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Title: Frederic Chopin, Vol II (of 2) - His Life, Letters, and Works
Author: Karasowski, Moritz
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Frederic Chopin, Vol II (of 2) - His Life, Letters, and Works" ***

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  Transcriberʼs Notes:

  For the reader's convenience, the Table of Contents from Vol. I.
    is added to this volume.







  With Portrait.



  “Chopin is and remains the boldest and proudest poetic spirit
     of the age.”—



  _Publisher of Musical Works_.








  Nicholas Chopinʼs Family and Friends. Zywny. Elsner.           1.


  Fredericʼs Childhood. His First Appearance in Public.
    Polish National Songs.                                      17.


  Chopinʼs Early Manhood. His First Journey. His
    Relations with Prince Anton Radziwill                       33.


  The Journey to Berlin. Chopinʼs Letters. An Incident
    of the Return to Warsaw                                     40.


  Journey to Vienna, Prague, Teplitz, Dresden. Chopinʼs
    Performance at two Concerts in Vienna                       59.


  Influence of the Last Journey on Chopin. Letters to
    Titus Woyciechowski. Farewell Concert in Warsaw.
    Chopin leaves his Native City                               87.


  The Classic and Romantic Elements in Polish Literature.
    Influence of the Romantic School on Chopin. His
    First Compositions                                         123.


  German and Italian Music in the years 1827—1831.
    Johann Matuszynski                                         140.


  Chopinʼs Stay in Breslau, Dresden, Prague, and Vienna        152.


  The Insurrection in Warsaw and its disastrous effect
    on Chopinʼs sojourn in Vienna                              170.


  Further sojourn in Vienna. The journey to Munich.            193.


  Destruction of Chopinʼs letters and other mementos in
    Warsaw. Stay in Munich. Departure for Paris.               212.


  Stay in Paris. Chopin proposes to receive instruction
    from Kalkbrenner. Correspondence about this
    with Elsner. Letter to Titus Woyciechowski.
    Chopinʼs desire to go to America not realized.
    He resolves to return to Warsaw. Soirée at
    Rothschildʼs                                               219.


  Improvement of Chopinʼs position in Paris. Elsnerʼs
    letter. Moschelesʼs and Fieldʼs opinions of
    Chopin. Trip to Aix-la-Chapelle, Carlsbad,
    Marienbad, Dresden, and Leipsic. Visit to
    Mendelssohn and Schumann                                   241.


  Chopinʼs Acquaintance with George Sand. His life
    among his friends. Winter sojourn in the
    Island of Majorca (1838-1839.)                             259.


  Return to Paris. Moscheles and Liszt. Chopin as a
    Pianoforte Teacher                                         274.


  Domestic Sorrows. Two Letters of George Sand. Breach
    with George Sand. Journey to England. Return
    to Paris. Chopinʼs illness and death                       295.


  Chopin as a Man                                              323.


  Chopin as a Composer                                         334.

  Appendix                                                     350.





   _Vienna, January 16th, 1831._


    I much regret that your kindness, of which I have had so many
    proofs during my journey, has once more made me feel ashamed of
    myself, and that you have anticipated me with a letter.

    I should have felt it my duty to write to you immediately on my
    arrival, but I put off doing so from day to day, feeling almost
    certain that my parents would not delay sending you all the news
    about me, as I am vain enough to think this would interest you.

    I wanted also to wait till I could tell you something definite
    about myself; but since the day on which I heard of the terrible
    events in the fatherland, I have had but one thought—anxiety and
    yearning about my country and my dear ones.

    Herr Malfatti has been vainly endeavouring to persuade me that an
    artist is, or ought to be, a cosmopolitan. Supposing this to be
    so, although I was an artist in the cradle, I am, as a man, a Pole,
    and liable to serve as a soldier, so I hope that you will not blame
    me for not having thought seriously as yet about arranging for a

    Obstacles surround me on all sides; not only has a succession of
    the most miserable concerts quite ruined good music, and rendered
    the public distrustful, but the recent affairs in Poland have a
    prejudicial effect on my position.

    I think, however—and Würfel fully approves my intention—of giving
    my first concert during the Carnival. The worthy Würfel is a
    constant sufferer. I often see him, and find that he has a pleasant
    recollection of you.

    I should feel little satisfied with my stay here but for the
    interesting acquaintances I have made among the first talent in the
    place, such names as Slawick, Merk, Bocklet, &c. The opera is good,
    and the Viennese are enchanted with Wildt and Fräulein Heinefetter;
    but it is a pity that Duport brings out so few new operas, and is
    more careful of his pocket than of art.

    Abbé Stadler[1] is loud in his complaints, and says that Vienna is
    not what it used to be. He is publishing his Psalms at Mechettiʼs;
    I saw the work in manuscript and admired it.

    As to your quartet, Joseph Czerny promised faithfully that it
    should be ready on St. Josephʼs day. He assured me that up till
    now it had been impossible for him to put it in hand, as he is
    just bringing out Schubertʼs works, many of which are still in the
    press. So I am afraid that yours will be delayed.

    As I observed, Czerny is not one of the wealthiest publishers in
    this city, and cannot so easily take the risk of printing a work
    that is not performed either at “Sperlʼs” or at the “Römische


    Waltzes are here called “works” and Lanner and Strauss, who play
    first violin at the performances of these dances, “capellmeister”

    I do not mean to say that this is the universal way of speaking,
    for there are many who ridicule it; however, scarcely anything
    but Waltzes are printed. It seems to me that Mechetti is of an
    enterprising turn of mind, and that he will be more likely to take
    your Masses, for he intends to publish the scores of the famous
    church composers. I spoke about those glorious Masses of yours to
    Mechettiʼs book-keeper—an impressible and enlightened Saxon—he
    seemed to think something of them, and, according to what I hear,
    he does quite as he likes in the business. I am invited out to
    dinner to-day to meet Mechetti. I shall talk the matter over
    seriously with him, and will write to you about it soon. Haslinger
    is now publishing Hummelʼs last Mass, for he lives only for and by
    Hummel; but it is said that these latest compositions do not sell
    well; and Haslinger, who gave him a large honorarium for them, puts
    aside all manuscripts now, and only prints Straussʼs compositions.

    Yesterday I was with Nidecki, at Steinkellerʼs, who has written a
    libretto for Nidecki. He hopes for great things from this opera, in
    which the famous comedian, Schuster, is to appear. In this case,
    Nidecki may make a name for himself. I hope that this news will
    please you.

    You ask, dear Mons. Elsner, why Nidecki studied my second concerto?
    He did so solely by his own wish. Knowing that he would have to
    play in public before his departure from Vienna, and having nothing
    suitable of his own, except the beautiful variations, he asked for
    my manuscripts. Meanwhile things have greatly changed; he no longer
    appears as a pianoforte _virtuoso_, but as an orchestral composer.
    He will be sure to tell you of it himself. I shall take care that
    his overture is performed at my concert. You will be proud of us
    yet; at any rate you shall not be ashamed of us. The pianist, Aloys
    Schmitt, has been cut up by the critics, although he is past forty,
    and has been composing for eighteen years.

    Kindest remembrances to all the collegians, and to your own circle.
    For yourself, I beg you to receive the assurance of the unbounded
    respect with which I always remain,

    Your grateful and faithful pupil,


       *       *       *       *       *

    _Vienna, May 14th, 1831._


    I have to go on short commons this week, as regards letters, but I
    console myself with the thought that I shall hear from you again
    next week, and wait patiently, trusting that you are as well in
    the country as you were in town. As to myself, I am in excellent
    spirits, and feel that good health is the best comforter in

    [Sidenote: MALFATTI.]

    Perhaps it is Malfattiʼs soups which have given me such strength
    that I really feel better than ever. If so it is a two-fold regret
    to me that Malfatti and his family are gone into the country. You
    cannot imagine what a beautiful villa he lives in; I was there a
    week ago with Hummel. Having taken us over his house, he showed us
    his garden, and when we were at the top of the hill we had such a
    splendid view that we did not want to come down again. Malfatti has
    the honour of a visit from the court every year, and I should not
    wonder if the Duchess of Anhalt-Cöthen, who is a neighbour of his,
    envies him his garden.

    On one side you see Vienna lying at your feet, and looking as
    if Schönbrunn were joined to it; on the other, high hills
    picturesquely dotted with convents and villages. This romantic
    panorama makes you quite oblivious of the nearness of the noisy,
    bustling Kaiserstadt.

    Yesterday I was at the Imperial library with Handler.[2] Do you
    know this is my first inspection of what is, perhaps, the richest
    collection of musical manuscripts in the world? I can scarcely
    imagine that the library in Bologna can be larger and more
    systematically arranged than this one.

    Now, my dearest ones, picture to yourselves my astonishment at
    beholding among the new manuscripts a book entitled “Chopin.”

    It was a pretty large volume, elegantly bound; I thought to myself,
    I have never heard of any other musician named Chopin, but there
    was a certain Champin, and perhaps there has been a mistake in the
    spelling. I took out the manuscript and saw my own handwriting.
    Haslinger had sent the original of my variations to the library.
    This is an absurdity worth remembering.

    [Sidenote: FIREWORKS AND RAIN.]

    Last Sunday there was to have been a grand display of fireworks,
    but the rain spoilt it. It is a remarkable fact that it almost
    always rains here when they are going to have fireworks. This
    reminds me of the following story: “A gentleman had a handsome
    bronze-coloured coat, but whenever he wore it, it rained; so he
    went to his tailor to ask him the reason. The tailor was very much
    astonished, shook his head, and asked the gentleman to leave the
    coat with him for a day or two, as, possibly, the hat, waistcoat
    or boots might be the cause of the misfortune. However, it was not
    so, for when the tailor went out for a walk in the coat the rain
    suddenly poured down, and the poor man was obliged to take a cab,
    for he had forgotten his umbrella. Some people thought his wife had
    taken it to a coffee-party; but, however that may have been, the
    coat was wringing wet. After thinking over this strange occurrence
    for a long time it occurred to the tailor that perhaps there was
    something strange hidden in the coat. He took out the sleeves,
    but found nothing; he undid the tails, then the front, when, lo
    and behold! under the lining was a piece of a hand-bill about
    some fireworks. This explained all; he took out the paper, and
    the coat never brought down any more rain.” Forgive me for again
    having nothing new to tell you about myself; I shall hope to have
    some more interesting news bye and bye. I most sincerely desire to
    fulfil your wishes; hitherto, however, I have found it impossible
    to give a concert. What do you think of General Dwernickiʼs victory
    at Stoczek?

    May God continue to fight for us!

    Your FREDERIC.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Vienna, May 28th 1831._

    I have just returned from the post, but once more there is no
    letter for me! I received one on Wednesday from Madame Jarocka,
    with a postscript from dear Papa, which though very short was very
    precious to me. It told me, at least, that you were all well. As to
    Marcel and Johann, I beg that they will not write to me at all, if
    they are so stingy, that in spite of my request they can only send
    a word or two. I am so angry that I feel as if I could send back
    their letters without opening them. Of course they will make the
    old excuse of want of time! I am the only one who has time to write
    so fully every week. But how quickly this precious time passes. It
    is already the end of May, and I am still in Vienna, and probably
    shall be through June, for Kumelski[3] has been ill and must lay by

    I can see already that this letter will be a very wearisome
    one, but you have no reason to fear that this is a sign of
    indisposition. On the contrary, I am quite well and amusing myself
    capitally. To-day I was playing from early in the morning till
    two in the afternoon, when I went out to dine and met the worthy
    Kandler, who kindly offered to give me letters to Cherubini and

    I shall visit my invalid in the evening and go to the theatre,
    where there is to be a concert at which the violinist Herz is
    to perform. He is an Israelite, and made his _débût_ at Fräulein
    Henriette Sonntagʼs concert in Warsaw, when he was almost hissed
    off the stage. The pianist, Döhler, is also to play some of
    Czernyʼs compositions, and in conclusion Herz will give his own
    variations on Polish airs. Poor Polish motives, you little think
    how they will over-lard you with “Majufes” (Jewish melodies),
    giving you the title of “Polish music” to attract the public.


    If you are honest enough to distinguish between real Polish music
    and these imitations of it, and to assign a higher position to the
    former, you are thought crazy, more especially as Czerny, who is
    the oracle of Vienna, has not, as yet, in the manufacture of his
    musical tit-bits, included any variations on a Polish theme.

    Yesterday afternoon I went with Thalberg to the Evangelical church,
    where Hesse, a young organist from Breslau, was to perform before
    the most select of Viennese audiences. The _élite_ of the musical
    world were present: Stadler, Kiesewetter, Mosel, Seyfried, and
    Gyrowitz. Hesse has talent, and understands the management of the
    organ; he left an album with me, but I donʼt feel as if I had
    originality enough to write anything in it.

    On Wednesday I was at Beperʼs with Slawick till 2 oʼclock in the
    morning. He is one of the artists here with whom I am really on
    friendly and confidential terms. He plays like a second Paganini,
    whom, in time, he gives promise of surpassing. I should not think
    so, had I not already heard him several times. I am very sorry that
    Titus has not made Slawickʼs acquaintance, for he bewitches his
    hearers, and moves them to tears; he even made Tiger weep; Prince
    G. and Jskr. were much affected by his playing.

    How are things going on with you? I am always dreaming of you. Has
    not the bloodshed ceased yet? I know what your answer will be:
    “Patience.” I constantly console myself with the same thought.

    On Thursday there was a _soirée_ at Fuchsʼs, when Limmer, one of
    the best artists here, introduced some of his own compositions
    for four violoncellos. Merk, as usual, made them more beautiful
    than they really were by his playing, which is so full of soul.
    We stayed there till 12 oʼclock, for Merk enjoyed playing his
    Variations with me. He told me so himself, and it is always a great
    pleasure for me to play with him. I think we suit each other very
    well.[4] He is the only violoncellist I really respect.

    I am curious to know how I shall like Norblin;[5] please do not
    forget the letter to him.


    _Vienna, June 25th, 1831._

    I am quite well, and that is all that I have to be happy about, for
    my departure seems as far off as ever. I have never been in such
    a state before. You know how undecided I am, and then obstacles
    meet me at every step. I am promised a passport every day, and I
    run from Herod to Pontius Pilate simply to get back what I gave
    the police to take care of. I received a delightful piece of news
    to-day, that my passport had been mislaid somewhere and could
    not be found, so I must try to procure a new one. It is strange
    that every possible misfortune happens just now to us poor Poles.
    Although I am quite ready to start, I cannot.

    I have followed Herr Beyerʼs advice and had my passport _viséd_ for
    England, although I am only going to Paris. Malfatti will give me
    a letter of introduction to his friend, Paër; Kandler has already
    mentioned me in the “_Leipziger Musikzeitung_.”

    I was not home until midnight yesterday, for it was St. Johnʼs
    Day, and Malfattiʼs birth-day. Mechetti wished to give him a
    surprise, and had engaged Mlles. Emmering and Lutzer, and Messrs.
    Wildt, Cicimara, and your Frederic to give a musical performance
    in his honour. This almost deserved to be described as perfect
    (“parfait.”) I never heard the Quartet from “Moses” given better;
    although Fräulein Gladkowska sang “Oh quante lacrime” with far more
    feeling at my farewell concert at Warsaw. Wildt was in excellent
    voice, and I acted as _quasi_ conductor.[6]

    A considerable crowd was on the terrace of our house, listening
    to the concert. The moon shone marvellously, the fountains rose
    like columns of pearls, the air was filled with the perfume of
    the orange grove; in short, it was an enchanting night, the
    surroundings glorious!

    I will now describe the room in which we performed. Windows,
    reaching from the ceiling to the floor, open on to the terrace,
    from whence there is a magnificent view over the whole of Vienna.
    Large mirrors hung on the walls; but the room was dimly lighted
    which heightened the effect of the moonlight streaming through the
    windows; and the roominess of the “cabinet” adjoining the _salon_
    on the left gave to the whole dwelling an air of grandeur. The
    open-heartedness and politeness of the host, the gay and elegant
    company, the sparkling wit, and the excellent supper, made it late
    before we separated. I live as frugally as possible, and look at
    every penny as I did at the ring[7] when I was in Warsaw. You may
    as well sell it, for I have cost you enough already.

    The day before yesterday we were on the Kahlen and Leopoldsberg
    with Kumelski; and Czapek, who visits me every day and gives me
    most substantial proofs of his friendship; he offered to lend me
    money for travelling, if I wanted it. It was a magnificent day,
    and I never took a more beautiful walk. From the Leopoldsberg
    you see the whole of Vienna, Agram, Aspern, Pressburg, and even
    Kloster-Neuburg, the castle in which Richard Cœur de Lion was for
    some time imprisoned. We had a view also of all the upper part
    of the Danube. After breakfast we went to the Kahlenberg, where
    King John Sobieski pitched his camp and sent up the rockets which
    were to announce to Count Starhemberg, Commandant of Vienna, the
    approach of the Polish army. There, too, is the monastery of the
    Kamedules, where, before the attack of the Turks, the King knighted
    his son Jacob, and himself officiated in the Mass. I have gathered
    a leaf for Isabella from the spot which is now covered with

    [Sidenote: AN “EASTER-KING.”]

    From thence we went, in the evening, to the beautiful valley of
    Krappenwald, where we saw a ridiculous boyish frolic, a number of
    urchins had covered themselves, from head to foot, with leaves,
    and, looking like walking-bushes, crawled from inn to inn. A boy,
    covered with leaves, his head adorned with branches, is called
    “Easter-king.” This is a customary jest at Easter-tide.

    A few days ago I was at a _soirée_ at Aloys Fuchsʼs.[8] He showed
    me his rich collection of autograph works (circa 400.) My Rondo[9]
    for two pianos was among them. Some of the company present were
    desirous of becoming personally acquainted with me. Fuchs gave me a
    specimen of Beethovenʼs handwriting.

    Your last letter gave me great pleasure, for I saw the handwriting
    of all my nearest and dearest ones on one piece of paper. Let me
    kiss your hands and feet, which are more charming than any to be
    found in Vienna.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Vienna, Saturday, July 1831._

    I saw from your last letter, my dearests, that you have already
    learnt to bear misfortune with fortitude. You may be assured that
    neither am I so readily cast down. Hope, oh, sweet perennial hope!

    [Sidenote: THE CHOLERA.]

    I have got my passport at last, but have given up the idea of
    starting on Monday. We shall go to Salzburg on Monday and from
    there to Münich. I asked for my passport to be _viséd_ for London;
    and the police did it at once; but it was kept two days at the
    Russian Embassy, and was sent back with permission to travel to
    Münich, not to London. It is all the same to me, if Herr Maison the
    French Ambassador will sign it. To these troubles another has now
    been added. A certificate of health is necessary for crossing the
    Bavarian frontier, on account of the cholera. We ran about for half
    a day with Kumelski, but got the pass in the afternoon.

    We had the pleasure of being at least in good company during our
    peregrinations, for Count Alexander Fredro,[10] whom we recognized
    from his Polish appearance, his refined manner of speaking, and his
    passport, was with us seeking a similar pass for his servant.

    The news to-day is that the town of Wilna is taken. It is to be
    hoped this is not true.

    Everyone is terribly afraid of the cholera, and the precautions
    taken are quite ridiculous. Printed prayers are sold, supplicating
    God and all the saints to stop the cholera. Nobody ventures to eat
    fruit, and most people quit the city.

    I leave a Polonaise for the Violoncello with Mechetti.

    Louise writes that Herr Elsner is very pleased with the review;
    I am anxious to hear what he will say about the others, as he
    was my teacher of composition. I want nothing but more life and
    spirit. I often feel low-spirited, but sometimes as cheerful as
    at home. When I feel melancholy I go to Madame Schaschekʼs, where
    I generally meet several amiable young Polish ladies who always
    cheer me up with their kind and hopeful words, so that I begin
    to mimic the generals here. This is my last new trick; those who
    have seen it are ready to die with laughter. But there are days,
    alas! when people do not get two words out of me; then I generally
    spend thirty kreuzers in going to Hitzing, or somewhere else in
    the neighbourhood of Vienna (for recreation) to divert my mind.
    Zacharkiewicz, of Warsaw, was with me, and when his wife saw me at
    Schaschekʼs their astonishment knew no bounds at my looking such a
    proper fellow. I have only left my whiskers on the right cheek, and
    they grow very well; there is no occasion to have them on the left,
    as you always sit with your right to the public.

   [Sidenote: SLEDGING.]

    The good Würfel was with me the day before yesterday; Czapek,
    Kumelski, and several others also came, and we went together to
    St. Veit, a pretty place, which is more than I can say of Tivoli,
    where there is a kind of Caroussel, or rather a rail with sledges,
    called a “Rutsch.” It is a childish amusement, but a crowd of
    grown persons let themselves roll down the hill in these sledges
    without the least object in going. At first I did not at all care
    about trying; but as we were eight of us and all good friends, we
    began to dare each other to go down first. It was very foolish,
    but we all laughed heartily. I went heart and soul into the fun
    till it occurred to me that strong healthy men might find some
    better employment at a time like the present when there is such a
    universal need for protection and defence. Confound our frivolity.

    A little while ago Rossiniʼs “Siege of Corinth” was exceedingly
    well given, and I was very pleased to have another chance of
    hearing the opera. Fräulein Heinefetter, Messrs. Wildt, Binder, and
    Forti, in a word, all the best artists in Vienna, were present and
    did their utmost. I went to the opera with Czapek, and when it was
    over we went to the same restaurant where Beethoven used to take
    his supper.

    I must say, in case I forget, that I shall probably take rather
    more money from Peter the banker than dear papa had arranged for. I
    am very economical, but heaven knows I can only do as I am doing,
    or I should set off with an empty purse. God keep me from illness;
    but if anything did happen to me, you might, perhaps, reproach me
    for not having taken more. Forgive me, and remember that I have
    lived on this money during May, June, and July, and that I have
    to pay more for my dinner now than in winter. I am doing this not
    merely of my own accord, but on the good advice of others. I am
    very sorry to be obliged to ask you. Papa has already spent more
    than a penny on me, and I know how difficult money is to earn.
    Believe me, my dearests, it is as hard for me to ask as it is for
    you to give. God will help us _punctum_.

    It will be a year in October since I received my passport; it will
    need, of course, to be renewed; how shall I manage it? Write and
    say if you can send me a fresh one. Perhaps that is impossible.

    I often run out and visit Hans or Titus. Yesterday I could have
    sworn I saw the latter in front of me, but I found it was only a
    confounded Prussian!

    It is to be hoped these expressions will not give you a bad
    impression of the manners I have learnt in Vienna. There is nothing
    particular about the style of talk here, except that they say
    “Gehorsamer Diener” (your obedient servant) in taking leave, and
    pronounce it “Korschamer Diener.” I have acquired no habit that is
    truly Viennese; for instance, I cannot play any waltzes, and that
    is proof enough.

    God give you health. May no more of our friends fall. Poor Gustav!

    I dine to-day with Schaschek; I shall wear the studs with the
    Polish eagles, and use the pocket-handkerchief with the Kosynier.

    I have written a Polonaise, which I must leave here with Würfel.
    I received the portrait of our commander-in-chief, General
    Skrzynecki, but frightfully spoilt, on account of the cholera. Your
    letters have also been cut, and each bears a large sanitary stamp;
    so great is the anxiety here.


In the last letter, or rather in a few lines, dated July 20th, 1831,
Frederic informs his parents that he is going to start the same day
with Kumelski, for Münich, through Linz and Salzburg. He writes that he
is well, and provided with money, but fears that it will not last out,
and asks for some more to be sent to Münich.

These are all that remain of the large collection of Chopinʼs letters
preserved by his parents. To the fate which befell the other letters I
will refer in the following chapter.





After Chopinʼs death, his effects were sold by auction in Paris, and
the furniture of his two _salons_, with the souvenirs he had delighted
to have around him, were bought by Miss Stirling, a Scotch lady, one
of his pupils and enthusiastic admirers. She took them home with her,
and they formed a kind of Chopin Museum. This interesting collection
included a portrait of the gifted artist, painted by his friend, Ary
Schäffer; a grand piano, by Pleyel, on which Chopin had generally
played; a service of Sèvres porcelain, with the inscription, “Offert
par Louis Philippe à Frédéric Chopin, 1839;” a splendid and costly
casket, presented by Rothschild; and carpets, table-covers, and easy
chairs, worked by Chopinʼs pupils.

Miss Stirling directed, in her will, that when she died these relics
were to be sent to Chopinʼs mother, to whose house in Warsaw they
were accordingly conveyed in 1858. After the death of Madame Chopin,
in 1861, they passed into the hands of her daughter, Isabella
Barcinska. This lady occupied the second floor of one of two houses
standing exactly on the boundary between the “New World,” and the
“Cracow Suburbs,” and belonging to Count Andreas Zamoyski.


At the commencement of the political disturbances, which preceded the
insurrection of January, 1863, a band of excited young men, inflamed
by opinions which were far from being shared by the public, conspired
to murder all the deputies. Although the miserable schemes of these
fanatical patriots completely failed, they continued to contrive
fresh ones, till, at length, exasperated beyond endurance by the
bloody conflict which raged through the whole country, they laid a
plot to take the life of Count von Berg, who, on the recall of Prince
Constantine, had become supreme governor of Poland. Count Berg was
returning in his carriage, on the 19th September, 1863, at six in the
evening, with an escort of Circassians, from the Belvedère to the
Palace. When the carriage came to the spot where the “New World” and
“Cracow Suburb” adjoin, a shot, followed by some Orsini bomb-shells,
was fired from a window on the fourth floor of Count Zamoyskʼs house.
The street was immediately in an uproar, but no one was killed, and
only a horse or two belonging to the escort wounded. A detachment of
the military, who were at that time always kept in marching order on
the Saxon Square, came up in a few minutes. The soldiers surrounded
both houses, rudely dragged out the women, and left them in the road,
while the men were sent, under a military convoy, to the citadel.

As lava pouring forth from a volcano uproots and annihilates, with its
fiery heat, all objects in its pathway, so rushed the angry soldiery
from room to room, ruthlessly destroying all that was within their
reach. Furniture, pianos, books, manuscripts; in short, everything
in the house was flung out of the windows, while wardrobes and other
articles too heavy to move were first cut up with hatchets, and the
legs of pianos sawn off. These two houses were in the best quarter of
the town, and occupied only by well-to do people. An idea may be formed
of the quantity of furniture they contained from the fact, that there
were from fifteen to twenty pianos.


When the brutal and insensate soldiery arrived at the second storey
of the house inhabited by Chopinʼs sister, the mementoes of the great
artist, which the whole family cherished with such pious care, were
doomed to destruction. The piano—one of Buchholtzʼs—on which he had
received his earliest instruction, and which had been the confidant
and interpreter of his first musical ideas, was flung into the street
by these Vandals.[11] At night the soldiers made a stack of the ruined
furniture in the square at the foot of the statue of Copernicus,
and filling their kettles with the wine, spirit, and sugar from the
ransacked shops, they made merry round the fire, mixing punch and
singing boisterous songs. Pictures, books, and papers—among the latter
Chopinʼs correspondence with his family during eighteen years—were
thrown in to feed the flames. Eye-witnesses relate that an officer,
having lighted upon a portrait of Chopin, painted by a friend, gazed at
it long and earnestly before committing his wanton deed. The reflection
which illumined the city announced to the terrified inhabitants that
the reign of military terror had begun.

But more to be deplored than the loss of any other relics, is the
destruction of the letters, in which Chopin had poured forth all his
affection for his family, his love for his country, his enthusiasm
for his art, and his admiration for all that is beautiful and noble.
The letters to his parents from Paris, written at a period when he
was daily gathering fresh laurels, and was in intimate relations with
the leading artists and the highest personages in the State, were
not only of extreme interest, but of historical value, as faithful
and vivid pictures of the times. For in these spirited and witty
writings, Chopin often gave, in a word or two, a more life-like
portrayal of his contemporaries than is to be found in many a long and
elaborate description. The brightest, happiest period of his life,
its real summer-time, was between the years 1832 and 1837; while his
sojourn in Vienna, with all its hopes and dreams, may be called the
spring-time of his existence. But the non-fulfilment of these hopes
depressed the readily despondent spirit of the artist. The delicacy
of his constitution, and the nervous excitability induced by constant
pianoforte playing, unfortunately deprived him of that energy, of which
no one is more in need than the musician who performs in public. Chopin
succumbed to instead of fighting against difficulties; he loved peace;
but life—and to the artist above all—is a battle.

Being a stranger in Vienna, he was obliged to depend on the advice of
others, and was alternately suspicious and mistrustful, or confiding
as a child. The disturbances in his country deprived him, as a Pole,
of the protection of the chief dignitaries of Vienna; while among
the artists he met with indifference, and sometimes envy. Thus,
irresolute, and dispirited, he beheld other pianists gaining profit
and approbation, and himself only took part in a single matinée given
on April 4th, in the large Redoubt Hall, by the vocalist, Madame
Garcia-Vestris. He gave but one concert,[12] and that not until the
beginning of June, when, according to their annual custom, and partly
also on account of the cholera epidemic, the wealthier inhabitants had
left the city; as might be expected the attendance was small, and the
expenses exceeded the receipts.


Disappointed in his expectations, Chopin went to Münich, where he
was obliged to stay some weeks, awaiting money for his journey to
Paris. This gave him an opportunity of becoming acquainted with the
first artists: among others, Bärmann, Berg, Shunke, and Stunz, who,
delighted with his playing and his works, persuaded him to perform at
the Philharmonic Societyʼs concerts. At one of these Frederic played
his E minor Concerto, with orchestral accompaniments. Carried away
alike by the beauty of the composition, and the charm and poetry of the
execution, the audience overwhelmed the young _virtuoso_ with hearty
and genuine applause.

This was Chopinʼs swan-song on German soil, for, during the eighteen
years of his residence abroad, he never again publicly performed in
Germany. His last visit to Vienna seemed to check all his desires in
that direction.

Encouraged by his success in Münich, Chopin left that hospitable town
for Stuttgart, where a heavy trial awaited him: the news of the
capture of Warsaw by the Russians, September 8th, 1831. Grief, anxiety,
and despair as to the fate of his family and his beloved one filled up
the measure of his misery. Under the influence of these feelings he
wrote, while still at Stuttgart, the magnificent C Minor Study, (the
last in the first collection, dedicated to Liszt) frequently called the
“Revolutions-Etude.” Amid the wild storm of rushing passages in the
left hand the melody rises, now passionately, now in proud majesty,
bringing to the mind of the thrilled listener the image of Zeus hurling
his thunderbolts at the world.

