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Chasing Chopin

A Musical Journey Across Three Centuries, Four Countries, and a Half-Dozen Revolutions

Annik LaFarge

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Simon & Schuster
11 August 2020
The Frederic Chopin Annik LaFarge presents here is not the melancholy, sickly, romantic figure so often portrayed. The artist she discovered is, instead, a purely independent spirit: an innovator who created a new musical language, an autodidact who became a spiritually generous, trailblazing teacher, a stalwart patriot during a time of revolution and exile.

In Chasing Chopin she follows in his footsteps during the three years, 1837-1840, when he composed his iconic Funeral March -using its composition story to illuminate the key themes of his life: a deep attachment to his Polish homeland; his complex relationship with writer George Sand; their harrowing but consequential sojourn on Majorca; the rapidly developing technology of the piano, which enabled his unique tone and voice; social and political revolution in 1830s Paris. Each of these threads-musical, political, social, personal-is woven through the Funeral March in Chopin's Opus 35 sonata, a melody so famous it's known around the world even to people who know nothing about classical music.

The result is an engrossing, page-turning work of musical discovery and an artful portrayal of a man whose work and life continue to inspire artists and cultural innovators in astonishing ways.
By:   Annik LaFarge
Imprint:   Simon & Schuster
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 213mm,  Width: 140mm,  Spine: 23mm
Weight:   340g
ISBN:   9781501188718
ISBN 10:   1501188712
Pages:   240
Publication Date:   11 August 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Annik LaFarge is a writer, photographer, lecturer, and author of the much-praised On the High Line: Exploring America's Most Original Urban Park, winner of the IPPY award for Travel Guidebook. She has been writing about the High Line and urban landscapes since 2009 on the blog Livin The High Line. Her most recent book is Chasing Chopin: A Musical Journey Across 3 Centuries, 4 Countries, and a Half Dozen Revolutions. She lives in New York City.

Reviews for Chasing Chopin: A Musical Journey Across Three Centuries, Four Countries, and a Half-Dozen Revolutions

A luminous book, rich with reporting and reflection and marvelously animated by LaFarge's passion for the subject. Whether you love Chopin doesn't matter: This is an irresistible journey into history and the nature of genius. -SUSAN ORLEAN, The New York Times bestselling author of The Library Book Annik LaFarge brilliantly traces the footsteps of Chopin's life in a way that is thoroughly engrossing for the layman and professional musician alike. My only regret is that there is not an Annik LaFarge book on the life of every important composer in the classical canon. Her virtuosic linguistic talent is put to good use in this fascinating book. -SCOTT YOO, host of Now Hear This on PBS Annik LaFarge's wonderful Chasing Chopin, like the music that inspired it, is a tour-de-force and journey of the soul. Attempting to unpack the awe she experienced hearing Chopin's Funeral March Sonata at a concert years ago, LaFarge does much more than recount the story of the music and its composer. She tells us why they matter, now, deeply and in all sorts of ways, to her and us. Traveling with a backpack from New York to Paris to Majorca, interrogating musicians, scholars, software developers, piano makers - going where the music and inspiration take her - she produces a diary of discovery that's a joy to read. -MICHAEL KIMMELMAN, author of The Accidental Masterpiece: On the Art of Life and Vice Versa and architecture critic for the New York Times Come for the finely drawn portrait of a musical genius, stay for the evocative recreation of the world he knew. By immersing herself in the creative context that nurtured Chopin's famous sonata, Annik LaFarge makes him live again. Chasing Chopin is infused with a roving curiosity and passion worthy of its subject. -BENJAMIN WALLACE, author of The Billionaire's Vinegar This slender but wide-ranging volume is impeccably researched....never seems overly scholarly and will appeal to a variety of general readers. -LIBRARY JOURNAL Annik LaFarge's Chasing Chopin is a slim book but it stands out because it's a hybrid work-biography and journalism-with utterly lovely, vivid descriptions of Chopin's music. -POPMATTERS


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