Today is the one-hundred-ninety-first anniversary of the death of Maria Szymanowska, nineteenth-century Polish composer and professional pianist who achieved the height of her fame at the court of Russian Empress Alexandra Feodorovna.
Before settling in St. Petersburg, Szymanowska had toured most of Western Europe, and her performances, as well as her compositions had been respectfully and well-received. She prefigured Frederic Chopin, twenty years her junior, and the two of them exemplified the composer/pianist genre of the age, other members of which included Franz Liszt and Clara Schumann.
Her musical oeuvre is reminiscent of Chopin–or it would be if she had come after him; I suppose it’s the other way round–and the first time I heard this piece, I thought it was Chopin. It’s quite lovely:
Maria Szymanowska: December 14, 1789–July 25, 1831