Based on ten years of research and a vast cache of primary sources located in archives in Warsaw, Paris, London, New York, 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. Walker sets out 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 Walker’s 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.
‘It is unusual to feel bereft on finishing a 768-page book. But as Walker depicts [George] Sand with Chopin, or traces the posthumous progress of his preserved heart back to Poland, one could wish this volume twice as long. It is the most important biography of Chopin in years and will be treasured by musicians and music-lovers as the definitive life for many more.’ - Sunday Times
‘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 … A must for musicians and music-lovers alike.’ - Harvey Sachs, author of The Ninth: Beethoven and the World in 1824 and Toscanini: Musician of Conscience