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Title: Frederic Chopin,  v. 1 (of  2) - His Life, Letters, and Works
Author: Karasowski, Moritz
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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,  v. 1 (of  2) - His Life, Letters, and Works" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

  Transcriberʼs Note:

  For the readers convenience, the index from Vol. II.
    has been added to the end of this volume.

[Illustration: FREDERICK CHOPIN.]





  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.


_Our frequent conversations on Chopin have taught me to respect you as
an admirer of this great master, and as a true and faithful interpreter
of his glorious productions. It is to you, therefore, that I dedicate
this work, which, without vanity, I may call a monument raised with
care and devotion to his memory._

_Accept it as a proof of my sincere friendship and appreciative esteem
for your talents._


_Dresden, January, 1877._


Several years of friendship with the family of Frederic Chopin have
enabled me to become acquainted with his letters and to place them
before the public. Just as I had finished transcribing the first
series (letters of his youth) and was on the point of chronologically
arranging the second (Paris correspondence) the insurrection of
1863 broke out in Poland, and the sympathy aroused by the political
condition of the Fatherland weakened public interest in its literary
and artistic productions. I therefore deemed it advisable to abstain
from the publication of Chopinʼs letters.

When I gave back to his family the original letters, I did not dream
that in a few months they would be destroyed. How this happened I
shall in the proper place explain. The loss is a great and irreparable
one, for the number of letters from Paris, during a most brilliant and
interesting epoch, was by no means inconsiderable.

In compliance with the wishes of many of Chopinʼs friends and
admirers, I have undertaken to sketch his career from the materials
afforded me by his one surviving sister, from his letters which I
published in Warsaw, and from some other letters to his friends.

In this work, which contains full particulars about Chopinʼs youth, I
have corrected the erroneous dates and mis-statements, which have found
their way into all the German and French periodicals and books. If I
should succeed in presenting the reader with a life-like portrait of
the immortal artist, it will be the highest reward of my labour of love.






In the year 1787 Warsaw was in a state of unwonted excitement, for the
thoughts of the people were attracted to and concentrated upon the
Diet, that was shortly to assemble for the purpose of preserving the
Polish nation from the miseries incident to anarchy, for upholding the
Republic, remodelling old and defective laws, and framing new ones in
harmony with the requirements of the times.

A radical reform of the effete Constitution was considered by high
State functionaries, the clergy, and by the old nobility, to be
necessary. Admittedly, the Republic ought to be strong enough to
protect itself against hostile foreign influence, or a repetition of
the dismemberment of 1773. Consequently, an imposing standing army
was organized, and, for the purpose of raising the _status_ of the
citizens, special privileges were granted to the trading classes, and
the serfs were emancipated. Indeed, the patriots were desirous of
making all classes politically equal.

The election of members for the Diet was conducted in a spirit of true
patriotic zeal, and nearly all classes in Warsaw were taking part in
the necessary arrangements. Many of the noblest families removed to
the capital. Foreign ambassadors attended the palace to ascertain
the intentions of King Stanislas Augustus respecting the thorough
reforms required by the people. The chariots of the highest official
functionaries, Wojewoden, and Kastellane, frequently accompanied by
outriders in their gorgeous national costume, and carriages, filled
with elegantly dressed ladies, rolled along the streets; while
everywhere there prevailed a bustle and excitement long unknown in

The whole nation was inspired by the hope of a brighter future. The
nobility were to aid a peaceful revolution by voluntarily renouncing
their privileges in favour of a younger generation. The future Republic
was viewed in the most glowing light. Notwithstanding the recent
partition which had rent the very heart of the country, and narrowly
circumscribed its boundaries, every patriot believed that Poland
would now rise from the degradation caused by long years of anarchy,
and, strengthened with new energy, defy every danger.

No wonder the inhabitants of the capital witnessed the preparations for
the important Diet with enthusiasm, or that the streets were thronged
with people. Members of the aristocracy, famous for their patriotism
and willing self-sacrifice for the good both of the people and the
Republic, were universally greeted with genuine esteem and affection.
Such was the scene of stirring activity presented by the capital during
the preparations for the quadrennial Diet.

Among the crowds which thronged the chief thoroughfares was a young
Frenchman, just arrived from his own country. Everything that met
his eye—from the dress of the burgher to the gorgeous apparel of the
rich noble, who at that time generally wore the picturesque national
costume—fixed his attention, and appeared to him unusually interesting
and original. This stranger was Nicholas Chopin, father of the renowned
pianist and tone-poet.


Nicholas Chopin was born at Nancy, in Lorraine, April 17th, 1770. The
duchies of Lorraine and Bar passed, as is well-known, by the peace of
Vienna, in 1735, into the possession of the King of Poland, Stanislas
Leszczynski, after whose death they reverted to France.

Stanislas Leszczynski, a constant friend to science and art, made
great efforts for the spread of general culture among his people; he
founded, at Nancy, the still-existing “Academie Stanislai,” and by
his just and mild rule won the undivided esteem and affection of his
subjects. Nicholas Chopin was born when the remembrance of this prince
and philosopher was still in its first freshness. It had long been
the desire of Chopin, and many other educated Lorrainers, who knew
something of the history of Poland, to visit the country of the exiled
monarch who ruled their own little land, and to become acquainted with
a nation which, despite its own needs, was ever ready to assist the
wants of others.

An opportunity soon presented itself. The Starostin Lacynska, who met
Nicholas Chopin, at Nancy, and was prepossessed by his highly cultured
mind and amiable manners, offered him the appointment of tutor to her
two children, which he readily accepted. Bidding adieu to his family
and friends, he followed the Starostin, and arrived in Warsaw during
the political agitation of 1787.

During his residence with Starostin Lacynska, in the city, and at the
village of Czerniejow, the young Frenchman became acquainted with many
important official personages, some of whom played a prominent part in
the Diet.

He early perceived that a study of the manners and customs of the
people required a thorough knowledge of the language, and in that
acquisition he soon made considerable progress. The discussions in
the Diet interested him much, because they revealed the many wrongs
inflicted on a nation which, under the sceptre of the Jagiellons, had
been among the most powerful and distinguished.


Nicholas Chopin, also, witnessed some important political celebrations
in Warsaw. The proclamation of the new Constitution of the 3rd May,
1791, made a deep and permanent impression upon him.[1]

With the exception of a few obstinately prejudiced aristocrats, the
results of the Diet were received by the whole nation with unexampled
enthusiasm. The joy of the people of Warsaw was unbounded, and everyone
hoped for a return of the golden age of Poland, as the reign of
Sigismund August II. has been rightly called.

As Nicholas Chopin found his social pleasures exclusively among Polish
circles, he began to regard Poland as his second home, and heartily
sympathised with the memorable act which promised brighter fortunes
to the land of the Sarmatians. The recollection of this period never
faded from his memory, and he would often describe to his family the
transport and enthusiasm of the people who thought its future happiness
assured by a firm government, the equality of all classes before the
law, and a standing army of 100,000 men.

Unfortunately these bright hopes were but short lived. Jealous
neighbours, to whose interests the re-organization and strengthening
of Poland were inimical, foreswore its downfall. Contrary to all
principles of justice, for Poland had not in the smallest degree
meddled in her affairs, Russia was the first to take up arms, under
the pretext of opposing the Jacobite tenets of the Constitution and of
restoring to the nobles the power taken from them by the people. The
lust of power and the corruptibility of certain magnates were used by
the Russian government for its own iniquitous ends, and the good laws
decreed by the quadrennial Diet never came into operation.

Frederick William II.,[2] of Prussia—although he professed friendship
for Poland, praised the Constitution, and on March 29th, 1790,
concluded, through his ambassador in Warsaw, Lucchesini, an offensive
and defensive alliance, guaranteeing the national independence—did not
hesitate to enter into a mutual engagement with Russia for a second
partition of Poland, by which he received, in the year 1793, an area
of 1,100 square miles, in the neighbourhood of Dantzic and Thorn. From
this time until its total annihilation, one misfortune after another
beset the sorely tried nation. When the weak and vacillating King
Stanislas Augustus not only deserted his people, because they defended
their independence and the Constitution of May 3rd, but even joined the
Russian party, the great Polish families, one by one, left Warsaw for
more secure abodes.


Nicholas Chopin, having lost his appointment with Starostin Lacynska,
resolved to leave the country; illness, however, forced him to remain
in Warsaw. He, therefore, witnessed, in 1794, the revolution of which
Kosciuszko was the hero, and also the siege of the capital by the
Prussians. Brave by nature, and zealous for the independence of Poland,
Nicholas Chopin entered the ranks of the National Guards, and took
an active part in the defence of the country. He had attained the
position of captain at the time of the defeat of the Polish army at
Maciejowice, when Kosciuszko was severely wounded and taken prisoner,
and overwhelming forces were marching on the suburb of Praga. Nicholas
Chopin was ordered thither with his company, and his death would have
been inevitable had he not been relieved from his post by another
company a few hours before the occupation.

It is notorious that, after the capture of Praga, November 5th, 1794,
Suwarow ordered his troops to kill all the inhabitants, old men, women,
and children not excepted. More than 10,000 persons fell victims
to the conquerorʼs cruelty. The third partition of Poland, which
was accomplished in the following year, gave the death blow to its
political existence. Poland disappeared from the ranks of nations, and
figured only on the map of Europe in fragments, incorporated with other
States. Warsaw alone was under Prussian supremacy.

After passing through this stormy period, Nicholas Chopin once more
resolved to return to France; but was again seized by a severe illness,
which forbade him undergoing the fatigue and delay which the long
journey at that time involved. He, therefore, remained in Warsaw, and
supported himself by giving lessons in French. When asked why he had
abandoned the idea of returning to his own country, he used to reply:
“I have twice made the attempt, but was prevented both times by a
severe illness, which almost cost me my life; it seems to be the will
of Providence that I should stay in Poland, and I willingly submit.”

In the beginning of the present century we find Nicholas Chopin
established in the house of the Countess Skarbek, as tutor to her son.
He there met and fell in love with Fräulein Justine Krzyzanowska, whom,
in 1806, he married. Their union was blessed with three daughters and
one son. Count Frederic Skarbek was god-father to the latter, and gave
him his own baptismal name, “Frederic.”

While little Fredericʼs parents were rejoicing in his growth and
development, the political condition of Poland again changed. The
formation of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, by Napoleon I., in the year
1807, on the basis of the peace of Tilsit, aroused the Poles from the
political death sleep into which they had sunk after the last partition
of their country. Raised by the successful conqueror to the importance
of an actual capital, Warsaw became the centre of action, animating and
concentrating all the powers of the newly-made Duchy. Thither everyone
eagerly repaired. With impetuous haste a government was organized, a
soldiery formed, and new schools established. Following the general
example, Nicholas Chopin returned with his family to Warsaw, where he
would be able to work with greater advantage both to himself and to
the country of his adoption. [Sidenote: APPOINTMENTS IN WARSAW.] On
October 1st, 1810, he was appointed Professor of French at the newly
established Lyceum, where he continued in active work for twenty-one
years, that is, until its overthrow by the Russian government. On
January 1st, 1812, he entered on similar duties at the School of
Artillery and Engineering.