In such a mood Chopin left for Paris at the end of September, 1831.
His passport bore the words, “passant par Paris à Londres;” and, years
after, when he had become domiciled and naturalised in France, he often
said, with a smile, “I am only passing through.”

With this concludes the information kindly afforded me by the Chopin
family. I must now have recourse to my own recollections to Chopinʼs
letters, and to the narrations of trustworthy witnesses who were
in communication with him either by letter or in person during his
residence in the French capital.




When Chopin came to Paris, it was stirred by a considerable amount of
political agitation; despite all the efforts of the Legitimists, as
the partisans of Charles X. and his descendants were called, Louis
Philippe, by favour of the barricades, reigned on the ruins of the
Bourbon dynasty. As we have said, things had not yet quieted down, and
every section of the populace was divided into parties. Although not
advantageous to art, the political situation was of little consequence
to Frederic, as he had gone to Paris, not for the sake of performing in
public, but solely for self-improvement.

Soon after the taking of Warsaw the Polish army retired into Prussia
and Austria, and many of its members found their way to Paris,
the fugitives receiving a hearty welcome as they passed through
Germany.[13] All who, whether in politics or in the field, had been
foremost in the revolution—the members of the diet, officers, poets,
and writers, who by patriotic songs or newspaper articles had incited
the people to insurrection—were in dread of the vengeance of Russia,
and took refuge in France, hoping that, sooner or later, her sympathy
with the wrongs suffered by Poland would move her to their redress.
Miserable delusion! terrible were its consequences! Thousands of
intelligent men left the country, carrying with them the light they
had shed on science and art, while their loss, as Russia saw with
satisfaction, was irreparable, for none were found worthy to take their
place. Years of sad experience were needed to convince the Poles that
their expectations were foolish, their efforts for freedom useless, and
their hopes for aid from France futile.

Chopin, of course, soon became the centre of the Polish emigrants
in Paris. Assured about the safety of his relatives in Warsaw, his
spirits improved, and he would often ask himself, “What shall my future
be?” The plans of his tour, which he had formed at home, having been
utterly thwarted, he was obliged to start afresh. To give a concert
in Paris did not seem practicable, for who would be likely to take any
interest in a young, unknown pianist, because he had the effrontery to
perform in public? The few words of praise in the Vienna and Leipsic
papers made no impression in Paris, where the public were busy with
politics and amusements of all kinds. Besides, the musical world there
set little or no store on _critiques_ in foreign newspapers. Paris,
they thought, was the oracle for the whole civilized world, and only
on the banks of the Seine was a European reputation to be made or
marred. Frederic was anxious not to let slip the precious opportunity.
He considered himself far from being a perfect artist, and, therefore,
resolved once more to seek instruction from Kalkbrenner.


Frederic Kalkbrenner, then at the height of his fame as a _virtuoso_,
was regarded as the first pianist in Europe. Chopin, therefore, paid
him a visit, and expressed his desire of becoming his pupil. Directly
the young Pole began to play, Kalkbrenner perceived his genius, and
that he had nothing more to learn. Chopin, with his modesty and zeal
after the highest attainments in art, little imagined what was passing
in Kalkbrennerʼs mind. To the latterʼs fame as a pianist nothing could
add, but he might also attain the reputation of a first-rate teacher,
were he to obtain a pupil of such rare gifts as Chopin. He, therefore,
thought it wise not to refuse to take him. Kalkbrenner, whose judgment
was authoritative, and who either thought his own opinions infallible
or knew how to proclaim them as such, fancied he could pick holes in
Chopinʼs playing; he declared that his fingering was quite opposed to
the classic method; that his execution was not that of the best school;
that he was indeed a gifted _virtuoso_ and composer, but that, although
on the right road, he might easily go astray.

Chopin listened in silence, while M. Kalkbrenner announced that he was
ready to give him lessons, that he might cure him of those faults which
would always be a hindrance to his progress, but only on condition that
Chopin promised to remain with him for at least three years. The young
artist was much surprised at such a stipulation, but, not yet fully
conscious of his own worth, he determined to pause before deciding on a
matter of such supreme importance to him. He, therefore, wrote to his
father, and to Elsner, to ascertain their wishes and opinions. Elsner
was not a little astonished at Kalkbrennerʼs request, and inquired
why such a long discipline was required for a pianist like Chopin;
did Kalkbrenner desire to undo what was already done, and to destroy
Chopinʼs originality? Elsner knew better than anyone else what a deep
spring of originality lay hid in the mind of Chopin, and to what degree
his technical powers were developed. Accordingly he was in favour of
cultivating Chopinʼs “virtuosity,” with a view to his career as a
composer, rather than of hindering the free development of his
creative power by a one-sided musical training. He expressed these
opinions in the following letter to his beloved pupil:—


    “_Warsaw, November 27th, 1831._


    “I was pleased to see, by your letter, that Kalkbrenner, the first
    of pianists, as you call him, gave you such a friendly reception.
    I knew his father, in Paris, in 1805; and the son, who was then
    very young, had already distinguished himself as a first-rate
    _virtuoso_. I am very glad that he has agreed to initiate you into
    the mysteries of art, but it astonishes me to hear that he requires
    three years to do so. Did he think the first time he saw and heard
    you, that you needed all that time to accustom yourself to his
    method? or that you wished to devote your musical talents to the
    piano alone, and to confine your compositions to that instrument?
    If he, with his artistic experience, desires to render service
    to our art in general, and to you in particular, and if he shows
    himself your sincere friend, then be to him a grateful pupil.

    “In the study of composition, a teacher ought not to be too
    narrow-minded and particular, especially with pupils of decided
    talent, and who display a certain independence of invention. They
    should rather be allowed to go their own way, and to make new
    discoveries. The pupil must not only stand on the same artistic
    platform as his master, but, when possessing pre-eminent talent,
    must rise beyond it, and so cultivate his abilities as to shine by
    his own light.

    “The playing of any instrument—be it ever so perfect, like that
    of Paganini on the violin, or Kalkbrenner on the piano—is, with
    all its charm, only the means, not the end of the tone-art. The
    achievements of Mozart and Beethoven as pianists have long been
    forgotten, and their pianoforte compositions, although undoubtedly
    classic works, must give way to the diversified, artistic treatment
    of that instrument by the modern school. But their other works,
    not written for one particular instrument, the operas, symphonies,
    quartets, &c., will not only continue to live, but will, perhaps,
    remain unequalled by anything in the present day. ‘Sapienti pauca.’

    “A pupil should not be kept too long to the study of one method,
    or of the taste of one nation. What is truly beautiful must not be
    imitated, but _felt_, and assimilated with the individual genius.
    The only perfect nature is the Divine, and art must not take one
    man, or one nation as a model, for these only afford examples more
    or less imperfect. In a word, that quality in an artist, (who
    continually learns from what is around him) which excites the
    wonder of his contemporaries, can only arrive at perfection by
    and through itself. The cause of his fame, whether in the present
    or the future, is none other than his own gifted individuality
    manifested in his works.

    “More bye and bye. Please remember me kindly to Count Plater,
    Grzymala, Hofmann, Lesueur, Päer, Kalkbrenner, and Norblin. Embrace
    Orlowski for me.


To these weighty observations Frederic sent the following reply:—


    _Paris, December 14th, 1831._


    Your letter gave me a fresh proof of your fatherly care and sincere
    interest in me, your grateful pupil. At the beginning of last year,
    although fully conscious of my deficiencies, and of how far I was
    from attaining to the model which I had set before myself in you, I
    ventured to think that I could follow in your footsteps, and that I
    might produce, if not a Lokietek, perhaps a Laskonogi.[14] But now
    all those hopes have vanished; I have to think how I can best make
    my way as a pianist, and so must, for a time, leave in the back
    ground the loftier artistic aims of which you spoke.

    To be a great composer, it is not only needful to possess creative
    power, but experience and the capacity for self-examination, which,
    as you have taught me, is not acquired by the mere hearing of
    other peopleʼs works, but by a careful criticism of oneʼs own.

    Many young and very talented pupils of the Parisian Conservatoire
    are waiting with their hands in their pockets for the performance
    of their operas, symphonies, and cantatas, which hitherto only
    Lesueur and Cherubini have seen on paper. I am not speaking of the
    smaller theatres, although these are difficult enough of approach.
    And when, like Thos. Nidecki, at the Leopoldstädter Theatre in
    Vienna, a composer is fortunate enough to obtain a performance, he
    reaps but little benefit from it, even when, as in this case, the
    work is a good one. Meyerbeer, too, after he had been famous in the
    musical world for ten years, stayed three years in Paris waiting,
    working, and spending money, before he succeeded in bringing out
    his “Robert le Diable,” which has now made such a _furore_. Auber,
    with his very popular works, had forestalled Meyerbeer, and was not
    very ready to make room at the Grand Opera for the foreigner.

    In my opinion, the composer who can perform his works himself is
    best off.

    I have been recognised as a pianist at two or three cities in
    Germany; several of the musical papers gave me commendatory
    notices, and expressed a hope that I should soon take a prominent
    position among the first pianoforte _virtuosi_. Now that I have
    an opportunity of fulfilling my self-made promise, should I not
    embrace it? I did not care to study pianoforte playing in Germany,
    for no one could tell me exactly what I was deficient in. Neither
    did I see the beam in my own eye. Three years of study is a great
    deal too much, as Kalkbrenner himself perceived when he had heard
    me two or three times. From this you can see, dear Mons. Elsner,
    that the true _virtuoso_ does not know what envy is. I could make
    up my mind to study three years, if I felt certain that would
    secure the end I have in view. One thing is quite clear to my mind;
    I will never be a copy of Kalkbrenner; he shall not destroy my
    bold, it may be, but [Sidenote: RESOLVES TO CREATE A NEW ERA IN
    ART.] noble resolution of creating a new era in art. If I take any
    more lessons now it will only be that I may become independent in
    the future. Ries, when he had gained a name as a pianist, found
    it easy to win laurels in Berlin, Frankfort-on-the-Maine and
    Dresden as the composer of “Die Räuberbraut;” and what a number of
    years Spohr had been a famous violinist before he wrote “Faust,”
    “Jessonda,” &c.! I trust you will not withhold your sanction when
    you see with what aims and on what principles I am acting.

    No doubt my parents have told you that my concert is fixed for the
    twenty-fifth of this month. The preparations have given me a great
    deal of trouble, and had not Päer, Kalkbrenner, and especially
    Norblin, (who sends kindest regards to you), taken the matter in
    hand, I should have been helpless. Just imagine, it takes at least
    two months to get up a concert in Paris. Baillot is exceedingly
    kind; he offered to play a Quintet of Beethovenʼs with me, and
    Kalkbrenner a duet with an accompaniment of four pianos. Mons.
    Reicha I only know by sight, and you can guess how curious I am to
    become personally acquainted with him. Those of his pupils whom
    I have seen gave me no very favourable account of him. He does
    not like music, and will not talk about it; he never goes to the
    Conservatoire concerts, and when he gives lessons he looks at the
    clock all the time. Cherubini acts in a similar fashion, and talks
    of nothing but cholera and revolution. These masters are like
    mummies, to be respectfully regarded at a distance, while one draws
    instruction from their works.

    Fétis, whose acquaintance I have made, and from whom much may be
    learned, only comes to Paris to give lessons. It is said that he
    does so from necessity, as his debts exceed the profits of the
    _Revue Musicale_. He is in danger sometimes of seeing the inside of
    the debtorʼs prison. But, as in Paris, a debtor can only be legally
    arrested in his own house, Fétis has left the city for the suburbs;
    Heaven knows where!

    There are a host of interesting people here belonging to the
    various professions. Three of the orchestras can be called
    first-rate: that of the Academy, the Italian Opera, and the Theâtre

    [Sidenote: OPERA IN PARIS.]

    Rossini is director of the Italian Opera, which is undoubtedly
    now the best in Europe. Lablache, Rubini, Santini, Pasta,
    Malibran, and Schröder-Devrient perform three times a week for
    the delectation of the _élite_. Nourrit, Levasseur, Derivis, Mͫͤ.
    Damoreau-Cinti, and Mˡˡͤ. Dorus are the stars of the Grand Opera.
    Chollet and Mˡˡͤ. Casimir Prévost are much admired at the Comic
    Opera; in a word, only in Paris can one learn what singing really
    is. I believe that Malibran-Garcia, not Pasta, is now the greatest
    songstress in Europe. Prince Valentin Radziwill is quite captivated
    by her, and we often wish you were here, for you would be charmed
    with her singing.

    Lesueur thanks you for your kind remembrances, and commissions
    me to return them a thousand-fold. He always speaks of you in a
    friendly way, and asks every time I see him: “et que fait notre
    bon Mons. Elsner? Racontez-moi de ses nouvelles;” and then speaks
    of the Requiem you sent him. Everybody here, from your god-son the
    young Anton Orlowski to myself, loves and esteems you. I fear our
    dear friend will have to wait some time for the performance of his
    opera. The subject is nothing particular and the theatre is closed
    till the new year.

    The King is not very free with his money, the artists need a great
    deal, and the English are the only people who pay well. I could go
    on writing till to-morrow, but will not put your patience to such a
    test. Believe me, with all respect and gratitude,

    Ever your faithful pupil,


Not only Elsnerʼs letter, and the advice of friends, but his own sound
understanding made Chopin feel how superfluous and even ignominious
such a course of lessons would be. He justly perceived that he must
either become a servile copy of Kalkbrenner, or soon cease to be
his pupil; and that as he had been able to maintain his artistic
independence beside Field and Hummel, he could not do better than give
up Kalkbrennerʼs instruction and take his own way. To preserve his
friendly relations with Kalkbrenner, and from a genuine feeling of
esteem, he dedicated to him his E minor Concerto. Chopin writes to his
friend Titus Woyciechowski[15] at this time:—

    _Paris, December 6th, 1831._


    Your letter gave me new life. I receive such contrary reports, some
    of which make me very anxious, for I often put a wrong construction
    on what my family write. K. expressed himself so strangely, that I
    was frightened at my own thoughts when I read his words. I trust we
    may see each other again in this life. I have been greatly pained
    by all that has happened. Who could have foreseen it?[16] Have
    you forgotten our deliberations the night before your departure
    from Vienna? Fate has sent me hither where I can breathe
    freely.... But this is a cause of trouble.

    In Paris you find everything. You can amuse yourself, weary
    yourself, laugh, weep, and above all, do what you like, without
    a soul taking any notice of you, because thousands are doing
    likewise. Everybody goes his own way. I believe there are more
    pianists, more _virtuosi_, and more donkeys in Paris than
    anywhere. I came here, as perhaps you have heard, with very few
    introductions. Malfatti had given me a letter to Päer, I received
    two or three from the Viennese publishers: and that was all.
    When the news of the capture of Warsaw reached me at Stuttgart,
    I determined to go to Paris. Through the bandmaster Päer, I have
    become acquainted with Rossini, Cherubini, Baillot, and Kalkbrenner.


    You can imagine how eager I was to hear Herz and Hiller play; but
    they are nothing to Kalkbrenner. To tell the truth, I can play
    as well as Herz; I wish I could say as well as Kalkbrenner, who
    is perfection in quite another style to Paganini. Kalkbrennerʼs
    fascinating touch, the quietness and equality of his playing,
    are indescribable; every note proclaims the master. He is truly
    a giant, who dwarfs all other artists. When I presented myself
    to Kalkbrenner he asked me to play something. What could I do?
    However, having heard Herz, I plucked up my courage, and played my
    E minor Concerto, which took so immensely in the Bavarian capital.
    Kalkbrenner was astonished, and asked if I were a pupil of Field.
    He remarked that I had Cramerʼs style, but Fieldʼs touch. I was
    very much amused by Kalkbrenner, who, in playing to me, made a
    mistake which brought him to a stand-still; but the way in which
    he recovered himself was marvellous. Since this meeting we have
    seen each other every day; either he comes to me, or I go to him.
    He offered to take me as a pupil for three years, and to make a
    great artist of me. I replied that I knew very well what were my
    deficiencies; but I did not wish to imitate him, and that three
    years were too much for me. He has persuaded me that I only play
    well when I feel inspired. The same cannot be said of him, for
    he plays one time just like another. After watching me for some
    time, he said that I belonged to no school, that although I was
    undoubtedly progressing very well, I might easily go astray, and
    that when he left off playing there would be no representative of
    the great pianoforte school. Further, that however much I might
    have the will, I could never create a new school, for I was not
    acquainted with the old ones. But I am certain that there is an
    individuality about my compositions, and I shall always strive to
    go forward.

    If you were here I know you would say: “learn, young man, as
    long as you are told to.” But many friends advise me not to take
    lessons; they think that I play as well as Kalkbrenner, and that he
    only wants to have me as a pupil out of vanity. That is absurd.
    Anybody who understands music must appreciate Kalkbrennerʼs
    talents, although he is personally unpopular, as he will not
    associate with everybody. But I can assure you there is something
    superior about him, as about all the _virtuosi_ whom I have
    hitherto heard. I told my parents so, and they quite understood it,
    but Elsner did not; he considered that Kalkbrenner found fault with
    my playing out of jealousy. Nevertheless, I have already made a
    name among the artists here.


    I am going to give a concert on the 25th of December, with the
    assistance of Baillot, Paganiniʼs rival, and Brod, the celebrated
    hautbois player. I am going to play my F minor Concerto, and the
    variations in B major. Of the latter, I received from Cassel, a
    few days ago, a review, ten pages long, by an enthusiastic German,
    who, after an exhaustive preface, analyzed every bar. He does not
    consider them variations according to the orthodox style, but
    a picture of the imagination. He says of the second variation
    that Don Juan and Leporello are running; of the third that he is
    fondling Zerline to the disgust of Masetto. In the D flat major
    in the fifth bar of the Adagio he can perceive Don Juan kissing
    Zerline. A comical conceit of the reviewerʼs, who is very anxious
    that the composition should be printed in the _Revue Musicale_ (a
    paper belonging to his son-in-law Fétis.)

    The good Hiller, a very talented young man, and a pupil of Hummel,
    gave a concert the day before yesterday, which produced a great
    effect. One of his own symphonies was received with loud applause.
    He has made Beethoven his model, and his work is full of poetry
    and enthusiasm. He was sufficiently interested in me to tell
    Fétisʼs father-in-law that he would do me more harm than good by
    that notice of his. But to return to my concert: I am not only to
    play the F minor Concerto and the variations, but perform, with
    Kalkbrenner, his duet, “Marche suivie dʼune Polonaise,” for two
    pianos, with accompaniments for four pianos. Is not that a wild
    idea? One of the pianos is very large and is for Kalkbrenner,
    another very small one (a so-called monochord) is intended for me.
    On the other large ones, which make as much noise as an orchestra,
    Hiller, Osborne, Stamaty, and Sowinski are to play. Norblin,
    Vidal, and the famous viola player, Urhan, will also assist. The
    most difficult matter of all was to find a vocalist. Rossini would
    willingly have helped me to obtain one if he had been allowed to,
    but Robert, the second director of the Italian Opera, objected.
    He declared that if it were known he had obliged me he should be
    besieged by hundreds of similar applications.


    As to the opera, I must say I never heard such a fine performance
    as last week, when the “Barbiere” was given, with Lablache, Rubini,
    and Malibran-Garcia. There was, too, an excellent rendering of
    “Otello,” with Rubini, Lablache, and Pasta; also the “Italiana
    Algeri.” Paris has, in this respect, never offered so many
    attractions as now. You can have no idea of Lablache. They say
    that Pastaʼs voice has rather gone off, but I never in my life
    heard such heavenly singing as hers. Malibranʼs wonderful voice
    has a compass of three octaves, and she is in her style unique and
    fascinating. Rubini, a capital tenor, makes no end of _roulades_,
    and often too many _coloratures_, but by his incessant recourse to
    the trill and _tremolo_, he wins enormous applause. His mezza-voce
    is incomparable. A certain Schröder-Devrient has just come out,
    but she does not make such a _furore_ here as in Germany. Signora
    Malibran gave “Otello;” Schröder-Devrient, Desdemona. Malibran
    is a much smaller woman than the German singer, and people
    thought, several times, that Desdemona would strangle Othello.
    This was a very expensive performance. I paid twenty-four francs
    for my place, just to see Malibran as the Moor, and not a very
    extraordinary impersonation either. The orchestra was first-rate,
    but the appointments of the Italian Opera are nothing to those of
    “LʼAcadémie Royale.”

    I do not believe that any spectacle at the Italian Opera, however
    brilliant, ever came up to that of “Robert le Diable,” the new
    five-act opera of Meyerbeer, the author of the “Crociato.” “Robert”
    is a master-piece of the new school, in which devils sing through
    speaking trumpets, and the dead rise from their tombs, but not
    as in “Szarlatan,”[17] only fifty or sixty at once. The stage
    represents the interior of a ruined cloister, with the moonlight
    falling brightly on the nuns lying in their graves. In the last act
    monks appear with incense amid a gorgeous illumination, and the
    solemn strains of the organ resound from the adjacent building.
    Meyerbeer has, by this work, made himself immortal; yet it took him
    more than three years to obtain a performance of it. It is said
    that for the organ and other accessories he paid more than twenty
    thousand francs.

    Madame Damoreau-Cinti is also a very fine singer; I prefer her
    to Malibran. The latter astonishes, but Cinti fascinates you.
    She sings the chromatic scales and _coloratures_ almost more
    perfectly than the famous flautist, Tulou, plays them. It would
    be almost impossible to find a more perfect _technique_. Nourrit,
    the first tenor at the Grand Opera, is admired for his warmth of
    feeling. Chollet, the first tenor of the Opera Comique, the best
    impersonator of Fra Diavolo and excellent in the operas “Zampa” and
    “Fiancée,” has quite an original manner of conceiving a part. He
    charms universally by his sympathetic voice, and is the darling of
    the public. The “Marquise de Brinvilliers” is now being played at
    the Opera Comique; this marquise was the most famous poisoner in
    the time of Louis XIV. The music is by eight composers: Cherubini,
    Päer, Herold, Auber, Berton, Batton, Blangini, and Caraffa.

    I pray, above all, dear Titus, that you will write to me soon, or
    come yourself. My address is, Boulevard Poissonnière, 27. W. W.
    expects you. I should be so delighted to see you, and there are
    times when I am almost mad with longing, especially when it rains,
    and I cannot go out. I shall, I think, have the assistance of the
    best artists at my concert.

    Yours till death,



We see from this letter that Chopin was delighted with Paris. He found
himself highly esteemed by the most celebrated artists, yet much still
remained for him to desire. He had come to Paris with very modest
means, and with neither fame nor patronage, but he did not wish to be
always dependent on the kindness of his father, who was far from rich,
and had daughters to care for. Much, too, as Frederic liked France,
especially Paris, he felt that he was in a foreign country, and that
the Poles with whom he associated were fugitives. It gave him pain to
hear his native land mentioned. Under these circumstances, he curtailed
his expenditure as much as possible, and shared his lodgings with needy

He had hoped that his concert would make him a name among the musical
public, but as the theatrical director, Véron, would not permit any of
his singers to assist, the performance was of necessity postponed till
February 26th, 1832. Unfortunately, however, the receipts did not even
clear the expenses, for only the well-to-do among the Polish refugees
attended, and there was scarcely a French person present. Chopinʼs
friends tried to console him by telling him of the difficulties
other artists had had to struggle against in their early days. His
true friends—and he had indeed some such—advised him to go more into
society, for which he had plenty of opportunity, but on this point he
was not to be persuaded. The letters to his parents at this period are
tinged with melancholy.

His stay in Paris was saddened by the absence of any prospect of
improving his position. He, therefore, turned his thoughts to quite
another plan of life. Some young Polish exiles, who were neither able
nor willing to remain in Paris, had resolved to go to America. Chopin,
knowing there was a lack of good artists in the New World, thought
that he should do well to go there, and so be no longer a burden to
his father. He knew full well that his parents expected his entire
confidence, so he communicated his intentions, endeavouring to persuade
them that he could do nothing better than leave France, and seek his
fortunes on the other side of the Western ocean.

One involuntarily asks: what part could be played by Chopin, with his
romantic and poetical nature, in a country where coolness and practical
ability are of paramount importance? With his life-long horror of
charlatanism, his refined taste and aristocratic tendencies, how could
he have lived in America, or how could the Americans have appreciated
him? Had he settled there merely as a teacher, he would, perhaps,
have grown rich; but he would never have shone among the stars of the
musical world.

Fortunately for Chopin his parents were thoroughly opposed to his
emigrating. They conjured him to stay in Paris and wait for brighter
days, or to return to Warsaw. Rather than consent to his going to
America, they would endure to see their son exposed to the disagreeable
consequences imposed by the Russian Government on every one who
remained abroad after his passport had expired. His love for his
country, his family, and one whose image was deeply seated in his
heart, awakened an ardent longing to return home, although it was
not easy for him to leave Paris with its manifold attractions. His
friends and fellow-artists, Franz Liszt, Hiller, and Sowinski, tried to
dissuade him from leaving Paris, but Chopin would not listen to them.

His meeting with Prince Valentine Radziwill in the street on the
very day that Chopin was preparing for his departure, may appear to
many persons as mere chance, but it was not unlike a Providential
arrangement. The Prince was very friendly, and Chopin divulged his
intention, and bade him farewell. Instead of venturing to dissuade him
from his purpose, the Prince exacted a promise that he would spend the
evening with him at Rothschildʼs. In after life the importance of that
evening often recurred to Chopin.


In the brilliant _salons_ of the financial king, the artist, whose
every hope had fled, met the _haute volée_ of Paris. The hostess asked
him, in a kind manner, to play something, and he played and improvised
as he had, perhaps, never done before. His audience was enraptured;
they vied with each other in expressing their respect and admiration,
and were unwearied in praising his talents. From that evening his
position changed as if by magic; the future once more smiled upon him,
the mists which had hidden the sunshine of his life disappeared before
the bright rays of his rising fortunes. Even during the _soirée_ Chopin
received several requests to give lessons from the first families in
Paris. His pecuniary affairs improved daily. There was no further
occasion for him to take anything from his parents, and he entirely
gave up the idea of returning to Warsaw.





Coincident with the rise of Chopinʼs star above the horizon of Parisian
society was the spread of his fame as a composer, so that after 1832
his works, some of which he had written in his own country, some in
Vienna, Leipsic, Paris, or during his travels, became widely diffused.
They included the three Nocturnes, op. 15; Bolero, op. 19; Scherzo, op.
20; Grande Polonaise Brillante, op. 22; Ballade, op, 23; four Mazurkas,
op. 24; two Polonaises, op. 26; two Nocturnes, op. 27; and Impromptu,
op. 29.

By most of the professional critics, these were, as we have already
said, dogmatically condemned as being devoid of all artistic merit.
There were, however, some few—but very few indeed—who unreservedly
recognized the boldness and originality of thought, the rare wealth of
harmony, and the newness of form displayed in Chopinʼs compositions,
and who were not staggered by the novelty of a fingering, totally
opposed to the traditional method. Field and Moscheles, however,
could not forgive Chopinʼs frequent departures from the customary
and classical forms, nor could they regard him as other than a bold
revolutionist. In 1833 Moscheles wrote on Chopinʼs early works as

    “I gladly avail myself of a few leisure evening hours to become
    acquainted with Chopinʼs Etudes and other works. Their originality
    and the national colouring of the motives are very charming; but
    my fingers are constantly stumbling over hard, inartistic, and to
    me incomprehensible modulations, so that the whole often seems too
    cloying, and unworthy of a man and an accomplished musician.”

Later on he writes:—

    “I am a sincere admirer of Chopinʼs originality; he produces the
    newest and most attractive pianoforte work. But personally, I
    object to his artificial and often forced modulations; my fingers
    stick and stumble at such passages, and practise them as I may, I
    never play them fluently.”

Although he somewhat modified this opinion in after years, it is
indicative of the impression produced on the most celebrated pianists
by Chopinʼs early works. Field had a presentiment that his own glory
would be dimmed by the rise of this new and brilliant orb, and he
publicly spoke of Chopin as, “un talent de chambre de malade.” This
criticism, which principally found credence in Germany, was for ever
silenced by the pen of Eusebius and Florestan, in Robert Schumannʼs
_Neue Zeitschrift für Musik_.


The fame and popularity of Chopin in the Paris _salons_ increased with
marvellous rapidity. He was overwhelmed with requests to play at public
concerts, for it was well-known how attractive he was to cultivated
audiences. On May 20th, 1832, he played at a concert in the hall of the
Conservatoire, got up by the Prince of the Muscovites for the benefit
of the poor. He chose the first Allegro from his F minor Concerto with
orchestral accompaniments,[19] Girard directing. Heinrich Herz asked
Chopin and Liszt to take part with him in a quartet for eight hands on
two pianos, at a concert he wished to give with his brother Jacob, on
April 3rd, 1833. Orlowski, a fellow student of Chopinʼs, wrote to his
own family about that time:—

    “Chopin is healthy and strong; he turns the heads of all the
    ladies, and the men are jealous of him. He is now the _mode_, and
    the fashionable world will soon be wearing gloves à la Chopin. But
    he pines after his country.”

Johannes Matuszynski, who came to Paris in the same year (1834) to
study medicine, says the same thing in a letter to his father-in-law,
in Warsaw:—

    “The first thing I did, on arriving in Paris, was to find out
    Chopin, and I cannot describe what a pleasure it was to us both to
    meet again after an absence of five years. He has grown so strong
    and big that I scarcely knew him again. Chopin is the first pianist
    in Paris, and gives a great many lessons, but none under twenty
    francs. He has composed a great deal, and his works are very much
    sought after. I am living with him in the Rue Chaussée dʼAntin, No.
    5. This street is indeed rather far from the School of Medicine
    and the hospitals; but I have good reasons for wishing to be with
    him; he is all in all to me. We spend the evening at the theatre
    or in visiting, and if we do neither of these we make ourselves
    comfortable at home.”


Eisner followed from a distance the artistic development of his beloved
pupil, with the warmest interest, and rejoiced over his success. He
wrote to him as follows:—

    _Warsaw, September 14th, 1834._

    Everything that I hear and read about my dear Frederic gives me
    pleasure, but pardon my candour when I say that I have not yet
    heard enough to satisfy me, whose pleasure it was, unworthy as I
    am, to be your teacher in harmony and counterpoint, and who will
    ever be one of your best friends and admirers. Before I leave
    _hac lacrimarum valle_ I should like to see a performance of your
    operas, not only for the sake of increasing your fame, but in the
    interests of musical art generally, especially if the subject were
    taken from the history of Poland. I am not saying too much. You
    know that I cannot flatter you, as I am acquainted not only with
    your genius but with your capacities, and I know that what the
    critic referred to in your Mazurkas will only become valuable and
    lasting in an opera.[20]

    Urban says, “that a pianoforte composition stands in the same
    relation to a vocal, orchestral, or a composition for any other
    instrument, as an engraving does to an oil painting.” This is sound
    criticism, although some compositions (especially when you play
    them) may be regarded as coloured plates.

