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Composers Datebook®

with host John Birge

Sunday, December 13

Chopin is smitten

Synopsis

On today’s date in 1836, Chopin held a soiree in his apartment in Paris. The famous tenor Adolphe Nourit sang some Schubert songs, accompanied by Chopin’s friend, Franz Liszt. Liszt and Chopin then played a new Sonata for piano four-hands by Ignaz Moscheles.

In attendance was a petite, olive-skinned Baroness turned writer known by her pen name, George Sand. Sand was notorious for her racy novels and for her highly unorthodox lifestyle. She liked cigars, for example, and often showed up at parties wearing men's clothing without the required permit.

Chopin had met her earlier and was NOT at first impressed. The 26 year-old composer was engaged to a much younger woman back home in Poland, a pale beauty who couldn’t be more unlike the 32-year-old Sand. But, anxious to make a good impression, Sand showed up for Chopin’s soiree wearing white pantaloons and a scarlet sash (the colors of the Polish flag)—and left her stogies at home!

All it took was a “Dear Frederic” letter from the girl back home, and before long the Chopin-Sand romance was the talk of Paris. “My heart was conquered,” wrote Chopin in his journal, “She understood me.”

Music Played in Today's Program

Frederic Chopin (1810 – 1849) Polonaise in c#, Op. 26 Garrick Ohlsson, piano Arabesque 6642

Additional Information

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