A landmark biography of the Polish composer by one of the world’s leading authorities on Chopin and his time.
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Sunday Times Classical Music Book of the Year
A landmark biography of the Polish composer by one of the world’s leading authorities on Chopin and his time
Based on ten years of research and a vast cache of primary sources located in archives in Warsaw, Paris, London, New York, Washington, D.C., Alan Walker’s monumental Fryderyk Chopin: A Life and Times is the most comprehensive biography of the great Polish composer to appear in English. Walker sets out to dispel the many myths and legends that continue to surround Chopin. Fryderyk Chopin is an intimate look into a dramatic life; of particular focus are Chopin’s childhood and youth in Poland, which are brought into line with Walker’s latest scholarly findings, and Chopin’s romantic life with George Sand, with whom he lived for nine years.
Comprehensive and engaging, and written in highly readable prose, the biography wears its scholarship lightly: this is a book suited as much for the professional pianist as it is for the casual music lover. Just as he did in his definitive biography of Liszt, Walker illuminates Chopin and his music with unprecedented clarity in this magisterial biography, bringing to life one of the nineteenth century’s most confounding, beloved, and legendary artists.
At last, the definitive biography of Chopin has arrived. This substantial new study is a masterpiece, indispensible to specialists and general music lovers alike. It overflows with revelatory information, deft characterisation and pertinent, readable explorations of the music. All this is set against a minutely detailed depiction of his world. Walker’s style is elegant, literary and empathetic, while his unfailing love for the music shines from every page.
‘A real landmark … One could wish this volume twice as long. It is the most important biography of Chopin in years and will be treasured by musicians and music-lovers as the definitive life for many more.'
‘Thorough and authoritative … with the narrative expertise one would expect of the masterly biographer of Liszt.’
‘[Alan Walker] brings his considerable scholarship and narrative skills to a subject that continues to fascinate … Authoritative, exhaustive and eminently readable, this study should obviate the need for a similar endeavour for many years to come.’
‘This monumental biography is deeply engaging and enjoyable.’
‘A magisterial portrait of a composer who fascinated and puzzled contemporaries and whose music came to define the Romantic piano … Drawing on a wealth of letters and fresh scholarship, Walker creates a polyphonic work that elegantly interweaves multiple strands.’