THE Balearics has begun its celebrations of the bicentenary of the birth of the Polish composer Frederic-François Chopin with a series of concerts and conferences honouring the internationally-renowned composer and musician.

Chopin is famously known to have spent three months on Majorca spanning the winter of 1838 to 1839.
Speaking at a presentation by the “Chopin Year” Honorary Committee, Balearic President Francesc Antich said that Chopin is known to have completed his 24 preludes while staying at the Carthusian monastery in Valldemossa. During the same period, said Antich, Chopin begun other works such as the Polonaise in D minor.

Chopin was accompanied during his winter sojourn by his partner, French writer George Sand. When their extra-marital affair was made public, it scandalised early 19th century society on Majorca.

But whilst the composer was busy with his musical masterpieces, Sand was able to put the finishing touches to her work “Spiridon”. Valldemossa was also the place where her experiences and feelings inspired her to write “A Winter on Majorca”, a work which still sells to visitors to the island in several different languages.

The book extols the beauty of Majorca but criticises the local people as austere, conservative and “sticklers for tradition.” Both artists came to Majorca in November of 1838, first setting up home at Son Vent in Establiments.