Happy Birthday, Frederic Chopin! Celebrate with His Romantic Nocturnes

According to baptismal records, Frederic Chopin‘s birth was actually on February 22, 1810, but like the rebel he is, he chose March 1 to celebrate his birthday. So we will, too!

The great Polish composer and piano virtuoso would have been 208 today. Join us in celebrating him with some of his romantic works, from the aptly-named Romantic era.

“The freedom of his works is what makes the nocturnes so incredibly romantic,” as a friend and Chopin connoisseur put it. “They’re so opulent and tinged with the melancholy of knowing that come sunrise even lovers must part.”


The above video shows Stefan Jackiw playing Chopin’s Nocturne 20 in C-sharp minor. After you’ve immersed yourself in Jackiw’s talent, read Strings’ feature on him from our February issue here.

Follow that up with violinist Colin Jacobsen playing Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2, arranged for violin and piano by Sarasate. On piano is Doris Konig.

And, if you have time to spare, listen to all 21 nocturnes, here performed on piano by Claudio Arrau. Preferably by candlelight, but, you know, to each their own.

Anna Pulley is Strings‘ associate editor. Follow her on Twitter @annapulley.