George Sand. It is impossible to tell the story of Chopin’s life without the mention of this woman. George Sand was an extremely famous author in Paris who had already published numerous books. Her real name was Aurore Dudevant. George Sand was her pseudonym.
From 1838, Chopin would share his life with her for a long period, but when they first met, he commented to a friend, “Is that really a woman?” Sand was a somewhat masculine woman who wore pants and smoked cigars in public. Even her pseudonym, “George Sand,” was masculine.
She was unswayed by society’s mores and expressed herself unabashedly. The romance novels she wrote were extremely popular. Of course Chopin himself was also famous as a pianist in Paris by this time. The relationship between the genius pianist and the popular author must surely have been the talk of the town.
At the time, Chopin was not in the best of health, and perhaps the attention paid to them by society aggravated his condition. During this time, Sand took Chopin to the Spanish island of Mallorca to allow him to rest. To avoid attention, they left Paris separately and rendezvoused at a village near the border.
They found a place to live on Mallorca, and Chopin lived a happy life amongst the palm trees, orange trees, and pomegranates. Chopin’s health appeared to be improving, but the island entered its rainy season and the warm weather vanished. Chopin caught a cold that eventually led to a relapse of his tuberculosis symptoms.
At the time, tuberculosis was a terminal illness, and Chopin and Sand’s landlord evicted them, fearing contagion. After being forced from their home in December of 1838, Chopin and Sand arrived at the Valldemossa monastery. And rain continued to fall outside…
The sound of falling rain continued incessantly. The simple sound of raindrops blended together to form a dreary rhythm. It was under these circumstances that Prelude, Op28, No.15 is said to have been born in a room in Valldemossa. A work created by Chopin age twenty-nine. The journey to find rest ironically resulted in the worsening of Chopin’s health.
But George Sand devotedly stayed by Chopin’s side, never fearing infection. (…)
Transcript from Eternal Sonata, Namco Bandai Games
Portraits of Frédéric Chopin and George Sand, 1838, Eugène Delacroix