(Newswire.net -- February 20, 2014) Lutz, Florida -- If you guessed that the Queen and Chopin both have two birthdays, you’re right. Like everyone, the Queen celebrates her actual birthday but she also gets to enjoy an official ceremonial birthday as part of her role. Chopin’s two birthdays, on the other hand, are a mystery dating back hundreds of years.
For every music lover celebrating the anniversary of Chopin’s birth in February, there’s an equally passionate aficionado waiting till March to commemorate his arrival on the classical music scene. Even lauded historians and different appreciation societies that have sprung up to immortalise Chopin’s contribution to the arts can’t agree – many choosing to make the period between his ‘birthdays’ a prolonged festival of remembrance.
The confusion arises because in the 19th century people were much more vague about actual birthdays than we are today leaving us with a combination of sketchy evidence and hearsay upon which to base our decisions.
Frederick Slutsky, creator of The Chopin Project®, a global community sharing information, educational, audio and video resources focused on the great composer’s works, is convinced that March 1 is the correct date but is happy that the debate stirs up interest across the globe.
“In 1810, Fryderyk Chopin was born to a French father and Polish mother in Zelazowa Wola, west of the Polish capital Warsaw. The child was named after Fryderyk Skarbek, the eldest son of a Count who had formerly employed his father. They had to seek the Count’s approval to call him Fryderyk so the christening had to wait two months – until April 23 – a delay which, I believe, caused the confusion.”
“Discovered 43 years after Chopin’s death, his baptism register clearly states the composer was born on February 22 and is the strongest evidence cited by those believing this to be the correct date. It is compelling and was an important document in its day but, like many others, I believe it is wrong, containing a simple error, compounded over time.”
“Chopin's parents always celebrated his birthday on March 1. When accepting membership of the Polish Literary Society of Paris in 1833, Chopin himself gave March 1 as his birthday. Not only that but a letter to him in Paris in 1837, from his mother in Warsaw, began: ‘Dear Fryderyk, the 1st and 5th of March (Saint Fryderyk’s day), are approaching and I am prevented from embracing you.’ That’s good enough for me. My mission is to expose as many people as possible to this truly immortal legend of the classical music scene and any excuse to discuss his early years as a prodigy, his development as a master or the depth and beauty of his extraordinary work is music to my ears.”
Chopin has played a pivotal role in the history of classical music, particularly where the piano is concerned. He was composing at seven, gave his first public performance at eight and went on to produce a legacy of more than 200 titles: including 58 published mazurkas, 27 études, 27 preludes, 21 nocturnes, 20 waltzes and at least 23 polonaises for solo Piano as well as several chamber works, 2 piano concerti and 19 songs.
He forged friendships with composers like Mendelssohn, Berlioz and Liszt, and had a long, stormy affair with French novelist George Sand, encouraging them to leave their own marks on history. His music, a symbol of Poland's struggle for freedom, inspired many to rise up against Nazi Germany and was banned by Hitler for that very reason. Without his influence, 20th-century musicians like Rachmaninov and Debussy would not have learned lessons that improved their works technically.
And, thanks to its ability to cross over so well into popular culture, Chopin’s music has been used for hundreds of film scores; most famously in the Oscar winning Golden Globe nominated The Pianist, but across all genres on titles such as Empire of the Sun, Hitchcock, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Prometheus, Bad Santa and James Bond's Moonraker.
Slutsky concludes: “Chopin’s life, as his music, is full of ambiguity and unanswered questions. His approaching birthday remains something of a mystery but gives us a chance to remember his genius, whenever we celebrate it. He still brings pleasure to millions, an audience which The Chopin Project®, hopes to grow this year with the launch of some wonderful new resources including Apple and Android apps, and a series of simplified sheet music books. I’m sure our plans will captivate everyone from the casual fan to fledgling music student, even the most deeply committed Chopin scholar.”
Interviews, further editorial information, photography or music clips, are available from Frederick Slutsky - firstname.lastname@example.org 1-813-966-1933 (cell) or 1-813-964-5344 (studio).
The Chopin Project aims to connect a global community focused on the work of Fryderyk Chopin and was the brainchild of Frederick Slutsky who aims to make Chopin’s music more accessible to listeners and music students worldwide, through a variety of web, social media and live outreach events, digital and printed resources. programming. Since its genesis in 2007, where it began as an ambitious live concert and symposium series, The Chopin Project® http://www.chopinproject.com/ has become a comprehensive interactive user-focused enterprise. It fulfilled a unique role in the worldwide Chopin bicentennial celebration in 2010. The Chopin Project® facebook community is open to all and can be found at https://www.facebook.com/chopinproject. Those preferring twitter can follow @chopinproject