When the kingdom of Poland had been restored, on the basis of the
Congress of Vienna, principally out of those portions which had
previously formed the Grand Duchies, Nicholas Chopin undertook the
professorship of French at the Military Elementary School. The
insurrection of November 29th, 1830, which had awakened among Polish
patriots hopes of deliverance from Russian domination, ended in total

Fresh misfortunes visited the country. The most intelligent portion of
the nation and the representatives of the government emigrated, the
army was disbanded, the universities removed, the Lyceum and other
educational establishments closed. Nicholas Chopin was a member of
the Examining Committee for candidates for appointments in the public
schools, and finally became professor at the Academy for Roman Catholic

The strenuous exertions undertaken by Chopin, out of love for his
adopted country, induced a gradual failure of his powers; he,
therefore, accepted a pension, and retired from public life. His
integrity and noble-mindedness, his dignity under adverse fortune, and
the blameless purity of his life, caused him to be highly respected in
the country he had made his own. The best Polish families were anxious
to entrust the training of their sons to his care, and to place them
in a household universally esteemed, so that for some years Nicholas
Chopin had the charge of a considerable number of youths who were
educated with his own son Frederic. Anxiety about his son did much to
becloud the last years of his life. Amid the devoted care of his family
Nicholas Chopin died, in 1844, aged seventy-four.


Justine Chopin, who had shared all her husbandʼs joys and troubles,
was of an exceedingly gentle disposition, and excelled in all womanly
virtues. The fame of her son Frederic, did not render her in the least
haughty. Domestic peace was her highest happiness. Providence afflicted
her with severe trials: after the death of her husband she lost two
amiable daughters, and then her only and dearly loved son, the last
moments of whose life she was unable to soothe by her motherly care.
But these afflictions were borne with touching patience. In extreme old
age she lived in the house of her one surviving daughter; her last days
were devoted almost entirely to prayer, and she never went out except
to church. She died October 1st, 1861.

Louisa, the eldest child, born April 6th, 1807, received a very
careful education, and soon became a great help to her parents. She
was distinguished by unusual intellectual gifts, industry, and very
agreeable manners. In conjunction with her sister, Isabella, she wrote
some books on the best means for the elevation of the working classes.
After her marriage with Professor Jedrzejewicz, in 1832, she devoted
herself to the education of her children, and gave less attention to
literature. She did not, however, entirely lay aside her pen, but
wrote and published, in various journals, papers and articles on the
education of youth. She died October 29th, 1855.

Nicholas Chopinʼs second daughter, Isabella, married the Inspector of
Schools, Anton Barcinski, who afterwards became Director of Steamboats.
They are both still living in Warsaw.

Emily, the youngest daughter, a very attractive girl, of whom the
highest hopes were entertained, died in her fourteenth year, April
10th, 1827. Educated beyond her years, unceasingly bright and witty,
she possessed the happy gift of always diffusing cheerfulness. She was,
therefore, much beloved, and her wit, affectionate flattery, or droll
mimicry, often prevailed with her parents when her elder sistersʼ and
even her brotherʼs influence had been of no avail.

Thirsting for knowledge, she worked untiringly. The writings of the
principal Polish authors, such as Clementine and Tanska, had so
deeply impressed her, that she made it the aim of her life to become
an authoress. She, therefore, at an early age, zealously studied her
mother tongue, which she soon succeeded in mastering. Some poems which
she wrote for special occasions were distinguished by blameless form
and harmony; even in her thirteenth year Emily and her sister Isabella
were engaged in translating into Polish the tales of the German
writer, Salzmann; but her early death, unfortunately, prevented the
completion of this work. Judging from such of her poetical effusions as
still remain, it may be assumed, that had she lived, Emily would have
attained as brilliant a position in Polish literature as her brother
has in music. She suffered from an incurable complaint of the chest,
and, in her last moments, seeing the suffering and despair of the
relatives around her, she repeated the lines:

  “Wie bitter ist des Menschen Loos auf Erden,
  Sieht er wie um _sein_ Leid, die _Seinen_ traurig werden.”

Thus, at the early age of fourteen, passed away this talented girl,
whose premature intellectual development was so remarkable.

In contemplating the family of Frederic Chopin we see his own character
in its fairest light, and understand how he became what he was. In a
certain sense a human being resembles a plant: nationality, parents,
family, friends, and teachers, all have a share in his development.
Happy the man who regards his parents with loving reverence, who
rejoices in good brothers and sisters and excellent teachers.


One of Nicholas Chopinʼs oldest friends was his colleague and superior,
the famous philologist, Dr. Samuel Bogumil von Linde, who earned the
thanks of the whole nation by the compilation of his valuable Polish
dictionary. His merit is so much the greater as, independently of the
labours of Wilhelm von Humboldt and Bopp, he applied the comparative
and historical method to his work, thus rendering it, to speak
accurately, a parallel comparison of the Slavonic languages.

Frederic Chopin often played duets with Madame von Linde, who was an
unusually well educated woman, and a remarkable pianist for her time.
To her Chopin dedicated his first published work, Rondo, op. 1. This
composition was the first instalment of the rare treasures with which
he has enriched the literature of music.

Another of Nicholas Chopinʼs colleagues was Waclaw Alexander
Maciejowski, celebrated for his researches in history and Slavonic law.
His works are much valued by students, and have been translated into
several languages.

Among others who were from time to time Nicholas Chopinʼs guests
were: Count Skarbek, an excellent author, foster-son to Nicholas,
and god-father to Frederic Chopin; the Professors of the University,
Brodzinski, poet and student of aesthetics; Julius Kolberg, an
engineer, father of the ethnologist Oskar, the indefatigable collector
of folk songs; Jarocki, a learned zoologist; Anton Brodowski, a
celebrated historical and portrait painter; Anton Barcinski, Professor
at the Polytechnic school since 1823, teacher in the hostʼs _pension_,
and afterwards his son-in-law; Jawurek, a talented musician; and last
of all Chopinʼs two masters, Zywny and Elsner.

Adalbert Zywny, born in Bohemia, in 1756, came to Poland in the reign
of Stanislas Augustus. His first appointment was that of music teacher
in the house of Prince Casimir Sapiecha; then he settled in Warsaw as
teacher of the piano. He died in 1840.

[Sidenote: JOSEPH ELSNER.]

Of Elsner I must speak more particularly, because, as Chopinʼs
master for counterpoint, he first discovered his pupilʼs creative
originality, and by guidance and counsel assisted considerably in the
development of his talent for composition. Frederic, therefore, not
only loved and valued Elsner as a teacher, but also as an intimate
friend. As will be seen, his name frequently occurs in Chopinʼs
letters. In Germany Elsner is almost unknown as a composer, although he
rendered good service to church music.

Joseph Xaver Elsner was born June 29th, 1769, at Grottkau, in Silesia.
His father, who was an instrument maker, wished him to study medicine,
but Joseph preferred to devote himself to music. Maar, bandmaster at
Breslau, gave him his first instruction in counterpoint. In 1792,
Elsner went to Poland, holding the post of bandmaster and composer at
the National Theatre, first at Lemberg and then in Warsaw. In 1816,
after the proclamation of the institution of the new kingdom by the
Congress of Vienna, he was entrusted with the establishment of a
school for organists, and six years after with the direction of the

Besides the German operas, “Die Seltenen Brüder,” “Der Verkleidete
Sultan,” and “Il Flauto Magico,” which Eisner composed at Lemberg, he
wrote twenty-seven Polish operas and melodramas, a great number of
arias, cantatas, string quartets, and three symphonies, besides several
ecclesiastical works, among which the oratorio, “Das Leiden Christi”
was several times performed in Warsaw, and very favourably received.
Its wealth of melody, no less than its technical working, renders
this one of the chief, and, perhaps, the most successful of Elsnerʼs
compositions. He also rendered great services to Poland, as teacher
and director at the Conservatoire. He trained a considerable number
of talented young men, who afterwards became excellent musicians, and
otherwise promoted the cultivation of music in the noblest manner. He
died April 18th, 1854.

A magnificent monument, raised by public subscription, adorns his tomb
in Warsaw.

Titled landowners were also included in the circle of Nicholas Chopinʼs
friends. Most of them had been his pupils, or had become acquainted
with him through their sons. In later years, when Fredericʼs rare and
brilliant talents were more fully developed, his father counted among
his guests not only _savants_, poets, and artists, but the _élite_ of
the aristocracy, who considered it an honour to become acquainted with
this interesting and highly esteemed family, and delighted in admiring
the young artist for whom a glorious future was already prophesied.
These were bright and happy days passed by Chopin in his fatherʼs house.





On March 1st, 1809, Frederic François Chopin was born, at Zelazowa
Wola, a village six miles from Warsaw, belonging to Count Skarbek, in
whose house Nicholas Chopin was tutor.[3]

In his earliest years Frederic was so very sensitive to music that he
wept whenever he heard it, and was with difficulty restrained. This
powerful influence was not a painful one; for Frederic soon showed such
a decided love for the piano, that his parents obtained instruction
for him, selecting as his master the well-known and excellent teacher,
Albert Zywny, of Warsaw. As Frederic was so young, his elder sister
shared the music lessons.

Zywny was the first and only director of Fredericʼs precocious musical
talents, for the child began to compose before he even knew how to
commit his ideas to paper. He would request his master to write down
what he improvised, and these first thoughts were afterwards frequently
altered and improved by the gifted boy.

Thus early did he indicate his future care in composition, and his
truly artistic nature. In a few years Frederic made such progress in
pianoforte playing as to excite wonder in all Warsaw drawing rooms. On
the occasion of a public concert, for the benefit of the poor, February
24th, 1818, Julius Ursin Miemcewicz, late adjutant to Kosciuszko, and
himself a great statesman, poet, historian, and political writer, and
other high personages, invited the co-operation of the virtuoso, who
had not quite completed his ninth year. Such a request could not be
refused, and thus Chopinʼs first step in his artistic career was for a
charitable object. A few hours before the performance (he was to play
Gyrowetzʼs pianoforte Concerto), “Fritzchen,” as he was called at home,
was placed on a chair to be suitably dressed for his first appearance
before a large assembly. The child was delighted with his jacket, and
especially with the handsome collar. After the concert, his mother, who
had not been present, asked, as she embraced him, “what did the public
like best?” He naïvely answered: “Oh, mamma, everybody looked only at
my collar,” thus showing that he was not vain of his playing.


From that evening the flower of the aristocracy vied with each other in
patronizing the marvellous boy, whom they regarded as an ornament of
their _salons_. We merely mention the Princes Czartoryski, Sapiecha,
Czetwertynski, Lubecki, Radziwill, Counts Skarbek, Wolicki, Pruszak,
Hussarzewski, Lempicki. The Princess Czetwertynski introduced him to
the Princess Lowicka, the unhappy wife of the Grand Prince Constantin
Pawlowicz. Young, bewitchingly beautiful, full of intelligence and
grace, her charms won the affections of the Grand Prince, who shunned
no sacrifice to make her his own. His passion for this beautiful woman
only temporarily modified his harshness and violence, and, in her
wretched life, the enjoyment of art was her one solace.

