Chopin course 9 – Arrival in Paris, friendship with Liszt; ‘Aeolian Harp’ Etude, Op.25, No.1

After the emotional turmoil of the fall of Warsaw in September 1831, which found Chopin en route to Paris, and, feeling helpless in the crisis, venting his anger and defiance by composing the "Revolutionary Etude", the 21 year-old decided to continue on to his final destination. His first inclination had been to return home, but letters soon arrived from his family and friends begging him not to even think of doing so. There was no point, as the fighting was all over, and in any case, he wouldn't have been much use, as he was decidedly slight of build. He would eventually die of tuberculosis, though he showed no signs of any illness at this stage, however his family always worried about him as his beloved sister Emilia had died of TB three years earlier, at the age of 14. More importantly, though, they and all his friends saw clearly that Chopin could be the greatest weapon against his country's oppressors by fulfilling his miraculous gift and representing Poland to the world through his music. And that's exactly what happened. Chopin soon became the most celebrated star in the artistic world of Paris, the capital of Europe, and everyone knew that his music came from Poland. It didn't help much in practical terms - Poland would remain under the yoke of Russia for nearly another 160 years, till 1989 - but it didn't hurt either.

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