Saturday is Arts & Music Day in the River Houses. This past Thursday was the birthday of the great Polish composer and pianist Frédéric Chopin, born 1 March 1810, so for this week’s Arts & Music Day we’re going to listen to a little more of Chopin’s magnificent music.
The delightful radio program Classics for Kids (classicsforkids.com) has an excellent five-minute introduction to Chopin that’s just right for any homeschool music student — and it comes with a tiny quiz to test what you’ve learned:
“Frédéric Chopin was one of the greatest pianists of his day. Every single piece of music he wrote used the piano. The name Chopin doesn’t sound very Polish because Chopin’s father was born in France. Even though he was fiercely proud of being Polish, Frédéric Chopin wound up moving to France, and never returned to Poland.” (classicsforkids.com)
Many of Chopin’s most famous piano works are dances. Here’s a beautiful performance of Chopin’s Opus 64 No. 2 waltz by pianist Tiffany Poon:
As a performer, Chopin was a child prodigy who made his first appearances on the concert stage when he was only seven years old.
In keeping with Chopin’s own history as a child prodigy, here is seven-year-old Harmony Zhu, a modern-day child prodigy, performing Chopin’s Nocturne No. 20 in C sharp minor at Carnegie Hall in New York — a performance that may inspire (or perhaps discourage) your own homeschool music students:
What artistic discoveries have you made in your homeschool lately?
❡ Explore more: For a brief overview of the international artistic and philosophical movement known as Romanticism, within which Chopin’s music is usually placed, turn to pages 338–339 in your recommended River Houses history encyclopedia (riverhouses.org/books).