    What a pity it is that we can no longer see and talk to each other;
    I have a great deal more that I could tell you. And I want also to
    thank you for the present, which is doubly valuable to me. I wish
    I were a bird that I might visit you in your Olympian abode, which
    the Parisians consider a swallowʼs nest.

    Farewell; love me as I love you, for I am now and ever

    Your sincere friend and well-wisher,


Elsnerʼs letter made Chopin think seriously about composing an opera,
and he asked his friend Stanislas Kozmian to write a libretto on a
subject from Polish history. Unfortunately, however, either from want
of time, or because he feared the Russian Government might object to
a Polish national opera, Frederic soon relinquished the idea. Perhaps
also the approbation and popularity which his pianoforte works met
with everywhere, and especially in Paris, induced him to adhere to
that kind of composition. In February 1834, he gave his second public
concert in Paris. It took place at the Italian opera-house, and was the
most brilliant performance of the season. Habeneck conducted, and the
Concerto in E minor was performed for the first time.

Everything seemed to promise the most satisfactory results for the
_bénéficiaire_. The hall was filled with the best of the Parisian
aristocracy, with whom Chopin was the first favourite, and the presence
of the foremost artists gave an especial interest to the event. But
Fredericʼs hopes were disappointed. His refined and poetical playing
could not be heard to advantage in the large theatre; and it failed to
arouse the enthusiasm of the audience. Chopin felt this, and for a long
time was unwilling to play again in a large public hall. The _salon_
and a select circle of poets, artists, and connoisseurs formed a more
fitting arena for the triumphs of the gifted and keenly sensitive

Like those rare and beautiful plants which can only flourish in a
soft genial climate, Frederic, with his exquisite culture and delicate
sensibilities, could only play _con amore_ when in the best society,
and among connoisseurs who knew how to appreciate all the niceties of
his performance, which under such conditions had a truly magical charm.
It was not in Chopinʼs nature to win the favour of the general public;
and we might say of him, in Goetheʼs words:

    “Wer den Besten seiner Zeit genug gethan,
    Der hat gelebt fur alle Zeiten!”


With the exception of a journey to Rouen, to take part in his friend
Orlowskiʼs concert, which was a great sacrifice in the cause of
friendship, as appearing in public was distasteful to him, Frederic
made no more artistic tours after he settled in Paris. He said in
confidence to Liszt: “I am not adapted for giving concerts: I feel
timid in the presence of the public; their breath stifles me, their
curious gaze paralyzes me; but with you it is a vocation, for if you do
not please the public you know how to agitate and confound them.”

But in the midst of a circle of beautiful women, surrounded by friendly
and familiar faces, a new poetical life stirred within him; the look
of melancholy, which so often overshadowed his face, yielded to an
amiable and sympathetic smile; the earnest and beautiful expression of
his features was wonderfully fascinating; his conversation sparkled
with intelligence, and, unconsciously to himself, the influence of his
fresh and harmless wit was indescribably felt by those around. When in
a happy mood, his improvisation delighted and elevated the minds of his
hearers, or if he happened to be under the inspiration of Comus,[21]
awakened a sense of the purest and most innocent joy. He was often in
those moods in French, but more often in Polish households, in which,
of course, he felt more at home, and, although in the midst of Paris,
could fancy himself once more in his beloved fatherland.

He liked to have all the new _belles lettres_ publications sent to him.
To any poem that took his fancy he would write a melody, which was soon
spread abroad by his friends Fontana and Orda. (The latter, a youth of
great promise, fell in Algiers). Prince Casimir Lubomirski, Grzymala,
and other musical Poles took an interest in these improvisations,
and helped to make them known. These songs were often heard at the
houses of Countess Komar, and her charming daughters—one of whom was
Princess Beauvau—where Chopin was always a welcome guest. The clever
Princess and her younger sister, the Countess Delphine Potocka, famous
for her rare beauty and her fascinating singing, gathered around them
the _élite_ of the literary and artistic world. No wonder was it that
the young Countess made a profound and striking impression on the
susceptible heart of Frederic, and that it was a delight to him to
accompany her magnificent voice with his poetical playing.


In the latter half of May, 1834, Chopin determined, for the first
time, to forsake his pupils and take a trip to Aix-la-Chapelle, with
Ferdinand Hiller, in order to be present at the grand Lower-Rhine
musical festival, conducted by Mendelssohn. Chopinʼs friendship
with the celebrated composer of “St. Paul” dated from their meeting
in Paris, in 1832, and resting as it did on mutual regard, was
now confirmed and strengthened. Mendelssohn, who was at that time
director of the Düsseldorf Stadt Orchestra, was much pleased to meet,
at Aix-la-Chapelle, his old friend Hiller, and also Chopin, whose
compositions he esteemed very highly. During the festival he spent as
much time as possible with the two Parisians, about whom he wrote, on
May 23rd, to his mother:—

    “They have both made progress in their playing, and Chopin is now
    one of the first pianists; he produces as many novelties on the
    piano as Paganini does on his violin, and marvels that one would
    not have thought possible. Hiller, too, is an excellent player,
    with plenty of force and fancy. But both of them aim rather at
    Parisian sensationalism, and too often disregard time, repose,
    and true musical feeling. I, perhaps, incline to the opposite
    extreme, and so we supplied each otherʼs deficiencies, and all
    three, I believe, learnt something from one another. About me
    there was a dash of the school-master, about them the _soupçon_ of
    a _mirliflore_ or an _incroyable_. After the festival we travelled
    together to Düsseldorf, and spent a very pleasant day in music and
    discussion; yesterday, I accompanied them to Cologne; and early
    this morning they went up by steamer to Coblentz, and I came down.
    Thus ended the charming episode.”[22]

A great pleasure was in prospect for Chopin in the following year. His
father had been strongly urged by the Warsaw doctors to go to Carlsbad
for the sake of his health, and as soon as Frederic heard that this was
decided on he left Paris, about the end of July, and in a few days had
the pleasure of embracing his beloved parents, whom, for five years, he
had so painfully missed. It is more easy to imagine than to describe
the delight of this meeting. Their dear little Frederic had become a
man, and had grown stronger and more staid. He had acquired a certain
dignity of bearing, which well became him, and which commanded the
respect of the artistic world; but in affection and gratitude to his
parents he was the same Fritz, who in childhood and youth had delighted
the hearts of his father and mother. The time sped very enjoyably, and
the sad and trying parting hour came a great deal too soon for Frederic
no less than for his affectionate father and tender mother. Again and
again they clasped their beloved son in their arms, vainly
endeavouring to banish the presentiment that they would never see
him again in this world. And this was the last time that these good
parents, whose constant care was for the welfare of their son, ever
beheld him.


Frederic spent a few days at Leipsic on his return to Paris. His
arrival had been expected, and of course there was a great excitement
in artistic circles about the playing of so original and poetic a
composer. The conflicting opinions about his works added to the
interest of his visit. A letter from Frederic Wieck, father of the
famous Clara, to Nauenburg, a music teacher at Halle, shows what
a sensation the coming of Chopin created among the musicians of
Leipsic.[23] It runs as follows:—


    “I hasten to answer your letter of the 19th, which I received last
    evening. Banck returns to-morrow, so then we shall be altogether.
    Now for the musical news. The first subscription concert, under
    the direction of Mendelssohn, will take place on October 4th, the
    second on the 11th. To-morrow, or the next day, Chopin will arrive
    from Dresden, but probably he will not give a concert, for he is
    very lazy. He might have remained longer here, had he not been
    dissuaded by a false friend (a dog of a Pole) from making the
    acquaintance of the musical world of Leipsic; Mendelssohn, however,
    who is very friendly with Schumann and myself, will perform.
    According to a speech which Chopin made to a friend in Dresden
    he does not believe there is a lady in Germany who can play his
    compositions. We will see what Clara can do.”

There seems to me no justification for the ill-humour of the
much-esteemed musical pedagogue, who is so uncomplimentary in his
expressions and so hasty about the imaginary false friend. Chopin had
not thought of giving a concert in Leipsic, as he was only passing
through, and he had, moreover, a great dislike to performing in public.
He was very pleased with the Leipsic artists, and played some of his
own compositions to them at Mendelssohnʼs house; he also heard Clara
Wieck, and was delighted with her poetical playing, and, astonished at
the marvellous attainments of one so young, for whom he prophesied a
brilliant future.

It is quite possible that Chopin may have doubted whether there was a
lady in Germany capable of playing his compositions; but it is very
unlikely that he should have said so, for he was always very gallant to
ladies, and was, as we know, a sincere admirer of Fräulein Blahetkaʼs


In a letter from Mendelssohn to his sister Fanny Henselt, we find the

    _Leipsic, Oct. 6th, 1835._

    .... The day after I left Henseltʼs for Delitzsch Chopin arrived
    there; he could only stay a day, so we spent the whole of it
    together and had music. I cannot help saying, dear Fanny, that
    I have recently discovered that your criticism did not do him
    justice; perhaps, as is often the case, he was not in the right
    humour when you heard him. I have once more been charmed by his
    playing, and I am convinced that if you and father had heard him
    perform some of his best compositions as he played them to me, you
    would say the same thing.

    There is something so thoroughly original and masterly about
    his pianoforte playing, that he may be called a truly perfect
    _virtuoso_; and as I love perfection in any form, I spent a most
    agreeable, although a very different day from that with you
    at Henseltʼs. I was very glad to be once more with a thorough
    musician, not with those half _virtuosi_ and half classists, who
    would like to unite in music “les honneurs de la vertu et les
    plaisirs du vice,” but with one who has a clearly defined aim, and
    although this may be the poles asunder from mine, I can get on with
    such a person capitally, but not with those half-and-half people.
    Sunday evening was really very remarkable when Chopin made me play
    over my oratorio to him, while curious Leipzigers stole into the
    room to see him, and when, between the first and second parts, he
    dashed into his new _études_ and a new Concerto, to the amazement
    of the Leipzigers; and then I resumed my “St. Paul.” It was just as
    if a Cherokee and a Kaffir had met to converse.

    He also played a sweetly pretty new nocturne, a good deal of which
    I have got by heart that I may please Paul by playing it to him.
    Thus we had a good time of it together, and he promised faithfully
    to return in the winter if I would compose a new symphony and give
    a performance of it in his honour; we pledged ourselves, in the
    presence of three witnesses, so we shall see whether we both keep
    our word.

This letter shows that Mendelssohn had no great antipathy to Chopinʼs
compositions, and that he was much interested by many of them;
Mademoiselle Ehlert, the authoress of “Musical Letters to a Friend,”
is, therefore, wrong in placing Mendelssohn among Chopinʼs opponents.
It has been said that Mendelssohn would not allow his pupils to play
Chopinʼs compositions. As far as I know, the composer of “St. Paul” and
“Elijah” had no time to give lessons, and it is quite understandable
that he may not have recommended Chopinʼs works to the pupils of the
Leipsic Conservatoire. But, with his love of justice, Mendelssohn
felt it his duty to combat the objections of his sister, who had been
educated on the old classic principles.

Chopinʼs second and last sojourn in Germany was in 1836. Under the
pretext of trying a cure he went to Marienbad, and there his destiny
was decided. Every flame, however fierce, must expire unless it receive
nourishment. Constantia Gladkowska, whom the youthful Frederic had
worshipped as a saint, married in Warsaw. When Chopin heard the news
he was deeply grieved and even angry. But time, which heals all wounds,
calmed his passionate spirit.


Chopin met in Paris some young Poles of good family—the brothers
Wodzynski, who had been at his fatherʼs _pension_. Through them he
became acquainted with their sister Maria, a charming and amiable
girl. He felt attracted towards her at first sight, and his interest
gradually changed to ardent love. Knowing that in the middle of July
she would be with her mother at Marienbad he went thither, full of hope
and longing. Chopin soon discovered that Maria returned his affection,
and they were engaged with the glad consent of their relatives. When
they left Marienbad the Wodzynski family decided to spend a few weeks
with Chopin at Dresden.

Frederic felt at this time at the topmost pinnacle of happiness, and
his gay humour communicated itself to everyone around him. His friends,
remembering the harmless but clever jokes he used to play in his youth
during his visits to the country, rejoiced that the famous artist,
the darling of Parisian drawing rooms, had so preserved his natural
simplicity and loveable modesty. They would laughingly recall how often
he used to take his sistersʼ delicate evening gloves when he could not
afford to buy new ones for himself, and how he promised to send them
gloves from Paris by the dozen; a promise which, as soon as he had made
a position in that city, he conscientiously performed.

He would often mimic the playing of the most celebrated European
_virtuosi_, imitating them even in the minutest details. He frequently
played his mazurkas, which are full of a sweet melancholy, and then
show how the rhythm must be shortened to adapt them for dancing.
Directly the conversation turned upon his own family he grew serious;
he was no longer the artist indulging his own wayward fancies, but the
grateful son and affectionate brother. From infancy till death he had
constantly received proofs of the tenderest affection, and his glowing
and sensitive heart was bound to his parents and sisters by innumerable
and indissoluble ties; he therefore suffered more from absence than
many another.

When full of the hope of becoming a happy bridegroom, he formed a plan
for leaving Paris, his second home, with all its fascinating charms,
its glittering _salons_, the scene of so many of his triumphs, and
returning to Poland. He wished to withdraw from the world and to settle
in the country near his family in the neighbourhood of Warsaw; there he
would establish schools for the people, and, without troubling himself
about the public, quietly pursue his beloved art. With this idea in his
mind, he bade, as he thought, a short adieu to his betrothed, and set
off for Paris through Leipsic.


Frederic wrote to Robert Schumann, who, having long desired to make
his acquaintance, looked anxiously forward to his arrival. Chopin on
his side was very pleased to have a chance of becoming acquainted
with and personally expressing his regard for so famous a man. It was
about this meeting that Schumann wrote the following letter to the
Chapel-master, Heinrich Dorn:—

    _Leipsic, September, 6th, 1836._[24]


    The day before yesterday, just as I had received your letter and
    was about to answer it, who should walk in but Chopin. This was a
    great pleasure to me, and we spent a delightful day together.... I
    have got a new _ballade_ of his; it seems to me the most pleasing
    but not the cleverest of his works (genialischtes nicht genialstes
    werk.) I told him I liked it best of all, and after a long pause
    he said, with much emphasis, “I am very glad you do, for it is my
    favourite also.”

    He played also a host of new studies, nocturnes and mazurkas, all
    of them inimitable. The way in which he sits down to the piano is
    exceedingly impressive. You would be very pleased with his playing;
    yet Clara is a greater _virtuosa_ than even he. Imagine to yourself
    perfection unconscious of its own merit.

Pleased with the warm reception of the German artist Chopin quitted
Leipsic after having cast a garland on the monument of Prince Joseph

He was very busy with his own thoughts; he believed that his wandering
life was now ended, and that with his new duties he would enter on a
new career. Thinking of his lovely bride he soared on the rosy wings of
fancy into an ideal land amidst images of indescribable happiness and
blessed hope.

Rough reality, alas! aroused him from his delicious dreams, and
inflicted a deep and painful wound upon his heart. Some time after his
return to Paris, he learned that his bride had elected to marry a count
instead of an artist. The consequences to Chopin were very serious:
finding that his hopes of an ideal union were shattered, to wipe out
and forget the insult he had received, he threw himself into the arms
of a woman who exercised a very pernicious influence over him.





It had been raining the whole day, and Chopin, whose nerves were
painfully affected by changes of weather and especially by damp, was
in wretched spirits. None of his friends had been in to see him, there
were no new books to amuse or excite him, and no melodious thoughts
demanding expression had presented themselves. At length, when it was
nearly ten oʼclock, it occurred to him to go to Countess C.ʼs, who
had her _jour fixe_, when an intellectual and agreeable circle always
assembled in her _salon_. As he walked up the carpeted steps Chopin
imagined himself followed by a shadow, exhaling an odour of violets;
he had a feeling that he was in the presence of something strange and
wonderful, and felt almost inclined to turn back; then, laughing at his
superstitiousness, he sprang lightly up the remaining steps and entered
the room. A numerous company was assembled, and, mingled with the
well-known faces, there were some that he had not seen before.

The party had broken up into groups, talking, with French grace and
vivacity, of the theatre, literature, politics and the events of the
day. In a humour for listening rather than talking, Chopin sat down in
a corner of the room and watched the beautiful forms passing before
him, for many charming women frequented Countess C.ʼs.

[Sidenote: GEORGE SAND.]

When part of the company had gone and only the intimate friends of
the hostess remained, Chopin, who was in the mood for weaving musical
fairy tales, (Märchen) sat down to the piano and improvised. His
hearers, whom in his absorption he had quite forgotten, listened
breathlessly. When he had finished he looked up, and saw a simply
dressed lady leaning on the instrument and looking at him with her dark
passionate eyes as if she would read his soul. Chopin felt himself
blushing under her fascinating gaze; she smiled slightly, and when he
retired behind a group of camelias he heard the rustling of a silk
dress, and perceived the odour of violets. The lady who had looked
at him so inquiringly while he was at the piano was approaching with
Liszt. In a deep musical voice she said a few words about his playing,
and then spoke about the subject of his improvisation. Frederic felt
moved and flattered. Undoubtedly the highest reward of the poet and
artist is to find themselves understood; and while listening to the
sparkling intellectual eloquence and poetry of her words, Chopin
felt that he was appreciated as he had never been before. This lady
was Aurora Dudevant, at that time the most celebrated of French
authoresses, whose romances, written under the name of George Sand,
were, of course, well known to him. That night, when he returned home,
the pleasing words were still ringing in his ears, the flashing glance
was still dazzling his eyes. But this first interview impressed his
intellect only; his heart and his sense of beauty were untouched. He
wrote to his parents, “I have made the acquaintance of an important
celebrity, Madame Dudevant, well-known as George Sand; but I do not
like her face, there is something in it that repels me.” But when
he met this talented woman again, her attractive conversation, in
which was nearly always hidden some delicate flattery, made him
forget that she was not beautiful. Her love for him—for George Sand
was passionately enamoured of Chopin—gave to her decided and rather
manly features a certain attractive softness, and made her shy and
almost humble towards him; thus, unconsciously, she stirred his
heart. Frederic felt at first merely grateful to her; then, if not as
passionately, yet truly and deeply he returned her love. The wound
inflicted by Mariaʼs faithlessness was healed. The consciousness of
being loved by the foremost of French authoresses, a woman of European
celebrity, filled Frederic with happy pride. He was no longer alone and
solitary, for Aurora Dudevant was not only his beloved one, but an
intellectual and steadfast friend in whose heart he found a home from
which fate could never banish him.

He began about this time to withdraw from large assemblies, and spent
most of his time in communion with his muse, and among a small circle
of friends. Always fastidious about his surroundings, he was even more
so now; but he always received his intimate acquaintances with perfect
good humour and true Chopin amiability. Franz Liszt, Ferdinand Hiller,
and Baron von Stockhausen are, perhaps, the only living representatives
of those interesting “soirées intimes” at Chopinʼs house in the Rue
Chaussée dʼAntin. Liszt writes:—

    “His apartment was only lighted by some wax candles, grouped
    round one of Pleyelʼs pianos, which he particularly liked for
    their slightly veiled yet silvery sonorousness, and easy touch,
    permitting him to elicit tones which one might think proceeded from
    one of those harmonicas of which romantic Germany has preserved the
    monopoly, and which were so ingeniously constructed by its ancient
    masters from the union of crystal and water.

    “As the corners of the room were left in obscurity, all idea of
    limit was lost, so that there seemed no boundary save the darkness
    of space. Some tall piece of furniture, with its white cover, would
    reveal itself in the dim light; an indistinct form, raising itself
    like a spectre to listen to the sounds by which it had been evoked.
    The light concentrated round the piano glided wave-like along the
    floor mingling with the red flashes of fire-light. A solitary
    portrait, that of a pianist, a sympathetic friend and admirer,
    seemed invited to be the constant auditor of those sighing,
    murmuring, moaning tones which ebbed and flowed upon the
    instrument. By a strange accident, the polished surface of the
    mirror reflected, so as to double for our eyes, the beautiful oval
    with the silky curls which has so often been copied and of which
    countless engravings have been reproduced for the friends of the
    elegant composer.”

[Sidenote: CHOPINʼS GUESTS.]

Among the frequent guests at this abode were: Heinrich Heine, the
German poet, of whom Enault said that sarcasm had consumed his
heart, and scepticism swallowed up his soul; Meyerbeer, the greatest
dramatic musician of the day; Liszt, who astonished the world with his
magnificent impassioned playing, and who, understanding the poetic
soul of the Polish artist, paid a literary tribute in after years to
his memory; Ferdinand Hiller,[26] a famous pianist and a warm and
faithful friend of Chopin; Ary Schäffer, the most classic of the
Romantic painters; Eugène Delacroix, who sought for harmony of colour
in Chopinʼs enchanting music; Adolphe Nourrit, the celebrated singer,
who, under the influence of melancholy, committed suicide; Baron von
Stockhausen, ambassador of the King of Hanover at the French court,
a pupil and admirer of Chopin; and besides these, a little band of
his own countrymen, at whose head was the veteran Niemcewicz, who had
such an ardent yearning for his fatherland that his one wish was to
rest from his labours in his native soil; Mickiewicz, the greatest of
Polish poets, who, ever dreaming of his beloved Lithuania, celebrated
its beauty in verse worthy of a Homer; the favourite poet Witwicki;
Matuszynski, Fontana, Erzymala, and last of all Mussetʼs “la femme à
lʼœil sombre,” who empoisoned the later life of our artist, so that
he might have said with a bleeding heart as Musset did, “et si je ne
crois plus aux larmes, cʼest que je lʼai vu pleurer.” Only those who
had seen Chopin receiving these friends and gracefully dispensing true
Polish hospitality, and who had also been fortunate enough to hear him
improvise, could say that they really knew him. The confidential talk
of a small circle would put him in the best of humours, and he would
often be as merry as in the early happy days of youth in his fatherʼs
house, before he had become acquainted with the cares and troubles of

Chopin was not fond of giving up his time to others, but when he did,
he did so entirely. If an old friend or fellow-student from Warsaw came
to see him, he would immediately put off his pupils and devote the
day to his visitor. He would then order a carriage, take his guest to
breakfast on the Boulevards, and drive around the suburbs (generally
to Montmorency). After some hours of innocent enjoyment in the country,
they would return to Paris, dine at one of the best restaurants, and
finish the day at the theatre. After that they would occasionally go
to some tea-garden or pleasure “local,” where there would be no lack
of amusement and pretty dancers. On such occasion Frederic was the
Amphytrion of his guests, and would never suffer them to pay anything.
[Sidenote: INJURIOUS EFFECTS OF PARISIAN LIFE.] This kind of Parisian
life could not but be injurious to Chopinʼs delicate constitution. In
the Autumn of 1837[27] he had, for the first time, a pulmonary attack
which much weakened him. Both his friends and the physicians were
very anxious about his health; it was generally thought that he was
in consumption, and he was urged to go to the South of France. Just
at that time George Sand was intending to go to the Island of Majorca
for the sake of her son Maurice, and pressed Chopin to go with her.
Frederic found it very hard to leave Paris, and to separate himself
from his doctor, his friends, and his piano. He was by disposition loth
to break up pleasant associations, and every change agitated him, but
he could not say no to a woman whom he so revered.

His friends did not think this journey at all advisable; Frederic was
not, however, very much exhausted by it, but as soon as he landed, in
November, 1838, he was taken dangerously ill. The cold and damp of
his first apartments gave him a violent cough, and the new-comers were
regarded with such evident dislike by the occupants that they hastened
to quit the house. In Majorca, consumption was thought as infectious
as cholera and the plague, and no one would take in the invalid. At
length he and his friends found shelter in a very lonely and slightly
built house (karthaus) called “Waldemosa,” which had just been vacated
by the monks. This cloister was situated in a charming glen, surrounded
by orange trees; but, of course, in such a building there was not a
trace of comfort, and it did not contain a particle of furniture. The
winter that year was a very hard one; it rained for a fortnight without
ceasing, and snow fell several times. Chopin, therefore, sent to
Marseilles for a stove and a piano; but, as he said in writing to his
parents, he was obliged to wait for them a long time. When at length
they arrived the authorities and inhabitants of Palma were in a great
state of excitement; they regarded these strange objects as diabolical
machines intended to blow up the town.


Our artist did not receive the wished for benefit from his stay in
Majorca, but grew paler and thinner every day. Although his complaint
was anything but chronic, all the doctors gave up attending him. Chopin
himself was perfectly composed about his condition. The last physician
whom he had consulted, not thoroughly understanding his disease, did
not use the right means to arrest it, and the bronchitis was followed
by a nervous agitation, which the doctor, not having observed the
contrary symptoms, treated as phthisis. He ordered stimulating diet,
bleeding, and a milk cure. These measures were quite opposed to the
nature of the complaint. The effects of the loss of blood were almost
fatal, and Fredericʼs sufferings increased daily. The doctor constantly
insisted on bleeding, but the friend, who nursed him with the utmost
care, seemed to hear a voice saying, “it is killing him.” It soon
appeared that this was a Providential presentiment. The milk cure did
not succeed; there were no cows in the neighbourhood, and Frederic did
not like that which was substituted—goatʼs milk.

    “The poor great artist! It was difficult sometimes to know how to
    treat him,” says George Sand.[28] “What I feared, unhappily came
    to pass—he lost all patience. He bore his bodily sufferings like
    a man, but he could not bridle his ever restless imagination. The
    house seemed to him full of spirits—spectres which plagued him
    more than his pulmonary pains. He tried to hide from us what was
    troubling him, but we soon found it out. Coming back, one evening,
    about ten oʼclock with my children from visiting the ruins of the
    cloister, we found Chopin at the piano. His looks were wild, his
    hair stood on end, and it was some seconds before he recognized
    us. Then he forced a smile and began to play something. During the
    short time he had been left alone, in his depression, a host of
    demoniacal thoughts had, against his will, crowded upon him.

    “While staying in this ‘card house,’ he composed some short but
    very beautiful pieces, which he modestly entitled ‘Preludes;’ they
    were real masterpieces. Some of them create such vivid impressions
    that the shades of the dead monks seem to rise and pass before the
    hearer in solemn and gloomy funereal pomp.[29] Others are full of
    charm and melancholy glowing with the sparkling fire of enthusiasm,
    breathing with the hope of restored health. The laughter of
    children at play, the distant strains of the guitar, the twitter
    of the birds on the damp branches, or the sight of the little pale
    roses in our cloister garden, pushing their heads up through the
    snow, would call forth from his soul melodies of indescribable
    sweetness and grace. But many also are so full of gloom and sadness
    that, in spite of the pleasure they afford, the listener is filled
    with pain.

    “I apply this especially to a Prelude[30] he wrote one evening,
    which thrills one almost to despair. One day Maurice and I went
    to Palma to make some necessary purchases. Chopin was pretty
    well when we left him. Towards evening a heavy rain set in; the
    rivers swelled rapidly; we lost our boots in the floods; our
    driver deserted us; and we were exposed to great danger. It was
    with difficulty that we accomplished a mile and a half in six
    hours, and we did not reach home till midnight. We were greatly
    vexed at arriving so late, as we knew our dear invalid would be
    very uneasy. We found him, indeed, in a state of great agitation,
    and already beginning to despair. With tears in his eyes he had
    composed this noble and beautiful Prelude. When he saw us come in,
    he jumped up with a cry, stood almost motionless, and in a strange,
    hollow voice, exclaimed: “Ah, I thought you were dead!” By degrees
    he grew calm, but when he saw our soaked and ruined clothes, the
    thought of the danger to which we had been exposed again unnerved
    him. [Sidenote: AN UNEASY VISION.] He told us afterwards that
    during our absence he had had a vision, and that he could not
    distinguish the dream from the reality. He had sunk into a kind
    of stupor and fancied, while he was playing, that he had been
    removed from earth, and was no longer in the land of the living. He
    imagined that he was drowned, and as he lay at the bottom of the
    sea could feel the cold drops keeping time as they dropped upon his
    breast. When I called his attention to the even fall of the rain
    upon the roof, he obstinately maintained that he had not heard it

    “He was vexed with me for using the expression, ‘harmonie
    imitative,’ and he was right, for imitation is an absurdity which
    can only tickle the ear. There was in Chopinʼs genius a subtle
    innate harmony which reflected the expression of his musical
    thoughts by a lofty assonance of tone, not through the material
    repetition of the outward sound. The Prelude he wrote that evening
    recalls, indeed, the rain drops falling on the roof of the
    cloister, but according to his conception these drops are tears
    falling from heaven on his heart.

    “As yet, no other genius has appeared so full of deep poetic
    feeling as Chopin. Under his hand the piano spoke an immortal
    longing. A short piece of scarcely half a page will contain
    the most sublime poetry. Chopinʼs rich genius never needed the
    aid of gross material means. No! He required no trumpets and
    ophicleides to awaken terror or enthusiasm. Hitherto he has not
    been understood, and even now is not generally appreciated. Musical
    taste and feeling must make considerable progress before Chopinʼs
    works can be popular.

    “Chopin felt both his power and his weakness; the latter arose
    from an excess of power which he did not know how to control. He
    could not, like Mozart—who in this capacity stands alone—create
    masterpieces from common-place tones. Chopinʼs compositions contain
    many surprises and _nuances_ which are often strange, mysterious,
    and original; but never far-fetched or strained. Although he hated
    and avoided what was incomprehensible, the over-intensity of his
    feelings often carried him into regions to which he only could

    “I fear that I was often a bad judge; for he was in the habit of
    asking me for advice, as Molière did his cook; and when I had come
    to know him intimately his style was quite clear to me. During
    the eight years in which I became increasingly familiar with his
    musical thoughts, and had acquired an insight into his character,
    I used to find in his playing either an exaltation, a struggle and
    a victory, or else the agony of an over-mastering thought. At that
    time I understood him as he understood himself; a critic who knew
    him less intimately would perhaps have advised him to express
    himself more clearly.

