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Chronicle of life and works

1810 - 1816. PROLOGUE
1826 - 1835. METAMORPHOSIS
1835 - 1846. APOGEE
1846 - 1849. EPILOGUE

1826 - 1835. METAMORPHOSIS: the search for own path. Works in the brillant and Early Romantic style.


Composition studies, 1826 - 29

IX - enrols as first year student at the Higher School of Music, headed by Józef Elsner
26 XI - "I go to Elsner for strict counterpoint, six hours a week; I hear Brodzinski, Bentkowski and others, on subjects in any way touching on music" - from a letter to J. Bialoblocki
16 XII - improvises on a choraleon built by F. A. Brunner
- writes the Rondo à la Mazur , op. 5

10 IV - Emilia Chopin dies of tuberculosis
17 VII - Chopin passes an examination in composition with J. Elsner who wrote in his report: "first year student: Fryderyk Chopin (amazing talent)"
VII - an excursion to Gdansk

1827- 28
- studies under the supervision of J. Elsner, to whom Chopin dedicates the Sonata op. 4, and Variations, op. 2 - first compositions which meet with the interest of foreign publishers

II - A. Brzezina publishes the Rondo op. 5
III - Chopin hears and meets Johann Nepomuk Hummel, who at the time gives concerts in Warsaw
22 VII - passes examinations in the Higher School; J. Elsner writes in his report: "Chopin Fryderyk, amazing capabilities, second year student, left to improve his health"
VII - IX - the summer spent in Sanniki (near Plock); begins work on the Trio op. 8
9 IX - leaves for Berlin
20 IX - "I have already heard an oratorio in the Singakademie, Cortez [by Spontini], Il matrimonio secreto by Cimarosa, Le Colporteur by Onslow. The Cäcilienfest oratorio by Georg F. Handel is nearer to the ideal I have formed of great music ... Tomorrow Freischütz!" - from a letter written by Chopin to his family
29 IX - travels back from Berlin
X - two days in Poznan; attends a reception given by Archbishop Teofil Wolicki
XII - plays the Rondo in C major together with J. Fontana at two pianos; improvises and socialises in Warsaw salons, takes part in amateur theatrical performances
27 XII - completes the Rondo à la Krakowiak, op. 14

- completes the Trio op. 8, composes the Fantaisie on Polish Airs op. 13
21 IV - meets Konstancja Gladkowska (1810-1880) at a concert given by pupils of Carl Soliva
23 V - 14 VII - attends a series of concerts by Niccolo Paganini and Karol Lipinski; witnesses a heated press discussion involving J. Elsner, Karol Kurpinski and Maurycy Mochnacki
20 VII - graduates from the Higher School of Music; J. Elsner reports: "Chopin, Frederic, third year student, amazing capabilities, musical genius"

