Fryderyk Chopin: A Life and Times, Walker
Author: Alan Walker
Format: Hardcover, 768 pages
Publisher: Farrer, Straus and Giroux (2018)
“An ideal composer biography should combine several qualities — a deep knowledge of the artist’s life and milieu fortified by a reexamination of all available sources, an intimate understanding of the composer’s personality . . . and an ability to speak to the creative work in a manner that will edify both scholars and the general public and take us all back to the music . . . Walker manages this hat trick very well — meticulous, scholarly and well-told.” — The Washington Post
Based on 10 years of research and a vast cache of primary sources located in archives in Warsaw, Paris, London, New York and 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 in more than a century.
Walker’s work is a corrective biography, intended to dispel the many myths and legends that continue to surround Chopin. The reader gets an intimate look into a dramatic life — of particular focus are Chopin’s childhood and youth in Poland, which are brought into line with the latest scholarly findings, and Chopin’s romantic life with George Sand.
Written in highly readable prose, this engaging biography wears its scholarship lightly — this book is suited as music for the professional pianists as it is for the casual music lover. 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.
About Alan Walker:
Alan Walker’s definitive 3-volume biography of Franz Liszt received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in Biography and the Royal Philharmonic Society Book Award, among others. His writing has appeared in journals such as The Musical Quarterly, The Times Literary Supplement and Times Educational Supplement. A professor emeritus at McMaster University, Walker was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1986 and was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary in 2012.