15 October
Albert van der Schoot – presentation
Pamela Smits – cello
Nicolas van Poucke – piano

A program around Frédéric Chopin and his extraordinarily artistic circle of friends. Pamela, Nicolas, and cultural philosopher Albert van der Schoot will take you on a musical journey into Chopin's life in France, where music, literature, and painting were closely intertwined.

Much of the composer's best work was created during his tumultuous relationship with George Sand. Sand (pseudonym for Amandine Dudevant) was a French novelist, feminist avant la lettre, and one of the first female French writers to achieve international fame. Close friend Eugène Delacroix painted a unique double portrait of the pair, which unfortunately after Delacroix's death was cut in two and sold off as separate pieces. Today Chopin's portrait is housed at the Louvre in Paris. 

With his beloved, Chopin spent a winter on vacation in an abandoned Carthusian monastery on Mallorca, which turned out disastrously. Sand later wrote an autobiographical chapter A winter in Mallorca about this trip in a travel guide. Franz Liszt also had a dramatic vacation in a monastery with his wife and author Marie D'Agoult (pseudonym David Stern), on the island of Nonnenwerth. And what is the story behind these two genius piano-composers who lived most of their years together in Paris admiring each other's talent, but later fell out?

Beyond extravagant outsized talent, Chopin and Mendelssohn shared a warm friendship and had great admiration for each other. Only a year apart in age, both of them have the distinction of changing the music world in their own way during their equally short lives. 

In Paris, through their mutual friend Franz Liszt, Chopin met an outstanding cellist who would fulfill a major role in his life: Auguste Franchomme. He became Chopin's musical partner, close confidant, and financial secretary. In 1846 Chopin asked Delacroix to take the manuscript of his great Cello Sonata to the publisher in Paris. It is Chopin's last published work and last public appearance before his untimely death. The last public performance of the Cello Sonata was naturally with "the good Franchomme," (as Chopin used to call him), who also served as one of the bearers of Chopin's coffin, providing a final service for his dear friend.

Chopin & his Circle of Friends

Introduction and Polonaise brillante, Opus 3

Cello Sonata No. 2 in D major, Opus 58

Die Zelle in Nonnenwerth
for cello and piano, S382


Nocturne in C minor, Opus 15 No. 1

Cello sonata in G minor, Opus 65