    “In youth he was full of witty and merry thoughts, as some simple
    yet exquisite Polish songs give evidence. Some of his later
    tone-poems bring before us a sparkling crystal stream reflecting
    the sunbeams. Chopinʼs quieter compositions remind us of the song
    of the lark as it lightly soars into the æther, or the gentle
    gliding of the swan over the smooth mirror of the waters; they
    seemed filled with the holy calm of nature. When Chopin was in a
    desponding mood the piercing cry of the hungry eagle among the
    crags of Majorca, the mournful wailing of the storm, and the stern
    immoveability of the snow-clad heights, would awaken gloomy fancies
    in his soul. Then, again, the perfume of the orange blossoms, the
    vine, bending to the earth beneath its rich burden, the peasant
    singing his Moorish songs in the fields, would fill him with


    “Chopinʼs character thus showed itself in varying circumstances;
    although sensitive to all marks of friendship and smiles of
    favour, he would remember the slightest offence for days and
    weeks together. The most trivial _contre-temps_ would disturb him
    exceedingly; but, what is still more strange, real grief never
    troubled him so much as small vexations. He could not overcome
    this weakness of character, and his irritation was often out of
    all proportion to the cause. He bore his illness with heroic calm
    and courage; real dangers did not frighten him, but, like very
    imaginative and nervous men, he would torment himself ceaselessly
    with melancholy thoughts.

    “His excessive anxiety about trifles, his insuperable repugnance
    to the slightest sign of poverty, and his luxurious habits, must
    have made his residence in Majorca, after some days of illness,
    very distasteful to him. But he was not in a condition to travel;
    and when at last he had somewhat recovered, contrary winds arose
    and the ship was obliged to lie at anchor for three weeks. It
    was our only means of return, and unfortunately we were not able
    to avail ourselves of it. Our stay at the Cloister was a misery
    to Chopin and a hard trial to me. His agreeableness and cheerful
    amiability in society were frequently matched by the gloominess
    and peevishness of his behaviour to those around him at home, whom
    he sometimes drove almost to despair. Yet I never knew anyone
    so noble-minded, tender, and free from selfishness. He was a
    faithful and honest friend. In happy moments his brilliant wit
    often surpassed the cleverest sayings of the most eminent men; and
    on matters which he thoroughly understood the soundness of his
    judgment was incomparable. On the other hand, you would rarely
    meet with a man of such exhaustless imagination and such a strange
    and irritable disposition. But who could quarrel with the talented
    artist for the waywardness and peculiarities that were the results
    of ill health? A broken rosebud, the shadow of a passing chafer
    affected him as much as if he had been bled or touched with glowing

    “The only objects he cared for were me and my children; everything
    else in the South seem unbearable to him. His impatience at the
    delay of our departure did him more harm than all his vexation over
    the want of comfort. Finally, at the latter end of the winter we
     were able to go to Barcelona and from thence to Marseilles.”


When they landed at this city Chopin learnt that a funeral mass was to
be performed for the celebrated singer, Adolphe Nourrit,[31] who in a
fit of insanity had committed suicide. Frederic immediately hurried
into the church, and during the service seated himself at the organ and
played his last improvisation in honour of his departed friend.





After spending a fine summer at Nohant, the country residence of George
Sand, Chopin returned to Paris in the autumn. His health and spirits
had been excellent during the whole time, and if not perfectly restored
he was yet sufficiently strong to resume his usual occupations. It
appeared that the doctors had been mistaken; what they took for
consumption turned out to be bronchitis; they, therefore, strongly
advised the artist to spare his strength as much as possible and lead a
very regular life.

A tender mother or sister, or a loving and beloved wife, would
doubtless have succeeded in inducing Frederic, who was naturally gentle
and tractable, to pay more regard to the delicacy of his constitution
and pursue quieter habits; but in Paris, where he spent every evening
at assemblies which lasted late on into the night, he could not make
up his mind to stay at home and go to bed early. This exciting life
was very injurious to him; the first symptoms of consumption appeared,
and increased in severity year by year.

Chopin lived first in the Rue Tronchet, but he soon moved to the Quai
dʼOrleans, where he occupied the “pavilion” of a house inhabited by
George Sand. “Chopin was very pleased to have a drawing room in which
he could play and dream; but he was very fond of society, and used it
chiefly to give lessons in,” says George Sand; “it was only while he
was at Nohant that he composed.” His pupils welcomed him back with
great pleasure, and were charmed with the preludes and the host of new
compositions which he brought with him.[32]

In 1839 Moscheles, who had been desirous of knowing the Polish
_virtuoso_, arrived in Paris from London. The two artists met for the
first time at an evening party at the house of Monsieur Leo, to whom
Chopin dedicated the Polonaise, op. 53. As polished men of the world,
they saluted each other with the utmost courtesy, but went no further.
After this first brief meeting they were both invited by King Louis
Philippe to a concert at St. Cloud, on November 29th.


Chopin played before the royal family a nocturne and some studies,
and was, as Moscheles says, “admired and petted as a favourite.” The
German artist then played some drawing-room pieces, and, in conclusion,
his Duet Sonata, with Chopin. Moscheles thought Chopinʼs playing full
of charm and life, and in a letter to his wife he says:—

    “Chopinʼs appearance corresponds exactly with his music; both
    are delicate and fanciful (schwärmerisch.) He played to me at my
    request, and then for the first time I really understood his music
    and saw the explanation of the ladiesʼ enthusiasm. The _ad libitum_
    which with his interpreters degenerates into bad time, is, when he
    himself performs, the most charming originality of execution; the
    harsh and dilettante-like modulations, which I could never get over
    when playing his compositions, ceased to offend when his delicate
    fairy-like fingers glided over them; his _piano_ is so delicate
    that no very strong _forte_ is required to give the desired
    contrast. Thus we do not miss the orchestral effects which the
    German school demands from a pianist, but feel ourselves carried
    away as by a singer who, paying little heed to the accompaniment,
    abandons himself to his feelings. He is quite unique in the
    pianistic world. He declared he liked my music very much; at any
    rate he is well acquainted with it. He played his Studies, and his
    last new work, the ‘Preludes,’ and I played several of my works
    to him. Who would have thought that, with all his sentimentality,
    Chopin had also a comic vein? He was lively, merry, and extremely
    comic in his mimicry of Pixis, Liszt, and a hunch-backed pianoforte


Chopinʼs imitative talent displayed itself, as the reader knows, in
early youth, and increased so much in after years that the French
players, Boccage and Madame Dorval, declared that they had never seen
anything of the kind so excellent before. My friend, Joseph Nowakowski,
a fellow-student of Chopin, relates the following anecdotes:—

    “When I visited Chopin in Paris, I asked him to introduce me to
    Kalkbrenner, Liszt, and Pixis, ‘That is unnecessary,’ answered
    Chopin, ‘wait a moment, and I will present them to you, but each
    separately.’ Then he sat down to the piano after the fashion of
    Liszt, played in his style and imitated all his movements to the
    life; after which he impersonated Pixis. The next evening I went
    to the theatre with Chopin. He left his box for a short time, and
    turning round I saw Pixis beside me. I thought it was Chopin, and I
    laughingly clapped him on the shoulder, exclaiming, leave off your
    mimicry. My neighbour was quite flabbergasted by such familiarity
    on the part of a total stranger, but fortunately at that moment
    Chopin returned to the box, and we had a hearty laugh over the
    comical mistake. Then, with his own peculiar grace of manner, he
    apologized both for himself and me to the real Pixis.

    “Liszt frequently met Chopin in society and had many opportunities
    of observing his imitative talent. He looked quietly on while
    Chopin mimicked him, and, far from being offended, he laughed and
    seemed really amused by it. There was not the slightest jealousy
    between these two artists, and their friendship remained unbroken.

    “One day Chopin was asked at a party to play some of his latest
    works, and Liszt joined in the request. On sitting down to the
    piano, Chopin noticed that there were no pedals, and the hostess
    then remembered that they had been sent away for repair and had not
    been brought back. Liszt laughingly declared that he would furnish
    them himself, and crawling under the piano he knelt there while
    Chopin played, and completely supplied the place of the pedals.[33]

    “Some years afterwards, in June, 1843, a large number of artists
    were assembled at Nohant. Among them were Liszt, the celebrated
    Pauline Viardot-Garcia, whose incomparable power of ideal
    expression made her the best interpreter of Chopinʼs Polish songs;
    the painter, Eugène Delacroix, many of the best actors and several
    eminent literary people. The hostess, with her son and daughter and
    some married couples from the neighbourhood, completed the party,
    all of whom were young enough to be enthusiastic about art, and
    full of hope.


    “One evening, when they were all assembled in the _salon_, Liszt
    played one of Chopinʼs nocturnes, to which he took the liberty of
    adding some embellishments. Chopinʼs delicate intellectual face,
    which still bore the traces of recent illness, looked disturbed;
    at last he could not control himself any longer, and in that tone
    of _sang froid_ which he sometimes assumed he said, ‘I beg you, my
    dear friend, when you do me the honour of playing my compositions,
    to play them as they are written or else not at all.’ ‘Play it
    yourself then,’ said Liszt, rising from the piano, rather piqued.
    ‘With pleasure,’ answered Chopin. At that moment a moth fell into
    the lamp and extinguished it. They were going to light it again
    when Chopin cried, ‘No, put out all the lamps, the moonlight is
    quite enough.’ Then he began to improvise and played for nearly
    an hour. And what an improvisation it was! Description would be
    impossible, for the feelings awakened by Chopinʼs magic fingers are
    not transferable into words.

    “When he left the piano his audience were in tears; Liszt was
    deeply affected, and said to Chopin, as he embraced him, ‘Yes, my
    friend, you were right; works like yours ought not to be meddled
    with; other peopleʼs alterations only spoil them. You are a true
    poet.’ ‘Oh, it is nothing,’ returned Chopin, gaily, ‘We have each
    our own style; that is all the difference between us. You know,
    quite well, that nobody can play Beethoven and Weber like you. Do
    play the Adagio from Beethovenʼs C sharp minor Sonata, but nicely,
    as you can do when you choose.’ Liszt began his Adagio, his hearers
    were moved deeply, but in quite another manner. They wept, but not
    tears of such sweetness as Chopin had caused them to shed. Lisztʼs
    playing was less elegiac, but more dramatic.”

    “Some days afterwards,” writes Charles Rollinat, in _Le Temps_,
    “We were once more the guests of George Sand. Liszt asked Chopin
    to play, and, after a little pressure, he consented. Liszt then
    desired the lights to be put out and the curtains drawn that it
    might be perfectly dark. This was done, and just as Chopin was
    sitting down to the piano Liszt whispered something to him and
    took his place. Chopin seated himself in the nearest arm chair,
    not dreaming of his friendʼs intention. Liszt immediately began
    to improvise in the same manner as Chopin had done on the former
    evening, and so faithfully copied both sentiment and style that
    the deception was perfect. The same signs of emotion were again
    perceptible among the audience, and just as the feeling reached
    its height Liszt lighted the candles on the piano. A general cry
    of astonishment echoed through the room. ‘What, it is you?’ ‘As
    you see,’ said Liszt, with a laugh. ‘But we made sure it was
    Chopin playing,’ rejoined the company. In this ingenious way Liszt
    revenged himself on his dangerous rival.

    “Comedies were sometimes performed, or improvised recitations
    delivered, the latter spontaneous and poetical, as all true
    improvisations ought to be. There was a theatre in George Sandʼs
    chateau, and also a great variety of costumes. Only the subject of
    the piece and the number of scenes needed to be given; the actors
    improvised the dialogue. Liszt and Chopin were the orchestra; they
    sat at two pianos right and left of the stage behind some drapery,
    and followed the play with appropriate music.

    “Both artists were endowed with an astonishing memory. They had
    at their command all the Italian, French, and German operas
    of importance, and could select, with marvellous readiness,
    motives adapted to the particular situation, and work them out
    so effectively and with such fervour that the actors—whose own
    achievements were by no means inconsiderable—called out from the
    stage, ‘Hold, you are too lavish with your beauties.’

    [Sidenote: A MUSICAL ECHO.]

    “In the middle of the garden was an esplanade, commanding a view of
    the whole valley. A table, some stone benches, and a light garden
    seat seemed to invite the loiterer to stay and rest. The esplanade
    was surrounded by a strong iron railing, to prevent the children
    who played there from falling into the brook. The spot was noted
    for a wonderful echo, which repeated every word three or four times
    with perfect clearness. The children often amused themselves in
    what they called making the echo talk. One evening the thought
    occurred to somebody of bringing out the piano and letting the echo
    repeat fragments of romantic music. The idea met with universal
    approval, and the magnificent Erard Instrument was taken out on to
    the esplanade.

    “It was a clear, still night in June; there was no moon, but in
    the place of her silvery light shone a countless host of stars.
    The piano was opened towards the valley, and Lisztʼs energetic
    hands performed the well-known hunting chorus from ‘Euryanthe.’
    He stopped, of course, to wait for the echo after each pause.
    Even after the first we were all wild with enthusiasm; there was
    something marvellously poetic in nature thus echoing art. The
    musical phrase was too long both the first and second time for the
    echo to give it back clearly; but the third and fourth time the
    echo of the echo in the chorus was beautifully repeated, without
    missing a note, by the natural echo. Liszt himself felt the
    spell and quickened the time. Every phrase excited the liveliest
    curiosity and the most intense expectancy. One in particular swept
    with a sweet melancholy sound over the tops of the trees in the
    valley; but the last announced the triumph of the human will over
    the obstacles opposed by nature.

    “After this most artistically managed Fanfare, Chopin took Lisztʼs
    place and made the echo sing and weep. He played some scraps from
    an impromptu which he was at that time composing. Fredericʼs
    delight over this diaphanous Æolian music knew no bounds; he
    continued his converse with the spirits of the valley much longer
    than Liszt had; it was a strange communion, a whispering and a
    murmuring like a magic incantation.

    “The hostess was almost obliged to draw him by force from the
    piano; he was in a state of feverish excitement. When Chopin had
    finished playing, Pauline Garcia sang the lovely naïve romance,
    ‘Nel cor piu non mi sento.’ It was an excellent choice, for every
    phrase consisted of only two notes, which, to the intense delight
    of us all, the echo repeated with astonishing clearness. Aurora had
    already begun to spread her rosy veil before the party broke up,
    carrying with them not only a delicious impression but, doubtless,
    an undying recollection.”

As is so often the case in life, the warm friendship between Liszt and
Chopin grew very cool in after years, and finally died out altogether.
On whose side the fault lay I will not venture to decide, but in some
of the letters to his parents Chopin complains bitterly of Liszt.


Having given up performing in public Chopin occupied himself with
giving lessons. His handsome gentlemanly appearance, his great talents
and brilliant fame, and his gift
for teaching caused him to be greatly esteemed and sought after,
particularly by the aristocracy. In taking pupils he always gave the
preference to his compatriots, and trained many of his own countrywomen
who have more or less acquired his style and manner. Especially to be
mentioned are, Princess Marcelline Czartoryska _née_ Radziwill, the
Countess Pauline Plater, Countess L. Czosnowska, Countess Delphine
Potocka, Princess Beauvau, Madame Rosengart-Zaleska, Emilie Hofmann,
Baroness Bronicka, &c. Among his non-Polish pupils were: Madame Kalergi
_née_ Countess Nesselrode, afterwards Madame de Muchanoff, Mͩˡˡͤˢ.
Emma and Laura Harsford, Mademoiselle Caroline Hartmann, Mademoiselle
Lina Freppa, Countess Flahault, Baroness C. de Rothschild, Miss J.
W. Sterling, Mademoiselle de Noailles, Mademoiselle L. Duperré,
Mademoiselle R. de Könneritz, Princess Elizabeth Czernicheff, Countess
dʼAgoult, Princess C. de Souzzo, Countess dʼAppony, Baroness dʼEst,
Mͩˡˡͤ. J. de Caraman, Mͩˡˡͤ. C. Maberly, Countess de Perthuis,
Countess de Lobau, Countess Adele de Fürstenstein, and Mͩˡˡͤ. F.
Müller, to whom Chopin dedicated his Allegro de Concert op. 46, and who
has frequently been spoken of as his most gifted and favourite lady

Unlike other great artists, Chopin felt no dislike to giving lessons,
but, on the contrary, took evident pleasure in this laborious
occupation, when he met with talented and diligent pupils. He noticed
the slightest fault, but always in the kindest and most encouraging
manner, and never displayed anger towards a dull pupil. But later
on, when increasing illness had made his nerves extremely irritable,
he would fling the music from the desk and make use of very severe
expressions. Not pencils merely, but even chairs were broken by
Chopinʼs apparently weak hand; however, these outbursts of temper never
lasted long; a tear in the eye of the culprit at once appeased the
masterʼs wrath, and his kind heart was anxious to make amends.

He could not endure thumping, and on one occasion jumped up during
a lesson, exclaiming, “What was that, a dog barking?” Owing to the
delicacy of his nerves his playing was not so powerful as that of other
pianists, Liszt especially. This rendered the first few lessons a real
torture to his pupils. He found most fault with a too noisy touch; his
own thin slender fingers rested horizontally on the keys, which he
seemed to stroke rather than strike. Nevertheless he was quite able to
produce vigorous tones. It is a great error to suppose that his playing
was invariably soft and tender, although, in after years, when he had
not sufficient physical power for performing the energetic passages, it
lacked contrast, but in his youth he displayed considerable fire and
energy, of which he never made any misuse.

Moscheles, in speaking of his playing at a _soirée_ at the Palace of
King Louis Philippe in 1839, says, “The audience must, I think, have
caught the enthusiasm which Chopin threw into the piece throughout.”

[Sidenote: CHOPINʼS METHOD.]

He would not take a pupil who had not some amount of technical skill,
yet he made them all alike begin with Clementiʼs “Gradus ad Parnassum.”
We see from this that his chief object was the cultivation of the
touch. The pre-eminence attached to technical superiority by pianists
of the present day obliges them to devote their whole time to acquiring
mechanical dexterity and enormous force. Thus they frequently lose
their softness and lightness of touch, and neglect the finer _nuances_
and the artistic finish of the phrasing.

The second requirement that Chopin made of a new pupil was perfect
independence of the fingers; he, therefore, insisted on the practising
of exercises, and more especially the major and minor scales from
_piano_ up to _fortissimo_, and with the _staccato_ as well as the
_legato_ touch, also with a change of accent, sometimes marking the
second, sometimes the third or fourth note. By this means he obtained
the perfect independence of the fingers, and an agreeable equality and
delicacy of touch. Chopin thought of embodying in a theoretical work
the results of his long years of study, experience, and observation of
pianoforte playing; but he had only written a few pages when he fell
ill. Unfortunately he destroyed the manuscript shortly before his death.

Every poetical composition is a revelation of the beautiful which the
player ought to recognise, and as far as possible interpret in the
spirit of the composer. To the many requests made to him for advice
Chopin invariably replied, “Play as you feel and you will play well.”
One day, when one of his pupils was playing in a stiff, feelingless,
mechanical manner, he impatiently exclaimed, “Mettez y donc toute votre

His friends relate that he used to lament greatly over one pupil, who
studied with indefatigable diligence and perseverance, and possessed
all the qualities for becoming an artist of the first rank except the
most essential of all—feeling.

Yet how much mischief may arise from following this true and simple
maxim, “Play as you feel.” How many celebrated pianists exaggerate
or misunderstand the meaning of Chopinʼs works! His principle is
only a sure and infallible guide when the player has the capacity of
perceiving the intentions of the composer. This, unfortunately, is a
rare gift, and its absence in the rendering of Chopinʼs compositions
is doubly painful. He felt this himself, and when one of his French
pupils was being overwhelmed with praise for his performance of one
of his masterʼs works, Chopin said, quickly, that he had played the
piece very well, but had quite missed the Polish element and the Polish
enthusiasm. Nor did he confine this criticism to the interpretation
of distinctively Polish works, such as mazurkas and polonaises, but
applied it also to his concertos, nocturnes, ballads, and studies.


La Mara[34] was not wrong in saying that a correct performance of
Chopinʼs works was rarely to be had. No one, be he ever so great a
pianist, who cannot sympathise with the misfortunes which have been
and are still the lot of the Pole, no one who does not understand the
melancholy characteristic of the whole nation, can interpret Chopin
with faithfulness.

One evening, in 1833 or 1834, there were assembled at the house of the
Castellan Count Plater three great artists: Liszt, Hiller, and Chopin.
A lively discussion arose on national music, Chopin maintaining, that
no one who had not been in Poland and inhaled the perfume of its
meadows could have any true sympathy with its folk-songs. As a test of
this it was proposed to play the well-known Mazurka, “Poland is not
lost yet.” Liszt played first, then Hiller, each giving a different
interpretation. Several pianists followed; last of all came Chopin,
whom both Liszt and Hiller were obliged to admit far surpassed them in
comprehending the spirit of the Mazurka.

There is, undoubtedly, a growing interest among the public in
Chopinʼs original compositions, but the number of his interpreters
who really understand him is still very small. In some we find a
certain affectation and coquetry, in others only the poetic frenzy
(schwärmerei) which is infused into most of his works, while others
again seek expression by means of violent contrasts. These apparent
diversities are rarely combined in one individual, but it is only in
their union that we find the true Chopin stamp of genius.

As the best means for acquiring a natural style our master recommended
the frequent hearing of Italian singers, among whom there were at
that time many celebrities in Paris. He always applauded their broad,
simple style and the easy manner in which they used and consequently
preserved their voices, as worthy the imitation of all pianists,
especially of those who hoped to attain perfection. He advised his
pupils not to break up the musical thoughts, but to let them pour out
in a broad stream; he liked to hear in a player what in a singer is
understood by _portamento_. He hated any exaggeration of accent which,
in his opinion, destroyed all the poetry of playing and made it appear


Chopinʼs soft velvety fingers could evoke the most exquisite effects.
No other pianist of the day possessed his executive skill and refined
taste, or equalled him in those passing embellishments which he
interwove into his playing, and which resembled filagree work or the
most delicate Brabant lace. He was very fond of playing to himself or
some favourite pupil the works of Sebastian Bach, which he had studied
with the utmost accuracy and completely mastered.[35] The _tempo
rubato_ was a special characteristic of Chopinʼs playing. He would keep
the bass quiet and steady, while the right hand moved in free _tempo_,
sometimes with the left hand, and sometimes quite independently, as,
for example, when it plays quaver, trills, or those magic, rhythmical
runs and _fioritures_ peculiar to Chopin. “The left hand,” he used
to say, “should be like a bandmaster, and never for a moment become
unsteady or falter.”

By this means his playing was free from the trammels of measure and
acquired its peculiar charm. The outlines, like those in a good
painting of a winter landscape, shade off into a transparent mist. He
used the _tempo rubato_ with great effect, not only in his nocturnes
but also in many of his mazurkas. Those who have entered into the
spirit of Chopinʼs works will easily see when to use the _rubato_.
Chopin rendered the _tremolo_ to perfection, making the melody float
like a boat on the bosom of the waters. Liszt says:—

    “Chopin was the first to use the _tempo rubato_, which gave such
    an original stamp to his compositions: an evanescent, interrupted
    measure, ductile, abrupt, yet languishing, and flickering like a
    flame in the breeze. In his later works he left off marking _tempo
    rubato_ at the commencement of a piece, considering that whoever
    understood it would of himself discover this law of latitude.
    Chopinʼs works require to be played with a certain accent and
    swing which it is difficult for anyone to acquire who has not
    had frequent opportunities of hearing him play. He seemed very
    anxious to impart this style to his pupils, and especially to his
    compatriots. His Polish pupils, particularly the ladies, acquired
    this method with all the quick sensitiveness which they possess for
    poetic feeling; and their innate perception of his thoughts enabled
    them to follow faithfully all the undulations on his azure sea of

While Chopin was strong and healthy, as during the first years of his
residence in Paris, he used to play on an Erard piano; but after his
friend Camillo Pleyel had made him a present of one of his splendid
instruments, remarkable for their metallic ring and very light touch,
he would play on no other makerʼs. If he were engaged for a _soirée_
at one of his Polish or French friends, he would often send his own
instrument, if there did not happen to be a Pleyel in the house. “Quand
je suis mal disposé,” said Chopin, “je joue sur un piano dʼErard et jʼy
trouve facilement un son fait. Mais quand je me sens en verve et assez
fort, pour trouver mon propre son à moi, il me faut un piano de Pleyel.”


Chopin sacredly cherished art as one of heavenʼs best gifts, as a
gentle comforter in sorrow, and would never put it to any common-place
purpose. There are, unfortunately, plenty of famous artists who regard
their art merely as a means of subsistence. What Schiller says of men
of science is no less true of artists:—

    “Einem ist sie die hohe, die himmlische Göttin, dem Andern
     Eine Tüchtige Kuh, die ihn mit Butter versorgt.”

Throughout his life art was to Chopin a lofty goddess. He was
frequently asked by wealthy and aristocratic personages to give
instruction to them or to their relations, but the largest honorarium
could not induce him to teach anyone devoid of talent; although at
that time he had long ceased to receive anything from his parents,
was very particular about the appointments of his household, fond of
giving presents, and always dispensed a most liberal hospitality. In
a pleasant manner—and, indeed, no other was possible to him—Chopin
would refuse on the score of not increasing the number of his pupils.
Young people of talent he would encourage with the sincerest kindness,
lending them books, music, and sometimes money even, when he found
their means were limited; many he taught gratuitously. One of his most
talented pupils was Filtsch,[36] a young Hungarian; Chopin thought a
great deal of him, and always delighted in his company. His premature
death made a deep and painful impression on our master. All who knew
Filtsch intimately, and had heard his beautiful playing, say that he
would have fulfilled the most splendid hopes, and unite in deploring
his death as a sad loss to the musical world.

Among Chopinʼs best pupils we must name: Gutmann, Guntsberg; Telefsen;
George Mathias, who is now a professor at the Paris Conservatoire;
Charles Mikuli, director of the Musical Union, at Lemberg; Casimir
Wernick, who died young, at St. Petersburg, in 1859; and Gustav
Schumann, a much esteemed pianist in Berlin, who only went to Paris for
a short time to receive instruction from Chopin.

Chopin was not only respected but loved by all his pupils for his warm
sympathy and exceedingly fascinating manners. To Polish artists he was
especially amiable and kind, and ever ready to serve them in any way;
thus, showing that his love for his fatherland was as warm as when a
dreamy, gentle boy, his parentsʼ house in Poland was all the world to
him. So it came to pass that many artists, who were only spending a
short time in Paris, but were anxious to acquire fame and popularity,
gave themselves out as Chopinʼs pupils, although he did not even know
their names. When asked if such a one were his pupil, he would answer,
“I never taught him, but if it is any benefit to him to be called my
pupil, let him enjoy it in peace.” Chopin was not only a kind, but
also a conscientious teacher. He never gave more than four or, at the
utmost, five lessons a day for his healthʼs sake, but he attended
regularly to those and never put off his pupils, except when he was
very ill, or when friends and acquaintances from Poland came to see
him. Carriages were frequently sent for him by those of his pupils
living at a distance, but in the last years of his life they were
obliged to come to him, and when he became so weak that he could
scarcely sit up, he would give lessons lying on a _chaise longue_
before a pianette, with the pupil seated at another instrument. If a
passage were played wrongly or not according to his taste, he would
raise himself up and play it, and then lie down again.


His noble character and truly artistic nature appeared on all
occasions; the following episode is a proof of his excellent
disposition. Julius Schulhoff came to Paris when a young man, and
completely unknown. One day he heard that Chopin, who was at that time
in very bad health and difficult of access, was going to Mercierʼs[37]
piano manufactory to see a newly invented _transpositeur_. This was
in 1844. Schulhoff availed himself of this opportunity for making the
masterʼs acquaintance, and was among the little band awaiting the
arrival of Chopin, who came accompanied by an old friend, a Russian
bandmaster. Seizing a favourable moment, Schulhoff asked a lady
present to introduce him. To her request that he should play something
to Chopin, the great artist, who was frequently tormented by the
visitations of _dilettanti_, reluctantly acceded by a slight nod.
Schulhoff sat down to the piano, while Chopin, with his back to him,
leant against it. But after the first few chords he turned his head
to Schulhoff, who was playing his new “Allegro brillant en forme de
Sonate,” which he afterwards dedicated to Chopin as op. 1.[38] Chopin
drew nearer and nearer, listening with growing interest to the refined,
poetical playing of the young Bohemian; his pale face lighted up, and
by look and gesture he testified his warm approval. When Schulhoff
had finished, Chopin held out his hand, saying, “Vous êtes un vrai
artiste—un collègue.” A few days afterwards Schulhoff paid him a visit,
and begged him to accept the dedication of the “Allegro;” the master
thanked him in his most winning manner, and some ladies present heard
him say, “Je suis très flatté de lʼhonneur que vous me faites.”





The fears of the Physicians began to be realized. Chopinʼs manner of
life in Paris was quite contrary to their advice, and the saddest
results ensued. In 1840 decided symptoms of an affection of the lungs
appeared. The sufferer was much troubled by sleeplessness, and during
those restless nights his active and versatile imagination conjured
up the gloomiest fancies. The gravity of the situation was now
unmistakable. His annual visit to Nohant always gave him some relief;
there he could live in perfect freedom, and work or rest as he felt
inclined. But the winter unfortunately increased his sufferings, and
the sharp cold winds destroyed all the good effected by the mild air of

On May 3rd, 1844, Frederic received a heavy shock in the death of his
dearly beloved father. The sad intelligence quite prostrated him; and
he was agonized by the thought that he had not been able to soothe his
parentʼs last moments, and receive his blessing and farewell. Frederic
felt that he ought to write to comfort his mother and sisters, and
mingle his tears with theirs, if only by letter; but, as often as he
resolved to do so, his strength failed him. At length George Sand, who
was at that time still faithful to Chopin, undertook the sad duty, and
wrote expressing her sympathy with the mother of the man whom once she
had so passionately loved, and for whom she still cherished friendship
and respect. The following is an exact transcription of her letter:


    _Paris, le 29 Mai, 1844._


    Je ne crois pas pouvoir offrir dʼautre consolation à lʼexcellente
    mère de mon cher Frédéric, que lʼassurance du courage et de la
    résignation de cet admirable enfant. Vous savez si sa douleur est
    profonde et si son âme est accablée; mais grâce à Dieu, il nʼest
    pas malade, et nous partons dans quelques heures pour la compagne,
    où il se reposera enfin dʼune si terrible crise.

    Il ne pense quʼà vous, à ses soeurs, à tous les siens, quʼil chérit
    si ardemment, et dont lʼaffliction lʼinquiète et le préoccupe
    autant que la sienne propre.

    Du moins, ne soyez pas de votre côté inquiète de sa situation
    extérieure. Je ne peux pas lui ôter cette peine si profonde, si
    légitime et si durable; mais je puis du moins soigner sa santé
    et lʼentourer dʼautant dʼaffection et de précautions que vous le
    feriez vous même.

