Chopin: Genius or monster?
Independent – London,England,UK
Think piece from UK daily: “As Radio 3 prepares to broadcast the composer’s complete works, Michael Church says that he’s been woefully misunderstood…” Worth a read!
The stock images are of the staunch Polish patriot, and of the hypersensitive aesthete coughing his heart out as he pens his romantic melodies. Yet in truth Chopin was a political arch-conservative, an artistic and social snob, and a dandy who hated contact with the rest of the human race.
Moreover, though his music may have been revolutionary, he was a stern Classicist, despising the Romanticism of his friends Liszt, Schumann and Mendelssohn. Meanwhile, his phenomenal reputation as a virtuoso rested on a mere 30 concerts. None of this fits the stereotype.
Chopin’s character still troubles even his most ardent champions. “A very strange person, very hard to like,” is the verdict of Andras Schiff, who plays his music with rare insight and sensitivity. Anti-Semitism was only one of Schiff’s charges: after researching him in depth for a biographical film, he found he didn’t like the man at all….