Accustomed in his fatherʼs house to good society, and now having the
_entrée_ of the first _salons_ in the capital, refined surroundings
became to Frederic a second nature, and gave him the life-long impress
of a gentleman. He always had an aversion to coarse people, and avoided
anyone who lacked good manners.

Catalini, when passing through Warsaw, became acquainted with the
youthful virtuoso, and was delighted with his artistic pianoforte
playing. As a grateful recognition of the enjoyment he had afforded
her, she presented him with a gold watch, on the back of which was
inscribed: “Donné par Madame Catalini à Frédéric Chopin, agé de dix
ans.” Fredericʼs earliest compositions were dances, Polonaises,
Mazurkas, Waltzes; then he accomplished a March, which he ventured to
dedicate to the Grand Prince Constantine. This violent man, the terror
of those around him, was often very kind to the little artist; he
accepted the dedication very graciously, and desired Frederic to play
the piece to him. Fortunately for the young composer the Prince liked
it, and he walked up and down while it was being played, smiling and
beating time with the utmost complacency. He had the March[4] scored,
and it was often performed at the military parade, in the Saxon Square.

Frederic occasionally improvised in the drawing room of the Grand
Princess. Noticing his habit of casting up his eyes and gazing at the
ceiling, the Prince said to him: “Why do you always look upwards, boy?
do you see notes up there?” Probably Chopin saw nothing around him when
listening to the voice of his genius.


From contemporary observers we learn with what perseverance he laboured
to overcome the technical difficulties of the pianoforte. Impressed by
the good effect of a chord with the dominant in the higher octave, but
unable to play it with his small hand, he endeavoured to produce the
desired expansion by a mechanical contrivance of his own manufacture,
which he kept between his fingers even during the night. He was not
led to use this aid by a desire of fame or of forestalling others, in
inventing and surmounting new difficulties, but because he perceived
the difference between a slurred and a detached chord. These chords
became a characteristic feature in Chopinʼs compositions. At first
they were thought almost impossible for systematic use, but players
grew accustomed to them, and now no pianist finds them unsuited to the
capacities of the hand.

The refinement and elegance of Chopinʼs musical ideas, and his obvious
desire for the frequent use of extended chords, already reveal his
peculiar _penchant_ for new, dissevered chords. Perceiving Fredericʼs
uncommon talent for composition, his father had him instructed in
counterpoint, as far as was compatible with his preparation for the
Warsaw Lyceum, not having as yet entertained the idea of making him
an artist. Nicholas Chopin made a most fortunate choice in asking his
friend, Elsner, to become Fredericʼs instructor. Teacher and pupil were
united till death, in a pure and faithful friendship, such as only
the noblest minds can feel. When people remarked to Elsner, as they
frequently did, that Frederic under-rated and set aside the customary
rules and universal laws of music, and listened only to the dictates
of his own fancy, the worthy director of the Conservatoire would
reply: “Leave him alone, he does not follow the common way because his
talents are uncommon; he does not adhere to the old method because he
has one of his own, and his works will reveal an originality hitherto
unknown.” This prophecy has been fully fulfilled. A less discerning
teacher might have hindered and repressed his pupilʼs efforts, and so
quenched the desire for loftier flights. To the astonishment of his
friends, Frederic excelled in everything he undertook, and they formed
the most brilliant expectations of his future. Extraordinary vivacity
of temperament prompted him to incessant activity, and sharpened his
innate, irrepressible, and versatile humour. What innumerable tricks
he was continually playing on his sisters, schoolfellows, and even
on persons of riper years! His youngest sister, Emily, was an active
assistant in these merry pranks.

The birthdays of his parents and intimate friends were frequently
celebrated by theatrical representations, in which Frederic usually
took the most active part. The eminent dramatic artist of that time,
Albert Piasecki, who acted as manager at these representations,
considered that Chopin, on account of his presence of mind, excellent
declamation, and capacity for rapid facial changes, was born to be
a great actor. Fredericʼs acting, indeed, often astonished the best
connoisseurs. He frequently saved a piece by improvising his own
and other parts, when one of the players forgot his _rôle_, or the
prompter failed to assist. It is well known that his talent for musical
improvisation contributed in no small degree in after years to his

Having, under the excellent guidance of Elsner, mastered the
technicalities of music, Chopin could improvise to an unlimited extent
on any given theme, producing the most graceful changes, and drawing
the most marvellous effects from the keyboard. In these improvisations,
and particularly in those of a later period, Chopin showed himself a
true poet, and this explains why poets admired him so ardently and
felt inspired by his playing. Those who heard Chopin at such times
say that his finest compositions are but a reflex and echo of his
improvisations. When Frederic was fifteen, and Emily eleven, [Sidenote:
HIS ONE-ACT COMEDY IN VERSE.] they wrote in honour of their fatherʼs
birthday, a one-act comedy, in verse, entitled: “The Mistake; or, the
Imaginary Rogue.” Frederic, Isabella, and Emily took the principal
parts, the others were divided among the boarders. The comedy is too
ephemeral and näive for quotation, but it displayed the intelligence of
the youthful authors, and their command of language. In the same year
(1824) Frederic entered the fourth class at the Lyceum, and although
he frequently indulged in his harmless and always witty pranks, he was
one of the best and most talented pupils. He used to make his fellow
students laugh by caricaturing the professor of history discoursing
on great celebrities. In a lucky moment, he caricatured the director,
Mons. Linde, to the life, but unfortunately the drawing fell into the
directorʼs hands. This worthy man, who was indulgent to everyone,
and especially to the young, returned the paper to Chopin, without
a word, having written on it, “the likeness is well drawn.” For a
long time Frederic took a delight in catching the ludicrous side of a
characteristic figure, and caricaturing it.

He spent his first holidays in Mazovia, at the village of Szafarnia,
which belonged to the Dziewanowski estate, where he soon formed a warm
and lasting friendship with the children of this distinguished family.
To any boy brought up in a city, a stay of several weeks in the country
is a time full of freedom and delight; and how infinitely greater would
be the enjoyment of a gifted boy like Chopin when, unburdened by school
exercises, he can wander through wood and meadow, dreaming of fairies
and wood-nymphs. Frederic, who was not at all fond of long, fatiguing
walks, loved to lie under a tree, and indulge in beautiful day-dreams.
Instead of an ordinary correspondence it occurred to him to bring
out a little periodical under the title of the _Kurjer Szafarski_,
on the model of the _Warsaw Courier_, a paper then published in the
capital. Among the memorials of Frederic, collected by the family
are two numbers of this little journal, for the year 1824. At the
beginning of the first number we read: “On July 15th, M. Pichon (a
name Frederic assumed) appeared at the musical assembly at Szafarnia,
at which were present several persons, big and little: he played
Kalkbrennerʼs Concerto, but this did not produce such a _furore_,
especially among the youthful hearers, as the song which the same
gentleman rendered.” It happened that a great many Jews were at that
time in the neighbouring village of Oborów (the property of M. Romocki)
to buy grain. [Sidenote: “HE PLAYS LIKE A BORN JEW.”] Frederic invited
some of them to his room, and played to them a kind of Jewish wedding
March, called “Majufes.” His performance excited such enthusiasm among
his guests that they not only began to dance, but earnestly begged him
to come to an approaching Jewish marriage, and give them some more of
his exquisite music. “He plays,” said the delighted Israelites, “like a
born Jew.”[5]

The remainder of the news of the _Kurjer Szfarski_ consisted of
humorous descriptions of the daily events of the village. A strange
glimpse of the condition of Poland is afforded by the fact, that
according to a custom, which even now prevails in Warsaw, each issue
of this journal was examined by the government censor, whose business
it was to write on every number, “lawful for transmission.” The office
was at that time held by Mlle. Louise Dziewanowska, daughter of the
proprietor of Szafarnia.

It would be impossible to enumerate all the jokes and harmless
mysteries which this famous man indulged in during the happy days of
boyhood, but I will mention a few of his merry tricks, for the sake of
those who linger with affectionate interest over his early years.

Mons. Romocki, the proprietor of Oborów, once sold his wheat to a
Jewish merchant. Hearing of the purchase, Frederic wrote a letter in
the Polo-Jewish style, purporting to come from the buyer, and stating
that, after mature consideration, he found he should be a loser by
the bargain, and, therefore, declined it. The writing was abominable,
the spelling full of blunders, but the deception succeeded so well
that Romocki was in a frightful rage. He sent for the Jew instantly,
and would probably have soundly belaboured the unfortunate merchant
had not Frederic confessed his mischievous trick in time. Romocki
laughed at the joke, and was on his guard against being taken in
again by Frederic. The deeper meaning underlying all the acts of this
accomplished man in later years showed itself even here. Romocki was
ashamed of his fury, and it is said from that day he very rarely, and
only from necessity, took a whip in his hand.

Between 1820 and 1830 there was an Evangelical pastor in Warsaw, named
Tetzner, who preached every Sunday in German and Polish alternately,
and from his defective knowledge of the language, proclaimed the truths
of the gospel in very broken Polish. Being led into his church from
curiosity, Frederic was at once struck by the droll speech of the
preacher, and carefully noticed every wrongly pronounced word. When he
reached home, he constructed a kind of pulpit with tables and chairs,
put on a whig, and, summoning the family, delivered a discourse in
imitation of the pastorʼs broken Polish, which was so ludicrous that
his hearers burst into roars of laughter.

If his fatherʼs pupils made too much noise in the house, Frederic had
only to place himself at the piano to produce instant and perfect
quiet. One day when Professor Chopin was out there was a frightful
scene. Barcinski, the master present, was at his witsʼ end, when
Frederic, happily, entered the room.[6] Without deliberation he
requested the roisterers to sit down, called in those who were making
a noise outside, and promised to improvise an interesting story on the
piano, if they would be quite quiet. All were instantly as still as
[Sidenote: CHILDREN SPELL-BOUND BY HIS PLAYING.] death, and Frederic
sat down to the instrument and extinguished the lights.[7] He described
how robbers approached a house, mounted by ladders to the windows, but
were frightened away by a noise within. Without delay they fled on
the wings of the wind into a deep, dark wood, where they fell asleep
under the starry sky. He played more and more softly, as if trying to
lull children to rest, till he found that his hearers had actually
fallen asleep. The young artist noiselessly crept out of the room, to
his parents and sisters, and asked them to follow him with a light.
When the family had amused themselves with the various postures of the
sleepers, Frederic sat down again to the piano, and struck a thrilling
chord, at which they all sprang up in a fright. A hearty laugh was the
_finale_ of this musical joke.

Further on in his life we meet with a companion picture to this
story, which affords us an excellent example of Fredericʼs talent for
improvisation, profound knowledge of counterpoint, and mastery over all
technical difficulties. Like all gifted and accomplished musicians,
he showed an especial preference for the organ as offering wide scope
for the freest improvisation. It was customary for the students of the
Warsaw University to assemble about eleven in the morning for service
at the Wizytek Church, at which artists and _dilettanti_ performed
vocal masses with and without orchestral accompaniments.

