Chopin was in love with novelist George Sand, a social climber who attracted every powerful man she could to further her social and literary ambitions.
As a novelist, she was an unremarkable talent, more famous for daring to be a female writer than for any particular work.
But socially, she traveled in the highest circles, and it was there that she met the still dashing Chopin, the most sought after musician in Paris.
Chopin had no home life after leaving Poland, and longed for a normal family and home. He was foolish enough to think that Sand and her children were an instant fulfillment of this wish, but he was terribly wrong.
Chopin was genuinely in love with Sand, whereas she used everyone as a stepping stone to destiny. Even in their home, she could not stand to hear him play.
While Chopin was utterly faithful to her, she embarked on a series of famous affairs that convinced Paris that she was only using the great, weak Chopin.
Everyone now knows that Chopin was doomed to die from tuberculosis, but that’s not what the social set in Paris knew in those days.
Chopin was just one more casualty on George Sand’s way to her small measure of immortality, and Chopin was fool enough to fall in love with her, despite her infidelities.
A list of her conquests reads like an artistic who’s who of European culture at the time.
Liszt, Victor Hugo, Dumas (pere) and the painter Delacroix were all the targets of her naughty network, but some say she failed with every one.
Many writers of the day remarked that Sand was a woman of low morals, and expressed surprise that a genius such as Chopin could have fallen for her. Many found her heavy and obvious.
Chopin and Sand took up residence at her estate at Nohant, where Chopin composed many of his great works.
And how did George Sand receive these great masterworks? She had soundproofing panels installed so she wouldn’t have to listen.
Pictures of Nohant reveal a sylvan fairyland, with appealing formal gardens and a large wild area in the English manner. At least Chopin may have had a few years of peace there.
Finally Chopin had enough of her affairs, and two years before he died, he left her.
His last, following years were a lonely voyage from one country to another, staying with friends, composing his last works with the specter of his early death hanging over him like a sword of doom.
Finally, very sick, he was taken in by an English noblewoman who nursed him and watched him slide slowly into oblivion from tuberculosis, incurable in those days.
Chopin was never with any woman again, and died alone, miserable and sick.
And yet he left us with one of the greatest musical legacies ever written.
Reads like a Hollywood movie.
Copyright 2008 Walden Pond Press