I have a question about Chopin's Ballades. The person that would normally have answered this sort of question (Mad Tom) has de-registered but I hope that some other piano expert might have the answer.
I had always believed that unlike composers such as Liszt (Petrarch sonnets), Chopin was not inspired by works of literature, and that this was one reason that he never properly appreciated Schuman's work. But I have just been reading the Wikipedia entry for Chopin's Ballades, and there is a theory that they were inspired by some famous Polish poems.
I have also been told that the 1st Ballade expresses Chopin's feelings at the premature death of a close friend.
Does anyone know the truth of the matter?