Fryderyk Chopin: romance, rage and swooning admirers

Stephen Walsh at The Guardian:

This is also a musical biography that makes clear why, after all, we should bother to read a book about Chopin. Far from being a salon miniaturist, he was a major artist, a true heir to Bach and Mozart (as well as Beethoven, though he wouldn’t have liked it said), a creator of new forms, new modes of expression, and new keyboard techniques and sonorities. Walker rightly indicates Scriabin and Fauré as direct musical descendants, and Debussy as heir to Chopin’s discoveries about the piano; and since Debussy drew a new language partly from these findings, Walker might well have claimed (though he doesn’t) that Chopin lies behind a good deal of modern music, too. How’s that for a salon miniaturist?

The book makes no attempt to discuss every work, but goes into detail on salient pieces, with music examples, and some perhaps curious omissions – nothing, for instance, on the Ballade in F minor, one of the greatest of all piano works post-Beethoven. Smaller pieces, on the other hand, come through strongly.

more here.