Frédéric Chopin – Romantic Virtuoso

Day 163 of Colourisation Project – October 17

Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.

If you’ve ever wondered what composer, Frédéric Chopin looked like, here is one of only two known photographs that exist of him, taken by French photographer, Louis-Auguste Bisson in 1849. The other photo taken two years earlier in 1847 is extremely poor in quality.

Frédéric Chopin

Photographer: Louis-Auguste Bisson – Frédéric Chopin 1849 – Coloured by Loredana Crupi

Considered Poland’s greatest composer, Frédéric Chopin needs little introduction. One of the best-known and best-loved composers of the Romantic period, Chopin was a child prodigy and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era.  Writing primarily for the solo piano, his style was very distinctive and concentrated on delicacy of touch and extreme variations of dynamics and color. His melodies are beautiful. His legacy and influence on the music world is profound. His music never loses favour and is regularly performed, recorded and broadcast worldwide.

Chopin was instrumental in the development of modern piano technique and style and can be credited with popularizing the polonaise, mazurka and other dance rhythms.  A perfectionist, he set a very high bar for future musicians with the diversity and technical challenges of performing some of his solo pieces. (Please excuse the two puns in that paragraph.)

So… from Poland to Argentina, today I’ll let the music do the talking. Here is a clip for you to enjoy. Chopin’s Polonaise No. 6 in A-Flat Major  – ‘L’heroique, Op. 53 performed in 1965 by the extremely gifted, Martha Argeric, from Argentina and possibly one of the greatest pianists of her time! Only 23 years old at the time of this performance she is a joy to watch but is that a deliberate mistake I hear at 1.39?

Sadly Chopin’s life was cut short by pulmonary tuberculosis at the age of 39, denying the world of his brilliance and what could have been.

Chopin requested that Mozart’s Requiem be sung at his funeral in the Church of the Madeleine in Paris. The Requiem includes major parts for female singers however at that time the Church refused female singers in its choir. This caused the funeral to be delayed almost two weeks while the matter was sorted out. The Church eventually relented and granted Chopin his final wish on condition that the female singers remain behind a black velvet curtain!

Chopin also specified in his will that his heart should be taken out and returned to his native land, Poland. Pickled in alcohol, presumed to be cognac, it was taken to Warsaw by his sister where it was entombed in a pillar of the Church of the Holy Cross, while his body was buried in the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris.


“Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.”   –  Frédéric Chopin

This entry was posted in Colorization, Colourisation, Composers, Music, Photography and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Frédéric Chopin – Romantic Virtuoso

  1. How lovely to watch and listen to the video! So many interesting facts about him and his life that I didn’t know. You continue to amaze me with your posts!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Sarah Bernhardt – World’s First Superstar | Random Phoughts

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