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Life of Chopin

Franz Liszt

Book Overview: 

Chopin was a romantic era Polish composer. This work is a memoir by Liszt who knew Chopin both as man and artist. This memoir gives a unique understanding to the psychological character of the compositions of Chopin. It also offers Liszt's insight into some of Chopin's polonaises, especially the grand polonaise in F sharp minor. Liszt explains the strange emotion "ZAL" which is inclosed in his compositions. Then, presents a brief sketch on the lives of other great people in Chopin's circle. After that, Liszt discusses Chopin's fame and early life. Finally, Liszt gives a detailed account on Chopin's sufferings due to ill health and the unfortunate departure of the great composer.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .its resurrection from the grave is instantaneous; it takes its place in the banquet-hall, spreading an electric terror mingled with intense admiration; a shudder, wild and mystic as that which seizes upon the peasants of Ukraine, when the "Beautiful Virgin," white as Death, with her girdle of crimson, is suddenly seen gliding through their tranquil village, while her shadowy hand marks with blood the door of each cottage doomed to destruction.

During many centuries, the civilization of Poland was entirely peculiar and aboriginal; it did not resemble that of any other country; and, indeed, it seems destined to remain forever unique in its kind. As different from the German feudalism which neighboured it upon the West, as from the conquering spirit of the Turks which disquieted it on the East, it resembled Europe in its chivalric Christianity, in its eagerness to attack the infidel, even while receiving instruction in sagacious policy, in military tactics, and se. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I am surprised by the number of people who don't like or get this book. I think the general literary tastes of modern people has degraded so much that much of the prose of this book is unreadable or "too long" as one reviewer wrote.

This isn't a biography of the boring details like how a modern biogr

Very complimentary and flowery. It surprised me because one always reads that Lizst was conceited. I thought he would not speak with such kind words about another composer and performer!

As a classically trained pianist I had to read this, I’m a big fan of Chopin and his work, I also found most of his piano pieces impossible to play due to the long finger stretches. As we all know he was a piano teacher and that’s why he wrote a lot of etudes for his students. A good short read and

An enlightening insight of the character of Polish composer Frederic Chopin (1810-49), of whose life few know except through the works he left us. In this book, translated by Martha Walker Cook (1806-74) from the original French and originally published in about 1863, Franz Liszt (1811-86), a close

I read the book because the names of two of my favourite composers (Franz Liszt and F. Chopin) are closely linked to one another... However, I found myself reading a hagiography rather than a biography which is written in an old-fashioned style that confuses the modern reader by its affectation and

Funny because I didn't learn much on Chopin as a man. This was purple prose all over. Metaphors piled on top of similes attached to analogies. Liszt was a thrilling and gifted composer musician but maybe he could have asked his writer friends (George Sand comes to mind) to give him a hand with the b

Valuable and highly entertaining

Liszt, in his own melodramatic, extra way, recounts the music and life of Chopin in a rare, eyewitness biography.
Valuable as a biography written by an actual friend of Chopin, who can accurately describe his personality, appearance, and conversations.
So what if he sh

Liszt had a man crush on Chopin :3

The five stars given were not for the writing style, which often descended into hyperbole, but for the magical opportunity to read one outstanding musician interpreting the life and work of another musician who was also his close friend - and that both are my top favourite musical classicists! I can

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