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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Fryderyk Chopin

Fryderyk Chopin

A Life and Times

Alan Walker

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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A landmark biography of the Polish composer by a leading authority 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, and 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 in more than a century. Walker’s work is a corrective biography, intended 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 the 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.

Praise for Fryderyk Chopin

"[An] expansive, authoritative biography . . . Packed with information and insightful analyses of Chopin’s major works that will interest professional musicians, and even nonspecialists will be entranced by [Alan] Walker’s piquant storytelling and graceful prose." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A sensitively discerning examination of a 19th-century superstar . . . a magnificent, elegantly written biography . . . An absorbing biography unlikely to be surpassed anytime soon." —Kirkus (starred review)

"Walker, whose writing is as limpid and engaging as his subject’s music, punctuates a rich texture of biography and history with discussions of Chopin’s technical and compositional innovations and distinctions that neatly show why he is so highly regarded . . . Informed by the latest discoveries about the composer, Walker’s
biography is a towering and beautiful achievement." —Booklist (starred review)

“[Fryderyk Chopin] is sure to become the definitive biography on the great composer . . . General readers should find this accessible as well as engrossing." —Library Journal (starred review)

“Adopting the same combination of broad perspective, wealth of telling detail, and musical expertise that he brought to his classic biography of Franz Liszt, Alan Walker has now produced a vast work on Fryderyk Chopin that is likely to remain the most important account of the great Polish master’s life for a long time to come. … More…

"[An] expansive, authoritative biography . . . Packed with information and insightful analyses of Chopin’s major works that will interest professional musicians, and even nonspecialists will be entranced by [Alan] Walker’s piquant storytelling and graceful prose." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A sensitively discerning examination of a 19th-century superstar . . . a magnificent, elegantly written biography . . . An absorbing biography unlikely to be surpassed anytime soon." —Kirkus (starred review)

"Walker, whose writing is as limpid and engaging as his subject’s music, punctuates a rich texture of biography and history with discussions of Chopin’s technical and compositional innovations and distinctions that neatly show why he is so highly regarded . . . Informed by the latest discoveries about the composer, Walker’s
biography is a towering and beautiful achievement." —Booklist (starred review)

“[Fryderyk Chopin] is sure to become the definitive biography on the great composer . . . General readers should find this accessible as well as engrossing." —Library Journal (starred review)

“Adopting the same combination of broad perspective, wealth of telling detail, and musical expertise that he brought to his classic biography of Franz Liszt, Alan Walker has now produced a vast work on Fryderyk Chopin that is likely to remain the most important account of the great Polish master’s life for a long time to come. Walker vividly recounts Chopin’s happy childhood and youth in Warsaw, his unfortunate but artistically prolific adult life in exile from his native country, his loves, and his losing battle with the tuberculosis that killed him at the age of thirty-nine. The book also delves deeply into Chopin’s music. A must for musicians and music-lovers alike.”—Harvey Sachs, author of Toscanini: Musician of Conscience

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Reviews from Goodreads

Alan Walker

Alan Walker’s definitive three-volume biography of Liszt, Franz Liszt, received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in Biography and the Royal Philharmonic Society Book Award, among others. His writing has appeared in journals such as The Musical Quarterly, The Times Literary Supplement, and Times Educational Supplement. A professor emeritus at McMaster University, Walker was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1986 and was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary in 2012.

image of Dr. Alan Walker o
Tom Horbett

Dr. Alan Walker

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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