Happy Birthday, Chopin!
While it is difficult to choose one favorite work amongst a sea of gorgeous music by the Polish composer, the one that wins (most days) with me is the G Minor Ballade, written in 1836:
Played here by Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman.
Born in Warsaw, Chopin moved to Paris in 1831 and became friends with Franz Liszt. This friendship, and Chopin's association with the novelist George Sand (Aurore Dudevant) is portayed in the 1991 movie Impromptu, starring Hugh Grant as Chopin, Judy Davis as Sand, and Julian Sands as Liszt. I highly recommend the film, although, since the last time I saw the movie was twelve or so years ago, I haven't yet watched it with a parent's eyes, so I'd suggest careful reviewing before sharing with younger family members. It is rated PG-13.
Links of interest:
Chopin Music: extensive information on the works of Chopin
Classics for Kids shows about Chopin, plus a pdf of their activity sheet about the composer
The UK's Chopin Society has an article about the mystery of Chopin's birthday
Classical TV's Chopin page
The comprehensive resource of The Poet of the Piano, celebrating its tenth anniversary this year
"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art." ~Frédéric Chopin