    Cʼest un devoir bien doux que je me suis imposé avec bonheur et
    auquel je ne manquerai jamais.

    Je vous le promets, Madame, et jʼespère que vous avez confiance
    en mon dévouement pour lui. Je ne vous dis pas que votre malheur
    mʼa frappée autant que si jʼavais connu lʼhomme admirable que vous
    pleurez. Ma sympathie, quelque vraie quʼelle soit, ne peut adoucir
    ce coup terrible, mais en vous disant que je consacrerai mes jours
    à son fils, et que je le regarde comme le mien propre, je sais que
    je puis vous donner de ce côte-là quelque tranquillité dʼesprit.
    Cʼest pourquoi jʼai pris la liberté de vous écrire pour vous dire
    que je vous suis profondément dévouée, comme à la mère adorée de
    mon plus cher ami.


Among Chopinʼs friends and admirers was Alexander Thies,[39] of Warsaw.
He had often seen Frederic in Paris, and through him had become
acquainted with George Sand, whom as a writer he greatly admired. He
wrote from Warsaw a kind letter of inquiry about Chopin and Mickiewicz,
and in conclusion wished good health, prosperity, and fame to George
Sand. I mention these three words particularly that the following reply
may be intelligible.


    _Paris, le 25 Mars 1845._


    Nous sommes bien coupables envers vous, moi surtout; car lui
    (_Chopin_), écrit si peu et il a tant dʼexcuses dans son état
    continuel de fatigue et de souffrance, que vous devez lui
    pardonner. Jʼespérais toujours lʼamener à vous écrire, mais je nʼai
    eu que des résolutions et des promesses, et je prends le parti de
    commencer, sauf à ne pas obtenir, entre sa toux et ses leçons, un
    instant de repos et de calme.

    Cʼest vous dire que sa santé est toujours aussi chancelante. Depuis
    les grands froids quʼil a fait ici, il a été surtout accablé; jʼen
    suis presque toujours malade aussi, et aujourdʼhui je vous écris
    avec un reste de fièvre. Mais vous? Vous souffrez plus que nous, et
    vous en parlez à peine. Vous êtes un stoïque de chrétien, et il y
    a bien dʼassez belles et grandes choses dans votre doctrine, pour
    que je vous passe la forme, sur ce point. Vous ne me convertirez
    pas. Mais que vous importe? Vous nʼêtes pas, je lʼespère, de ces
    catholiques farouches, qui damnent sans retour les dissidents.
    Dʼailleurs, lʼorthodoxie de ces principes dʼintolérance est très
    controversée, et votre grand coeur peut prendre là-dessus le parti
    qui lui convient; moi, jʼai lʼespoir dʼêtre sauvée tout comme une
    autre, bien que jʼai fait le mal plus dʼune fois tout comme une
    autre. Mais il y a plus de miséricorde là-haut quʼil nʼy a de
    crimes ici-bas. Autrement, ce ne serait pas la justice divine, ce
    serait la justice humaine, la peine du faible. Blasphème inique et
    que je repousse avec horreur.

    Je ne vous dirai rien de _Mickiewicz_, il nʼa pas fait son cours
    cette année, et je ne lʼai pas vu[40]. Je nʼai même pas lu son
    livre. Je le regarde aussi comme un noble malade, mais sans le
    croire sur le chemin de la vérité, je le crois aussi bien que vous
    et moi sur la route du salut; sʼil est dans son erreur convaincu,
    humble et aimant Dieu, Dieu ne lʼabandonnera pas, Dieu ne boude
    pas, et je ne puis croire quʼune telle âme ne soulève pas quelque
    coin du voile étrange dont il sʼenveloppait lʼannée dernière.

    Je vous remercie de vos souhaits affectueux, santé bien-être et
    gloire; tout cela est chimère. Nous sommes ici-bas pour souffrir
    et travailler; la santé est une bénédiction du ciel, en tant
    quʼelle nous rend utiles à ceux qui ne lʼont pas; le bien-être
    est impossible à quiconque veut assister ses frères, car dans ce
    cas-là, plus il peut recevoir, plus il doit donner. La gloire est
    une niaiserie pour amuser les enfants. Une âme sérieuse ne peut
    y voir autre chose que le résultat douloureux de lʼignorance des
    hommes, prompts à sʼengouer de peu de chose. La santé serait donc
    le seul bien désirable dans vos trois souhaits. Mais je ne lʼai
    pas cette année et je ne murmure pas, puisque vous, qui le méritez
    mieux que moi, vous ne lʼavez pas retrouvée.

    Espérez-vous maintenant en cette cure que vous avez entreprise avec
    tant de courage? Ecrivez-moi donc que vous êtes mieux; cela nous
    consolerait de nʼêtre pas bien. Eh quand nous revenez-vous? Nous
    nʼirons pas de bonne heure à la campagne, si le printemps est aussi
    laid que lʼhiver. Jʼespère donc que nous vous reverrons ici, et
    si vous tardez, nous voulons vous voir à Nohant. Vous devez nous
    dédommager dʼy être restés si peu lʼautre fois. Mes enfants vous
    remercient de votre bon souvenir et font aussi des voeux pour vous.

    A vous de coeur, toujours et bien sincèrement, vous le savez.


The letters of George Sand show that Chopinʼs condition was already
regarded as hopeless. Soon after the death of his father, the poor
invalid, who so much needed comforting and cheering, had to bear
another grief in the loss of his dearest friend in Paris, Johann
Matuszynski. As his physical sufferings increased, he grew melancholy
and was haunted by the most dismal imaginations. George Sand speaks of
this in writing to a friend who knew him well:

    “The Catholic faith, by teaching the doctrine of a purgatorial
    fire, represents death in a terrible light. Far from picturing the
    soul of a beloved one in a better world, Chopin often had dreadful
    visions, and I was obliged to spend the night near his sleeping
    apartment, to dispel the spectres of his dreaming and waking hours.
    He dwells a great deal on the superstitions of Polish tradition.
    The spirits harass and entangle him in their magic circle, and
    instead of seeing his father and friend smiling at him from the
    abodes of the glorified, as the Lutheran doctrine teaches, he
    imagines that their lifeless forms are at his bedside, or that he
    is tearing himself from their cold embrace.”


Month by month the disease made rapid strides, and his strength
perceptibly diminished. The cough grew more obstinate, and very often
he was so weak and suffered so from want of breath, that when he went
to see his friends he was obliged to be carried upstairs.

The following are the compositions written between 1843 and 1847:
Polonaise, op. 53; Berceuse, op. 57; Sonata in B minor, op. 58;
Mazurkas, op. 59 and 63; Barcarole, op. 60; Polonaise-Fantasia, op. 61,
and Sonata in G minor for piano and violincello, op. 65. These pieces
are throughout beautiful, and poetical, but the melancholy and peculiar
agitation displayed, especially in the two last, reveal the morbid mind
of the composer. The musical thoughts have not the pleasing clearness
of his earlier works and not infrequently border on eccentricity. But
how full of sorrow and suffering had these years been to the delicately
wrought spirit of the artist with its natural inclination to melancholy.

Chopin who, in spite of his self-absorption, noticed everything that
went on around him—his innate sensitiveness of feeling supplying the
place of observation—could no longer conceal from himself, that the
woman who had attracted him by the intensity of her love, and won the
devotion of his deeply poetical nature, that she, whose steadfastness
had seemed firm as a rock, was daily wavering in her affection. His
pride whispered, “leave her, she regards you as a burden;” but the
moral feeling fostered by his education, and his parentsʼ noble example
of wedded faithfulness and constancy, exhorted him to stay.

There were times during his youth when Chopin felt some scruples
about his illegitimate connection with Aurora Dudevant-Sand, when
he sincerely wished that he could lead her to the altar, and cursed
the fate which hindered him. Afterwards he consoled himself with the
thought that the firmness of the bond on both sides made it sacred, and
unquestionably nothing on earth would have moved him to separate from

George Sand thought otherwise. This fanciful woman, with her keen
susceptibilities for the beautiful, had loved the young, interesting,
and celebrated composer; but the dejected invalid was an incumbrance.
Her change of feeling was first manifested by occasional sullen looks
and by the increasing shortness of her visits to the sick room. Chopin
felt much pained, but was silent, for according to his ideas it would
have been dishonourable on his part to cause a breach. His strength
of will was impaired by broken health, and he submitted patiently to
innumerable little mortifications which, however, wounded him deeply;
his moral sense told him that he ought to atone for the wrong he had
done in taking this woman unlawfully to himself.


He was grieved at the complaints she often made in his presence of the
fatigue of nursing him; he begged her to leave him alone and go out
into the open air; he entreated her not to give up her amusements for
his sake, but to go to the theatre and give parties, &c.; he should be
quiet and contented if he knew that she were happy. At last, before the
sick man had dreamed of a separation, an heroic expedient, as Count
Stanisla Tarnowski says, was resorted to. George Sand had written a
romance, entitled, “Lucrezia Floriani,” of which the following is a
brief summary.

    “Prince Charles, a man of a noble and sympathetic character,
    but sickly, nervous, jealous, proud, and full of aristocratic
    notions, falls passionately in love with Lucrezia, a woman no
    longer young, who has given up love and the world, and lives only
    for her children and to do good. She is a famous artist, who does
    not pretend to be better than she is, but who is better than she
    is said to be. This consuming love causes Prince Charles a severe
    illness which endangers his life. Lucrezia saves him and loves him;
    but, foreseeing that this love would be a misery to her, conceals
    it. Prince Charlesʼs feelings, however, growing more and more
    passionate and again threatening his safety, the object of his
    adoration gives herself up to him.”

It is strange how women of a certain age like to hide their feelings
under the cloak of sacrifice and motherly care. _They_ are not in
love, but the weak, sick, nervous being needs support and tenderness.
Thus is produced that painful and disagreeable counterfeit of motherly
affection which we so often meet with, as in “Lucrezia Floriani.”

“Whence,” asks the writer of the romance, “arises this unnatural
specious feeling? Perhaps if a heroine loves at that age, when, as
Hamlet says, ‘the heyday in the blood is tame,’ she feels degraded in
her own eyes and in those of the world, and to regain her position,
and gloss over her real feelings and actions, she makes a pretext of
sacrifice and tender care.” In this way the famous Madame de Warrens
interpreted her sacrifice, of which J. J. Rousseau says so much in his
“Confessions;” and thus Lucrezia explained her love for Charles.

For two months she was unspeakably happy; then everything changed.
Charles grows jealous, unreasonable, and capricious; he cannot bear
the sight of Lucreziaʼs old friends. There are constant outbursts of
anger and nervous excitement, or fits of madness and desperation.
Wearied and harassed, Lucreziaʼs health and strength give way; but of
this she makes a secret and never complains because she has vowed to
make any sacrifice for Charles. She knows that she will die—for Charles
will make a martyr of her—and that her children will be orphans, yet
she goes on suffering in silence because she has pledged herself to
be faithful to him. After a few years of a life of such constant
torture, and of alienation from her friends on account of the jealousy
of Charles, she ceases to love him and submits resignedly to her fate.
At length, exhausted by protracted self sacrifice, Lucrezia dies.


It was at that time generally thought that Prince Charles was a
portrait of Chopin, although the exaggeration with which the character
was drawn made it a caricature. The love story in the romance certainly
bore a strong resemblance to the connection between himself and George
Sand, which, with all its happiness, was, as none better than he knew,
a very painful one. Both Frederic and the world were well aware that
the real Lucrezia was not a victim to her devotedness, and that the
Charles of the novel could be none other than Chopin. It is said that,
by a refinement of cruelty, the proofs were sent to him for correction;
it is a matter of fact, however, that George Sandʼs children said to
him, “Monsieur Chopin, do you know that Prince Charles is meant for

Everyone acquainted with the circumstances blamed the authoress. She
excused herself,[41] saying that she had been misunderstood, and that
the intention imputed to her had no existence.

    “But,” said she by way of justification, “Charles is not an artist
    or a genius; he is only a dreamer. His character scarcely rises
    above the common-place; it never appears amiable, and has, indeed,
    so little in common with that of the great composer, that Chopin,
    although he every day reads the manuscript off my writing table
    and is very suspicious about other things, never imagined that
    any reference was intended to himself. Afterwards, indeed, the
    malicious whisperings of some of his friends, who were enemies to
    me, made him fancy, that in Prince Charles I was describing him,
    and in the martyr Lucrezia, myself; and that this romance depicted
    the relations between us. His memory was at that time very weak,
    and when a garbled version of the story was presented to him, he
    had quite forgotten the real description of the character and
    circumstances of Prince Charles. Why did he not read my novel

Madame Sand much regretted that Matuszynski was not living when
a breach between herself and Chopin had become inevitable. “His
friendship for Chopin and the influence he had over him would,” said
the authoress, “have rendered innocuous the whisperings of intriguers,
and if a separation had taken place at all, his mediation would have
made it less violent and painful.”

The sick and enfeebled artist suffered, however, most keenly from the
mortification which he received from this book. “If,” he reflected, “I
now desert the woman whom I formerly esteemed and loved, I make the
romance a reality, and expose her to the blame, nay, even the scorn of
the strictly virtuous.” He nobly struggled on, retreating more and more
into himself, till at last he could bear it no longer.

In the beginning of 1847, during a violent scene, of which her daughter
was the innocent cause, George Sand brought about a complete rupture.
To her unjust reproaches he only replied, “I shall leave your house
immediately, and I only desire that my existence may be blotted out
from your memory.” To these words George Sand offered no objection, for
they were just what she desired, and the same day the artist quitted
her for ever.


Agitation and grief again laid him on a sick bed, and his friends
were long and seriously afraid that he would only exchange it for his
coffin. Gutmann, his favourite pupil, and one of his best friends,
nursed him with the most devoted care; and the deep gratitude of the
sufferer was shown by the questions which he continually asked of the
friends and acquaintances who came to see him. “How is Gutmann? Is he
not very tired? Will it not be too much for him if he sits up with me
any longer? I am sorry to give him so much trouble, but there is no one
else I like so well to have about me as him.” These were almost the
only words he spoke, for his visitors would not let him talk, and did
all they could to amuse him and divert his mind.

Through the efforts of the physicians and the indefatigable attentions
of Gutmann, Chopin at length somewhat recovered. But the first time
he appeared again among his friends he was so much altered that they
hardly knew him. The following summer he was apparently much better,
and able to compose; but he would not leave Paris, as was his constant
habit at that time of year, and was thus deprived of the fresh country
air which had always been so beneficial to him.

During the winter of 1847-1848 Chopin was in a very precarious state
of health. Political disturbances and other causes made his residence
in Paris increasingly unpleasant, and he resolved on visiting England,
where he had many very kind friends, who had repeatedly invited
him to come whenever he had time. But before leaving the queen of
Continental cities he wished to give a farewell public concert.[42]
It took place on February 16th, 1848, at the Pleyel Hall, and Chopin
could not have desired a more select and distinguished audience, or a
more enthusiastic reception.[43] Many of the most exalted personages
and the first artists in Paris were present, and throughout the
performance all were anxious to testify their respect and admiration
for the talented composer, the rare _virtuoso_ and the loveable man.
Frederic was deeply affected; this, the last of his Parisian triumphs,
was a balsam for many of the wounds of fate which, although gradually
healing, were still sometimes very painful.


Chopin was greatly shocked by the political events of February 23rd,
which overthrew a dynasty, and sent a monarch and his family into
exile. From Louis Philippe and his kindred he had experienced nothing
but affability and kindness, and Frederic deplored the fate of the
Orleanists. At the same time, however, this revolution awakened fresh
hopes for his unfortunate country, which he loved as passionately and
faithfully as when, a youth in Warsaw, he set to music patriotic songs
which it was unsafe to publish. But when he saw that the storm which
swept over Europe brought neither freedom nor independence to Poland,
he suppressed his longings, and in talking of politics rarely gave vent
to the feelings of his over-charged heart.

There was now nothing to prevent his journey to England. His friends,
much as they liked his company, did not dissuade him from his purpose,
and hoped that he would soon feel at home in London. At the latter
end of March, just a month before his departure, he was invited to
a _soirée_ by a lady, at whose hospitable house he had, in former
days, been a frequent guest. He hesitated before deciding to go, for
during the last four years he had not been often seen in the Parisian
_salons_; then, as if moved by an inward premonition, he accepted the

A lively conversation about Chopin had been going on at Madame H.ʼs
before he arrived. A musical connoisseur was describing his meeting
with the famous artist at Nohant, and his wonderful playing on the
beautiful summer moonlight night. A lady observed: “Chopinʼs spirit
pervades the best of Sandʼs romances. Like all highly imaginative
writers, she often lost patience over her work, because before she had
carried out one plan her mind was advancing to something fresh. To keep
herself to her desk and to enable her to write with more care, she
would ask her lover to improvise on the piano, and thus, inspired by
his playing, she produced her best novels.”

A deep, half audible, sigh escaped from a lady, who, unobserved by the
speaker, had stepped softly into the _salon_ from the adjoining room.
A flush overspread her pale face, tears stood in her deep mysterious
eyes; what could have moved her so profoundly?

Several gentlemen then entered the room, and the lady retreated behind
a mass of ivy which formed a convenient screen. She sat there for about
an hour, unnoticed except by the hostess, who understood her behaviour.
When the company had become more numerous the lady rose, and, walking
up to Chopin, with the swinging step peculiar to her, held out her
hand. “Frederic,” she murmured, in a voice audible only to him, and
standing before him he saw, for the first time, after a long and
painful separation, George Sand, repentant, and evidently anxious for
reconciliation. His delicate, emaciated, yet still beautiful face, grew
deadly pale; for a moment his soft eyes met hers with an inquiring
look, and then he turned away and left the room in silence.


Towards the end of April he bade adieu to his friends and set off for
London. In England Chopinʼs works already enjoyed a well-deserved
esteem and popularity; he was, therefore, everywhere received with
unusual marks of respect and with that hearty sympathy which is the
best reward of the poet and artist. The hospitality and kindness of
his old friends, and the courtesy of his new acquaintances, were
very grateful to Fredericʼs sensitive and affectionate nature. He
again appeared in society, and hoped that, while pursuing his beloved
art amid fresh surroundings, he might forget the woman for whom,
notwithstanding all the wrong she had done him, he sometimes ardently
longed. He could not, despite all his efforts, erase from his memory
the period of almost supernal happiness once created for him by her
dazzling intellect, exhaustless fancy, and ardent love, although his
reason constantly told him that she was not worthy of a sigh.

After he had been presented to the Queen by the Duchess of Sutherland,
and had played at Court, he daily received invitations from the first
families, and became, finally, a noted favourite. The late evening
parties, the want of sleep, and the wear and tear of _salon_ life,
were very injurious to his weak constitution, and quite opposed to
the doctorsʼ orders. For the sake of quiet he accepted an invitation
to Scotland, but, as might have been expected, the climate was too
severe for him. The prevalent mists, so trying to nervous temperaments,
affected his spirits, and induced that melancholy which had often
troubled him in early years, and become infused into his earnest and
wildly romantic compositions. He writes from Scotland to his friend


“I have played at a concert in Glasgow before all the _haute volée_.
To-day I feel very much depressed. Oh, this fog! Although the window
at which I am writing commands the same beautiful prospect with which,
as you will remember, Robert Bruce was so delighted—Stirling Castle,
mountains, lakes, a charming park, in a word the most splendid view
in Scotland—I can see nothing except when the sun breaks momentarily
through the mist. If it would but do this a little oftener! I shall
soon forget Polish, and speak French like an Englishman, and English
like a Scotchman.

“If I do not write you a Jeremiade it is not because I mistrust your
sympathy, but because you only know everything; and if I once begin
I shall go on complaining for ever, and always in the same strain.
But, no, I am wrong in saying it is always the same, for I grow worse
every day. I feel weaker and weaker and cannot compose, not for want of
inclination, but from physical causes, and besides I am in a different
place every week. But what _am_ I to do? I must at least lay by
something for the winter.”

Despite the kindness and the hospitable welcome which he received from
two Scotch ladies, sisters, one of whom, Miss J. W. Stirling, had been
his pupil, he did not enjoy his visit, and sometimes longed for wings
that he might fly back to France. I quote again from his letter to

“I am quite incapable of doing anything all the morning, and when
I am dressed I feel so exhausted that I am obliged to rest. After
dinner I have to sit two hours with the gentlemen, listen to their
conversation, and look on while they drink. I feel ready to die with
weariness, and think of other things all the time till I go into the
drawing-room, when I have to use all my efforts to rouse myself, for
everybody is curious to hear me play. After this, my good Daniel
carries me upstairs, undresses and puts me to bed; he leaves the light
burning, and I am once more at leisure to sigh and dream, and look
forward to passing another day in the same manner. If I ever arrange to
do anything I am sure to be carried off in another direction, for my
Scotch friends—although with the best intentions in the world—give me
no rest. They want to introduce me to all their relations; they will
kill me with their kindness, but for mere politenessʼ sake I must put
up with it all.”

Witty men never quite lose their sense of humour, and a gleam of
cheerfulness, a spark of his former brilliant _esprit_, would now and
then shine forth amid his melancholy. He describes going to the opera
in London when Jenny Lind made her _débût_, and the Queen appeared in
public for the first time after a long retirement. He says, “I was
very much impressed, especially by old Wellington, who, as a valiant
protector of monarchy, sat in front of his sovereign, like a faithful
watch-dog guarding his lordʼs castle. I have made the acquaintance of
Jenny Lind; she is from Sweden, and is quite an original.”

His _ennui_, however, increased. He wrote to Grzymala:—

“I am going to Manchester where there is to be a grand concert, and I
am to play twice without orchestral accompaniment. Alboni is also to
perform, but I take no interest in this or anything else. I shall just
sit down and play, and what I shall do afterwards I do not yet know. If
I were only sure of not being ill if I spent the winter here.”

In another letter he complains that he is feeling ill, but has to play
at a concert, and he commissions his friend in Paris to look out for a
suitable residence. He adds, “why I should trouble you with all this
I do not know, for I really do not care about anything. But I must
think about myself, so I ask you to help me in doing so.” Then comes
a reference to the unhappy love which he cannot forget: “I never yet
cursed anyone, but I am now so overwhelmed by the weariness of life,
that I am ready to curse Lucrezia. But there is pain in this too,
which is all the worse as one grows older in wickedness every day.” He
finishes by saying, “It is no good their troubling about me at home. I
cannot be more wretched than I am, and there is no chance of my being
less so. In general I feel nothing and await my end with patience.”
And indeed the end was not far off. In his last letter from England he


“On Thursday I am to leave terrible London. In addition to my other
ills I have got neuralgia. Tell Pleyel to send me in a piano on
Thursday evening, and have it covered; buy a bunch of violets to make
the room smell sweet.[44] I should like when I return to find some
books of poetry in my bedroom to which I shall, probably, be confined
for some time. So on Friday evening I hope to be in Paris; a day longer
here, and I should go mad or die. My Scotch lady friends are good,
but very wearisome. They have made so much of me that I cannot easily
get quit of them. Let the house be thoroughly warmed and well dusted.
Perhaps I may get well again.”

This was, alas! a false hope. Chopin left London in the beginning of
1849, after performing for the last time at a concert he had got up for
the benefit of the Polish emigrants, and which was very numerously
attended. Soon after his return to Paris he suffered a severe loss in
the sudden death of the celebrated Dr. Molin, to whose skill and care
Chopin owed the prolongation of his life. From that time he despaired
of himself. The place of the beloved and honoured physician, whose very
presence had been a comfort, could never be supplied.

[Sidenote: TOO ILL TO TRAVEL.]

Hearing that his dear friend, Titus Woyciechowski, was going to Ostend
for the sea baths, Frederic felt a strong desire to join him. Relative
to this we find two letters—the last he ever wrote. As a Russian
subject, it was not then very easy for Woyciechowski to go to Paris. He
would have required special permission from the authorities at Warsaw,
or at least a letter from the Russian Ambassador in Paris:

    _Paris, August 20th, 1849._

    _Square dʼOrleans, Rue St. Lazare, No. 9._


    Nothing but my present severe illness should prevent me from
    hastening to you at Ostend; but I hope that by the goodness of God
    you may be enabled to come to me. The doctors will not allow me to
    travel. I am in my room drinking Pyrenean water, but your presence
    would do me more good than all the medicines.

    Yours till death,


    _Paris, September 12th, 1849._


    I have not had time to see about obtaining the permission for you
    to come here. I cannot go for it myself, as I lie in bed half my
    time, but have asked a friend, who has a good deal of influence, to
    see about it for me, and shall hear something definite by Sunday. I
    wanted to go by rail to the frontier at Valenciennes to meet you;
    but the doctors forbid my leaving Paris, because a few days ago
    I was not able to get as far as Ville dʼAvraye, near Versailles,
    where I have a god-son. For this reason they will not send me to a
    warmer climate this winter.

    You see it is only illness that keeps me; had I been tolerably well
    I should certainly have gone to Belgium to visit you. Perhaps you
    may be able to come here. I am not egotistical enough to wish that
    you should come merely for my sake; for, ill as I am, you would
    be wearied and disappointed, although I think we might pass some
    pleasant hours, recalling youthful memories, and I wish the time we
    do have together to be an entirely happy one.

    Ever yours, FREDERIC.

From that day the disease made rapid strides. Chopin did not fear
death, but seemed in a manner to long for it. The thought of quitting
a life so full of sad remembrances was not altogether unwelcome. His
moments of respite from pain became fewer and fewer. He spoke with
perfect consciousness and calmness about his death and the disposal of
his body. He expressed a wish to be buried in the churchyard of Père
Lachaise beside Bellini, with whom between 1832 and 1835 he had been
very friendly.

He was so much worse by the beginning of October that he could not
sit up. His relatives were informed of his condition, and Chopinʼs
eldest sister, Madame Louise Jedrzejewicz, immediately hastened to him
with her husband and daughter. The meeting between brother and sister
must be imagined rather than described. In 1844 Louise had nursed her
beloved brother through a dangerous illness, and afterwards spent a few
weeks with him at Nohant. She felt now directly she saw him that he
would only need her tender care a short time. Sometimes, when free from
pain, he was still cheerful and hopeful. He even took a new house, No.
12, Place Vendôme, and gave minute directions about furnishing it.

At length the last hour approached. His sister and his faithful pupil,
Gutmann, never left him for a moment. The Countess Delphine Potocka,
who was at some distance from Paris, set off to return the instant she
heard of the hopeless condition of the revered master, that she might
receive his farewell. In the room adjoining the apartment where Chopin
lay speechless, were some friends anxious to see him before he closed
his eyes for ever. It was a Sunday, the fifteenth of October, and the
streets were quieter than usual. His sufferings were intense, yet he
tried to smile at the friends around him; and when he saw the Countess
Potocka, who was standing beside his sister weeping bitterly, he asked
her softly to sing something. By a strong effort of self-control she
mastered her emotion, and in a ringing voice of bell-like purity, sang
Stradellaʼs Hymn to the Virgin, so beautifully and so devoutly that the
dying man—artist and lover of the beautiful to the very last—whispered
with delight, “Oh how beautiful! My God how beautiful! Again, again.”
As if endowed with supernatural strength the Countess sat down to the
piano and sang a psalm by Marcello. Those standing at his bedside saw
that he was growing weaker every second and sank noiselessly on their
knees. The solemn stillness was broken only by Delphine Potockaʼs
wonderful voice, which sounded like that of an angel summoning the
great master to the realms of the blessed; all suppressed their sobs
that they might not disturb the enjoyment of his last moments.


Evening was closing in; his sister knelt by his bedside, weeping. The
next morning Chopin felt a little better. He asked for extreme unction,
and Alexander Jelowicki, a very pious and learned priest, who was held
in high esteem by his countrymen, was sent for. The dying man confessed
to him twice, and, in the presence of his friends, received the last
sacrament. He then called them all one by one to his bedside and
blessed and commended them to God. After that he quite lost the power
of speech and seemed unconscious. But a few hours later he revived and
desired the priest to pray with him. Resting his head on Gutmannʼs
shoulder, Chopin, in a clear voice repeated after the priest every word
of the Litany. When the last agony commenced he said, “Who is near me?”
Then he asked for some water, and when he had moistened his lips he
inclined his head and kissed the hand of Gutmann, who was supporting
him. After this last sign of gratitude and affection, he sighed once
as if released from a burden, and then closed his eyes for ever. At
this moment the bells of Paris struck three oʼclock in the morning, of
October 17th, 1849. A few minutes afterwards the doors of the chamber
were opened and the friends and acquaintances in the next room came to
look once more on the beloved face of the dead.

It was well known in musical circles that Chopin dearly loved flowers
and the very same morning such quantities were sent that the body
of the dead but undying master as it lay in state was literally
covered with them. His face, which had been somewhat changed by long
illness, assumed an expression of indescribable serenity and youthful
loveliness. M. Chesinger took a cast of his countenance, from which he
afterwards copied the marble bust which adorns Chopinʼs tomb.


The reverent admiration which Chopin had always felt for Mozart led him
to request, in his last days, that no music but the German masterʼs
sublime Requiem should be performed at his funeral. Up till 1849
women had not been allowed to take part in the musical performance at
the Madeleine Church, and special permission had to be obtained from
the ecclesiastical authorities. On this account the funeral did not
take place till October 30th. The first artists in Paris co-operated.
The funeral march from Chopinʼs B flat minor Sonata, which had been
scored by Reber for the occasion, was introduced at the Introit. For
the Offertory, Lefébure Wély played on the organ Chopinʼs Preludes in
B minor and E minor.[45] The solos of the Requiem were rendered by
Mesdames Pauline Viardot-Garcia and Castellan, and the famous bass
singer, Lablache, who gave a splendid delivery of the “Tuba mirum.”
Meyerbeer conducted, and the pall-bearers were Prince Alexander
Czartoryski, Delacroix, Franchomme and Gutmann.

When the remains were lowered into the grave, Polish earth was
scattered on the coffin. It was the same that Chopin had brought from
Wola nineteen years before as a memorial of his beloved fatherland. He
had always guarded it with pious care, and shortly before his death
had requested that if he might not rest in Polish soil his body might
at least be covered with his native earth. Chopinʼs heart, which had
beaten so warmly and suffered so deeply for his country was, according
to his desire, sent to the land whose sun had shone on his happy youth;
it is preserved _ad interim_ in the church of the Sacred Cross, at





To what has been written I have little to add. Chopin was a model son,
an affectionate brother, and a faithful friend. His personal appearance
was so agreeable and harmonious that the eye rested on him with
pleasure. His dark brown eyes[46] were cheerful rather than pensive,
his smile was kindly and perfectly good-natured; he had a complexion of
almost transparent delicacy, and luxuriant brown hair, as soft as silk;
his Roman nose was slightly aquiline; all his movements were graceful,
and he had the manners of an aristocrat of the highest rank. Everyone
with any discernment of true gentility and real genius could not but
say, on seeing Chopin, “there is a distinguished man.” His voice was
musical and rather subdued. He was not above middle height, naturally
delicate, and in his general contour resembled his mother.

