Frederic Chopin was born near Warsaw in 1810. He was a child prodigy who published his first piece a Polonaise at seven. He received an excellent general education in Poland but left at twenty to further his career and never returned. He spent almost all his adult life in Paris where he died of TB in 1849, but his love for Poland stayed with him, as his many Polish dances - Mazurkas and Polonaises - so clearly demonstrate. Chopin has been called the 'Poet of the Piano', having never written anything which did not involve this instrument. Mazurkas Chopin wrote more than 55 Mazurkas; his final compositions were two Mazurkas. The Mazurka is a dance in 3/4 time similar to a waltz, but characterized by a strong accent on either the second or third beat or a dotted first beat. Chopin's Mazurkas evoke the Polish spirit without using actual folk melodies. The Mazurka in B-flat, Opus 7, no. 1, is one of the most popular with it's scherzando theme. Opus 63, no. 2 in F minor, published in 1847, has a lingering sadness and elegiac sound caused by sharp dissonances, chromatic passing tones, and suspensions. Opus 63, no. 3 in C-sharp minor, is eloquently lyrical and concludes with a display of Chopin's contrapuntal skill: a perfect canon at the octave. Opus 67, no. 3 in C major of 1835 is a dancing tune, although Chopin stated that the Mazurkas, like the Waltzes, were not intended for dancing. Opus 68, no. 2 in A minor, written in 1827, is the earliest of the group despite it's highest opus number. Scherzo in E Major, Opus 54 This Scherzo, the last of the four Chopin wrote, was published in 1843. It is more truly a Scherzo (literally, a joke) than the others, which are stormy and in minor key. It is playful, with a lightness rare in Chopin's larger works. The middle section has a poignant melody, and the Coda with scales running the length of the keyboard, brings the work to a brilliant conclusion. Nocturnes Nocturne is a French word indicating 'night piece'. Chopin did not invent the Nocturne, though his are best known. They range from the delicate to dramatic, and are generally in three - part form: ABA. Opus 15, No. 2 in F-sharp major. 1830-31, is among the most popular. The opening section contains one of Chopin's loveliest melodies, while the middle section, 'Doppio Movimento', is turbulent and passionate. Opus 27, no. 1 in C-sharp minor of 1840, is one of Chopin's greatest works in this form. This opus is tragic and menacing, opening with a chromatic melody. The middle section, marked 'Piu mosso', is restless and agitated. Ballade in F minor, Opus 52 Like the Scherzos, there are four Ballades. The F minor is the last. The Ballades were published between 1836 and 1843. Opus 52 is a narrative on a heroic scale. Chopin is at his most intimate and also most tragic. The opening melody has the charm of a slow, mournful waltz, but the piece is also exalted, intense and sublimely powerful, ending with a stormy, bravura coda. Lorraine Falberg Fuchs, a native New Yorker, appears regularly with chamber music groups and in solo performances. She started piano studies at the age of three, giving her first solo recital in Steinway Hall at age six. Ms. Fuchs was a semi-finalist in the first Van Cliburn Amateur Competition and was a finalist in competitions in Paris, New York and New Jersey. She has been an active participant in the Marlboro Vermont Music Festival. Ms. Fuchs is an alumna of the University of Michigan. Her studies in New York were with Willard McGregor, Leonard Shure, Claude Frank and Richard Goode.