Chopin sometimes sat in the choir and played the organ. One day
when the celebrant had sung the “Oremus,” Frederic improvised, in a
highly ingenious manner, on the motive of the portion of the mass
already performed, working out the fundamental thought with the most
interesting combinations and contrapuntal devices. The choristers
and band, spell-bound by the magic power of his fancy, left their
desks, and surrounded the player, listening with rapt attention, as if
they had been in the concert room rather than the church. The priest,
at the altar, patiently awaited the conclusion, but the sacristan
rushed angrily into the choir, exclaiming: “what the d—— are you
doing? The priest has twice intoned, _Per omnia sæcula sæculorum_, the
ministrant has rung repeatedly, and still you keep on playing. The
superior who sent me is out of all patience.” [Sidenote: HIS REVERIE IN
CHURCH.] Chopin awoke from his reverïe, and his hands lay motionless
on the keys. Although his wonderful improvisations generally cost
him but little trouble, he spared no pains when preparing a work for
publication. When absorbed by a thought he would brood over it for
hours and days in perfect silence and solitude. What passed in the
soul of the tone-poet at these seasons cannot be described; with such
psychological conditions the imaginative can sympathise, and all who
are sensible to the influences of poetry and art may in some measure

Chopin had an instrument in his bed-room, and often worked far on into
the night; sometimes when the rest of the household were asleep, he
would spring out of bed, rush to his piano, and strike a few chords,
developing some immatured thought, or resolving some imperfect harmony.
Then he would lie down, but only to rise and do the same thing again,
daylight frequently finding him thus occupied. The servants, by
whom Frederic was much beloved, but who could not understand such
proceedings, shook their heads compassionately, and said, “The poor
young gentlemanʼs mind is affected.”

When on an excursion with his father to the suburbs, or spending his
holidays in the country, he always listened attentively to the song of
the reaper, and the tune of the peasant fiddler, fixing in his memory
and delighting to idealise these frequently original and expressive
melodies. He often wondered who was the creator of the beautiful
melodies interwoven in the Mazurkas, Cracoviennes, and Polonaises, and
how the Polish peasants learnt to sing and play the violin with such
purity. No one could give him any information. Indeed both the words
and melodies of these songs are the creation of several minds. An
artless, spontaneous melody, poured forth by one person, is altered,
and perhaps improved, by another, and so passes from mouth to mouth
till finally it becomes a possession of all the people. Slavonic
folk-songs differ greatly from the Romance and Germanic; they are
historical records of the feelings, customs, and character of the


Chopin was born and bred in Mazovia, a peculiarly music-loving
province. A distinguished Polish writer[9] says: “The love of song
characterizes the Slavonic above all other races; the rudest peasant
could be allured to the end of the world by his national songs.” The
Mazovians have such an intense love for music that they sing about
the commonest affairs of life, readily perceiving their pleasing and
touching phases. The predilection of the Poles for these songs is often
a matter of pecuniary profit, for a beggar, with some talent in singing
and playing the violin, has no difficulty in obtaining alms. During the
great festivals—Easter, Whitsuntide, and Christmas—men and women walk
about the Mazovian villages, singing and playing appropriate dances,
and everywhere they are warmly received, gladly listened to, and not
sparingly rewarded. Nearly all these songs originated in the cottage,
their composers were men who could neither read nor write, and whose
names will always remain unknown.

Poetical perception and sensibility to the beauties of nature are
evidently innate in the Polish character; they are susceptibilities
which neither prosaic work, the cares of daily life, nor even the
burden of more than a century of national suffering have had power to

In his childhood Chopin had imbedded these folk-songs in his memory,
and, impressed by their peculiar beauty, he frequently interwove some
especial favorite into his own compositions. He first gave the national
dance tune a truly beautiful and perfect form by adorning it with
interesting harmonies and poetical arabesques.





The year 1825 found Fredericʼs social and artistic circle continually
increasing in numbers and influence, and the fame of his extraordinary
musical talents spreading far and wide. He excited universal interest,
and it is a proof of his popularity that the only strikingly successful
concerts were those in which he took part. His marvellous playing at
two grand concerts, given for charitable objects, in the hall of the
Conservatoire, on May 27th, and June 10th, 1825, awakened unbounded
approbation. As the best pianist in the capital, Chopin was summoned
to play before the Emperor, Alexander I., who, during his stay in
Warsaw, was desirous of hearing the newly-invented Aelomelodicon.[10]
The instrument was placed in the Protestant Church, for the sake of
heightening the tone by its being heard under the enormous dome of
that building. In token of his admiration of the wonderful performance
of the talented youth, then little more than a boy, the Emperor
presented him with a valuable diamond ring.

The same year saw the publication of Chopinʼs first printed work, the
Rondo dedicated to Madame von Linde. Neither this nor the following
“Rondo à la Masur,” op. 5, also published in Warsaw, made him famous
abroad, but in his own city he was already regarded as a popular and
rapidly ripening artist. Looking at their son merely as a distinguished
_dilettante_, his parents had not made music his chief study, but when
they saw that Frederic was by nature designed for a great musician,
they removed all obstacles, and left him to the undisturbed enjoyment
of his piano and his poetic dreams.

Everywhere he was warmly welcomed: in the drawing-rooms of the
aristocracy, by his comrades at the Conservatoire, or the Lyceum, of
which he was considered the highest ornament, and where he formed
some life-long friendships. Among these friends we may mention Titus
Woyciechowski, to whom he dedicated his “Variations, op. 2;” Alexander
Rembielinski;[11] Wilhelm von Kolberg; Johann Matuszynski, Stanislas
Kozmian, now President of the Scientific Society at Posen; Eustachius
Marylski; Dominicus Magnuszewski and Stephan Witwicki, both poets of
talent; Celinski; Hube, and Julius Fontana.[12]


Frederic excited no jealousy among his fellow students at the
Conservatoire, for his talents as pianist and composer were so
pre-eminent that they all bowed before him as their master. Kind and
affable by disposition he had also an innate grace, while, from his
education and refined surroundings, he possessed, even in early youth,
the tact of a grown-up person. These qualities won the esteem and
affection of all who knew him, and no one was offended by his practical
jokes, mimicries, or caricatures.

The activity of the young artist was intense, and although his
excessive exertions appeared to him but slight, they undoubtedly
injured his delicate constitution. Fredericʼs parents having been
advised by the physicians to send their youngest daughter, Emily, to
Bad Reinerz, in Silesia, they thought it well to let him accompany
her that he might try the whey cure. Accordingly, at the beginning of
the holidays of 1826, the mother, Louise, Emily, and Frederic went to
the then much frequented spring. During their visit a poor widow, who
had vainly been seeking help from the healing stream, died, leaving
two young children, under the care of a faithful nurse, but without
sufficient means for the funeral and the journey home. Hearing of their
need, Chopin made the noblest use of his talents. He arranged a concert
for the benefit of the poor children, and had the satisfaction of
obtaining a good sum. By his masterly playing he won the admiration of
the connoisseurs; by his benevolence, the esteem of all generous minds.
He became the object of the most courteous attention. A few days after
the concert Frederic and his family left Reinerz, and spent the rest
of the summer at the village of Strzyzewo, part of the estate of his
godmother, Madame von Wiesiolowska, sister to Count Skarbek.

Prince Anton Radziwill, a wealthy nobleman, related to the Prussian
Royal family, and Governor of the Duchy of Posen, had his summer
residence in the neighbouring village, Antonin. A passionate lover
of music, a keen connoisseur, and a thoroughly trained composer, he
had obtained celebrity by his music to the first part of Goetheʼs
_Faust_, which, by Royal command, was for several years performed
annually in his honour at the Berlin Academy for Singing. He had a
very agreeable tenor voice, and also played the violoncello well.
His house, in Posen, was the _rendezvous_ for the best artists, and
quartet parties for the performance of classical music were held in his
_salons_ nearly every week, the Prince himself playing the violoncello.

Frederic having availed himself of an invitation to Antonin, the
Prince took a great fancy to him, and was charmed with his playing. In
May, 1829, when he went to Warsaw as representative of the Prussian
court, at the coronation of the Emperor Nicholas, [Sidenote: VISITED
BY PRINCE ANTON RADZIWILL.] he visited Frederic at his fatherʼs house,
and was very pressing in inviting him to his establishment at Posen.
There was no further personal intercourse between this magnate and
our artist, yet writers, ignorant of the facts, have represented the
Prince as Chopinʼs benefactor, and as having supplied the means for his
education. Franz Liszt was the first to promulgate this error in his
book, entitled “Francois Chopin,” written in French, shortly after the
masterʼs death, in which he says, “supplementing the limited means of
the family, the Prince bestowed on Frederic the inestimable gift of a
good and complete education. Through a friend, M. Antoine Korzuchowski,
the Prince, whose own elevated mind enabled him to understand the
requirements of an artistic career, always paid his educational
expenses. From this time until the death of Chopin, M. Korzuchowski
held the closest relations of friendship with him.” In this statement
there is not a word of truth, yet it has been repeated not only by
foreign, but, what is less pardonable, even by Polish authors.

We are fully aware that in the portions of the work relating to
Chopinʼs youth, manners, compositions, and to the Polish national
music, Liszt received much help from a Polish emigrant, Franz
Grzymala. He had been a deputy at the Diet, and was an able author and
journalist; he died in Paris in 1871, the day after the capitulation.
Not having made Chopinʼs acquaintance until his residence in Paris, it
does not appear, from what he told Liszt, that he could have possessed
any accurate information about his early life. Julius Fontana, who
had known Chopin from childhood, entered a protest against Lisztʼs
assertion, so also did the parents of the great artist, who were
sadly pained to read that Prince Radziwill had entirely provided for
Fredericʼs education. Professor at three large academies in Warsaw, and
proprietor of a flourishing _pension_, surely Nicholas Chopin would
have found means for the education of his dearly loved and only son.

An equally untrue report has been spread to the effect that Chopin
travelled to Italy at the expense of Prince Radziwill. In reality
the expenses of the journey were defrayed by the receipts of three
numerously attended concerts given in Warsaw. The first time he asked
his father for money was when he had determined on going to Paris,
after a sojourn of eighteen months in the beautiful Austrian capital.
In his charming, child-like manner, he lamented that he should be the
cause of additional expenditure to his parents, to whom he had, he
thought, already cost quite enough. His father sent him the money, and
an affectionate letter, expressing his willingness to supply him with
means, until he procured some regular mode of subsistence in Paris.


As a mark of friendship and respect for the distinguished composer
of the music to _Faust_, Frederic dedicated to him his Trio, for
pianoforte and violoncello, op. 8, composed in Warsaw between 1827
and 1829; so that in point of fact Chopin, not the Prince, was the
donor. It is only fair to Liszt to say that he is less to blame for the
circulation of the error we have pointed out, than Grzymala and those
who blindly believed and promulgated a statement so utterly false.