Travels, 1829- 31

VII - departure for Vienna via Opoczno, Miechow, Cracow, Bielsko, Cieszyn, and then Moravia
23 VII - a visit at the Jagiellonian Library in Cracow; a week of sightseeing devoted to city monuments and the environs
31 VIII - 19 VIII - in Vienna Chopin meets, among others, V. Jirovec, Conradin Kreutzer, Carl Czerny and Tobie Haslinger; hears a performance by Leopoldine Blahetka; visits the K. Graff and S. Stein piano factories and the local painting galleries; sees La Dame Blanche by François-A. Boieldieu, La Cenerentola by G. Rossini, Il Crociato in Egitto by Giacomo Meyerbeer and Joseph en Egypte by Étienne-N. Méhul.
11 VIII - gives a concert in the Kärtnerthortheater: Variations op. 2 and improvisations on the theme of Chmiel (The Hop Plant) and an aria from La Dame Blanche.
18 VIII - a second concert in the Kärtnerthortheater: Variations op. 2 and Rondo op. 14
19 VIII - leaves for Prague
22 VIII - hears 48 canons and fugues by August Klengel
23 VIII - composes, together with Ignacy Maciejowski, the song Jakiez kwiaty (What Flowers) for Václav Hanka
23 VIII - departure for Toeplitz; at the residence of Duchess Clara Aldringen improvises on the theme from Mose in Egitto and Il Barbiere di Siviglia by G. Rossini and "Polish airs"
25 VIII - stays in Dresden to 2 September (?); visits the art gallery
26 VIII - sees Faust by Johann W. Goethe ("horrible but great imagination"); returns to Warsaw via Wroclaw
IX - poses for a portrait by Ambrozy Mieroszewski
X - begins attending Friday chamber music soirées at Joseph Ch. Kessler's residence
3 X - admits to T. Woyciechowski: "Perhaps unfortunately, I have my own ideal, which I have served faithfully, though silently, for half a year; of which I dream, to thoughts of which the adagio of my concerto belongs"
20 X - begins to compose etudes parallel to work on the Concerto in F minor
X - XI - leaves for Strzyzewo, in the region of Poznan (as a guest of the Wiesolowski family), and for Antonin, where he gives lessons to Wanda Radziwill, whose sister Eliza paints his portrait; becomes acquainted with the score for Faust by Prince Antoni Radziwill, for whom he writes the Polonaise op. 3
14 XI - "I have composed a few exercises; I could play them to you well" - from a letter to T. Woyciechowski

7 II - plays the Concerto in F minor, accompanied by a small orchestra, for family and friends
3 III - a presentation of the Concerto in F minor and the Fantaisie in A major in the Chopin salon
17 III - the first public concert by Chopin alone, given in the National Theatre: the Concerto in F minor and the Fantaisie in A major, orchestra conducted by K. Kurpinski
18 III - M. Mochnacki writes in "Kurier Polski": "Verily! he who shows such promise in his youth will make his name resound far and wide".
22 III - a second concert in the National Theatre: the Concerto in F minor and the Rondo à la Krakowiak , improvisations on the theme W miescie dziwne obyczaje (Strange Town Customs) and Swiat srogi (Cruel World)
IV - the Variations op. 2 published in Vienna by Haslinger
15 V - "The adagio to the new concerto is in E major. It is not supposed to be forceful but rather romantic [...] Involuntarily, something has entered my head through my eyes and I find pleasure in caressing it" - from a letter to T. Woyciechowski on the work on the Concerto E minor op. 11
V - VI - attends eight concerts by Henriette Sontag
8 VII - Chopin takes part in a benefit concert by the singer Barbara Majerowa in the National Theatre; plays Variations op. 2
10-20 VII(?) visits T. Woyciechowski in Poturzyn (the region of Lublin, south east Poland)
24 VII - listens K. Gladkowska in the National Theatre (debut in the title role in Agnese by Ferdinando Paër)
29 VIII - plays and improvises in the army camp of General Piotr Szembek in Sochaczew
18 IX - "I have begun the polonaise with orchestra [op. 22] but this is only the start and there is no beginning" - from a letter to T. Woyciechowski
22 IX - a performance of the Concerto in E minor in the Chopin home
24 IX - a review of the new Concerto in "Krajowy Dziennik Powszechny": "This is the work of a genius [...] he is to leave abroad [..] let us hope that no foreign capital will keep him for always"
11 X - a farewell concert in the National Theatre, together with K. Gladkowska; Chopin plays the Concerto in E minor and the Fantaisie on Polish Airs op. 13
2 XI - the date on the final version of both Etudes op. 10 (in C major and in A minor)
- - sets out from Warsaw for Vienna; a farewell to Chopin in a tavern in suburban Wola: a performance of Zrodzony w polskiej krainie (A Native of the Polish Land), a cantata by J. Elsner
5 XI - in Kalisz; from here, Chopin travels together with T. Woyciechowski
6 - 9 XI - in Wroclaw: sees Der Alpenkönig, an opera by F. Raimund and Le Maçon, an opera by Daniel F. E. Auber; on 8 November gives a concert in the Club: the Larghetto and Rondo from the Concerto in E minor, improvisations on a theme from La Muette de Portici by D. F. E. Auber
10 - 19 XI - in Dresden: attends a concert by Antoinette Pechwell (10 November), and a performance of the opera Tancredi by G. Rossini (13 November); visits the art gallery
20 XI - departure for Vienna (where Chopin stays until 20 July 1831) via Prague; in Vienna, he lives in Kohlmarkt 9
29/30 XI - the outbreak of an uprising in Warsaw; T. Woyciechowski dissuades Chopin from joining the insurrection, but returns home himself
XII - new acquaintances among musicians, such as Anton Diabelli, V. Jirovec, Joseph Merk and Josef Slavik
24 - 25 XII - a solitary Christmas; "mournful harmony all around [...]" in the St. Stephen cathedral
26 XII - "In the salon I pretend to be calm and upon returning home I thunder on the piano [...] I curse the moment of my departure [...]" - from a letter to J. Matuszynski

