Image for Chopin: The Women Behind the MusicNot currently available on BBC iPlayer

Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Documentary about the life of the great pianist and composer Chopin and the story of the women whose voices inspired his music. It is undeniable that Chopin revolutionised the nature of music composed for the piano both technically and emotionally. What is less well known is that the actual musical instrument that provided his greatest source of inspiration was the female voice.

To mark the 200th anniversary of Chopin's birth, this film follows young pianist James Rhodes on a journey to Warsaw, Paris and London to discover the real women who had such a powerful influence on the composer.

Exploring the events of Chopin's life, Rhodes encounters the singers who enchanted the composer with their voices: Konstancja, a young soprano and the object of his teenage affections; Delfina, the sexually notorious Polish Parisian emigre countess; fellow composer and opera singer Pauline Viardot; and, during the final few months of his life, the Swedish operatic superstar Jenny Lind.

Threaded through the narrative of the film is a selection of Chopin's piano music performed by Rhodes, while rising young opera singer Natalya Romaniw performs some of the signature arias that thrilled Chopin.

Featuring contributions from Chopin experts including the interpreters Emanuel Ax and Garrick Ohlsson, his biographer Adam Zamoyski and piano guru Jeremy Siepmann.

Last on

Sat 21 May 2011 22:05 BBC HD

Credits

Presenter
James Rhodes
Producer
Rupert Edwards
Director
Rupert Edwards

Broadcasts

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