One of his lady friends not inaptly remarked that “his disposition was
joyous, but his heart full of dreamy yearning,” which shows that by his
good spirits he diffused cheerfulness around him. Through his nature
there ran a vein of melancholy and enthusiasm (schwärmerei) which was
very attractive. He had so much amiability and good-breeding, that
his physical sufferings, his nervous excitability, and the violent
antipathies which he felt in common with all nervous people never, made
any difference to his behaviour in daily life. He rarely spoke about
his own feelings lest he should be misunderstood.

At some houses in Paris he was a daily guest, and he always spent
the evening with friends. Thus he had the _entrée_ of twenty or
thirty _salons_, where he met with universal kindness and attention,
as everybody was fascinated by him. To have transported Frederic
Chopin, the darling of princesses and countesses, from these refined
surroundings into a simple common-place circle, would have been nothing
short of depriving him of the chief end of his existence.

Unlike most great artists, he had an aversion to appearing in public.
To give a concert was to him a disagreeable undertaking, which he never
entered on without repugnance. He had sufficient pride to enable him to
make a dignified appearance; he knew, but did not over-estimate, his
own powers, and recognized with friendly fellow-feeling the artistic
merits of others.

Accustomed to comfort and elegance, he liked to be surrounded by
_objets de luxe_, to have his apartments richly carpeted, and filled
with ornamental furniture, costly consoles, and _étagères_ covered
with presents. He was passionately fond of flowers, and, as I have
before mentioned, always had some in his rooms. His dress was stylish
and tasteful, and his linen which came from the best shops in Paris,
dazzlingly white. He did not agree with those who say that an artist
has a right to neglect his appearance. It is said that when he was
going to play in public he would order in coats from different tailors,
and, having tried them all on and found something to object to in each,
he would at the last moment borrow one of his pupil, (Gutmann), which
was a great deal too large for him.


He used, especially when he first came to live in France, to do all
he could to help poor Polish emigrants, either by recommendations or
with money and clothes. When Princess Czartoryska opened a bazaar for
their benefit at the Hotel Lambert, Chopin spent more than a thousand
francs in elegant trifles, which he gave away. His generosity in this
direction knew no bounds, and it is not surprising that he left nothing
when he died. As a boy he had begun his artistic career with a concert
for the poor, and the last he ever gave was for the Polish emigrants
in London. It was this ready sympathy that caused the breach with
Charles Lipinski, who came to Paris in 1835, and gave some concerts.
Chopin proposed that they should give a concert together for the
benefit of the Poles, but Lipinski refused, saying, that he did not
wish to compromise himself at St. Petersburg, where he intended to
perform next year. Chopin was so indignant at this answer that he broke
off the friendship, and never forgave Lipinski for his hard-hearted
indifference towards his distressed countrymen.

He was always willing to sacrifice himself for his friends, but to
strangers he was cool and reserved. If he found people seeking his
acquaintance and sending him invitations for the sake of gaining
distinction, he soon put an end to the connection. When a rich man, who
had asked him to dinner that he might amuse the guests by his playing,
pressed him to perform, Chopin replied, “Ah, sir, I have dined so
sparingly.” But when he was sure that he should give real pleasure he
was never stingy in exercising his talents. The famous author, Louis
Blanc, writes in his “Histoire de la Revolution, 1848,” (vol. II.)

    “When the republican, Gottfried Cavaignac (cousin of the celebrated
    general) was approaching his end, he expressed a wish to hear music
    once more. Louis Blanc, who was personally acquainted with Chopin,
    promised to go and find the artist, and bring him back with him, if
    the doctor would consent. Chopin, being informed by Louis Blanc of
    the circumstances, set off at once. He was taken into a room with
    rather a bad piano and sat down to play. Suddenly a loud sob was
    heard. Moved and excited, Gottfried felt quickened with new
    life, and sat up, with his eyes full of tears. Chopin was so much
    affected that he could not go on. Madame Cavaignac bent anxiously
    over her son, who, mustering up all his strength, said, in a weak
    voice, ‘Donʼt be troubled, mother; it is nothing. Oh, what a
    beautiful art is music! Such music and such playing!’”


Frederic was in general not at all fond of letter-writing, and
needed some strong motive to induce him to take up his pen. The only
correspondence he kept up was with his relations and his friend
Woyciechowski; and after 1838 this somewhat fell off, his connection
with the great French authoress and his ill-health being probably the
cause. He dared not make known to his family the full particulars of
his manner of life, and knowing the strict moral principles of his
parents, he preferred to keep secret his _liaison_ with George Sand.
This gave a certain air of embarassment to his letters, which had
formerly been so open and unconstrained, that on reading them one
seemed both to see and hear him.

“It was often very comical,” says Liszt, “to see Chopin receive a
written invitation to dinner, which he either wished or was obliged to
decline; he would take a long walk and excuse himself in person rather
than reply by writing.”

He often accompanied the letters to his sisters and his nephews and
nieces with playthings or articles of dress, and was as delighted as a
child if he could prepare some surprise for them. It was a _fête_ day
for him when a letter came from Warsaw. He never talked about it, but
privately devoted his thoughts to those he loved. He valued so highly
any present they sent him that he would not suffer any one to touch it
or even to look at it for long.

Brought up from a child in the faith of the Romish Church he did
not like to talk or argue about religion, but kept his opinions to
himself. He rarely took any prominent part in discussions on politics
or literature, although he enjoyed listening to them. He never obtruded
his ideas on anyone, but if his beloved art were attacked he was
instantly up in arms. In the cause of Romanticism he broke many a
lance, and gave abundant proof, particularly during the first years
of his residence in Paris, of his thorough devotion to the principles
of that school. Its most important representatives at that time were
Berlioz and Liszt, the ablest, boldest, and most persevering opponents
of the Classic school. In 1832 Chopin, who had grown up amid the
clamour of this contest, adopted the views of Berlioz and Liszt, and
joined the party who openly discarded the old-fashioned style, from
which they held as much aloof as from charlatanism. All through the
controversy over the Romantic school, some of the productions of which
were real masterpieces, Chopin remained staunch to his opinions. He
would not make the slightest concession to those who did not follow
art for its own sake, but only used it as a means of obtaining money,
fame, or honour. Much as he enjoyed the society of fellow artists, he
renounced it unhesitatingly if convinced that they were going too
far in their resistance to all innovation, and were endeavouring to
restrict his own creative efforts. To him art was sacred, and he would
never praise a composition or an interpretation which he did not think
really worthy of being commended.


Chopin needed no recourse to artificial means to secure the triumph
and popularity of his works. To his most intimate friends he
would sometimes say, “I believe that my works will stand on their
intrinsic merits; whether these be recognized now or in the future
is immaterial.” A thorough training in youth, a habit of reflection,
and his great reverence for the beauties of the classics, effectually
preserved him from blindness and error. The extraordinary care
and conscientiousness with which he finished his works protected
him from the attacks of those superficial or hostile critics who
sought eagerly for the smallest mistake. Early accustomed to the
sternest self-examination, he threw into his waste-paper basket many
compositions which others would perhaps have proudly handed to their
printer. He never undertook a work unsuited to his capacities or began
anything which he was not sure he could successfully carry out.

Educated by German masters and on German principles, Chopin had a
decided preference for the music of that country. Handel, Gluck, Bach,
Haydn, and Mozart were his ideals of perfection; and although he felt
the spell of Beethovenʼs genius, he had less sympathy with its gigantic
conceptions than with the fascinating charm and lovely melodies of
Mozartʼs compositions. There seemed to him in Beethovenʼs works a want
of delicate finish, the proportions were too colossal, and the storms
of passion too violent. About the year 1835, Schubert began to be known
in Paris, principally by his songs. Like all impartial musicians,
Chopin was charmed by their wealth of melody; but he regretted that in
his larger works, the exuberance of the composerʼs fancy frequently led
him to overstep the limits of form, and thus impair the effect.

When Chopin first began to attract the attention of the musical world
in Paris, there were odd stories current about his parentage. Some
thought he was a German; others, on account of his name, a Frenchman.
He always protested energetically against these suppositions,
declaring, with the pride of a good patriot, that he was a Pole. His
nationality and his love for his country were shown both in word and
deed, appearing not only in his generosity, and his voluntarily sharing
the exile of his unfortunate countrymen, but also in his choice of
friends and his preference for Polish pupils. However, he was not at
all addicted to boasting of his patriotism. Although of French descent
on his fatherʼs side and perfectly familiar with the language, his
accent still betrayed the nationality of his mother.

Just as he drew musical inspiration from the Polish folk-songs, so
he loved to imitate the simple speech of the peasants, which he could
render to perfection in its crispness and terseness, if he were in good
spirits. When, for example, in a circle of intimate friends his playing
had created a melancholy impression, he could at once disperse it by a
counterfeit of the peasant dialect, especially that of the Mazovians
and Cracovians. If a discussion arose as to the comparative merits of
the different modern languages, he would always extol his mother tongue
to the skies, and could never say enough in praise of its beauty,
wealth, sweetness, aptness of expression, and masculine power.


In common with many imaginative natures, Chopin was, in a greater or
less degree, according to his state of health, very superstitious.
Loitering along the Boulevards, one evening after a _soirée_, in
company with some friends, among them A. Szmitkowski, to whom he
dedicated his glorious mazurkas, op. 59, he was joking about his
financial troubles. “I wish,” he said, “that some good genius would
put twenty thousand francs into my desk. That would set me up once
for all, and I could indulge in the comfort I am so fond of.” That
night he dreamt that his wish was realized. A few days after, on
opening a secret drawer of his desk in which he kept his money and
some much-prized memorials, he actually found the desired sum. Miss
Stirling, his pupil and devoted follower, had given it to Szmitkowski
to put there, after having heard from him of Chopinʼs wish and strange

Chopin had a dislike to the numbers seven and thirteen; he would never
undertake anything of importance on a Monday or Friday, sharing a
belief almost universal in Poland that these are unlucky days (ferelne.)

Devoted from childhood to his art, he lived constantly in the
tone-world, and when not listening to music, he thought and dreamed of
it. It is easy to understand that incessant practice would irritate and
chafe his naturally susceptible nerves, and that his feelings, fancies,
and even his whole spiritual nature, gradually grew into a state of
etherial delicacy. How painful, too, must have been the discord, when
he was brought into contact with rough reality. He would then confide
to his instrument his inmost thoughts, which became more and more
melancholy, until at last his heart broke. Liszt says of Chopin, “To
the modern calm simplicity of devotion Chopin united the reverent
homage paid to art by the early Mediæval masters. Like them he regarded
the exercise of his art as a high and holy calling, and like them too
he was proud of having been dedicated by nature to be its priest, and
he brought to its service a pious worship which at once ennobles and
blesses the artist.” [Sidenote: AN OLD POLISH CUSTOM.] These feelings
found expression even in his last hours, as a reference to Polish
customs will explain. It is still a practice, though less common than
formerly, for the dying person to choose the clothes for his burial;
many, indeed, have them prepared long beforehand. Thus are revealed
the most secret and cherished thoughts, and by worldly but believing
people the garments of the cloister are often selected for their last
dress, especially by women. Men are more generally buried in their
uniform with their arms laid beside them.

Chopin, although not only a composer, but one of the greatest of
pianists (the first of his day as many think) gave proportionately the
fewest concerts; yet he wished to be laid in the grave in the clothes
he had worn on those occasions. A deep feeling, springing from the
inexhaustible fountain of his artistic enthusiasm, doubtless prompted
this last desire. It was fulfilled. As he lay covered with flowers and
palm branches in the familiar dress, the admirers who surrounded his
coffin could but exclaim, Frederic Chopin remained true to himself, for
his last thoughts were of his art.

Banished from his home by political events, separated from his family,
led into the thorny paths of unhappy love, bowed down by illness, his
life was brought to an early close, but in his sublime creations he has
left us a portion of his own rich spirit.




As a creative artist, Chopin holds a unique position. Confining
himself to the comparatively restricted limits of a single instrument,
it is, in the opinion of competent judges, his especial merit to
have been not only a thoroughly scientific musician, but also a true
poet, whose productions have had the most wide-spread influence on
all modern pianoforte composers, an influence not unlike that of
Heine in the domain of poetry. Poet and musician alike give us the
most perfect emotional pictures in the smallest forms, but with this
difference, that while Heineʼs scepticism had a blighting effect on
these miniatures, Chopinʼs harmonious disposition was a fructifying
energy. How strongly convinced must Chopin have been that his special
mission was the embellishment of pianoforte literature, to be able to
resist the tempting and seemingly effective help of an orchestra, and
to voluntarily restrict himself to one instrument, for which he wrote
masterpieces, of their kind incomparable. Liszt justly observes,


“We are too much accustomed at the present day to consider great only
those composers who have written at least half a dozen Operas and
Oratorios, besides Symphonies; demanding, in our folly, everything
and more than everything of one musician. However universal this idea
may be, its reasonableness is very problematical. We have no wish to
contest the hardly won glory or the real superiority of the composers
who have adopted the largest forms; all we desire is that, in music,
size should be estimated in the same way as in the other arts: a
painting, such as the ‘Vision of Ezekiel,’ or ‘The Churchyard,’ by
Ruysdaël, twenty inches square, is placed among the chefs-dʼœuvre, and
ranks higher than many larger pictures by a Rubens or a Tintoretto. Is
Beranger less of a poet because he poured all his thoughts into the
narrow limits of a song? Is not Petrarch known chiefly by his sonnets?
How many of his readers are acquainted with his poem on Africa? We
cannot but believe that the criticism which denies the superiority
of an artist like Schubert over one who occupies himself in scoring
tame operatic melodies, will disappear; and that, henceforth, we shall
consider the quality of the expression whatever may be the size of the
form chosen for its vehicle.”

To give a competent analysis of Chopinʼs works (a list of which with
the opus numbers appears at the end of this book) would require a
volume to itself. I must, therefore, be content with a general survey
of his compositions, enlarging more fully on that species whose origin
or, at least, whose high development, we owe to his genius.

The human mind is subject to two kinds of influence—internal and
external. The former are determined by natural disposition, the latter
by family and national associations. From their union proceeds the
individuality of the man who is subject to their ever present forces.
Individuality can neither protect its works from influences nor change
its own nature, because even if it adopts another course, though the
result may be a very perfect organization, the traces of earlier
impressions can never be obliterated.

It is interesting to watch the growth and development of Chopinʼs
talents in relation to the different schools. Although under the
influence of none in particular, and not following the guide of any of
the leading spirits of the day, he showed a slight and brief preference
for Hummel, whom he took as a model, especially with regard to his
passage work. We can trace this master in the form of most of Chopinʼs
works, while from beginning to end there is an individuality in the
choice of thoughts. The leaning to Hummel is chiefly discernible in his
rondos; but in the “Don Juan” variations and the fantasia on Polish
airs, that boldness and freshness of thought, independence of working,
and originality of conception, which at once gave him a prominent
position among contemporary composers, are already apparent. His
lavish display of sentiment, youthful grace and energy, hopefulness
and melancholy, show how unquenchable were the springs of his genius.
Indeed so vast was the wealth of his ideas that, as was remarked in
referring to his early works, he never repeated the same thought in
the same manner, but either by the most tasteful arabesques, or choice
changes of harmony, imparted to it at every return a renewed interest.
He was very clever in turning to account all the embellishments and
_fioritures_ characteristic of the old Italian style of vocal music.


Chopinʼs earliest works are undoubtedly the result of the musical
tendencies of the age; traditional forms opened to him the gates
of the temple where the greatest masters of pianoforte playing sit
enthroned. But into these forms he infused his own creative talent.
Chopinʼs imagination struck deeper chords than that of other composers;
he inaugurated a new era (as he himself wrote to Elsner) and cut a
way for himself, not for the sake of surpassing others, but by the
unconscious impulse of his own original thoughts. In his youthful years
he occasionally availed himself of the resources of the orchestra; but
never afterwards except for the Polonaise, op. 22, that brilliant piece
which, although in E flat major throughout, begins with a marvellously
tender and imaginative introduction in G major. In the orchestral
colouring a certain timidity is frequently perceptible, owing, perhaps,
to an ignorance of the capacities of the different instruments. He
showed a preference for the violoncello; its elegiac tone was in
harmony with his own nature. Besides the Polonaise, op. 3, he also
composed, with Franchomme, a duet, for piano and ʼcello, on motives
from “Robert le Diable” (a work without any special merit, written in
accordance with the taste of the day), and shortly before his death,
the Sonata in G minor, op. 65, the first movement of which is of
surpassing beauty.

Among the works for piano alone, the Sonatas, as being his largest
compositions, claim our first attention. The earliest published, as op.
4, dedicated to Elsner, shows a striving after classic forms, but does
not give us the idea that the composer was working from inspiration,
his wishes and capacities do not seem always to correspond, and the
work altogether awakens no lasting interest. The third movement is most
worthy of notice, but this does not satisfy us completely; it sounds
rather forced and laboured, probably on account of the unusual 5/4
measure. Incomparably more important is the Sonata in B flat minor, op.
35. The anxious character of the first theme is happily contrasted with
the exuberant song of the second motive; and the Funeral March could
only have been written by one in whose soul the pain and mourning of a
whole nation found its echo.

The more dramatic Sonata, in B minor, op. 58, is better adapted by
the brilliancy of its ornamentation for a concert performance. The
composer seems to have found it difficult to keep the profusion of
thought within due proportions, especially in the Adagio. In the
development of the first theme in the first movement, there is a want
of repose which is only made up for by the wonderful _cantilene_ in D
major. Chopin is generally less successful when writing in stricter
forms which hamper the bold flight of his fancy. His inventive power
and melodic wealth were so abundant that it was irksome to him to work
out his themes systematically; and his Sonatas, therefore, with respect
to form, sometimes appear unfinished; while in more congenial spheres
he could permit his rich imagination to have freer play.


Chopin was very partial to the dance forms—mazurka, polonaise, waltz,
tarantelle, cracovienne, and bolero—which he first truly idealized. Out
of the large number of his mazurkas it is difficult to tell to which
to award the palm; so wide a scope do they offer for individual taste.
Among the best—which, by their gay or melancholy character, appear
so diverse but are all alike characterized by the same rhythm—must
undoubtedly be reckoned, op. 7, Nos. 2. and 3; op. 17, Nos. 1 and 2;
op. 24, No. 2; op. 30, No. 3; op. 33, No. 4, The mazurkas, op. 24,
No. 4; op. 50, No. 3; op. 63, No. 3, distinguished by poetical charm
and contrapuntal skill, are worthy of mention. Some of those mazurkas
are almost more effective which display a tinge of melancholy, as if
the composer had only indulged in a momentary diversion and narcotic
intoxication to return the more sadly to his original gloom. The most
striking mazurka of this class is op. 56, No. 2.

Tradition assigns to the polonaise the following origin. When the
dynasty of the Jagiellons died out, Henry of Anjou, son of Catherine
de Medicis, afterwards Henry III., was, in 1573, elected King of
Poland. The following year he received the representatives of the
nation in solemn state at Cracow Castle; and the gentlemen made their
wives slowly defile before the king, keeping step to an accompaniment
of music. Every time a foreign prince was elected to the throne
this ceremony was repeated, and from it was gradually developed the
national dance of the polonaise, which has kept its place in Europe
up to the present day. In the slow sweeping measure of the polonaise
there is much stateliness and gravity, and the turnings and changes
seem like the echo of the murmurs from the active life of the old
Polish nobility. It used always to be danced with the sabre called
“Carabella.” Prince Michael Oginski and afterwards Kurpinski were the
first to treat it artistically, a circumstance which contributed in
some measure to their reputation; after them, non-Polish composers,
such as Beethoven, Schubert, Weber, Spohr, &c., made it into an
independent musical form, and wrote works on the model of the
polonaise; until Chopin ennobled it with his own poetry and ideal
beauty, and once more infused into it a distinctively Polish cast of


Chopinʼs polonaises may be divided into two groups: the one with its
marked rhythm, displaying the martial element; the other the dreamy
melancholy feeling peculiar to Chopin. To the first order I should
assign the polonaises in A major, op. 40, No. 1; F sharp minor, op. 44;
and A flat major, op. 53. For simplicity of form and characteristic
nationality the preference must be given to the polonaise in A major;
although technically inferior and deficient in poetry—for it is
_forte_ almost throughout, and the themes are not well contrasted—it
is effective on account of its chivalric ring and natural dignity.
The grandest and boldest is undoubtedly the F sharp minor polonaise,
dedicated to Princess Beauvau, sister to Countess Delphine Potocka. The
gloomy colouring and wildly defiant character of the chief theme are
suddenly interrupted by a charming _intermezzo_ in the mazurka style.
Almost equally marvellous is the dreamy _finale_, in which, while the
right hand holds the C sharp—to which the semitone D immediately falls
like a heavy _appoggiatura_—in the left hand the energetic theme dies
away to the gentlest _pianissimo_. The majestic A flat major polonaise
was composed in 1840 after Chopinʼs return from Majorca.

Chopinʼs nervous system was so much affected by his illness that, for
sometime afterwards, his restless imagination would not permit him to
sleep. One night, while playing a work he had just finished, he fancied
that the doors opened, and that a great company of Polish knights and
noble ladies in the old costume (robe ronde et cornettes) came in and
marched past him. He was so much perturbed by this vision that he
rushed out through the opposite door and would not return to his room
for the rest of the night. Indeed the middle movement in E major, with
the long crescendo in the bass, so vividly conjures up an approaching
band of knights, galloping over a plain in the pale light of the moon,
that one hears in fancy the tramp of the fiery steeds and the clatter
of arms.

The second group comprises the polonaises in C sharp and E flat minor,
op. 26; the polonaise in C minor, op. 40, No. 2; and three in D minor,
B flat major, and F minor, op. 71, published by Fontana. The two first,
dedicated to J. Dessauer, are pre-eminent for loftiness of sentiment.
They were composed at a time when Chopin was at the summit of his
greatness, when his vigorous and original mind, unhampered by trivial
considerations about form, created for itself the form best adapted
to its conceptions. For example, the first polonaise (C sharp minor)
not only has a melody of uncommon beauty, but there is also a rare
depth of character in the apparently bold incoherent themes with which
the work begins. While the grand rhythmical swing of the first theme
depicts manly courage, which is tempered by an erotic love theme, the
second subject, with the exception of the lightning-like passages in
the right hand, is of a hopeful, soothing character; the D flat major
motive closes the happy scene. None of the later polonaises contain a
double motion of the melody, as we find in the conclusion of this. The
second number of the same opus (E flat minor) is mysterious, gloomy,
and shuddering; it seems to picture the suffering Poles banished in
chains to Siberia.

The Fantasie-polonaise in A flat major, op. 61, holds a position
distinct from either of these groups. It is intended to represent the
national struggles and contests, and concludes, therefore, with a
pompous hymn of victory. Chopinʼs firm belief in the ultimate triumph
of the Polish nation after its many bitter trials—a feeling so well
depicted in the poetry of Mickiewicz, Krasinski, and frequently of
Slowacki, the greatest poets of that period—speaks out very clearly in
this the most finished of his larger pianoforte works.


It would be foolish to seek in Music for allegory, history, politics,
or philosophical deductions. The sphere of music is feeling, through
which and to which it speaks, and through feeling unites itself with
the poetry of the present day, not only by a common national sentiment,
but in nearly all its tones and _nuances_. Chopinʼs music is like
poetry, a flower of Romanticism, and it has the same beauties and
the same defects as our romantic poetry. It touches the highest and
deepest springs of emotion, is original, rich in thoughts and forms;
but it suffers from the same exaggerated sentiment and melancholy, and
frequently degenerates into nervous debility.

Chopinʼs waltzes (op. 18, 34, 42, 64, 69, and 70), partly because
they are the least technically difficult, partly on account of the
popularity of this dance form, have become most widely known. Musically
considered, they offer less of interest and novelty than his other
compositions. What they lose in the rhythm of the dance they gain in
innate grace and outward brilliancy, such as no composer hitherto had
been able to impart to this form. The most interesting are those which
are pervaded by that peculiar melancholy, “schwärmerisch” vein, which
is one of the chief charms of Chopinʼs muse. Such are the waltzes in A
minor and C sharp minor, the latter inclining in the third and fourth
bar to the mazurka measure, for which Chopin always showed a preference.

The four ballads (op. 23, 38, 47, and 52), are among the finest and
most original of his works. They contain so much that is new and varied
in form that critics long hesitated to what category they should assign
them. Some regarded them as a variety of the rondo; others, with more
accuracy, called them “poetical stories.” Indeed, there is about them
a narrative tone (märchenton) which is particularly well rendered by
the 6/4 and 6/8 time, and which makes them differ essentially from
the existing forms. Chopin himself said to Schumann, on the occasion
of their meeting at Leipsic, that he had been incited to the creation
of the ballads by some poems of Mickiewicz. The first and perhaps the
best known in G minor, op. 23, is inflamed by wild passion, and claims
special admiration for its finish of detail, the second and third have
a predominantly idyllic character. The fourth, and technically the most
difficult, is, perhaps, for this reason the least known. The critics
who, with the exception of Robert Schumann, unanimously condemned
Chopinʼs larger works, made a fierce onslaught on this ballad. But, in
my opinion, this displays the most poetry and intelligence of them all;
and, for a satisfactory interpretation of its manifold beauties, not
only considerable mechanical skill, but also subtle musical perception
are required.


The nocturnes appear, at first sight, to have most affinity with forms
already created. Field, for a long time erroneously looked upon as
Chopinʼs master, was the author of this form; but the difference of
treatment by the two masters is apparent in its very likeness. Field
was satisfied with writing tender, poetical, and rather melancholy
pieces; while Chopin not only introduced the dramatic element, but
displayed, in a striking manner, a marvellous enrichment of harmony
and of the resources of pianoforte composition. Compare, for example,
Chopinʼs E flat major nocturne, op. 9, with Fieldʼs, in B flat major,
and the broad difference is at once perceived. Among Chopinʼs best
productions of this kind are the nocturne, op. 15, No. 2 (in doppio
movimento); the beautiful D flat major nocturne, op. 27, with its
profusion of delicate _fioritures_; and also the one in G minor,
op. 37, which keeps up a ceaseless moan, as if harping on some sad
thought, until interrupted by a church-like movement in chords whose
sadly comforting strains resemble the peacefulness of the grave. The
following nocturne, op. 37, No. 2, contains in the middle movement,
perhaps the most beautiful melody Chopin ever wrote, to which one can
never listen without a sense of the deepest emotion and happiness. Op.
48, No. 1, in C minor, is broad and most imposing with its powerful
intermediate movement, which is a thorough departure from the nocturne
style. The nocturne, published posthumously as op. 72, was written in
1827, and bears evident traces of that youthful period; op. 62, No. 2,
in E major, was written shortly before Chopinʼs death, and is full of
refinements of harmony, sweet melody, and reverie.

Almost the same thing may be said of the scherzi as of the ballads:
they did not exist before Chopin, or at least not in the same measure
of independence, daring boldness, and almost Shaksperian humour. In
the most well-known of these in B flat minor, op. 31, the first theme
is obstinately gloomy, yet not despondent but defiant; and scarcely
less fine is the clever and expressive second subject in A major. To
appreciate to the full Chopinʼs creative powers his pianoforte pieces
must be compared with those of his contemporaries, for the scherzi
still appear so modern that it might well be said they were thirty
years in advance of their time.


In demonianism and drastic power the B flat minor scherzo, op. 31,
resembles those in B minor, op. 20, and in C sharp minor, op. 39; while
the one in E minor, op. 54, presents a kindlier face. The rhythm of the
scherzi, far more than of the mazurkas, expresses a certain spirited
opposition, a fascinating arrogance; and as the dance forms to which
the mazurkas and polonaises in part still belonged were completely
destroyed by the middle theme, the specimens of the scherzo may be
regarded as a wonderfully true expression of Chopinʼs courageous
individuality, decisive both outwardly and inwardly, noble, amiable,
and poetic.

The preludes (op. 28 and 45) and the four impromptus (op. 29, 36, 51,
and 66) show a slight leaning towards the nocturnes—as, for example,
the unhappily little known but richly modulated prelude in C sharp
minor, op. 45; also the D flat major, op. 28, No. 15, with a splendid
middle movement in C sharp minor, and the impromptu in F sharp major,
op. 36—and partake partly of the nature of a study—as, for example,
the impromptus in A flat major and G flat major, with their melodious
middle movements; and the preludes, op. 28, Nos. 1, 3, 8, 16, 19,
and 23—and are also in part hasty sketches in which the composer, in
spite of the smallness of their dimensions, gives us the most clever
imaginative pictures. Some of them—such as those in E minor and B
minor—are real gems, and would alone suffice to immortalize the name of
Chopin as a poet.

Chopin deserves especial honour for having perfected the study. Some of
his studies (op. 10, 25, and “Trois Nouvelles Etudes,”) serve purely
technical purposes, such as op. 10, Nos. 1, 2, 4, 8; op. 25, Nos. 6,
8, and No. 3 of the “Trois Nouvelles Etudes;” others are important
intellectually, such as op. 10, Nos. 3, 9, 10, 12; op. 25, Nos. 1 and
7; and No. 1 of the “Etudes.”

The works which Fontana published at Schlesingerʼs after Chopinʼs
death—Fantasie-impromptu, op. 66: quatre mazurkas, op. 67; quatre
mazurkas, op. 68; deux valses, op. 69; trois valses, op. 70; trois
polonaises, op. 71; nocturne, marche funèbre, trois ecossaises, op. 72;
rondeau pour deux pianos, op. 73; sixteen Polish songs, op. 74—are,
with the exception of a few such, as op. 66, which are well worthy of
the name of their composer, of less musical value. Chopin wished them
to be destroyed after his death, or at least not published. The last
mazurka, _senza fine_, composed a few days before he died, is sad,
very sad, like the last days of the great master. He showed by this
swan-song and by his yearning after the home of his happy youth, that
in the very last hour of his creative inspiration he remained faithful
to his national music and to his sorely-tried fatherland.


