Chasing Chopin: A Musical Journey Across Three Centuries, Four Countries, and a Half-Dozen Revolutions

Annik LaFarge. Simon & Schuster, $27 (240p) ISBN 978-1-5011-8871-8
In this entertaining dual music history and memoir, LaFarge (On the High Line) explores her love of Polish composer Frédéric Chopin’s music, as well as his enduring contributions to music. In 1998, “falling deeply in love with Chopin,” LaFarge set out to discover all she could about the life and work of Chopin (1810–1849). Focusing primarily on Chopin’s Opus 35, which contains his famous funeral march, LaFarge traces Chopin from his self-exile from Poland— which began during the 1831 Russian occupation of Warsaw—to his tempestuous relationship with novelist George Sand and his veneration of Bach. LaFarge explains that Chopin was composing during the evolution of the modern piano in the 1830s and that he became “an outlier: as everyone else was trying to get louder and bigger, he perfected a tone that was often so subtle audiences complained he was weak.” The Chopin that emerges from LaFarge’s portrait is an independent spirit who shunned the limelight, was a generous teacher and friend, and encouraged his students to develop their own voices. LaFarge’s affectionate fan’s notes flow as melodiously as a Chopin opus. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 05/19/2020
Release date: 08/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-1009-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-7971-1011-0
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