgrounds
- George Sand's influence: she was the dominant partner in their relationship, and likely would have been strongly averse to going to Poland
- Possibly during the later years of his life, Chopin would have been too weak to uproot himself back to Poland, given the progression of his tuberculosis.
Anybody else got anything else to add / disagree with?
In terms of celebration of 200 years of Chopin, I'll be working on a number of Chopin pieces this year (including the G Minor Ballade, Mad Tom - I agree the second half looks like a nightmare!).
But, with the pieces I've got planned for this year, I'm also celebrating 325 years of Bach, 137 years of Rachmaninov, 240 years of Beethoven, and 135 years of Ravel!!