Janina Fialkowska is a very prominent pianist. She is a Canadian of Polish ancestry. Her father was from Poland and her mother was from Canada.
Since the 1960s, playing music on authentic instruments, or at least very good copies, has been quite popular in the classical music world. There is now such importance placed on authentic performance practice, that is playing the music the way they played it when it was first written. I’m not sure that we will ever be able to capture exactly how much of the great music was played, but thanks to musicology, we have more of an idea now.
When Chopin burst onto the scene in the 1830s and 1840s, the piano was still developing. It hadn’t yet acheived its definitive form. The piano of Chopin, while closer to our pianos today than those of Mozart and Haydn, was still quite a bit different.
Here is a video of Janina Fialkowska playing a piano from Chopin’s time, an 1848 Pleyel grand piano. The National Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw has recorded the entire series of Chopin’s complete works on authentic pianos from the time. As I’ve mentioned before, all those recordings are online at their site for free listening at www.nifc.pl.
Authentic performance practices and authentic instruments have now come to music of the Romantic period.