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FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN

FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN

He was born in Żelazowa Wola, close to Warsaw (Poland) in 1810. In a state of fragile health, in Autumn 1838 he travelled to Mallorca with the French writer George Sand and her children on board the ship El Mallorquín. They were undoubtedly the most famous couple in Paris during that period. First, they stayed in Son Vent (Establiments), and soon afterwards they moved to the Charterhouse of Valldemossa. They were enchanted by the landscape and living in a vast and empty Charterhouse with one cemetery, inspired their romantic fantasy.

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“I shall certainly go to live in an enchanting Charterhouse in the most beautiful country in the world; sea, mountains, palm trees, a cemetery, a church dating back to the Crusades, the ruins of a mosque, thousand-year-old olive trees…! Now, dear friend, I am enjoying life a little more, I am very close to the most beautiful things in the world, I am a better man.” (Chopin)

The downside was that the cold and moist microclimate of Valldemossa, was very harmful for Chopin´s illness. Tuberculosis, the backward attitude of Mallorcan society, the fact that the couple did not attend church, and lived in a sacred place without being married, the rumours about whether George Sand smoked cigarettes and her trouser wearing, everything led to the locals despising the pair.

“But he is a little girl”, thought Sand when she saw Chopin for the first time, while the musician had the following to say about her to his friends: “Look, what a big strong man.” (Chopin)

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They had an isolated existence and that stimulated their creativity. Chopin finished his series of 24 Preludes and the second Ballade, he composed a Mazurka and a Polonaise, and began the third Scherzo. In turn, Sand who had to look after him, took care of domestic chores and educated the children, also worked intensely, especially on the novel Spiridion, whose main character is a monk. Also, in 1841 she published Winter in Mallorca, where she describes her impressions about the landscape and the character of Valldemossa´s inhabitants.

collecciochopinigeorgesand1At the Charterhouse it is possible to see some mementos of their stay, such as the piano that Chopin used to compose the Polonaise in C minor, op 40, no. 2 and the Mazurka in E minor, op 41, no 2. There is also the second most important collection in the world of documents related to the life and work of Chopin and George Sand, owned by the heirs of the painter Bartolomé Ferrà and the pianist Anne Maire Boutrox. Many of the pieces relate to the stay of the couple in the monastery, in the winter of 1838-1839.

He died in Paris in 1849. He is considered the leading exponent of musical romanticism.