- compositions from this period include mazurkas from op. 6 and 7, nocturnes from op. 9 and 15 (no. 2), etudes from op. 10 (no. 5 and 6); private compositions : Lento con gran espressione, Piosnka litewska (Lithuanian Song) and Wojak (The Horseman before the Battle )

1 I - "I live amongst you [...] You are in the army. Why cannot I be even a drummer boy [...]" - from a letter to J . Matuszynski
26 (29?) I - "As an artist, I am still in my cradle, as a Pole, I am over twenty" - to J. Elsner
IV - "Her likeness remains before my eyes" - words written in an album
IV-VI - tradition has it that first sketches of the Scherzo in B minor, the Ballade in G minor and Mazurkas op. 17 were written in Vienna
11 VI - Chopin plays the Concerto in E minor at a benefit concert conducted by D. Mattis
VII(?) - works on the Polonaise, op. 22; in Vienna, he also writes the songs Smutna rzeka (Troubled Waves) and Narzeczony (The Homecoming )
16 VII - "My piano has heard nothing but mazurs" - from a letter to his family; the Mazurka in F minor, op. 7 no. 3 is written down in two albums
20 VII - leaves Vienna for Paris, via Linz, Salzburg, Munich and Stuttgart
22 VII - travels from Linz to Salzburg across the Alps
28 VIII - in Munich, Chopin takes part in a matinée of the Philharmonische Verein: the Concerto in E minor and the Fantaisie on Polish Airs
4 (?) IX - in Stuttgart; a meeting with Johann P. Pixis
8 IX - the capture of Warsaw and the downfall of the November Uprising: "The enemy has entered the home [...] O God, do You exist? You do and yet You do not avenge. Have You not had enough of Moscow's crimes - or - or You are Yourself a Muscovite! [...] I here, useless! And I here empty-handed" - from the so-called Stuttgart diary
- tradition has it that the concept of the Etude in C minor op. 10 (known as the "Revolutionary") and the Prelude in D minor from op. 28 originated in Stuttgart

Adaptation, 1831- 35

IX - in Paris; resides in Boulevard Poissonnière 27; first musical contacts thanks to F. Paër, to whom Chopin has letters of recommendation
17 XI - meets Delfina Potocka
XI - contacts with G. Rossini, Luigi Cherubini, Pierre Baillot, Henri Herz, Ferenc Liszt, Ferdinand Hiller and F. Kalkbrenner; the latter proposes to give Chopin piano lessons
27 XI - J. Elsner warns Chopin against accepting F. Kalbrenner's offer
7 XII - R. Schumann reviews Variations op. 2 in "Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung"; the famous words: "Hats off, gentlemen, a genius!"
12 XII - "The winds have driven me here [...] Paris is everything that you could wish [...] I know of no place where pianists are more numerous" - from a letter to T. Woyciechowski; under the spell of Robert le diable by G. Meyerbeer: "This is a masterpiece of the new school"
14 XII - "I am compelled to think about paving my way in the world as a pianist" - from a letter to J. Elsner

