In Chopin the romantic school found its highest expression. The only other name worthy to stand beside his is that of Schumann, the genius whose almost prophetic insight led him to acclaim his fellow genius as the noblest poetic spirit of the age.
Several great composers of this period gave expression to the spirit of Romanticism , none more so than Frédéric Chopin. Chopin’s Romanticism is apparent in his rich harmonic shadings, intense poetic expression and his attention to the sensual qualities of music. It reveals itself also in his preference for short piano solos of the type often called “character pieces,” which convey a sense of spontaneity and immediacy so prized by the nineteenth-century Romantics.
It is significant that the image of Chopin as salon composer was disseminated above all in Germany and England in the later nineteenth century. […] Chopin's music was a major influence on later nineteenth-century Trivialmusik in Germany and also on he ephemera composed for the Victorian drawing-room.
The 1830s in Paris proved to be a progressive and productive time for Chopin. He completed some of his most popular works and performed regular concerts, receiving fantastic reviews. However, Chopin was not in favour of public performance; he therefore imposed a constant demand of himself as a composer and as a teacher. He was demanded in the Parisian salons, and he played less reluctantly under these circumstances.
As Europe's first nationalist musician, Frederic Chopin's creations breathe the spirit of his native Poland, especially in his mazurkas and polonaises. For more than a century he has been the first of that country's national heroes and to the whole world his music is still the voice of Poland
Chopin's piano music has a very unique sound, which is best described as highly poetic and refined. The melodies are superbly lyrical, and effortlessly paint musical pictures of powerful feelings. His music is a perfect match to the way the composer actually played the piano. People who saw him play say that he had an extremely smooth and fairy-like touch. This has made his piano pieces have a very distinctive sound and feel.
Chopin was a skilled pianist, and a large proportion of his works are for solo piano. Many of these works are fairly short in duration, such as the Preludes, Etudes, Waltzes, Impromptus, Nocturnes and Scherzos, as well as the previously mentioned Polish dance forms of the Mazurka and Polonaise. Chopin also developed a form called the Ballade which is a more extended work, fairly free in style like a stream of consciousness, but with an internal logic.
Chopin composed more than 200 works during his lifetime and dedicated most of them to his friends and students. Works with opus numbers from 1 to 65 (except opus 4) were published during Chopin's lifetime. Although Chopin wished to destroy all of his unpublished manuscripts, Chopin's friend Julian Fontana, with the consensus from Chopin's mother and sisters, selected more than 20 piano pieces and published them under opus numbers from 66 to 73 in 1855, and 17 songs under opus 74 in 1859. There were also works without opus number published during Chopin's lifetime and other posthumous works not published by Fontana (e.g. opus 4 was first published by Charles Haslinger in 1851, two years after Chopin's death).
Written when he was only seventeen years old, Frédéric Chopin’s Variations on “Là ci darem” from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Op. 2, for piano and orchestra, is not considered one of his most interesting works. Nevertheless, when Chopin’s eminent contemporary Robert Schumann heard it, he was in no doubt as to Chopin’s talent. In his first published essay of music criticism (1831), Schumann hailed Chopin with the famous remark, “Hats off, gentlemen, a genius!” and Chopin’s career was launched.
As a child, Chopin's formidable talent was apparent. He was a prodigiously gifted pianist, and by the age of seven he was performing regularly both in public and in the houses and salons of aristocratic families around Warsaw. He was also a published composer. His early works, including two polonaises (Polish dances) that he wrote when he was seven, garnered public attention.