Item description for The Life & Works of Chopin by Jeremy Siepmann...
The second in a series of musical biographies, written and presented by broadcaster Jeremy Siepmann with Anton Lesser as Chopin. In this four-cassette set, the life and music of the revolutionary composer/pianist is unveiled in considerable detail with many musical examples.
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Reviews - What do customers think about The Life & Works of Chopin?
An excellent introduction to boh the life and the work Aug 5, 2001
Not having known very much at all about Chopin, I cannot vouch for the accuracy in the Naxos entry in their CD and cassette Biography series; but I can vouch for the enjoyment (NA 421912) afforded me.
Written and produced by Jeremy Siepmann, this audio-bio not only tells the strange story of Chopin's life but also includes generous examples of his music, drawn from the bottomless pit of Naxos musical CDs. An excellent idea was to use actors for the voices of Chopin (Anton Lesser), George Sand and other females in his life (Elaine Claxton and Karen Archer), and other male acquaintances (Neville Jason). It is the kind of reading that would fascinate even if the work were fictional.
His letters are particularly fascinating, especially as they are read dramatically by the small cast; and one would rather hear about all his faults--physical and psychological--from people who knew him well. Perhaps his strange epistolary relationship with his Titus is dwelt upon a bit too much, but such are the times (then and now).
My only criticism in a negative direction is the length of the musical examples. I do not really think the entire "Revolutionary Etude" had to be played or the entire "Funeral March"; a minute or two with a fadeout would have been fine, especially on repeated hearings where one wants the facts. Nevertheless, highly recommended.
By the way, the listing above of this work as "abridged" is simply inaccurate since the text (I am told by the publicity person at Naxos) was written specifically for this recording and is by definition "unabridged."