- the beginning of a long lasting friendship with the cellist August Franchomme; together they write the Grand duo concertant; closer contacts with Hector Berlioz
26 II - gives the first concert in Paris in Salle Pleyel, as one of 13 artists; plays the Concerto in F minor and Variations op. 2, and takes part in the performance of the Polonaise by F. Kalkbrenner, played on six pianos
III/IV - the start of giving piano lessons
20 V - during a great charity concert organised by Princess de la Moscova Chopin plays the first movement of the Concerto in F minor, accompanied by an orchestra
VI/VII (?) - new address: rue Cité Bergere 4
29 XI - "Healthy and strong, he enchants all the French ladies, and arouses jealousy in Frenchmen. He is fashionable [...] Only sometimes he longs for his homeland" - according to Antoni Orlowski
XI/XII - attends two concerts by John Field
XII - Mazurkas, op. 6 and 7 and Nocturnes, op. 9 are published by Karl F. Kistner in Leipzig; in the following year, a scornful review by Ludwig Rellstab in the Berlin "Iris im Gebiete der Tonkunst"

I - F. Kalkbrenner composes Variations brillants on the theme of the Mazurka in B flat major, op. 7, and in return receives a dedication on the published edition of the Concerto in E minor
- Chopin becomes a member of the emigré Literary Society
I (?) - "I have got into the highest society; I sit with ambassadors, princes, ministers" - from a letter to D. Dziewanowski
3 IV - together with Liszt, Chopin performs at a concert given by the brothers Henri and Jacques Herz
16 V - the premiere of Ludovic, an opera by Ferdinand Hérold and Fromental Halévy; Chopin writes Variations op. 12 on the theme of the rondo from this opera
VI - new address: Chaussée d'Antin 5; closer friendship with artists; 20 June: "At this moment, Liszt plays my etudes [...] Heine sends his most cordial greetings [...] Greetings from Berlioz" - from a letter to F. Hiller; Etudes op. 10 appear with a dedication "à mon ami F. Liszt".
VI - VIII - works by Chopin are issued by the Christian R. Wessel publishing house in London, with titles devised by the publisher
VIII/IX - a summer in Le Côteau (Touraine) with A. Franchomme
10 VII - dedicates an autograph of the Valse, op. 18, to Laura Horsford, his pupil; the Bolero, op. 19 was also written that year
15 XII - together with F. Liszt and F. Hiller, Chopin plays the Concerto for three pianos by Johann Sebastian Bach at a concert given in the Conservatory
XII - publishes op. 16 and 17 in Paris

- composes an introduction (Andante Spianato) to the Polonaise op. 22; publishes older and recent variations, rondo and fantasy (op. 12, 13, 14)
- becomes acquainted with Neapolitan folk music and meets Vincenzo Bellini in the salon of the singer Lina Freppa
about 15 V - together with F. Hiller, attends a festival held by F. Ries in Aachen; hears music by G. F. Handel, Wolfgang A. Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven (Ninth Symphony); meets Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy; stays in Düsseldorf, Coblenz and Köln
23 V - "Chopin is at present a foremost pianist [...] he plays as Paganini does the violin" - from a letter by Mendelssohn to his mother
14 XII - Chopin takes part in a concert by H. Berlioz
25 XII - together with Liszt, Heinrich W. Ernst and singer Sabine Heinefetter, Chopin performs at a benefit concert for François Stoepel in the Salle Pleyel

25 II - Chopin plays together with F. Hiller on two pianos in the Erard salon
22 III - together with F. Hiller, brothers H. and J. Herz, George Osborne and Camille Stammati, Chopin plays at a concert held in the Salle Pleyel
5 IV - at a charity concert given for the benefit of Polish refugees in Théatre Italien, Chopin plays the Concerto in E minor
26 IV - gives a performance of the Polonaise in E flat major, op. 22, accompanied by an orchestra, in the Conservatory; a great success and the last truly public concert given by Chopin
VII (?) - a summer spent in Enghien, near Paris, with excursions to St. Gratien, the estate of Marquis Astolphe de Custine


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