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Editorial Reviews

This biography of Frederick Chopin, with commentary on his works, including beautifully played samples of the pieces under discussion, is a near perfect use of the audio format. Siepmann writes with acumen and sympathy about both the man and the music, and reads the narration with equal skill. When dialogue is taken verbatim from letters or journals, four skillful actors are used to bring long dead personalities to life and add texture to the narrative.

Publisher's Summary

Frédéric Chopin is the pianist-composer par excellence. Regarded as one of the most mesmeric performers of his day, he lives on his music - his waltzes, mazurkas, études, preludes, nocturnes, three piano sonatas, two piano concertos, and much more. Here, his life - from his birth in Poland, his famous affair with the French writer George Sand, and his death at the age of 49 in Paris - is told with his music featuring prominently.
(P)2001 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.; ©2001 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.

Critic Reviews

  • Audie Award Winner, Original Work, 2002

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Stephen
  • New Brunswick Canada, N/A, Japan
  • 07-16-03

Excellent Through and Through

Narrator's voice 5/5
Additional Voices 5/5
Dialog or story 5/5

This was my first audiobook purchase and it certainly raised my expectations. The narrator and author has done an excellent job. The pace is natural and Chopin's music enters in a timely manner. Just as important as the main narrator's voice is that of the additional voices (heard as letters). They are superb and beyond what you would expect from an audiobook in terms of quality. A very good listen.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

The short of it.

A little better than Cliff notes. If you love the music and want to get into what moved the man to create, you will only get a glance. A chronological review of his life with readings of his and other?s letters. Music is included, but I would have preferred much more depth in how the pieces were inspired. The presentation is more a history book than a passionate tale of a great artist. The book could have, and should have been twice as long.
Authors just shouldn?t narrate their own work, although Siepmann does better than most. The music was noticeably poorer in sound quality than the spoken word.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Wanting More of the Piano Genius

I very much enjoyed this audiobook. It glides effortlessly from snippets of stories to short musical exerpts. The readers are very adept. The only minor drawback is this book only scratches the surface of this genius of the piano. I wanted more.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Staggering experience of Chopin?s world of music

An eloquent and powerful story of personal struggle and courage to live a life of an artist. This extraordinary work extends human sympathy to the composer personality beyond the point where it normally comes to his music alone. A moving , eccentric and unforgettable experience of Chopin's world supported by numerous well-selected examples of his musical genius.

Jeremy Siepmann has a rare feeling for music, language and an understanding of character which few can rival.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Sandra
  • Sierra Madre, CA, United States
  • 07-23-12

Beautiful and Inspiring...

What a delightful book. It was so pleasant hearing Chopin's music along with his life story and seeing how events in his life inspired certain pieces.

This is such an interesting way to learn about the masters.

The narrators voice was pleasant.


2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

4+ Hours of Enjoyment

Entertaining, informative, excellent narration...a great introduction to Chopin. Listened to it twice in 1 week.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Puts the Audio in Audiobook

Any additional comments?

Beyond being an excellent primer on Chopin, this audiobook is an model for taking audiobooks beyond recitations of words on a page. Besides the addition of music samples, I so enjoyed having other voices added to that of the narrator's, something I would love to see done in fiction audiobooks, at least a male and a female narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Hal
  • Doral, FL, USA
  • 04-01-09

Best music biography I have heard

When I first downloaded this I has a player that only supported a format 2 download, which is entirely inadequate for playing music. With format 4, the sound is excellent.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Rob
  • London, N/A, United Kingdom
  • 08-22-04

Chopin - excellent

Could have been twice as long - but wasn't. Nevertheless absorbing, entertaining and informative.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Dr
  • New Zealand ( New Zealand is below Australia on a map.)
  • 01-10-15

A good introduction to Chopin

This is a good introduction to Chopin in both narrative and musical examples. One hears from Chopin's writings and from those who admired him along with some who didn't
There is a good balance between narrative and long musical instruments samples.
I cannot read music and found this a very informative guide to Chopin and his work.
I will listen to his music with more insight as a result of this work