Frederyck Chopin - West Eaton Place, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 29.702 W 000° 09.324
30U E 697454 N 5708713
Quick Description: This blue plaque, to Frederyck Chopin, is set into a special recess on a building at the junction of West Eaton Place and Eaton Place in London. It is where Chopin gave his first London concert in 1848.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 5/16/2014 10:28:16 AM
Waymark Code: WMKQE0
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member bill&ben
Views: 0

Long Description:

The blue plaque tells us about Chopin's first concert in London and reads:

1810 - 1849
Gave his first
London Concert
in this house
June 23 1848

The Biography website tells us:

Considered Poland's greatest composer, Frédéric Chopin focused his efforts on piano composition and was a strong influence on composers who followed him.


Born on March 1, 1810, in Zelazowa Wola, Poland, Frédéric Chopin, grew up in a middle-class family. He published his first composition at age 7 and began performing one year later. In 1832, he moved to Paris, socialized with high society and was known as an excellent piano teacher. His piano compositions were highly influential. He died of tuberculosis and ill health on October 17, 1849, in Paris, France.

Early Years

Frédéric Chopin was born Fyderyk Franciszek Szopen on March 1, 1810, in the small village of ?elazowa Wola, Duchy of Warsaw (now Poland). His Father, Nicholas, was a French émigré who was working as a bookkeeper when he met and married Justyna Krzy?anowska. Soon after Frederic was born, Nicholas found employment as a tutor for aristocratic families in Warsaw.

His father's employment exposed young Chopin to cultured Warsaw society, and his mother introduced him to music at an early age. By age 6, young Chopin was ably playing the piano and composing tunes. Recognizing his talent, his family engaged professional musician Wojcheh Zywny for lessons, and soon pupil surpassed teacher in both technique and imagination.

Child Prodigy

By 1818, Chopin was performing in elegant salons and writing his own compositions, including the Polonaise in G Minor. By 1826, he had composed several piano pieces in different styles, and his parents enrolled him in the Warsaw Conservatory of Music, where he studied for three years under Polish composer Josef Elsner.

Sensing he needed a broader musical experience, Chopin's parents sent him to Vienna, where he made his performance debut in 1829. Audiences were enthralled with his highly technical yet poetically expressive performances. Over the next few years, Chopin performed in Poland, Germany, Austria and Paris, where he settled in 1832. There he quickly established relationships with other young composers, among them Franz Liszt, Vincenzo Bellini and Felix Mendelssohn.

Life in Paris

While in Paris, Chopin found his delicate style didn't always enthrall the larger concert audiences, who had been exposed to the works of Franz Schubert and Ludwig Van Beethoven. A fortuitous introduction to the Rothschild family opened new doors, however, and Chopin soon found employment in the great parlors of Paris as both recitalist and teacher. His increased income allowed him to live well and compose such pieces as Nocturnes of Opp. 9 and 15, the Scherzo in B-flat minor, Op. 31 and the Sonata in B-flat minor, Op. 35.

Relationship with George Sand

Though Chopin had had youthful love affairs and was at one time engaged, none of his relationships lasted more than a year. In 1838 he began a love affair with French novelist Aurore Dedevant, aka, George Sand. The couple spent a harsh winter on the island of Majorca, south of France, where Chopin became ill. In March 1839, Sand realized that he needed medical attention and took him to Marseille, where he was diagnosed with consumption (tuberculosis). There, a skilled physician helped him recover.

In May 1839, Frederic Chopin and George Sand settled south of Paris in Nohant, Sand's country home. The next seven years proved to be the happiest and most productive period of Chopin's life. He steadily composed a series of masterpieces, including the B Minor Sonata, the Opus 55 Nocturnes and the Opus 56 Mazurkas. The growing demand for his new works and his greater understanding of the publishing business also brought increased income and provided Chopin an elegant lifestyle.

Final Years and Death

By the mid-1840s, both Chopin's health and his relationship with George Sand were deteriorating. His behavior had become erratic, possibly due to an undiagnosed form of epilepsy. The affair ended in 1848 after, among other things, Sand's unflattering portrayal of their relationship in her 1846 novel Lucrezia Floriani. At the end, both parties were too proud to reconcile, and Chopin's spirit and health were broken. He made an extended tour to the British Isles, where he struggled under an exhausting schedule, making his last public appearance on November 16, 1848. He then returned to Paris, where he died on October 17, 1849, at age 38. His body was buried at Père Lachaise cemetery, but his heart was interred at a church in Warsaw, near the place of his birth.

The Chopin Society website tells about the circumstances leading to his first London concert:

...Henry Broadwood was indeed to prove his most useful friend in London.

    "Broadwood, who is a real London Pleyel, has been my best and truest friend. He is as you know a very rich and well educated man .... He has splendid connections".

Broadwood arranged two semi-public concerts for Chopin, to bring in much-needed revenue: at Mrs Sartoris's house, 99 Eaton Place on June 23rd, and at Lord Falmouth's house in St James's Square on July 7th. Chopin was not entirely polite about the noble Lord.

    "Lord Falmouth, a fervent lover of music, rich, celibate and a great Lord, offered me his home in St James's Square for my concert. He had been very kind to me. You might give him a few pence if you passed him in the street and his house is full of servants who dress better than he does".

These two concerts netted Chopin £300. He gave other private concerts for £20 each. Among these was one for Lady Gainsborough; one for Lady Blessington at Gore House, Kensington, and one for the Marquess of Douglas. Undoubtedly the grandest of these private engagements was that for the Duchess of Sutherland at Stafford (now Lancaster ) House on May 15th, where Chopin played before the Queen and Prince Albert.

Blue Plaque managing agency: Unknown

Individual Recognized: Frederyck Chopin

Physical Address:
99 Eaton Place
London, United Kingdom

Web Address: [Web Link]

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