In 1827 Chopin passed his final examination before leaving the Lyceum,
not, however, with such brilliant success as on former occasions, when
every promotion to a higher class had been accompanied by a special
reward. This is accounted for by his having, during the last year,
devoted his chief energies to music, a goodly pile of compositions,
finished or sketched in outline, being found in his study. Elsner,
who was the keenest observer and most competent judge of Fredericʼs
artistic progress, and creative power, exhorted his parents to let
their son have his own way, and to do all they could to encourage his
lofty flights of fancy.

The question now was how to give the young composer better
opportunities for hearing and studying than his native city afforded.
Although first-rate artists occasionally gave concerts in Warsaw,
Frederic could only satisfy his ardent desire of hearing the sublime
works of the classic masters, in the larger European centres of life
and intelligence. His parents, therefore, resolved to send their
beloved son to Vienna or Berlin, if only for a few weeks, at the very
first favourable opportunity. One soon offered. In 1828, Professor
Jarocki, having been invited by Alexander von Humboldt to the
Naturalistsʼ Congress, at Berlin, Nicholas Chopin was only too happy
to confide his son to the care of one of his best friends, while the
Professor was equally pleased to have the company of an amiable and
talented young man like Chopin.

[Sidenote: VISITS BERLIN.]

Thus he left his native land for the first time to visit a large
foreign city, where he hoped to learn a great deal. Unconscious of his
own artistic greatness he had no wish to appear in Berlin as a pianist
or composer. An opportunity was offered him of meeting Spontini,
Zelter, and the youthful though famous Felix Mendelssohn, but he did
not venture to present himself before these celebrated masters. The
physiognomies of the German _savants_ seemed odd to the young Pole,
the French blood stirred in his veins, and he could not refrain from
caricaturing these worthy but somewhat strange-looking gentlemen.

He was enraptured with the oratorio of Handelʼs, which he heard at
the Academy of Singing: never had he received so deep an impression
from church music. The performance of _Der Freischütz_, with which
bewitching opera he had already become acquainted in Warsaw, likewise
gave him indescribable delight, while he was much interested in
comparing the opera in that city with the Royal opera in Berlin.

Since he left Warsaw the only time he touched the piano was at a little
village on his way back, when he played at the request of the post
master and his travelling companions.

We will now let our artist speak for himself, only making such
alterations as the necessities of translation require.


    _To Titus Woyciechowsky._

    _Warsaw, September 9th, 1828._


    You cannot think how I have been longing for news of you and your
    mother, nor imagine my joy when I received your letter. I was then
    at Strzyzewo, where I spent the whole summer, but could not reply
    immediately because I was so busy preparing to return to Warsaw.
    Now I am writing like a lunatic, for I really do not know what I
    am about. I am actually starting for Berlin to-day! There is to be
    a philosophical congress at Berlin—after the model of those held
    in Switzerland and Bavaria—to which the King has requested the
    University to invite the most celebrated European naturalists. The
    president is to be the renowned Alexander von Humboldt. Professor
    Jarocki has received an invitation as a zoologist, and ex-student
    and doctor of the Berlin University. Something magnificent is
    anticipated, and it is reported that Spontini will give a
    performance of his “Cortez.”

    Jarockiʼs friend and teacher, Lichtenstein, officiates as secretary
    to the Congress: he is a member of the Academy of Singing, and
    is on a friendly footing with the director, Herr Zelter. I learn
    from a good authority in Berlin that I shall have an opportunity,
    through Lichtenstein, of becoming acquainted with all the best
    musicians in the Prussian capital, except Spontini, with whom he is
    not on good terms.

    I shall be much pleased to meet the Prussian Prince Radziwill, who
    is a friend of Spontini. I only intend spending a fortnight with
    Jarocki, but this will give me an opportunity of, at any rate,
    hearing a good opera once, and so having an idea of a perfect
    performance, which is worth a good deal of trouble.

    At Strzyzewo I arranged my last Rondo in C major, for two

    To-day I tried it with Ernemann, at Bucholtzʼs,[14] and it came out
    pretty well. We intend to play it some day at the “Ressource.”

    As to new compositions I have nothing besides the still unfinished
    Trio (G minor) which I began after your departure. The first
    _Allegro_ I have already tried with accompaniments.

    It seems to me that this Trio will meet the same fate as the
    Sonata and Variations. Both are already in Vienna; the former
    I have dedicated to Elsner, as his pupil; to the latter I
    have—perhaps somewhat presumptuously—affixed your name. I acted on
    the impulse of affection, and I am sure you will not misconstrue
    my motives. Skarbek has not yet returned, Jedrzejewicz will remain
    some time longer in Paris.[15] He was there introduced to the
    pianist Sowinski,[16] who wrote to me to say that he should like to
    make my acquaintance, by correspondence, before he comes to Warsaw.
    As he is assistant editor of Fétisʼs _Revue Musicale_, he would be
    glad to be informed about musical affairs in Poland, or to receive
    biographies of the foremost Polish composers and artists—matters
    in which I have not the least intention of being mixed up, so I
    shall reply to him from Berlin that what he wants is not at all
    in my line, and that I do not feel competent to write for a Paris
    journal, requiring able and matured criticism.

    At the end of this month I shall leave Berlin, a five daysʼ journey
    by diligence!

    Everything here is just the same as ever; the excellent Zywny is
    the heart and soul of all our parties.

    I must conclude, for my luggage is already packed and sent to the

    I kiss your motherʼs feet and hands. My parents and sisters send
    kind regards and sincerest wishes for the improvement of her health.

    Take pity on me, and write soon, however briefly. I shall value a
    single line.




    _Berlin, Tuesday._[17]


    We arrived safely in this great city about 3 oʼclock on Sunday
    afternoon, and went direct from the post to the hotel “Zum
    Kronprinz,” where we are now. It is a good and comfortable
    house. The day we arrived Professor Jarocki took me to Herr
    Lichtensteinʼs, where I met Alex. von Humboldt. He is not above
    the middle height, and his features cannot be called handsome,
    but the prominent, broad brow, and the deep penetrating glance
    reveal the searching intellect of the scholar, who is as great a
    philanthropist as he is a traveller. He speaks French like his
    mother tongue; even you would have said so, dear Father.

    Herr Lichtenstein promised to introduce me to the first musicians
    here; and regretted that we had not arrived a few days sooner to
    have heard his daughter perform at a _matinée_, last Sunday, with
    orchestral accompaniments.

    I, for my part, felt but little disappointment, but, whether
    rightly or wrongly, I know not, for I have neither seen nor heard
    the young lady. The day we arrived there was a performance of “The
    Interrupted Sacrifice,”[18] but our visit to Herr Lichtenstein
    prevented me from being present.

    Yesterday the savants had a grand dinner; Herr von Humboldt did
    not occupy the chair, but a very different looking person, whose
    name I cannot at this moment recall. However, as he is, no doubt,
    some celebrity, I have written his name under my portrait of him.
    (I could not refrain from making some caricatures, which I have
    already classified.) The dinner lasted so long that there was
    not time for me to hear Birnbach, the much-praised violinist of
    nine years. To-day I shall dine alone, having made my excuses to
    Professor Jarocki, who readily perceived that, to a musician, the
    performance of such a work as Spontiniʼs “Ferdinand Cortez,” must
    be more interesting than an interminable dinner among philosophers.
    Now I am quite alone, and enjoying a chat with you, my dear ones.

    There is a rumour that the great Paginini is coming here. I only
    hope it is true. Prince Radziwill is expected on the 20th of this
    month. It will be a great pleasure to me if he comes. I have, as
    yet, seen nothing but the Zoological Cabinet, but I know the city
    pretty well, for I wandered among the beautiful streets and bridges
    for two whole days. You shall have a verbal description of these,
    as, also, of the large and decidedly beautiful castle. [Sidenote:
    CONSIDERS BERLIN A STRAGGLING CITY.] The chief impression Berlin
    makes upon me is that of a straggling city which could, I think,
    contain double its present large population. We wanted to have
    stayed in the French street, but I am very glad we did not, for it
    is as broad as our Lezno,[19] and needs ten times as many people as
    are in it to take off its desolate appearance.

    To-day will be my first experience of the music of Berlin. Do not
    think me one-sided, dearest Papa, for saying that I would much
    rather have spent the morning at Schlesingerʼs than in labouring
    through the thirteen rooms of the Zoological Museum, but I came
    here for the sake of my musical education, and Schlesingerʼs
    library, containing, as it does, the most important musical works
    of every age and country, is, of course, of more interest to me
    than any other collection. I console myself with the thought that
    I shall not miss Schlesingerʼs, and that a young man ought to see
    all he can, as there is something to be learnt everywhere. This
    morning I went to Kistingʼs pianoforte manufactory, at the end of
    the long Frederic Street, but as there was not a single instrument
    completed, I had my long walk in vain. Fortunately for me there is
    a good grand piano in our hotel, which I play on every day, both to
    my own and the landlordʼs gratification.

    The Prussian diligences are most uncomfortable, so the journey
    was less agreeable than I had anticipated; however, I reached
    the capital of the Hohenzollerns in good health and spirits. Our
    travelling companions were a German lawyer, living at Posen, who
    tried to distinguish himself by making coarse jokes; and a very fat
    farmer, with a smattering of politeness acquired by travelling.

    At the last stage before Frankfort-on-the-Oder, a German Sappho
    entered the diligence and poured forth a torrent of ridiculous,
    egotistical complaints. Quite unwittingly, the good lady amused
    me immensely, for it was as good as a comedy, when she began to
    argue with the lawyer, who, instead of laughing at her, seriously
    controverted everything she said.

    The suburbs of Berlin, on the side by which we approached are not
    pretty, but the scrupulous cleanliness and order which everywhere
    prevail are very pleasing to the eye. To-morrow I shall visit the
    suburbs on the other side.

    The Congress will commence its sittings the day after to-morrow,
    and Herr Lichtenstein has promised me a ticket. In the evening
    Alex. von Humboldt will receive the members at his house: Professor
    Jarocki offered to procure me an invitation, but I thanked him and
    said I should gain little, if any, intellectual advantage from
    such a gathering, for which I was not learned enough; besides the
    professional gentlemen might cast questioning glances at a layman
    like me, and ask, “Is Saul then among the prophets?” I fancied,
    even at the dinner, that my neighbour, Professor Lehmann, a
    celebrated botanist from Hamburg, looked at me rather curiously.
    I was astonished at the strength of his small fist; he broke with
    ease the large piece of white bread, to divide which I was fain
    to use both hands and a knife. He leaned over the table to talk
    to Professor Jarocki, and in the excitement of the conversation
    mistook his own plate and began to drum upon mine. [Sidenote: “A
    REAL SAVANT.”] A real _savant_, was he not? with the great ungainly
    nose, too. All this time I was on thorns, and as soon as he had
    finished with my plate, I wiped off the marks of his fingers with
    my serviette as fast as possible.

    Marylski cannot have an atom of taste if he thinks the Berlin
    ladies dress well; their clothes are handsome, no doubt, but alas
    for the beautiful stuffs cut up for such puppets!

