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The Life and Works of Chopin Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook


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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Naxos Audiobooks; Abridged edition (May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9789626342190
  • ISBN-13: 978-9626342190
  • ASIN: 9626342196
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2.5 x 12.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,145,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By F. Behrens on Aug. 4 2001
Format: Audio CD
Not having known very much at all about Chopin, I cannot vouch for the accuracy in the Naxos entry in their CD and cassette Biography series; but I can vouch for the enjoyment <The Life and Works of Chopin> (NA 421912) afforded me.
Written and produced by Jeremy Siepmann, this audio-bio not only tells the strange story of Chopin's life but also includes generous examples of his music, drawn from the bottomless pit of Naxos musical CDs. An excellent idea was to use actors for the voices of Chopin (Anton Lesser), George Sand and other females in his life (Elaine Claxton and Karen Archer), and other male acquaintances (Neville Jason). It is the kind of reading that would fascinate even if the work were fictional.
His letters are particularly fascinating, especially as they are read dramatically by the small cast; and one would rather hear about all his faults--physical and psychological--from people who knew him well. Perhaps his strange epistolary relationship with his Titus is dwelt upon a bit too much, but such are the times (then and now).
My only criticism in a negative direction is the length of the musical examples. I do not really think the entire "Revolutionary Etude" had to be played or the entire "Funeral March"; a minute or two with a fadeout would have been fine, especially on repeated hearings where one wants the facts. Nevertheless, highly recommended.
By the way, the listing above of this work as "abridged" is simply inaccurate since the text (I am told by the publicity person at Naxos) was written specifically for this recording and is by definition "unabridged."
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
An excellent introduction to boh the life and the work Aug. 4 2001
By F. Behrens - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Not having known very much at all about Chopin, I cannot vouch for the accuracy in the Naxos entry in their CD and cassette Biography series; but I can vouch for the enjoyment <The Life and Works of Chopin> (NA 421912) afforded me.
Written and produced by Jeremy Siepmann, this audio-bio not only tells the strange story of Chopin's life but also includes generous examples of his music, drawn from the bottomless pit of Naxos musical CDs. An excellent idea was to use actors for the voices of Chopin (Anton Lesser), George Sand and other females in his life (Elaine Claxton and Karen Archer), and other male acquaintances (Neville Jason). It is the kind of reading that would fascinate even if the work were fictional.
His letters are particularly fascinating, especially as they are read dramatically by the small cast; and one would rather hear about all his faults--physical and psychological--from people who knew him well. Perhaps his strange epistolary relationship with his Titus is dwelt upon a bit too much, but such are the times (then and now).
My only criticism in a negative direction is the length of the musical examples. I do not really think the entire "Revolutionary Etude" had to be played or the entire "Funeral March"; a minute or two with a fadeout would have been fine, especially on repeated hearings where one wants the facts. Nevertheless, highly recommended.
By the way, the listing above of this work as "abridged" is simply inaccurate since the text (I am told by the publicity person at Naxos) was written specifically for this recording and is by definition "unabridged."
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Yet another success in a superb series March 13 2010
By Paul Weiss - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Jeremy Siepmann and Naxos Records have created a truly winning recipe with their "Life and Works" series. The combination of an audio book with music is an extraordinarily powerful and compelling way of bringing the biography of a classical musician to life and, at the same time, making the music accessible to a wide audience who may never have had the privilege of listening to some of the greatest music ever written.

Frederic Chopin, like so many of the classical composers that we have come to love, was a child prodigy. Born in Poland to a French father, he was a composer and a leader in the development of Romantic music (a genre he truly didn't even care for himself). Despite being one of the greatest pianists in Europe, his innovative compositions relied more on depth, nuance, expression and musical story-telling than a blatant exhibition of pianistic virtuosity. His prolific output included stylings such as sonatas, mazurkas, waltzes, nocturnes, polonaises, ballades, impromptus, études and préludes (some of which had yet to be written for piano until Chopin set pen to paper).

In a listening experience that spans a scant two hours, it's difficult to be scholarly and cover great expanses of music. But, be assured, it's all here at least in brief - his deeply flawed love life, the rumours of his homosexual tendencies, his virtuosic piano skills, his music, his nomadic living style coupled with a fierce patriotic love of Poland, his birth place, his frail disposition and his ill health which, of course, fueled a predisposition to paranoid levels of hypochondria, and much, much more.

Truly an uplifting, entertaining and educational listening experience. Highly recommended.

Paul Weiss

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