The truth is too simple: one must always get there by a complicated route. ~ George Sand
Valldemossa's Most Famous Visitors #
If it hadn't been for a drastic measure taken by the Spanish government in 1835, Valldemossa's most prominent (visiting) artists would probably not have found their way up into the village – it was in that year, that the State seized all the Church's property. Valldemossa's Carthusian monastery was confiscated and disbanded, and it was sold to private owners, who rented out the cells to visitors, many of whom were painters, writers or musicians. Among this crowd were the Polish-born composer Frédéric Chopin and his lover, French writer George Sand and her two children. They spent the winter of 1838 -1839 renting cell number 4.
It was an act of romantic rebellion from her husband that made George Sand take her two children and spend a winter on Mallorca with Chopin; and also the idea that a change of climate would do her lover good – he had been diagnosed with tuberculosis.
Not helped by the cold and damp of the Mallorcan winter, Chopin made good use of his time on the island and composed many of his famous works whilst here including most of his Preludes op.28, one of which, nº15, is the Raindrop Prelude.
George Sand loved the Mallorcan countryside but disliked the local people and wrote disparagingly about them in her book ‘A Winter in Mallorca’ The local people of Valldemossa probably did not like her very much either - she wore trousers, smoked cigars and was not married to the man she was living with, in accommodation which only 3 years earlier had been a consecrated monastery - all rather shocking to the country people of Mallorca at that time!
Although her experiences sound daunting from her writings, Sand wrote: “It is one of those views that completely overwhelm one, for it leaves nothing to be desired and nothing to the imagination. All that a poet or a painter might dream of, Nature has created here.”
Today we can visit Cell number 4 and see Chopin’s Pleyel piano which in fact only arrived three weeks before he left the island. Most of his music was composed on a poor quality Mallorcan piano. Many other exhibits relating to the famous visitors are also to be seen here. The entrance ticket costs €4. Opening times vary throughout the year, so better check out their website.
Chopin Museum in Valldemossa
#Mallorca #Valldemossa #FredericChopin #GeorgeSand #AWinterinMallorca
By Cas Dollamore
16 February, 2023