    Your ever fondly loving,


       *       *       *       *       *

    _Berlin, September 20th, 1828._

    I am well and happy, dear Parents and Sisters. As if on purpose
    to honour me, a fresh piece is brought out at the theatre every
    day. First I heard an oratorio at the Academy of Singing; then
    at the Opera, “Ferdinand Cortez,” “Il Matrimonio Segreto,”
    and Onslowʼs[20] “Der Hausirer.” I greatly enjoyed all these
    performances, but I must confess that I was quite carried away by
    Handelʼs “Ode on St. Ceciliaʼs Day;” this most nearly approaches
    my ideal of sublime music. With the exception of Signora Tibaldi
    (alto), and Fräulein von Schätzel, whom I heard in “Der Hausirer,”
    and at the Academy of Singing, all the best singers are away.
    Fräulein von Schätzel pleased me best in the Oratorio, but it may
    have been that I was in a better mood that evening for listening.
    The Oratorio, however, was not without a “but,” which, perhaps,
    will only be got rid of in Paris.

    I have not called on Herr Lichtenstein yet, for he is so busy
    with preparations for the Congress, that even Professor Jarocki
    can scarcely get a word with him, but he has kindly procured
    me a ticket of admission. I was in such a capital place that I
    could see and hear everything, and was quite close to the Crown
    Prince. Spontini, Zelter, and Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy were also
    there; but I did not speak to any of them, as I did not think it
    proper to introduce myself. It is said that Prince Radziwill will
    come to-day; I shall find out after breakfast if this is really

   [Sidenote: BARON VON HUMBOLDT.]

    At the Singing Academy I observed the handsome Princess von
    Liegnitz, talking to a man in a kind of livery, whose face I could
    not clearly see. I asked my neighbour if he were a Royal valet de
    chambre, and received for a reply, “Aye, that is His Excellency
    Baron von Humboldt.” You may imagine, my dear ones, how thankful I
    was that I had only uttered my question in a whisper; but I assure
    you that the chamberlainʼs uniform changes even the countenance,
    or I could not have failed to recognise the great traveller, who
    has ascended the mighty Chimborazo. Yesterday he was present at
    the performance of “Der Hausirer,” or, as the French call it, “Le
    Colporteur.” In the Royal box sat Prince Charles.

    The day before yesterday we visited the Royal library, which is
    very large, but does not contain many musical works. I was much
    interested in seeing an autograph letter of Kosciuskoʼs, which his
    biographer, Falkenstein, immediately copied, letter by letter. When
    he saw that we were Poles, and could, therefore, read the letter
    without any trouble, he begged Professor Jarocki to translate
    it into German, while he wrote it down in his pocket book.
    Falkenstein, an agreeable young man, is secretary to the Dresden
    Library. I met, also, the editor of the _Berlin Musical Gazette_;
    we were introduced, and exchanged a few words. To-morrow will see
    the fulfilment of one of my most earnest wishes: “Der Freischutz”
    is to be performed. I shall then be able to compare our singers
    with the singers here. To-day I am invited to the grand dinner at
    the drill house. The number of caricatures increases.

    Yours ever lovingly,


       *       *       *       *       *

    _Berlin, Saturday, September 27th, 1828._

    I am quite well, and have seen all that is to be seen. I shall soon
    be with you again. In a week, from the day after to-morrow, we
    shall embrace. Lounging about agrees with me capitally. Yesterday
    “The Interrupted Sacrifice” was performed again, and Fräulein von
    Schätzel omitted more than one chromatic scale. I quite fancied
    myself in your midst.[21] This “your” reminds me of a Berlin
    caricature.[22] A Napoleon grenadier stands as a sentinel; he
    calls out, “qui vive,” to a woman passing. She is about to reply,
    “die Wäscherin” (the laundress), but wishing to express herself in
    a more refined [Sidenote: DINING WITH THE NATURALISTS.] manner, she
    says, “la vache” (the cow.) I count among the great events of my
    visit here the second dinner with the naturalists, which took place
    the day before the conclusion of the Congress, and was really very
    lively and entertaining. Several very fair convivial songs were
    sung, in which all the company joined more or less heartily. Zelter
    conducted, and a large golden cup, standing on a red pedestal, in
    front of him, as a sign of his exalted musical merits, appeared to
    give him much satisfaction. The dishes were better that day than
    usual, they say, “because the naturalists have been principally
    occupied during their sittings with the improvement of meats,
    sauces, soups, &c.” They make fun of these learned gentlemen in
    like manner at the Königstadt Theatre. In a play, in which some
    beer is drunk, one asks, “Why is beer so good now in Berlin?” “Why,
    because the naturalists are holding their conference,” is the

    But it is time to go to bed, as we start off quite early to-morrow.
    We shall spend two days at Posen, on account of an invitation from
    the Archbishop Wolicki. Oh, how much I shall have to tell you, my
    dearests, and how glad I shall be to see you again.

    Your warmly affectionate


Professor Jarocki and Chopin had, as companions, on their return from
Berlin, two gentlemen, whose wearisome talk about politics, in which
Chopin never took any interest, and still more their incessant smoking,
(almost unendurable to Chopin) made them very disagreeable. When one of
the gentlemen announced that he should smoke till he went to sleep, and
would rather die than give up his pipe, Frederic and the Professor went
outside the diligence to enjoy the fresh air.

At the little town of Züllichau, finding they had an hour to wait for
horses, Professor Jarocki proposed a walk through the place. This did
not take long, and as the horses were not ready when they returned, the
Professor sat down to a meal—the post-house being also a restaurant—but
Frederic, as if drawn by a magnet, went into the next room, and saw—oh,
wonder of wonders!—a grand piano. Professor Jarocki, who could see
through the open door, laughed to himself when his young friend opened
the instrument, which had a very unpromising exterior; Chopin also
looked at it with some misgivings; but when he had struck a few chords
he exclaimed, in joyful surprise, “O Santa Cæcilia, the piano is in

Only the impassioned musician knows what it is, after sitting for
several days in a diligence, suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, to have
an opportunity of playing on a good instrument.


Regardless of his surroundings our artist began to improvise _con
amore_. Attracted by the music, one of the travellers got up and stood
behind the playerʼs chair. Chopin called out to Professor Jarocki, in
Polish, “Now we shall see whether my listener be a connoisseur or not.”
Frederic began his Fantasia on Polish Songs (op. 13); the traveller,
a German, stood like one petrified, captivated by this music, so new
and bewitching; his eyes mechanically followed every movement of the
pianistʼs delicate hand; he had forgotten everything, even his beloved
pipe, which went out unheeded. The other travellers stepped in softly,
and at the same time the tall postmaster and his buxom wife appeared at
the side door with their two pretty daughters behind them. Frederic,
unmindful of his audience, and absorbed in converse with his muse, had
lost all thought of where he was, and that he must soon be on his way.

More and more tender and graceful became his playing; the fairies
seemed to be singing their moon-light melodies; everyone was listening
in rapt attention to the elegant arabesques sparkling from his fingers,
when a stentorian voice, which made the windows rattle, called out,
“The horses are ready, gentlemen.”

“Confounded disturber,” roared the postmaster, while the triplet of
ladies cast angry glances at the postilion. Chopin sprang from his
seat, but was immediately surrounded by his audience, who exclaimed
with one voice: “Go on, dear sir, finish that glorious piece, which
we should have heard all through but for that tiresome man.” “But,”
replied Chopin, consulting his watch, “we have already been here some
hours, and are due in Posen shortly.”

“Stay and play, noble young artist,” cried the postmaster, “I will give
you couriersʼ horses if you will only remain a little longer.”

“Do be persuaded,” began the postmasterʼs wife, almost threatening
him with an embrace. What could Frederic do but sit down again to the

When he paused the servant appeared with wine and glasses; the
daughters of the host served the artist first, then the other
travellers, while the postmaster gave a cheer for the “darling
Polyhymnias,” as he expressed it, in which all united. One of the
company (probably the town cantor) went close up to Chopin and said,
in a voice trembling with emotion, “Sir, I am an old and thoroughly
trained musician; I, too, play the piano, and so know how to appreciate
your masterly performance; if Mozart had heard it he would have grasped
your hand and cried, ‘Bravo.’ An insignificant old man like myself
cannot dare to do so.”

The women, in their gratitude, filled the pockets of the carriage with
the best eatables that the house contained, not forgetting some good
wine. The postmaster exclaimed, with tears of joy, “As long as I live I
shall think, with enthusiasm, of Frederic Chopin.”


When, after playing one more Mazurka, Frederic prepared to go, his
gigantic host seized him in his arms, and carried him to the carriage.

The postilion, still sulky over his scolding, and jealous because
the pretty servant girl could not take her eyes off the interesting
_virtuoso_, whispered to her, “Things often go very unfairly in the
world. The young gentleman is carried into the carriage by the master
himself; the like of us must climb laboriously on to the box by
ourselves, though we are musical.”

Long years afterwards Chopin would recall this episode with pleasure.
It was like a good omen to him at the commencement of his artistic
career. He often related how, like the old minstrels who went from town
to town with their harps and received good cheer as their honorarium,
he had played at Züllichau for cakes, fruit, and good wine; and assured
his most intimate friends that the highest praise lavished on him by
the press had never given him more pleasure than the naïve homage of
the German who, in his eagerness to hear, let his pipe go out.

At Posen our travellers visited, by invitation, the Archbishop Wolicki,
and paid their respects to Prince A. Radziwill. They both met with
the kindest reception from the Prince, who knew how to esteem such a
learned man as Jarocki, but, being a musician to the backbone, he was
better able to appreciate the eminent talents of Chopin; he regarded
him as a kindred spirit, whose superiority he gladly recognized. Most
of the day was devoted to music; the sonatas of Mozart, Beethoven,
and Hummel were performed by Chopin and the bandmaster, Klinghor. But
Frederic called forth most admiration by his incomparable improvisation.

As soon as they had left Posen, Fredericʼs ardent yearning to see his
family impelled him to his fatherʼs house, and his love of art summoned
him back to his studies. The last miles seemed endless, and, yielding
to his pressing request, the Professor decided to take post horses at

On October 6th Frederic reached at length his much desired goal. His
eyes, sparkling with pleasure, rested on the towers of Warsaw, the
nimble horses flew along the street, the coach stopped at the door,
there were loud cries of joy, and the dear returning one was in the
loving arms of his parents and sisters.





Frederic studied with indefatigable zeal from one yearʼs end to
another; neither father nor teacher had ever been obliged to incite
him to diligence, for even as a mere boy he had always shown a great
desire for knowledge. But when the time approached for him to pass his
final musical examination before a small critical circle, he worked
almost beyond his strength. His anxious father, therefore, resolved to
send him on another journey, having made the happy discovery that his
Frederic had learned a great deal in Berlin.[23]

This time (July, 1829) our artist was to go to Vienna with some young
friends, and he was highly delighted at the prospect, although his
father and all his friends urged him to appear publicly as a pianist in
that musical city.

With the innate modesty which never left him even after his greatest
triumphs, he exclaimed, “Here I have been leniently judged by
kind-hearted compatriots; but what am I to expect in a city which can
boast of having heard a Haydn, a Mozart, and a Beethoven?”