The sixteen Polish songs were written without any titles. If he met
with any new and beautiful poetry in his native tongue, he would set
it to music, not for publication but for his own pleasure. Thus these
songs gradually accumulated between 1824 and 1844. Many have been
lost because, in spite of the requests of his friends, the composer
constantly put off committing them to paper; others were sung in Poland
without anything positive being known as to their origin, but it is
pretty certainly conjectured that Chopin was their composer. Among
these must be mentioned the popular and formerly much sung “The third
of May.”

Unimportant in a musical point of view, it could not be expected that
they would be diffused beyond the confines of Poland. They sprang from
the seed of the later national poetical growth, scattered as if by
accident on Chopinʼs receptive soul; they are simple flowers which do
not dazzle, but by their sweet perfume and peculiar delicacy delight
sympathetic hearts.





I subjoin a few letters written by Chopin between 1828 and 1831 to
his friend Titus Woyciechowski, which I did not think it necessary to
insert in the biography:—


    _Warsaw, Saturday, December 27th, 1828._


    Hitherto I have delayed writing to you, but now friendship triumphs
    over idleness, and, sleepy as I am, I take up my pen that you may
    have this in time for the 1st and the 4th of January. I do not
    desire to fill my letter with compliments, good wishes, or trite
    jokes, for we both understand each other perfectly—whence my
    silence and the laconic nature of this epistle....

    The score of my Rondo Cracovienne is ready. The introduction is
    almost as funny as I am in my great coat,[47] and the trio is not
    quite finished. My parents have just had fitted up for me a little
    room, leading by a staircase direct from the _entrée_; there will
    be an old _secrétaire_ in it, and I shall make it my den. That
    orphan child, the Rondo for two pianos, has found a step-father in
    Fontana, (whom you may, perhaps, have seen here; he goes to the
    University); he has learnt it after a monthʼs study, and, a short
    time ago, we tried it over at Buchholtzʼs to see how it might
    sound. I say “might,” for the instruments were not tuned alike, and
    our fingers were stiff, so we could have no adequate impression of
    the effect of the work. For a week past I have composed nothing
    of any value. I run from Ananias to Caiaphas; this evening I was
    at Madame Wizegerodʼs, and from there went to a musical _soirée_
    at Mlle. Kickaʼs. You know how pleasant it is to be pressed to
    improvise when you are tired. I seldom now have such happy thoughts
    as when you were with me. And then the wretched instruments one
    finds everywhere. I have not found one either in mechanism or tone
    anything approaching ours or your sisterʼs.

    The Polish theatre opened yesterday with “Preciosa.” The French
    have given “Rataplan;” to-day, the “Geldhab,” by Fredro; and
    to-morrow, Auberʼs “Maurer und Schlosser” are to be performed.
    Somebody or other said to me the other day that you had written to
    him. Do not think I am angry with you for not having written to
    me for so long; I know you well enough, and do not think anything
    of a bit of paper; I should not have scribbled so much nonsense
    to-day, but to remind you that you still hold the same place in my
    heart, and that I am the same Fritz as ever. You do not like being
    kissed, but you must put up with it to-day. We all unite in best
    wishes to your mother. Zywny sends warmest remembrances.

    Your FREDERIC.


    _Warsaw, April 10th, 1830._

    (_Anniversary of Emilyʼs death._)

    I have been vainly wishing to write to you for some weeks past. I
    donʼt know why the time should pass so quickly now. Our musical
    season is at its height, Passion week even was disregarded. Last
    Monday there was a grand _soirée_ at Philippeusʼs, when Madame
    Saurin sang a duet from “Semiramis” very beautifully; I accompanied
    Messrs. Soliva and Gresser in a Buffo Duet from Rossiniʼs “Turk in
    Italy,” which, by unanimous desire, was repeated. I have sketched
    out a programme of the _soirée_ at Lewickiʼs, at which Prince
    Galizin is to take part in a quartet by Rode. I shall select
    Hummelʼs “La Sentinelle,” and shall finish with my polonaise
    with violoncello, to which I have written an Adagio by way of
    introduction. I have tried it already, it does not go badly. This
    is the latest _salon_ news, and now for the newspaper intelligence,
    which is no less important to me, as it includes some most
    favourable opinions about myself. I should like to send them to
    you. There was an article, two pages long, in the _Warsaw Gazette_,
    in which Elsner was very much abused. Soliva told me that he only
    avoided the controversy because two of his pupils were shortly
    to make a public appearance, otherwise he should certainly have
    replied to the attack. It is difficult to describe the whole case
    in a few words; I would send you the newspaper if I could, so as to
    make the matter quite clear. A word to the wise is sufficient, so I
    will give a brief outline of the affair.

    My concerts called forth a great many laudatory notices, especially
    in the _Polish Courier_, and the _Official Journal_ also gave me a
    few words of praise. This was all very well, but one of the numbers
    of the latter newspaper, although in perfect good faith, was full
    of such absurdities that I felt quite in despair until I read in
    the _Gazette Polska_ a refutation of the exaggerated statements
    in the _Official Journal_. This paper was mad enough to say that
    Poland would one day be as proud of me as Germany is of Mozart; and
    that “if I had fallen into the hands of a pedant or a Rossinist
    (what a ridiculous expression!) I should never have been what I
    am.” Although, indeed, I am nothing yet, the critic is so far right
    in saying that if I had not studied with Elsner, I should have done
    still less. This taunt at a Rossinist, and praise of Elsner made
    somebody so angry[48] that, in an article in the _Warsaw Gazette_,
    beginning with Fredroʼs comedy, “Die Freunde,” and ending with
    “Grafen Ory,” there was the following paragraph: “Why should any
    gratitude be due to Elsner? he does not make pupils off hand,” and
    (at my second concert Nowakowskiʼs symphony was performed) “the
    Devil even cannot make something out of nothing.”

    Thirty-five years ago Elsner wrote a quartet, to which the
    publisher, without the authorʼs knowledge, appended the title “Dans
    le meilleur gout polonais,” on account of the Polish character of
    the Menuet. The present reviewer, without mentioning the composerʼs
    name, ridicules this quartet. Soliva says truly that they would
    have been just as much justified in abusing “Caecilia,”[49]
    especially as, with all kindness and delicacy, they give me some
    side thrusts, and the good piece of advice that I should listen to
    Rossini but not copy him. No doubt this was said because the other
    article remarked that I had a great deal of originality.

    I am invited to an Easter breakfast at Minasowiczʼs[50] for the day
    after to-morrow; Kurpinski is to be there, and I am very curious
    to see how he will behave towards me. You would not believe how
    amiable he always is to me. I saw him last Wednesday week at little
    Leskiewiczʼs concert. The latter does not play badly, although he
    still shows that he is a learner. It seems to me that he will be a
    better player than Krogulski, but I have not yet ventured to say
    so, though I have been often asked for an opinion.

    Oh! the postman! A letter ... from you! Oh, my dear friend, how
    good you are! It is no wonder, however, for I am always thinking of
    you. As far as I can gather from your letter, you have only seen
    the _Warsaw Courier_; get the _Polish Courier_, and No. 91 of the
    _Warsaw Gazette_, if you can. Your advice is good; I had already
    given up some invitations for the evening as if in anticipation
    of it, for I always think a great deal of you in everything that
    I undertake. I do not know whether it is because I have learnt to
    think and feel with you, but when I write anything I always want to
    know if it pleases you, and my second concerto (E minor) will not
    have any value in my eyes until you have heard and approved it.

    My third concert, which is being counted on here, will not take
    place until shortly before I leave; I think of playing the new
    Concerto, which is not yet finished, then, by desire, the Fantasia
    on Polish airs, and the Variations dedicated to you, which I am
    anxiously awaiting, as the Leipsic fair has already begun, and
    Brzezina has received a large consignment of music. The Frenchman
    from St. Petersburg, who wanted to treat me with champagne after
    my second concert, and whom people took for Field, is a pupil from
    the Paris Conservatoire, named Dunst. He has given several concerts
    in St. Petersburg, which made a great sensation, so he must play
    unusually well. You will, doubtless, think it strange, a Frenchman
    from St. Petersburg with a German name. I have the sad piece of
    news to add that Orlowski has been making mazurkas and galops on my
    themes; but I have begged him not to have them printed.


    _Warsaw, April 17th, 1830._

    (_Papaʼs birth-day._)

    A letter from you gives me some respite from my unendurable
    yearning (sehnsucht), and to-day I was more than ever in need of
    this consolation. I want to drive away the thoughts which poison my
    happiness; yet it gives me pleasure to dally with them; I do not
    know what ails me ... perhaps I shall be calmer by the end of this

    I am very pleased to hear that there is some probability of your
    coming, for I am going to remain until the meeting of the Diet,
    which, as you have doubtless seen by the newspapers, will take
    place on the 28th inst., and last a month. The _Warsaw Courier_
    has already announced the arrival of Mͩˡˡͤ. Sonntag; Dmuszewski,
    the editor, is incorrigible, he is always getting hold of some
    story, which he prefixes by saying, “We learn, on good authority,”
    &c., &c. When I met him yesterday he told me that he was going to
    insert a sonnet addressed to me. I begged him, for heavenʼs sake,
    not to do anything so absurd. “It is already printed,” he replied,
    with a smile, thinking that I should feel very much delighted and
    honoured. Oh, these mistaken favours! Those who envy me will have
    another mark to shoot at. With regard to the mazurkas on themes
    from my Concerto, mercenary motives have won the day, and they are
    already published. I do not care to read anything more that people
    may write about me.

    Last week I had an idea of coming to see you, but was too busy; I
    must work as hard as I can to finish my compositions. If you come
    to Warsaw for the meeting of the Diet, you will be at my concert.
    I have a presentiment that you will, and if I dream that you do, I
    shall firmly believe it.[51] How often do I turn night into day,
    and day into night; how often do I wake in dreams, and sleep in
    the day; but it is not like sleep, for I always feel the same, and
    instead of gaining refreshment, I worry myself, and rack my brains,
    till I am quite exhausted.

    Pray think kindly of me ...


    _Warsaw, June 5th, 1830._


    You have missed five of Mͩˡˡͤ. Sonntagʼs concerts, but if you
    come on the 13th, you will have several opportunities of hearing
    her. The 13th will be Sunday, and you will arrive just when I am
    at home, trying over the Allegro of the Second Concerto, as I am
    making all the use I can of Mˡˡͤ. Sonntagʼs absence. I learnt
    from her own pretty lips that she was going to Fischbach,[52] by
    invitation from the King of Prussia, and that she would return from
    there to us.

    I cannot tell you what pleasure I have received from closer
    acquaintance with this “heavenly messenger,” as some enthusiasts
    justly call her; I am sincerely grateful to Prince Anton Radziwill
    for having introduced me. I, unfortunately, got but little benefit
    from her weekʼs stay here, for she was bored with wearisome visits
    from senators, Woiewodes, castellans, ministers, generals, and
    adjutants, who sat staring at her and making dull speeches. She
    received them all very kindly, for she is too good-hearted to
    be ever unamiable. Yesterday, when she wanted to go out to a
    rehearsal, she was actually obliged to shut herself up in her
    room, as the servant could not keep the hosts of callers out of
    the ante-room. I should not have gone to her had she not sent for
    me, on account of Radziwill having asked me to write out a song he
    had arranged for her. It consists of variations on an Ukrainian
    folk-song (Dumka); the theme and the _finale_ are pretty, but I do
    not at all like the middle movement, and Mˡˡͤ. Sonntag approves
    of it still less; I have made some alterations, but it wonʼt do
    yet. I am glad that she is going after to-dayʼs concert, as I shall
    thus be released from this trouble, and when Radziwill comes back
    for the close of the Diet, he will, perhaps, have given up his

    Mˡˡͤ. Sonntag is not beautiful, but extremely fascinating;
    everyone is enchanted with her voice, which is not particularly
    powerful, but splendidly cultivated. Her _diminuendo_ is the _non
    plus ultra_, her _portamento_ wonderfully beautiful, and her
    chromatic scales, in the upper register especially, unequalled.
    She sang us an air by Mercadente very beautifully, and Rodeʼs
    variations, especially the last _roulades_, more than excellently.
    The variations on a Swiss theme were so much liked that she was
    obliged, after repeatedly bowing her acknowledgments, to sing them
    _da capo_; and the same thing occurred yesterday after the last
    variation by Rode. She sang also the Cavatina from the “Barbier,”
    and some airs from the “Diebischen Elster” and the “Freischütz.”
    But soon you will be able to judge for yourself of the difference
    between her performances and anything that we have heard here
    before. One day when I was with her, Soliva brought Mˡˡͤˢ.
    Gladkowska and Wolkow to sing to her their duet, closing with the
    words “barbara sorte” (you remember it, do you not?) Mˡˡͤ.
    Sonntag said to me, in confidence, that both voices were very
    beautiful, but rather screamy, and that the young ladies must
    change their method of singing altogether, unless they wanted to
    run the risk of losing their voices completely in two years. I
    heard her say to Mˡˡͤ. Wolkow that she sang with a great deal
    of ease and taste, but had “une voix trop aigue.” She invited them
    both in the kindest manner to come and see her more often, and
    promised to spare no pains to teach them her own method. Is not
    that a rare piece of politeness? Indeed, I believe it was exquisite
    coquetry which made on me the impression of _naïveté_; for one can
    scarcely imagine anyone being so natural unless acquainted with all
    the arts of coquetry.

    Mˡˡͤ. Sonntag is a hundred times prettier and nicer _en
    deshabille_ than in evening dress, but those who have only seen
    her in the concert room are charmed with her beautiful appearance.
    On her return she will give concerts until the 22nd instant, when,
    she tells me, she thinks of going to St. Petersburg. So make haste,
    dear friend, and come at once that you may not miss any more

    There is a good deal of talk about Pasta coming, and of both
    the artists singing together. A French lady pianist, Mˡˡͤ.
    Belleville, is here, and intending to give a concert next
    Wednesday; her playing is very good, very light and elegant,
    ten times better than Worlitzerʼs. She took part in the famous
    “soirée musicale” at the Court, when Sonntag sang and Worlitzer
    played, though without giving much satisfaction, as I heard from
    Kurpinski, who accompanied the great vocalist. A good many people
    were surprised (_not_ including myself) that I was not invited
    to play.... But some more about Mˡˡͤ. Sonntag. There is a
    great deal of new _broderie_ in her execution, which is very
    effective, but not so much so as Paganiniʼs; perhaps because it
    is of a smaller kind. She seems to bring with her the perfume of
    a fresh bouquet, and to caress and play with her voice, but she
    rarely moves one to tears. Radziwill, however, thinks that her
    impersonation of Desdemona, in the last scene of “Otello,” is such
    that no one could refrain from weeping.

    I asked her, early this morning, if she would not give us this
    scene in costume (for she is a capital actress); she replied that
    although she could move an audience to tears, yet acting affected
    her so painfully that she had determined to appear on the stage as
    seldom as possible.

    Come here to rest yourself from your rural cares; when you hear
    Mˡˡͤ. Sonntag sing you will wake up to new life and gather fresh
    strength for your work. What a pity I cannot send myself instead
    of this letter.... Mˡˡͤ. Belleville has played my Variations,
    published in Vienna; she knows one of them by heart. To-day
    Mˡˡͤ. Sonntag will sing something from “Semiramis.” Her concerts
    are short, she sings at the utmost four times, the orchestra
    playing between. Indeed one needs to rest after her singing, so
    powerful an impression does it produce and so interesting is she as
    an artist.


    _Warsaw, (I think) September 4th, 1830._

    My ideas are growing more and more confused. I am here still, and
    cannot make up my mind to fix definitively a day for my departure.
    It seems to me as if I were leaving Warsaw for ever; I have a
    presentiment that I am bidding an eternal farewell to my home. Oh,
    how hard it must be to die anywhere but in oneʼs birth-place. How
    could I bear to see around my deathbed, instead of the faces of my
    beloved family, an unconcerned doctor and a hired servant. Believe
    me, dear Titus, I often long to come to you to ease my heavy heart,
    but as I cannot do that I rush out of doors without knowing why.
    But that does not calm or satisfy my restless, yearning spirit, and
    I go home only to sigh again....

    I have not yet tried my Concerto. At any rate I shall have left
    my treasure behind me before Michaelmas.[53] In Vienna I shall be
    condemned to eternal sighs and languishing. This is so when oneʼs
    heart is no longer free. You know very well what that is, but can
    you account for that peculiar feeling which makes people always
    expect something better from the morrow? “Do not be so foolish,” is
    all the answer I can give myself; if you know a better one, pray,
    pray tell it me....

    These are my plans for the winter: I think of staying two months
    in Vienna; then going to Italy and perhaps spending the winter
    in Milan. Soliva always conducts the operas in which his pupils
    appear; in time, I think, he will unseat Kurpinski; he has
    one foot in the stirrup already, and is supported by a doughty

    I finish my letter to-day with nothing, indeed with less than
    nothing, that is with what I have already said before. It is
    half-past eleven, and I am still sitting here _en deshabille_,
    although Mariolka will certainly be already waiting to go with
    me to dinner at C.ʼs. I have promised to visit Magnuszewski
    afterwards, so I shall not be back before four oʼclock to finish
    the page, and the sight of the blank paper annoys me.

    But I will not worry myself unnecessarily, or I shall never come to
    an end, and Mariolka will be disappointed altogether; and, as you
    know, I like to make myself agreeable to people of whose good-will
    I am assured. I have not been to see her since my return, and I
    must confess that I often blame her as the cause of my dejection;
    other people seem to be of the same opinion, and this gives me at
    last some slight satisfaction. My father smiles, but if he knew all
    I think he would weep. I seem quite happy, but my heart....

    By this day month you will have no more letters from Warsaw, nor
    perhaps from anywhere else; perhaps you will not hear from me again
    before we meet. I am writing nothing but nonsense now; only the
    thought of leaving Warsaw....

    But wait awhile, and perhaps you will yourself be no better off.
    Man is never always happy, and very often only a brief period of
    happiness is granted him in this world; so why escape from this
    dream which cannot last long?

    If I sometimes regard intercourse with the world as a sacred duty,
    at other times, I consider it a devilish invention, and that it
    would be better if mankind ... but enough.... Time flies, and I
    must wash ... donʼt kiss me yet ... but you would not kiss me even
    if I were anointed with Byzantian oil, unless by some magnetism I
    forced you to. Farewell.


    _Warsaw, September 18th, 1830._

    I donʼt know exactly why I am still here, but I am very happy,
    and my parents agree to my remaining. Last Wednesday, I tried my
    concerto with quartet accompaniment, but was not quite satisfied
    with it. Those who were present at the rehearsal say that the
    _finale_ is the most successful movement—perhaps because it is
    the most easily understandable. I shall not be able to tell you
    till next week how it will sound with the full orchestra, as I am
    not going to try it until Wednesday. To-morrow I am going to have
    another rehearsal with the quartet accompaniment, and then I shall
    go—whither? I have no special attraction anywhere, but at any
    rate I shall not stay in Warsaw. If you imagine that some beloved
    object keeps me here you are wrong, like a good many other people.
    I can assure you that as far as I am concerned, I am ready for any
    sacrifice. I love, but I must keep my unhappy passion locked in
    my own breast for some years longer. I do not want to start with
    you, for the sake of the pleasure of meeting; the moment when we
    embrace for the first time on a foreign soil will be more precious
    to me than a thousand days of travelling together.

    I intended to write a polonaise with orchestral accompaniment;
    but have only sketched it out in my head; when it will see the
    light I cannot say. The _Wiener Zeitung_ contains a good critique
    on my variations, short but comprehensive, and so philosophical
    that it is almost impossible to translate. The writer concludes
    by saying that the work has not only an external beauty, but an
    intrinsic excellence, which will defy the changes of fashion and
    make it last for ever. That is indeed a handsome compliment, for
    which I shall thank the reviewer when I see him. I am very pleased
    with the article, because, while it is not at all exaggerated, it
    acknowledges my independence. I should not say so much to any one
    but you, but we understand each other so well, that I may venture,
    like the merchants, to praise my own wares.

    Orlowskiʼs new ballet is to be given to-day for the first time.
    There is more talk about the astounding nature of the spectacle
    than the originality of the music. I was at great big C.ʼs
    yesterday, for his name-day, when I played in Spohrʼs Quintet for
    piano, clarionet, bassoon, French horn, and flute.[55] The work is
    wonderfully beautiful, but the pianoforte part not very playable.
    Everything that Spohr wrote for the piano is very difficult, and
    for many of his passages one cannot find any fingering at all.
    Instead of commencing at 7 oʼclock, we did not begin playing until
    eleven. You are, doubtless, surprised that I was not fast asleep.
    But there was a very good reason why I should not be, for among the
    guests was a beautiful girl, who vividly reminded me of my ideal.
    Just fancy, I stayed till 3 a.m.

    I was to have started for Vienna by the Cracow diligence this day
    week, but finally gave up the idea,—you can guess why. You may rest
    assured that I am no egoist, and as truly as I love you, would make
    any sacrifice for other people. For other people, I say, but not
    for outside appearance; for public opinion, which has great weight
    here, although I am not much influenced by it, regards it as a
    misfortune for a man to have a shabby coat, or a rubbed hat. If I
    do not succeed in my profession, and wake up some fine morning to
    find that I have nothing to eat, you must get a clerkship for me
    at Poturzyn.[56] I shall be as happy in a stable as I was in your
    castle last summer. As long as I have health and strength I will
    gladly work all my days. I have often thought it over whether I was
    really lazy, or whether I could do more without physical injury.
    Joking apart, I am quite sure that I am not very lazy yet, and
    that, if necessary, I could do double what I do.

    People often lose the good opinion of others by trying to gain it;
    but I do not think that I shall either raise or lower myself in
    your estimation, although I do sing my own praises, for there is
    mutual sympathy between us. You are not master of your thoughts,
    but I can command mine, and when I get an idea into my head, I will
    not part with it, anymore than the trees will allow themselves to
    be robbed of the green covering which is the charm and beauty
    of their life. I, too, keep green in winter, though only in the
    head, my heart is red-hot, so it is no wonder the vegetation is so
    luxuriant. May God help me? Enough.... Yours for ever.... I have
    just discovered what nonsense I have been talking. You see I have
    not got over the effects of yesterday, have not had my sleep out,
    and am still tired with having danced four mazurkas! Your letters
    are tied up with a ribbon given me by my ideal. I am very glad
    that two inanimate things agree together so well; it is probably
    because, although they do not know each other, they both feel that
    they come from hands dear to me.


    _Warsaw, September 22nd, 1830._

    I must first explain how it is I am still here. For a fortnight
    past my father has objected to my going on account of the
    disturbances throughout Germany; in the Rhine provinces, Darmstadt,
    Brunswick, Capel, and Saxony, where the new king has already
    ascended the throne. It is reported here that there are riots in
    Vienna about the meal business; I donʼt know what it is they want,
    but it is certain they are fighting over it. There are agitations
    also in the Tyrol, while in Italy they are ready to boil over, and
    we expect to hear something important every minute. I have not yet
    inquired about a pass, but it is thought that I shall only get one
    for Austria or Prussia; Italy and France are not to be thought of,
    and I know that some, and often all, passports have been refused. I
    shall probably go to Vienna in a few weeks, _viâ_ Cracow, for I am
    remembered there, and one must strike while the iron is hot.

    P. was with me yesterday; he starts early to-morrow, and as I am
    going to have a rehearsal of my second Concerto to-day, with full
    orchestra (except trumpets and kettledrums), I have invited him to
    it, for your sake. He will be able to tell you all about it, and
    I know that the smallest particulars will interest you. I am very
    sorry that you are not here; Kurpinski, Soliva, and the _élite_
    of the musical world will be present, but, with the exception of
    course of Elsner, I have not much confidence in their judgment.
    I am most curious to know what the bandmaster will think of the
    Italian; Czapek of Kessler; Philippeus of Dobrzynski; Molsdorf of
    Kaczynski; Ledoux of Soltyk; and Mons. P. of us all. No one has
    ever assembled all these gentlemen in one place before; I do it out
    of curiosity.

    I am very sorry I have to write on a day like this when I cannot
    compose myself. It almost drives me out of my mind to think about
    myself, and I often go about so buried in thought as to be in
    danger of being run over, which, indeed, nearly happened yesterday.
    Catching a glimpse of my ideal in church, I rushed out in a state
    of happy stupefaction, and it was nearly a quarter of an hour
    before I came to myself again. I am quite frightened sometimes at
    my own distraction. I should like to send you a few trifles I have
    just composed, but donʼt know whether I shall manage to write them
    out to-day.

    I beg you to excuse this hasty letter, but I must hasten off to
    Elsner to make sure of his presence at the rehearsal. Then I must
    see about the desks, and the _sordini_, which I quite forgot
    yesterday, but without which the _adagio_ would be nothing. The
    _rondo_ is effective, and the first _allegro_ powerful. Confounded
    self-love! But if anyone is responsible for my share of it, it is
    you. You egoist, who could live with a person like you without
    growing like you? However, in one respect I am still unlike: I
    can never make a rapid resolution. Still, I have relentlessly
    determined on departing next Saturday week, in spite of any amount
    of weeping and lamentation. The music in the trunk, the familiar
    ribbon on my heart, a mind full of care, and I am off in the post
    carriage. Of course the city will flow with tears from Copernicus
    to the fountain, and from the bank to King Sigismundʼs column; but
    I shall be as cold and insensible as a stone, and laugh at all the
    people who want to take such a tender adieu of me....


    _Paris, December 25th, 1831._

    For the second time, my dear Titus, I have to send my birth-day
    congratulations from a long, long distance. A look, a pressure of
    the hand would say more than a dozen letters, so I will not waste
    many words. I cannot write _ex abrupto_, and I have not yet bought
    one of the books of congratulations which the boys are shrieking
    about the streets at two sous a copy. The Parisians are a strange
    people; towards evening you hear nothing but the names of new
    books, which consist of three or four pages of printed nonsense.
    The youngsters push their wares so well, that in the end, whether
    you will or no, you are sure to lay out a sou or two. The following
    are some specimens of the titles, “lʼart de faire des amours et de
    les conserver ensuite;” “les amours des prêtres;” “lʼArcheveque
    de Paris avec Madame la duchesse de Berry,” and hundreds of like
    absurdities, which are, however, often very wittily written. It
    is really astonishing what means are resorted to for earning a
    penny, for there is a great deal of distress in Paris just now, and
    money is scarce. There are a good many shabby, desperate looking
    men about, and one over-hears some threatening talk about Louis
    Philippe and his ministry only hanging by a hair. The populace are
    enraged against the Government, and would like to overthrow it, for
    the sake of putting an end to the misery abroad; but the latter are
    too much on their guard, and the smallest crowd is dispersed by the
    mounted gendarmerie. You must know that I am living on the fourth
    floor, but in one of the boulevards in the best part of Paris. I
    have a balcony over-looking the street, and so have a good view
    right and left over the moving masses. General Ramorino has taken
    up his quarters exactly opposite in the Cité bergère.[57]

    You know, of course, how the Germans everywhere received him, how
    in Strasburg the French dragged his carriage in triumph through
    the streets; in short, you know all about the enthusiasm of the
    populace for our general. Paris did not wish to be behind in
    this respect. The “école de médecine” and the “jeune France,” who
    wear beards and neckties after a certain pattern, arranged for a
    grand demonstration. The ultra sections of every political party
    have their peculiar badge: the Carlists wear green waistcoats; the
    Republicans, Napoleonists, (these include “la jeune France”) and
    the Simonists, who profess a new religion, and have already a great
    number of proselytes, wear blue, and so forth. Nearly a thousand
    of these enthusiasts paraded the streets with a tri-color banner
    to give Ramorino an ovation. Although he was at home he would not
    appear in spite of the shouts of “vive les Polonais,” for fear
    of offending the government. His adjutant came out and said that
    the general was unfortunately unable to receive them, and begged
    that they would come another day. But next morning he had gone to
    another lodging. A few days later an enormous mob gathered outside
    the Pantheon, marched across the Seine towards Ramorinoʼs house,
    like an avalanche, increasing in force as they proceeded, till they
    reached the Pont neuf where the mounted gendarmes, after several
    charges, dispersed them. Although many were wounded a fresh crowd
    assembled on the boulevards under my windows, for the purpose of
    joining those who came from the other side of the Seine. The police
    were powerless, the crowd grew larger and larger, until a division
    of infantry and a squadron of hussars arrived, when the commandant
    ordered the municipal guard and the troops to clear the streets and
    arrest the ringleaders. (This is their free nation!)

    The panic spread like lightning: the shops were closed, crowds
    congregated at the corners, and the orderlies were hissed as
    they galloped about the streets. Every window was crammed with
    spectators, as on grand fête-days with us, and the uproar lasted
    from 11 a.m. till 11 p.m. I thought once some mischief might have
    followed, but about midnight they struck up “allons, enfants de
    la patrie,” and went home. I cannot describe to you the effect of
    the harsh voices of this excited and discontented mob. Everyone
    feared the _émeute_ would begin again next morning, but it did not.
    Grenoble alone followed the example of Lyons, but the devil knows
    what will come of it.

    At a theatre, where only dramas have hitherto been performed, the
    whole history of our late revolution is being given, and people
    go like mad to see the fights and the national costumes. Mlle.
    Plater and some other ladies take the names of Lodoiska, Faniska,
    and Floreska, and a General Gigult appears as brother to Countess
    Plater.[58] But nothing amazed me so much as the announcement
    on the play bill of a small theatre that the mazurka “Dabrowski,
    Poland is not lost yet,” would be performed during the entrʼactes.

    All I can tell you about my concert is that I must postpone it
    until January 15th, as the operatic director, Mons. Véron, refuses
    to let me have a vocalist. There is to be a grand concert to-day
    at the Italian opera house, in which Malibran, Rubini, Lablache,
    Santini, Madame Raimbaux, Madame Schröder, and Madame Casadory are
    to appear; Herz and Bériot, with whom Madame Malibran is in love,
    will assist in the instrumental portion.

