(Not) serious composer. Frédéric Chopin’s sense of humour

Antoni Maziarz
Original title: Kompozytor (nie)poważny. Poczucie humoru Fryderyka Chopina
Śląski Kwartalnik Historyczny Sobótka 2010
Abstract

Classical music is often associated only with solemnity and melancholy, similar features are associated with the composers of such a sort of music. Every day life of Chopin was not conducive to show a happiness, because of his nostalgia for homeland, sometimes of his being crossed in love and gradually of his physical sufferings connected with tuberculosis. His personal records’ collection allows to find, however, that he was a person of a great sense of humour, disposed to making jokes. A young Chopin enjoyed to make language jokes: he was glad to use anagrams, to imitate pronunciation and sounds, to join for fun Polish and French words. He poked fun both at others and himself, he often trifled with his characteristic, long nose. After some years and experiences, Chopin started using irony, jeer and even cynicism. But it was never beyond a good taste. Social circles in Paris regarded Chopin as „a soul of the party”. For close friends he presented not only musical, but also theatrical abilities. His favourite game was so-called ‘living pictures’, that he illustrated wittily by own music. Sophisticated humour made him popular with the women. We can find the greatest amount of his humorous remarks in letters written by him in Polish to friends. He poked fun at musicians of those days and critically commented people of various nationalities he met.

 

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