A few months before this journey Frederic had become acquainted with
Hummel, who had stayed some time in Warsaw, and given concerts there.
Hummel[24] had acquired, by his very successful tour, the reputation
of being the greatest living pianist. Chopin was acquainted with his
compositions, and thought very highly of them. He greatly admired his
classical style of playing, formed on the best models; yet, exacting
as the young artist was towards himself, he could say, without vanity,
that, in technical execution, he was not very inferior to the older

Fredericʼs chief desire was to become acquainted with the beautiful,
musical Vienna, to hear all he could that was new to him, and, if
possible, to have intercourse with the masters of his art. He never
dreamt that the latter, dazzled by his extraordinary genius, would be
the very people who would press him to appear in public.

With a heart full of hope for himself and fervent blessings for his
family, Chopin, in company with his friends Celinski, Hube, and Franz
Maciejowski (the last named a nephew of the famous investigator of
Slavonic law), left his beloved Warsaw.

After visiting Cracow, the old capital of the Piasts and the Jagellons
and Ojcow, the so-called Polish Switzerland, the travellers arrived on
July 31st at Vienna.


The following is a faithful transcription of the letters Chopin wrote
from that city:—

    _Vienna, August 1st, 1829._


    We arrived here yesterday well and in good spirits, and I may say
    without fatigue, and so without discomfort. We took a private
    carriage at Cracow, in which we were very comfortable. We were able
    to enjoy to perfection the picturesque scenery of Galicia, Upper
    Silesia, and Moravia, for the clouds had been amiable enough to lay
    the dust with a slight shower.

    But before I speak of Vienna I must tell you about our journey to
    Ojcow. On Sunday afternoon we hired a four-horse country waggon,
    such as they use at Cracow, which cost us four thalers. We dashed
    merrily and swiftly along to Ojcow, intending to put up at Herr
    Indykʼs house, which all tourists praise, and where Fräulein
    Tanska[25] stayed. But, as ill-luck would have it, Herr Indyk lived
    a full mile outside the town; our coachman did not know the way,
    and drove us into a little brook, as clear and silvery as those
    in the fairy tales. Right and left were walls of rock, and we did
    not find our way out of the labyrinth till nearly 9 oʼclock, when
    two passing peasants good naturedly conducted us to Herr Indykʼs.
    Wearied and wet through, we at length reached the wished for house,
    and were very kindly received. Although not expecting visitors
    at so late an hour, Herr Indyk made no trouble about giving us a
    room in the little house, built on purpose for tourists. Sister
    Isabella[26] Fräulein Tanska had been in it only a little while

    My companions changed their clothes and gathered round the stove,
    in which our host had, meanwhile, lighted a fire. Wet above the
    knees, I crouched in a corner, considering what I had best do.
    Seeing the mistress go into the next room for linen for our beds,
    I instinctively followed her, and finding on the table a pile of
    woollen Cracow caps (they are double woven), I bought one, tore it
    in half, wrapped my [Sidenote: CHARMED WITH CRACOW.] feet in it,
    sat before the fire and drank a small glass of red wine. I thus
    escaped a severe cold. We laughed and talked a little while over
    our adventure, then went to bed and slept soundly.

Frederic, who had a sharp eye and a keen ear for all around him, goes
on to describe the neighbourhood of Ojcow, the strangely-formed sand
rocks, the black grotto, and the Kingʼs grotto, in which tradition
says, that King Lokietek[27] took refuge from his enemies, at the end
of the 13th century. Frederic was very enthusiastic over everything
he saw, but Cracow and the neighbourhood appear to have had a special
charm for him. He gives an account, also, of the Vienna picture
gallery, to which he had at first only paid a flying visit. We give,
unabridged, the following letters to his family:—

    _Vienna, August 8th, 1829._

    I am well and in good spirits. Why, I do not know, but the people
    here are astonished at me, and I wonder at them for finding
    anything to wonder at in me. I am indebted to good Elsnerʼs letter
    of recommendation for my exceedingly friendly reception by Herr
    Haslinger. He did not know how to make me sufficiently welcome;
    he showed me all the musical novelties he had, made his son play
    to me, and apologized for not introducing his wife, who had just
    gone out. In spite of all his politeness he has not yet printed
    my compositions. I did not ask him about them, but he said, when
    showing me one of his finest editions, that my Variations were to
    appear, next week, in the same style, in _Odeon_. This I certainly
    had not expected.[28] He strongly advised me to play in public,
    although it is summer, and, therefore, not a favourable time for


    The artists and lovers of music, who know that I am here, consider
    that Vienna would lose a great deal if I left without giving a
    concert. I do not know what to make of it all; Schuppanzigh, to
    whom I have letters of recommendation, informs me that although his
    quartet parties are over, he will try to get a gathering before I
    leave. I have only been once to Herr Hussarzewski; he was quite
    enthusiastic about my playing, and invited me to dinner. Several
    Viennese gentlemen were present, and all, without exception, as if
    by previous concert, recommended me to perform in public.

    Stein offered to send me one of his instruments, and begged me to
    play on it at my concert; Graff, whose pianos I prefer, has made
    the same proposal.

    Würfel[29] says that if you have composed anything new, and want it
    to create a sensation, you must, by all means, play it yourself.
    Herr Blahetka, a journalist, whom I met at Haslingerʼs, also
    advised me to give a concert. My Variations have been much praised
    by those who have heard them.

    I have also made the acquaintance of Count Gallenberg, who is
    manager of a theatre, where I have heard some second-rate concerts.
    Haslinger thinks that the Viennese should hear me play my own
    compositions. Everybody assures me that the newspapers will be sure
    to give me a flattering notice. Würfel is of opinion that, as my
    compositions are to appear now, it would be advisable for me to
    give a concert, otherwise I should have to come again, but that
    the present would be the best time, as the Viennese are longing
    for something new. He calls it unpardonable in a young musician
    to neglect such an opportunity; I ought to appear in the twofold
    capacity of pianist and composer, and must not think too modestly
    of myself. He wishes me to play the Variations first, then the
    Rondo Cracovienne, and, in conclusion, to improvise.

    I do not know yet how it will all be arranged. Stein is very
    kind and amiable, but I should prefer to use one of Graffʼs
    instruments. Haslinger, Blahetka and Würfel approve my choice.

    Wherever I show myself, I am besieged with requests to play. I have
    no lack of acquaintances in the musical world, and Haslinger is
    going to introduce me to Charles Czerny. Up till now I have heard
    three operas, “La Dame Blanche,” “Cenerentola,” and Meyerbeerʼs
    “Crociato.” Orchestra and chorus were excellent. To-day “Joseph in
    Egypt” is to be performed. I have twice listened, with admiration,
    to Maysederʼs solos at the Academy of Music.

    Vienna is handsome, lively, and pleases me exceedingly. They are
    trying to persuade me to spend the winter here. Würfel has just
    come in to take me to Haslingerʼs.

    P.S.—I have made up my mind. Blahetka thinks I shall make a
    _furore_, for, as he puts it, I am “an artist of the first rank
    and worthy to be placed beside Moscheles, Herz, and Kalkbrenner.”
    Würfel is really very kind, and has introduced me to Count
    Gallenberg; the bandmaster, Seyfried, and others of his influential
    acquaintances, and those who are interested in music. [Sidenote:
    ARRANGEMENTS FOR A CONCERT.] He declares I shall not leave Vienna
    till I have given a concert. Count Gallenberg is very pleased with
    this, as I shall play at his theatre, and—as my principal object
    now is to win laurels—without payment. The journalists stare at me
    already; the members of the orchestra salute me quite obsequiously
    when I walk in, arm in arm, with the director of the Italian opera
    (which is now closed.)

    Würfel has taken no end of trouble on my behalf, and will be
    present at the rehearsal. He was very kind to me at Warsaw, and
    I am particularly glad that he has such a pleasant recollection
    of Elsner. People here are surprised that Kessler, Ernemann, and
    Czapeck should live in Warsaw with me there too, but I tell them
    that I give no lessons and only play from love of art. I have
    decided on Graffʼs instrument, but I do not want to offend Stein,
    so I shall thank him with such an expression of obligation that he
    cannot but forgive me.

    I hope for Godʼs gracious help. Do not be anxious, my dearest ones.

    Your fondly loving


       *       *       *       *       *


    _Vienna, Wednesday, August 12th, 1829._

    You know of my intention, my beloved ones, from my last letter.
    Yesterday (Tuesday) at 7 oʼclock in the evening, I appeared before
    a Viennese public for the first time, at the Imperial Opera House.
    Here, an evening concert in the theatre is called a musical
    academy. As I played gratuitously, Count Gallenberg expedited the
    arrangements for my appearance.

    The following was the programme:

        Overture, by Beethoven
        My Variations.
        Song, by Fräulein Veltheim.[30]
        My Cracovienne.
        A Ballet, in conclusion.

    The orchestra accompanied so badly at the rehearsal that I was
    obliged to substitute a “Free Fantasia” for the Rondo.


    Directly I appeared I was greeted with cries of “Bravo,” and,
    after each variation, the audience shouted this welcome word so
    lustily that I could not hear the _tutti_ of the orchestra. I had
    such a hearty recall, that I was obliged to come forward twice
    to bow my acknowledgments. I must confess that I was not quite
    satisfied myself with the free fantasia; but the public must have
    been pleased, for I was overwhelmed with applause. One reason for
    this may have been that the Germans know how to appreciate free
    improvisation. I am now doubly obliged to Würfel, for without his
    support and encouragement I should never have accomplished the
    daring stroke which has succeeded so well. I shall be able to
    relate my experiences and impressions by word of mouth better than
    I can now. I was not hissed, so donʼt be uneasy about my artistic
    reputation. The newspapers have been very favourable to me;
    if some of them should pick holes in me I am prepared for it.
    My compositions have received Count Gallenbergʼs undivided
    approbation. The theatrical manager, Herr Demar, was very kind and
    pleasant; he did his best to encourage me before I appeared, so I
    went to my piano without much anxiety.

    My friends were scattered about that they might hear the
    observations of the critics, and the various opinions of the
    public. Celinski can tell you that he heard nothing unfavourable.
    Hube reports the most severe criticism, and that, too, from a lady:
    “A pity the youth has so little presence.” If this is the only sort
    of blame I am to receive I cannot complain. My friends swear they
    heard nothing but praise, and that, until the spontaneous outburst
    of applause, not one of them had clapped or uttered a bravo. The
    manager was so pleased with my Rondo that he came up after the
    concert, shook hands with me, and made some very flattering remarks.

    I improvised from “La Dame Blanche,” and, that I might have a
    Polish theme, chose “Chmiel.”[31] The public, to whom this kind of
    national melody is quite unknown, seemed electrified. My spies in
    the pit say the people began a regular dance on the benches.

    Wertheim, although only arriving yesterday with his wife from
    Carlsbad, went to the theatre; he could not imagine how I came to
    play there. He was here just now to congratulate me on my good
    success. At Carlsbad he saw Hummel who remembered me very kindly.
    He writes to him to-day, and will inform him of my performance.