    Oh, how I wish you were with me.... You cannot think how wretched
    it makes me to have no one to whom I can unbosom myself. You know
    how fond I am of society, and how easily I make acquaintances.
    I have scores of such friends now, but no one with whom I can
    sigh. My heart is, so to speak, always beating in “syncopation,”
    which torments me, and makes me seek for a pause, for solitude,
    so that no one could see me or speak to me all day. It is most
    disagreeable that while I am writing to you, the bell rings and
    some tedious visitor is announced. Just as I was going to describe
    to you a ball, at which I met a divine creature with a rose in
    her dark hair, your letter arrived. All the creations of my fancy
    disappeared; my thoughts fly to you, I take your hand and weep....
    When shall we meet again?... Perhaps never, for in all seriousness
    my health is miserable. I seem merry enough perhaps, especially
    when among friends, but there is something constantly troubling
    me within: melancholy forebodings, restlessness, bad dreams,
    sleeplessness, yearning, no pleasure in life, and indifference to
    death. It often seems to me as if a torpor came over my spirits; a
    heavenly calm descends on my head, and images I cannot get rid of
    haunt my imagination, and harass me beyond measure. In short, it
    is a mixture of feelings not easily described.... Forgive me, dear
    Titus, for pouring it all out to you, but this is enough.... Now
    I will go and dress for the dinner that our countrymen are giving
    to-day to Ramorino and Langermann.... Your letter gave me a great
    deal of news; you wrote four sides and thirty-seven lines; you have
    never been so generous before, and I really was so much in need of
    something when your letter came.

    What you say about my artistic career is very true, and I am
    quite convinced of it myself. I drive in my own carriage, but the
    coachman is hired. I conclude, or I shall be too late for the post,
    for I am all in one, master and servant. Take pity on me, and write
    as often as possible.

    Yours till death,




I. _Works with opus numbers. (a) Published in his life-time._

    _Op. Nos._

    1. Premier Rondeau, C minor.

    2. La ci darem la mano, B flat major, varié pour le piano, avec
         accomp. dʼOrchestre.

    3. Introduction et Polonaise brillante, C major, pour piano et

    4. Sonate, C minor, pour le piano (œuvre posthume.)

    5. Rondeau à la Mazur, F major, pour le piano.

    6. Quatre Mazurkas, F sharp minor, C sharp minor, E major, E flat
         minor, pour le piano.

    7. Cinq Mazurkas, B flat major, A minor, F minor, A flat major, C

    8. Premier Trio, G minor, pour piano, violin et violincelle.

    9. Trois Nocturnes, B minor, E flat major, B major.

    10. Douze Grandes Etudes, C major, A minor, E major, C sharp minor,
          G flat major, E flat minor, C major, F major, F minor, A flat
          major, E flat major, C minor.

    11. Grand Concerto, pour le piano, E minor, avec Orchestre.

    12. Variations brillantes, B major, pour le piano, sur le Rondeau
          favori de Ludovic de Herold. “Je vends des Scapulaires.”

    13. Grande Fantaisie, A major, pour le piano sur des airs polonais,
          avec Orchestre.

    14. Krakowiak grand rondeau de Concert, F major, pour le piano,
          avec Orchestre.

    15. Trois Nocturnes, F major, F sharp major, G minor, pour le piano.

    16. Rondeau, E flat major.

    17. Quatre Mazurkas, B major, E minor, A flat major, A minor.

    18. Grande Valse brillante, E flat major.

    19. Bolero, C major.

    20. Premier Scherzo.

    21. Second Concerto, F minor, avec Orchestre.

    22. Grande Polonaise brillante, E flat major, précédée dʼun Andante
          spianato avec Orchestre.

    23. Ballade, G minor.

    24. Quatre Mazurkas, G minor, C major, A flat major, B minor.

    25. Douze Etudes, A flat major, F minor, F major, A minor, E minor,
          G sharp minor, C sharp minor, D flat major, G flat major,
          B minor, A minor, C minor.

    26. Deux Polonaises, C sharp minor, E flat minor.

    27. Deux Nocturnes, C sharp minor, D flat major.

    28. Vingt quatre Preludes.

    29. Impromptu, A flat major.

    30. Quatre Mazurkas, C minor, B minor, D flat major, C sharp minor.

    31. Deuxième Scherzo, B minor.

    32. Deux Nocturnes, B major, A flat major.

    33. Quatre Mazurkas, G sharp minor, D major, C major, B minor.

    34. Trois Valses brillantes, A flat major, A minor, F major.

    35. Sonate, B minor, avec une Marche funèbre.

    36. Deuxième Impromptu, F sharp major.

    37. Deux Nocturnes, G minor, G major.

    38. Deuxième Ballade, F major.

    39. Troisième Scherzo, C sharp minor.

    40. Deux Polonaises, A major, C minor.

    41. Quatre Mazurkas, C sharp minor, E minor, B major, A flat major.

    42. Valse, A flat major.

    43. Tarantelle, A flat major.

    44. Polonaise, F sharp minor.

    45. Prelude, C sharp minor.

    46. Allegro de Concert, A major.

    47. Troisième Ballade, A flat major.

    48. Deux Nocturnes, C minor, F sharp minor.

    49. Fantaisie, F minor.

    50. Trois Mazurkas, G major, A flat major, C sharp minor.

    51. Allegro vivace, Troisième Impromptu, G flat major.

    52. Quatrième Ballade, F minor.

    53. Huitième Polonaise, A flat major.

    54. Scherzo No. 4, E major.

    55. Deux Nocturnes, F minor, E flat major.

    56. Trois Mazurkas, B major, C major, C minor.

    57. Berceuse, D flat major.

    58. Sonate, B minor.

    59. Trois Mazurkas, A minor, A flat major, F sharp minor.

    60. Barcarolle, F sharp major.

    61. Polonaise-Fantaisie, A flat major.

    62. Deux Nocturnes, B major, E major.

    63. Trois Mazurkas, B major, F minor, C sharp minor.

    64. Trois Valses, D flat major, C sharp minor, A flat major.

    65. Sonate, G minor, pour piano et violincelle.

(_b_) _Posthumous Works._

    66. Fantaisie-Impromptu, C sharp minor.

    67. Quatre Mazurkas, G major, composed in the year 1835; G minor,
          1849; C major, 1835; A minor, 1846.

    68. Quatre Mazurkas, C major, 1830; A minor, 1827; F major, 1830; F
          minor, 1849.

    69. Deux Valses, F minor, 1836; B minor, 1829.

    70. Trois Valses, G flat major, 1835; F minor, 1843; D flat major,

    71. Trois Polonaises, D minor, 1827; B major, 1828; F minor, 1829.

    72. Nocturne, E minor, 1827. Marche funèbre, C minor, 1829, et
          trois Ecossaises, D major, G major, D flat major, 1830.

    73. Rondeau, C major, pour deux pianos, 1828.

    74. Seventeen Polish Songs (by Witwicki, Mickiewicz, Zaleski, &c.)
          with pianoforte accompaniment.

II. _Works without Opus Numbers._

    Trois nouvelles Etudes, F minor, A flat major, D flat major,
      extraites de la Méthode des Méthodes.

    Grand Duo concertant, E major, pour piano et violincelle sur des
      thêmes de “Robert le Diable,” par F. Chopin et A. Franchomme.

    Mazurka, A minor.

    Variations, E major, sur un air national allemand.

    Hexaméron. The last variation alone No. 6, E major, composed by

    Mazurka, A minor.

    Polonaise G sharp minor.

    Valse, E minor.

    [59] Mazurka, F sharp major.

    Deux Valses Mélancoliques, F minor, B minor.

⁂ _The names of the foreign publishers appended to the above
list have been omitted as unnecessary for English readers; nor has
it been deemed desirable to give the alphabetical list of persons
mentioned in the Work._


[1] Maximilian Stadler, born at Molk, in Lower Austria, August 4th,
1748, was an excellent pianist and organist. His ecclesiastical
compositions were extremely popular in Vienna. In the last years of his
life he was much occupied in writing on art, history, and science. He
died universally esteemed and beloved in Vienna, November 8th, 1833.

[2] An author and musical _connoisseur_, born in 1792, died of cholera
September, 1831.

[3] An esteemed friend, who was to accompany Chopin to Paris.

[4] Chopin dedicated to Merk his “Introduction et Polonaise Brillante
pour piano et violoncello,” (op. 3.)

[5] M. L. Peter Norblin, born in Warsaw, 1781, was first violoncellist
at the Grand Opera in Paris, and teacher at the Conservatoire. He died

[6] “Cicimara said, there was no one in Vienna, who accompanied as well
as I did. I thought to myself, I have been convinced of this a long
time. Hush.”—(Remark of Chopinʼs.)

[7] The ring presented by the Emperor Alexandra I. See Chap. III.

[8] Aloys Fuchs, born 1799 in Austrio-Silesia, was for some time
musical historiographer and antiquarian at the Austrian Royal Chapel.
He possessed a great many autographs and portraits; and scores of the
masters of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; also Mozartʼs
compositions, in his own handwriting. Fuchs played the violoncello
very well, and was one of Beethovenʼs intimate friends. At the sale of
Beethovenʼs property, Fuchs bought, among other manuscripts, one of
the sketch books, which he sent, as a mark of respect, to Mendelssohn.
Another of these books was bought by Meyerbeerʼs brother, William Beer.
Fuchsʼs fine collection was dispersed at his death, in 1852.

[9] This Rondo appeared among the posthumous works, as op. 73.

[10] Alexander Count Von Fredro, born 1793, celebrated as a writer of
excellent comedies, and called by his countrymen, the Polish Molière,
began his literary labours with a translation of Goetheʼs “Clavigo.”
His comedies sparkle with original ideas, and are an ornament to the
national stage. He died at Lemberg, July 14th, 1876.

[11] The Pleyel piano sent from Scotland in 1858, was fortunately in
the possession of Chopinʼs niece, Madame Ciechomska, who lived in the

[12] There is a notice of this concert, probably by Kandler, in No.
38 of the _Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung_ for September 21st, 1831.
It says, “Frederic Chopin, whose visit, last year, showed him to be a
pianist of the first rank, has given a concert here. The performance of
his new Concerto, which is of an earnest character, gave us no occasion
to alter our first opinion. So sincere a worshipper of true art is
worthy of all honour.” Other Vienna journals spoke in the same manner
of his compositions, and praised his skilful and expressive playing;
but these acknowledgments did not satisfy the hopes and wishes of the
young artist.

[13] Leipsic was foremost in this. Many German poets also expressed
their sympathy with the oppressed Polish nation in spirited songs.

[14] Lokietek and Laskonogi were Kings of Poland, and so called, the
former on account of his small size, the latter because he had spindle
legs. Elsner wrote an opera, in 1818, entitled “Lokietek,” which was
very successful.

[15] This friend says that the later letters, from Paris, are all lost,
with the exception of two little notes written in the year of Chopinʼs
death, the last he wrote to Woyciechowski.

[16] The Polish Revolution.

[17] An opera by Kurpinski, performed with great success in Warsaw.

[18] See Moschelesʼs Life.

[19] This work was first performed in England at one of the trials for
the Kingʼs Scholarship, at the Royal Academy of Music.—_Translatorʼs

[20] The author says, in a note, that he does not know to what critique
or to which Mazurkas Elsner refers. There are eight sets of these
“cabinet pictures,” as Liszt calls them, and, as one of Chopinʼs most
enthusiastic critics remarks, they vividly portray his patriotic and
home feelings. He calls them green spots in the desert, quaint snatches
of melancholy song, outpourings of an unworldly and trustful soul,
musical floods of tears and gushes of pure joyfulness.—_Translatorʼs

[21] The God of festive mirth is represented in the Greek mythology as
a winged youth.

[22] “Mendelssohnʼs Letters.” Second Series.

[23] This letter bears no date, but was probably written about the end
of September, 1835. It is to be found in the autograph collection of
Hermann Scholtz, at Dresden.

[24] “Eine Biographie,” von Joseph Wilhelm von Wasietewski, Dresden,

[25] In what was formerly called the Reichenbach, but now the Gerhard
Gardens, there is a monument of Prince Poniatowski, who was drowned in
the Elster, October 19th, 1813.

[26] Hiller wrote some beautiful verses full of deep feeling for the
festival in memory of Chopin, held at Düsseldorf, November 3rd, 1849.

[27] In the same year Chopin paid a short visit to London in company
with Camillo Pleyel and Stanislas Kozmian, senior.

[28] “Histoire de ma vie.” Vol. III. chap. 6 and 7.

[29] The middle movement, for example, of No. 15 in D flat major.

[30] No. 6, B minor.

[31] Adolphe Nourrit, the greatest tenor of his day, born at
Montpelier, March 3rd, 1802, threw himself out of a window, in Naples,
March 3rd, 1839, because he fancied he was not receiving so much
applause as formerly.

[32] These compositions are: second impromptu, op. 36; two nocturnes,
op. 37; scherzo (C sharp minor), op. 39; two polonaises, op. 40; four
mazurkas, op. 41; valse, op. 42; tarantelle, op. 43; &c., &c.

[33] Chopin relates this in a letter to his parents, which I myself
read, but which, unfortunately, is among those that were destroyed.

[34] “Musikalische Studienköpfe.” Leipzig.

[35] Lenz once said to Chopin, “Do you study much just before a
concert?” He answered, “It is a dreadful time for me; I do not like
public life, but it is a part of my profession. I shut myself up for a
fortnight and play Bach. That is my preparation. I do not practise my
own compositions.”

[36] Liszt said of him: “If he travels I shall shut up shop.” (Lenzʼs
“Great Pianists of the present day.”)

[37] This establishment is not in existence now.

[38] Published by S. Richault, in Paris, and by Stern & Co., Berlin.

[39] Alexander Thies, born in Warsaw, 1804, died in Paris, 1846, a
Polish pianist and State functionary. He published, in addition to many
scientific articles in home and foreign journals, “Dernier Mot sur
le pouvoir social” (Paris, 1836), “Code civil de lʼempire de Russie”
(Paris, 1841), “Précis des notions historiques sur la formation du
corps des lois russes” (Petersbourg, 1843.)

[40] From December, 1840, till March, 1844, Mickiewicz lectured at the
Collège de France, on Slavic literature. His wide-spread fame and his
ability as a lecturer attracted crowded audiences. But he sank into
a morbid mysticism, and talked of a visionary millennium instead of
literature, and was, on that account, suspended by the authorities. His
lectures are published under the title of “Les slaves. Cours professé
au Collège de France.” (Paris, 1849.)

[41] “Histoire de ma vie.” Vol. XIII.

[42] It cannot be said that Chopin obtruded himself on the public
notice; for, from 1834 to 1848, he only gave one public concert (Feb.
21st, 1842) with the assistance of Viardot-Garcia and Franchomme, when
Chopin performed the following compositions: Ballade (A flat major);
three mazurkas (A flat, B, A minor); three studies (A flat, F minor,
C minor); prelude (D flat); impromptu (G flat); nocturne (D flat.) As
this concert naturally made a much better impression than the first
given in the Italian theatre, on account of Chopinʼs poetical and
expressive playing, he held _séances_ in the Pleyel Hall nearly every
year, when he always played alone, and his admirers and friends paid
twenty francs for their tickets.

[43] Chopinʼs last concert began with one of Mozartʼs trios, in
which Alard and Franchomme took part. Then Chopin played his new
ʼcello-sonata in G minor (op. 65), and some smaller pieces—studies,
preludes, mazurkas, and waltzes.

[44] Chopin always wanted flowers about him, and, if possible, violets.

[45] A facsimile of the original draught of the E minor prelude will be
found at the end of this volume.

[46] It is inexplicable why Liszt should have frequently spoken of his
“blue eyes.”

[47] A very long winter overcoat, made by Boy, in which his friends
said he cut a very comical figure.

[48] The bandmaster Kurpinski, who because he gave scarcely any operas
but Rossiniʼs, was often called a Rossinist. There is no doubt that he
wrote the anonymous article referred to.

[49] A Polish national opera by Kurpinski.

[50] A Polish poet, died 1849.

[51] Another instance of Chopinʼs inclination to superstition.

[52] A castle of the King of Prussia, beautifully situated at the foot
of the Riesengebirge.

[53] A reference to his attachment to Mlle. Gladkowska.

[54] General Rozniecki, who was then president of the National Theatre.

[55] Chopin places the instruments in this order.

[56] Mons. Woyciechowskiʼs estate, where he is still living.

[57] Girolamo Ramorino, illegitimate son of Marshal Lannes, was born in
Genoa, 1792; he left his country for political reasons, and entered the
French army, to take part in the war against Austria and Russia. During
the Restoration he lived in Savoy. When the revolution broke out in
Piedmont in 1821, he bravely and successfully commanded the insurgent
forces. When the disturbances were over he went to France, and in 1830,
to Warsaw, when he became colonel in the Polish army. He distinguished
himself in several battles and soon obtained the rank of General. At
the end of August, 1831, he was ordered to lead 20,000 men against
the Russian general, Rosen, on the right bank of the Vistula, and to
victual Warsaw. But he failed shamefully. He might easily have beaten
Rosen and relieved Warsaw; but, owing to his carelessness, and neglect
of the Commander-in-chiefʼs orders, he did not reach the besieged city
in time. Instead, therefore, of an ovation he deserved the utmost
contempt and reprobation, as the main cause of the miseries which
from that time fell thick and fast upon Poland. But Nemesis at length
overtook him. In the beginning of 1849, he entered the Sardinian army,
and took the command of the fifth (Lombard) division; but he once more
disobeyed orders, and opened the way for the Austrians into Piedmont.
He was imprisoned, tried by court-martial, and shot at Piazza dʼArmi,
near Turin, May 22nd, 1849.

[58] Countess Emilie Plater, a young Polish heroine, who, during the
revolution of 1831, served as a soldier, assumed manʼs attire and
entered General Gielgudʼs division. (The French altered the name to
Gigult.) She died during a flight. Her biography has been fully written
by Straszewicz.

[59] The authorship of this piece is regarded as doubtful. G.


  Accent, Exaggeration of, 288.

  Adagio in the E minor Concerto, op. 11, 99.

  Adagio in 2nd Concerto, 113, 136.

  Aelomelodicon, 33.

  Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung, 216.

  Art Forms, Lisztʼs observations on, 335.

  Bach, Sebastian, 289, 290, 329.

  Ballade, op. 23, 241.

  Ballads, op. 23, 38, 47, 52, 344.

  Barcarole, op. 60, 301.

  Beethoven, 129, 330, 340.

  Beethovenʼs Adagio from the C sharp minor Sonata, 279.

  Beethovenʼs Last Trio, 102.

  Beethovenʼs Opinions, 142.

  Beethovenʼs Pianoforte Concertos, 142.

  Beethovenʼs Sonatas, 141.

  Beethovenʼs Violin Concerto, 142.

  Belleville, Mlle., 359, 360.

  Berceuse, op. 57, 301.

  Berlioz, 328.

  Blahetka, Leopolda, 77.

  Bolero, op. 19, 241.

  Brodzinski, Casimir, 125.

  Broken Chords, 138.

  Catalini, 19, 145.

  Cavaignac, Gottfried, 327.

  Chmiel, 69.

  Chopin as a Teacher, 273.

  Chopinʼs Imitative Talent, 276.

  Chopin, (Emily), 11.

  Chopin, (Justine), 8.

  Chopin, (Louisa), 11.

  Chopin, (Nicholas), 3.

  Chord, Detached, 21.

  Chord, Slurred, 21.

  Cibini, Fräulein, 167.

  Clary, The Princess Aloysia von, 83.

  Classic School, 328.

  Clementiʼs “Gradus ad Parnassum,” 285.

  Compositions published in Warsaw, 101.

  Concerto in E minor, 119, 217, 246.

  Concerto in F minor, 107, 118, 165, 233.

  Concertos, 133.

  Constantine, 20, 171.

  Counterpoint, Knowledge of, 28.

  Cramer, 143.

  Czerny, 97, 166, 201.

  “Dame Blanche,” 69.

  Damereau-Cinti, Madame, 236.

  Dance Forms, 339.

  Dances, 91.

  Der Freischütz, 41, 140.

  Diminished Chord, 138.

  Don Juan Variations, 336.

  Dudevant, Aurora, 261.

  Dunst, 355.

  Earliest Compositions, 19.

  Elsner (Joseph Xaver), 15, 21, 212, 233, 352, 354, 367.

  Elsnerʼs Echo Variations, 156.

  Elsnerʼs Masses, 195.

  Etudes, op. 10, 133.

  Etude in A flat, No. 10, op. 10, 139.

  Etudes, 348.

  Fantasia on Polish Airs, 55, 107, 120, 133, 137, 336.

  Fantasie Impromptu, op. 66, 348.

  Fantasie Polonaise, op. 61, 343.

  Faust, 86.

  Feeling in Pianoforte playing, 286.

  Fétis, 228.

  Fidelio, 140.

  Field, John, 132, 133, 143.

  Fingering, Novelty of, 242.

  Fioritures, 337.

  Floriani, Lucrezia, 303.

  Flotow, 144.

  Fontana, Julius, 35.

  Form, Newness of, 131.

  “Fra Diavolo,” 169.

  Franchomme, 338.

  Fuchsʼ, Aloys, Collection of Autograph Works, 206.

  Funeral March in the Sonata, op. 35, 321, 338.

  Gazette Polska, 353.

  Gladkowska, 117, 359, 361.

  Glasgow, 312.

  Gluck, 329.

  Grande Polonaise Brillante, op. 22, 241.

  Grzymala, Franz, 38.

  Gutmann, 307, 320.

  Gyrowetzʼs Pianoforte Concerto, 18.

  Handel, 329.

  Handelʼs “Ode on St. Ceciliaʼs Day,” 50.

  Handelʼs Oratorio, 41.

  Haydn, 329.

  Heine, 263, 334.

  Heinefetter, Sabine, 169, 185.

  Herz, 143, 231.

  Hesse, 155, 201.

  Hiller, 231, 233.

  Hummel, 60, 143, 196, 336.

  Hummelʼs influence, 129.

  Hummelʼs “La Sentinelle,” 352.

  Impromptu, op. 29, 241.

  Impromptu, op. 36, 275.

  Improvisation, 23, 29, 58, 68, 71, 95, 260, 279.

  Independence of fingers, 285.

  Introduction et Polonaise Brillante pour Piano et ʼCello, op. 3, 129.

  Iris, The, 133.

  Jewish Wedding March, 25.

  Kalkbrenner, 143, 221, 231.

  Kalkbrennerʼs Concerto, 24.

  Klengel, August Alexander, 79, 81, 97, 143, 159, 160, 161.

  Klengelʼs 48 Canons and Fugues, 97.

  Köhler, 155.

  Kreutzer, 146.

  Kreutzer, “Das Nachtlager von Granada,” 144.

  Kurjer Szafarski, 24, 25.

  Kurpinski, 340, 353.

  Kurpinskiʼs Szarlatan, 235.

  Lablache, 235.

  Lachner, 144.

  “La ci darem la mano,” op. 2, 130.

  La Mara, 287.

  Larghetto from the 2nd Concerto, 137.

  Left Hand in Pianoforte Playing, 289.

  Leiden Christi, 15.

  Likl, 175.

  Lind, Jenny, 314.

  Linde (Madame von), 13.

  Lipinski, Charles, 145.

  Liszt, 135, 260, 277, 278, 279, 280, 328, 332.

  Lortzing, 144.

  Louis Ferdinand, Prince, 102.

  Majorca, 266.

  Majufes, 25, 201.

  Malfatti, 166, 170.

  Malibran, 235.

  “Marquise de Brinvilliers,” The, 236.

  Marschner, “Der Templar und die Jüdin,” 144.

  Marschner, “Hans Heiling,” 144.

  “Matrimonio Segreto,” 50.

  Matuszynski, Johann, 151, 300.

  Maysederʼs Solos, 66.

  Mazurka, Chopinʼs Last, 348.

  Mazurkas, 91, 180, 287, 339.

  Mazurkas, op. 6 and 7, 131, 339.

  Mazurkas, op. 17, 339.

  Mazurkas, op. 24, 241, 339.

  Mazurkas, op. 30, 339.

  Mazurkas, op. 33, 339.

  Mazurkas, op. 41, 275.

  Mazurkas, op. 50, 339.

  Mazurkas, op. 56, 339.

  Mazurkas, op. 59, 301, 331.

  Mazurkas, op. 63, 301, 339.

  Mazurkas, op. 67 and 68, 348.

  Mazovians, The, 31.

  Memory, Astonishing, of Chopin and Liszt, 280.

  Mendelssohn, 143, 249.

  Mendelssohn on Chopinʼs Pianoforte playing, 253.

  Mendelssohn, Songs without words, No. 1, Book 2, 139.

  Merk, 202.

  Meyerbeer, 148, 321.

  Meyerbeer, “Les Huguenots,” 144.

  Meyerbeer, “Ritter des Kreuzes,” 144.

  Meyerbeerʼs “Robert le Diable,” 144, 235.

  Mickiewicz, 343, 344.

  Miemcewicz (Julius Ursin), 18.

  Miltitz, Baron, Mass, 160.

  Mistake, The, or the “Imaginary Rogue,” 23.

  Moscheles, 143,

  Moscheles on Chopinʼs Early Works, 242.

  Moscheles on Chopinʼs Pianoforte playing, 276.

  Moschelesʼ Variations on the Alexander March, 112.

  Mozart, 147, 329.

  Mozart, Chopinʼs admiration for, 320.

  Mozartʼs “Midritate Rè di Ponto,” 147.

  Musset, Alfred de, 126.

  Mutes of Portici, The, 169.

  Nidecki, Thomas, 71.

  Nocturne, Marche Funebre, Trois Ecossaises, op. 72, 348.

  Nocturnes, op. 9, 132, 345.

  Nocturnes, op. 15, 241, 345.

  Nocturnes, op. 27, 241, 346.

  Nocturnes, op. 37, 275, 346.

  Nocturnes, op. 48, 62, 72, 346.

  Nourrit, Adolphe, 273.

  Nowakowskiʼs Symphony, 353.

  Official Journal, 353.

  Oginski, Prince Michael, 340.

  Onslowʼs “Die Hausirer” (“Le Colporteur”), 50.

  Organ, Chopinʼs Preference for the, 8.

  Orlowski, Anton, 169, 355.

  Overture to “William Tell,” 119.

  Paerʼs Agnese, 114.

  Paganini, 145, 146.

  Pasta, 235.

  Pianoforte playing, 92.

  Pichon, M., 25.

  Pixisʼ Concerto, 100.

  Polish Courier, 353, 354.

  Polish folk-songs, 331.

  Polish Songs, Sixteen, op. 74, 348.

  Polonaise, op. 3, 338.

  Polonaise, op. 22, 337.

  Polonaises, op. 26, 241, 342.

  Polonaises, op. 40, 275, 341, 342.

  Polonaises, op. 44, 341.

  Polonaises, op. 53, 301, 341.

  Polonaises, op. 71, 342, 348.

  Polonaise in F minor, op. 71, 105.

  Polonaise Fantasia, op. 61, 301.

  Polonaise, Origin of the, 340.

  Potocka, The Countess Delphine, 248, 318, 319.

  Preludes, 347.

  Preludes in B minor and E minor, 321.

  Radziwill, Prince Anton, 36.

  Radziwillʼs, (Prince), Faust, 104.

  Rellstab, 133.

  Ries, Die Räuberbraut, 227.

  “Robert le Diable,” 338.

  Romanticism, 343.

  Romantic School, 328.

  Rondeau pour deux Pianos, op. 73, 348.

  Rondo à la Mazur, op. 5, 34, 137.

  Rondo Cracovienne, 65, 95, 108, 133, 137, 350.

  Rondo, op. 1, ded. to Madame Linde, 13, 34, 128.

  Rondo in C for 2 Pianos, op. 73, 43, 351.

  Rossini, 140.

  Rubini, 235.

  Salieri, 148.

  Sammler, The Vienna, 98.

  Sand, George, 261, 265, 297, 298, 302, 307, 310, 311, 315, 327.

  Sarmatian Melodies, 126.

  Scherzi, 346, 347.

  Scherzo, op. 20, 241.

  Scherzo in C sharp minor, op. 39, 275.

  Schmitt, Aloys, 187.

  Schnabel, 154.

  Scholtz, Herman, on Chopinʼs Earliest Compositions, 136.

  Schubert, 143, 330, 340.

  Schulhoff, Julius, 293.

  Schumann, Article in the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung, 129.

  Schumannʼs “Gesammelte Schriften über Musik und Musiker,” 134.

  Schumann, Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, 243.

  Schumann on Chopinʼs “Ballade,” 257.

  Schumannʼs Romance in F sharp, 139.

  Schuppanzigh, 141.

  Slavonic folk-songs, 30, 32.

  Slawick, 177, 201.

  Soliva, 115.

  Sonata in C minor, op. 4, 64, 129, 137, 338.

  Sonata in B flat minor, op. 35, 338.

  Sonata in B minor, op. 58, 301, 338.

  Sonata in G minor, op. 65, 301, 338.

  Sonntag, Mlle., 358, 360.

  Spohr, 227, 340.

  Spohrʼs “Azor and Zemire,” 144.

  Spohrʼs disparagement of Paganini, 145.

  Spohrʼs Faust, 144.

  Spohrʼs “Jessonda,” 144.

  Spohrʼs Octett, 99.

  Spohrʼs Quintett for Piano, Clarionet, Bassoon, French Horn and Flute,

  Spontiniʼs “Ferdinand Cortez,” 47, 50.

  Stadler, The Abbé, 194.

  Stirlingʼs, Miss, Chopin Museum, 212.

  Stradellaʼs Hymn to the Virgin, 319.

  Studies, 138, 348.

  Study in C minor, 138, 218.

  Tarantelle, op. 43, 275.

  Tarnowski, Count Stanislas, 303.

  Tempo rubato, 289.

  Thalberg, 143, 187.

  Thies, Alexander, 297.

  “Third of May, The,” 349.

  Touch, Cultivation of, 285.

  Trio in G minor, op. 8, 43, 44, 129.

  Urban, 245.

  Valse, op. 42, 275.

  Valses, op. 69, and 70, 348.

  Variations on “La ci darem la mano,” op. 2, 64, 129, 137.

  Variations brillantes, op. 12, 133.

  Variations, ded. to Woyciechowski, 94, 106.

  Veltheim, Charlotte, 68.

  Vienna, The Imperial Library of, 198.

  Violoncello, Chopinʼs preference for, 337.

  Wagner, 139.

  Waltzes, op. 18, 34, 42, 64, 69, 70, 344.

  Warsaw Courier, 354, 356.

  Warsaw Gazette, 352, 353, 354.

  Weber, 340.

  Weber, Dionys, 143.

  Weiglʼs “Schweizerfamilie,” 144.

  Wély, Lefébure, 321.

  Wieck, Clara, 131, 252.

  Wieck, Frederic, Letter of, 251.

  Wiener Theater Zeitung, 76, 97, 364.

  Wildt, Franz, 169, 185.

  Winterʼs “Das unterbrochene Opferfest,” 46, 144.

  Wodzynski, Maria, 255.

  Worlitzer, 112.

  Wockow, Fräulein, 116, 117, 359.

  Würfel, 165.

  Zeitschrift für Literatur, 98.

  Zwyny, (Adalbert), 14.


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