    Haslinger is to print my works; I have kept the programme of
    the concert. It was most interesting to me to become personally
    acquainted with Gyrowetz, Lachner, Kreutzer, and Seyfried; with
    Mayseder I have had a very long conversation. There is an almost
    unanimous opinion that I play too softly, or rather, too delicately
    for the public here. That is to say, they are accustomed to the
    drum beating of their own Piano _virtuosi_. I am afraid the
    newspapers will say the same thing, especially as the daughter of
    one of the editors drums dreadfully; but never mind, if it is to
    be so, I would much rather they said I played too gently than too

    Count Dietrichstein, one of the personages nearest to the Emperor,
    came on to the stage yesterday, and had a long talk with me in
    French, complimented me and requested me to stay longer in Vienna.

    The Orchestra execrated my badly written score, and were not at all
    favourable to me up to the moment of my improvisation; then, in
    concert with the public, they applauded heartily, which showed
    their good opinion of me. I do not know yet what the other artists
    think; but why should they especially be against me? They see that
    I do not play for pecuniary advantage.

    So my first performance, unexpected as it was, has passed off
    successfully. Hube thinks that one never succeeds in anything by
    ordinary means and according to preconceived plans, but must trust
    somewhat to chance. So I trusted to my good fortune and allowed
    myself to be persuaded to give the concert. If the newspapers cut
    me up so much that I shall not venture before the world again, I
    have resolved to become a house painter; that would be as easy as
    anything else, and I should, at any rate, still be an artist!

    I am curious to hear what Herr Elsner will say to all this. Perhaps
    he disapproves of my playing at all? But I was so besieged on all
    sides that I had no escape, and I do not seem to have committed a
    blunder by my performance.

    Nidecki[32] was particularly friendly to me yesterday; he looked
    through and corrected the orchestral parts, and was sincerely
    pleased at the applause I received. I played on one of Graffʼs
    pianos. I am at least four years wiser and more experienced.

    You must, indeed, have wondered at my sealing my last letter with a
    strange seal. I was absent-minded and took the first and best that
    came to hand.[33]


    Your fondly loving


       *       *       *       *       *

    _Thursday, August 13th, 1829._

    If ever I longed to be with you I do so now.

    To-day I have become acquainted with Count Lichnowski. He did not
    know how to praise me enough, he was so delighted with my playing.
    Würfel took me to him. He was Beethovenʼs best friend, to whom the
    great master was much indebted.


    Everyone says that I have especially pleased the _noblesse_ here.
    The Schwarzenbergʼs, Wrbnaʼs, and others were quite enthusiastic
    about the delicacy and elegance of my execution; in proof of this
    take Count Dietrichsteinʼs coming on the stage to me. Countess
    Lichnowski and her daughter, with whom I drank tea to-day, are
    quite delighted that I am going to give a second concert on
    Tuesday. They invited me to visit them if I passed through Vienna,
    on my way to Paris, then they wished to give me a letter to a
    certain Countess, sister to Count Lichnowski. A great deal too much
    kindness. Czerny, Schuppanzigh, and Gyrowtez have also paid me many

    To-day a stranger looked at me in the ante-room, and, asking
    Celinski if I was Chopin, rushed up to me. He spoke of the
    pleasure he should have in becoming acquainted with such an
    artist, and said, “You really delighted and enchanted me the day
    before yesterday.” It was the same gentleman who had sat beside
    Maciejowski and seemed so delighted with my improvisation on

    Under no circumstances will I give a third concert; I only give
    a second because I am forced to, and I thought that people might
    say in Warsaw, “He only gave _one_ concert in Vienna, probably
    he was not much liked.” To-day I was at the house of one of the
    newspaper critics, who is very well disposed towards me, and is
    sure to write a favourable critique. I cannot tell you how kind
    and pleasant Würfel is. I shall play gratuitously the second time
    also, for the sake of obliging Gallenberg, whose finances are not
    very flourishing. (But this is a secret.) I shall play the Rondo,
    and then improvise. For the rest, I am in good health, and eat
    and drink well. Vienna pleases me much, and I am not without the
    society of my countrymen; there is one in the ballet, who took
    charge of me at my _débût_, and brought me _eau sucrée_.

    Please relate all I write to Elsner, and beg him to pardon me for
    not writing to him, but my time is really so filled up that I have
    not a moment to spare. I wish to thank M. Skarbek, who was one
    of the foremost in persuading me to give a concert; and this is,
    indeed, the artistʼs first step in life.

    Your ever affectionate


       *       *       *       *       *

    _Vienna, August 19th, 1829._

    If on the first occasion the public were favourable, my reception,
    yesterday, was still more hearty. I was greeted, when I came on
    to the stage with three long rounds of applause. The financial
    manager—whose name I cannot remember—thanked me for the receipts,
    and said that the house could not have been so full on account of
    the ballet, for that had been given several times.

    The profession praise my Rondo, one and all, from the bandmaster,
    Lachner, to the piano-tuner. I know I have pleased the ladies and
    the musicians. Gyrowetz, who sat next Celinski, called, “Bravo,”
    and made a tremendous noise. The only people not satisfied were
    the out-and-out Germans. Yesterday, one of them, who had just
    come from the theatre, sat down to eat at the table I was sitting
    at. His acquaintances asked him how he liked the performance. “The
    ballet is pretty,” was his answer. “But the concert, what of that?”
    they asked. Instead of replying he began to talk of something else,
    from which I conclude that he recognized me, although my back was
    towards him. I felt bound to relieve him from the restraint of my
    presence, and went to bed, saying to myself, “The man has not been
    born yet who does everything right.”[34]


    I am glad to be able to say that my popularity increases. As I
    depart at 9 oʼclock this evening, I must spend all the forenoon
    in farewell visits. Schuppanzigh said, yesterday, that as I was
    leaving Vienna so quickly, I must come again soon. I answered that
    I should gladly return for the sake of further improving myself,
    to which the Baron replied, “that for such a reason I should never
    need to come, for I had nothing more to learn.” This opinion was
    confirmed by the others. These are, indeed, mere compliments, but
    one does not listen to them unwillingly. For the future I shall at
    any rate not be regarded as a student.

    Blahetka tells me that what he most wonders at is that I could
    learn it all in Warsaw. I answered that the greatest donkey must
    learn something with Messrs. Zwyny and Elsner.

    It is very unfortunate for me that I cannot confirm what I have
    told you by sending you the opinions in the press. I know that the
    critique is in the hands of the Editor of the paper to which I have
    subscribed, and which Bäuerle[35] will send to Warsaw. I expect
    they waited for my second performance before giving a notice. This
    paper comes out twice a week, Tuesdays and Saturdays, possibly
    therefore you may read what is favourable or the contrary about me
    before I do.

    I have on my side the learned, and those who have poetic
    temperaments. We shall have a great deal to talk over. I would have
    written of something quite different, but my head is so full of
    yesterday that it is quite impossible to collect my thoughts. My
    finances are still in the best order.

    I have just paid my farewell visit to Schuppanzigh and Czerny.
    Czerny was warmer than any of his compositions. I have packed up,
    but must go again to Haslingerʼs, and then to the café opposite the
    theatre, where I am to meet Gyrowetz, Lachner, Kreutzer, Seyfried,
    and others. In two nights and a day we shall be at Prague; the
    mail coach goes at nine. It will be an agreeable journey with such
    pleasant companions.

    Your FREDERIC.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Prague, Saturday, August 22nd, 1829._


    After an affecting parting, which indeed it was, for Fräulein
    Blahetka[36] gave me as a souvenir, a copy of her compositions,
    with her autograph, and united with her father in sending warmest
    regards to you my good Papa, and to you my dear Mamma, with
    congratulations to you both on having such a son; young Stein
    wept, and Schuppanzigh, Gyrowetz, in short all the artists were
    deeply moved: after this tender farewell, and giving a promise of
    returning soon, I got into the diligence. Nidecki and two other
    Poles, who were to start for Trieste in half an hour, accompanied
    us a little way. One of them, Niegolewski by name, comes from Great
    Poland, and is travelling with his tutor, or rather, companion,
    a student from the Warsaw University; we had met and conversed
    several times in Vienna.

    Countess Hussarzweska (she and her husband are both excellent
    people) wanted to keep me to dinner when I paid my farewell visit,
    but I had not time to stay, having to go to Haslingerʼs. After
    many hearty wishes for a speedy meeting, Haslinger promised,
    most solemnly, to bring out my variations in five weeks, that he
    may have something new to offer the musical world in the autumn.
    Although a stranger to you, my dear Father, he wished to be kindly

    When we were taking our places in the coach, a young German got
    in, and, as we were to sit together for two nights and a day,
    we scraped an acquaintance. He was a merchant from Danzig, knew
    Pruszaka, Sierakowski, of Waplew, Jaurek, Ernemann, Gresser, and
    others. He was in Warsaw two years ago, and had now just come from
    Paris. His name is Normann. He was a very agreeable gentleman and
    a capital travelling companion. We are in the same hotel with him,
    and have resolved, when we have seen Prague, to go on together to
    Teplitz and Dresden. It would be inexcusable to miss seeing Dresden
    when we are so near, especially as our finances will permit of
    it, and the journey for four persons is easily managed, and not

    After a good shaking in the coach, we reached Prague at noon,
    yesterday, and went at once to _table-dʼhôte_. Then we called
    upon Hanka,[37] to whom Maciejowski had a letter of introduction;
    I regretted afterwards that I had not asked Skarbek to furnish me
    with one to this famous savant. As we had stayed some time at the
    Cathedral and Castle we did not find Hanka at home.

    The town, viewed from the castle hill, is large and old-fashioned,
    but handsome in the general; formerly it was an important place.[38]

    Before leaving Vienna I had six letters given me, five from
    Würfel and one from Blahetka, to Pixis, asking him to show me the
    Conservatoire here.


    They wanted me to play; but I shall only stay three days, and I
    have no desire to forfeit the renown I won in Vienna. As Paganini
    even was sharply criticised, I shall take care not to perform
    in this place. The five letters from Würfel are to the Theatre
    director, the bandmaster, and other musical celebrities. I shall
    deliver the letters, for he asked me to very earnestly; but I will
    not perform. The excellent Würfel has also given me a letter to
    Klengel,[39] in Dresden.

    I must now conclude, as it is quite time to go to Hankaʼs. I shall
    introduce myself as godson of Count Skarbek, and I hope that no
    further recommendation will be necessary.

    Your FREDERIC.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Dresden, August 26th, 1829._

    I am merry and well. When I was in Vienna, a week ago, I did not
    dream I should be in Dresden to-day. Our stay at Prague was very
    short, but not without profit. Herr Hanka was very pleased to
    receive news from Skarbek. Like all visitors to the Prague Museum
    who have received any special attention from Herr Hanka, we had
    to write our names in a book kept for the purpose; we found among
    others the names of Brodzinski, Mocawski,[40] &c. Each of us wrote
    whatever occurred to him in poetry or prose. What could I, a
    musician, write that would be worth reading? The thought happily
    struck Maciejowski to write four strophes for a Mazurka, and I set
    them to music; so I think we have both immortalized ourselves in
    the most characteristic manner.

    Hanka was delighted with this idea, for the Mazourka contained a
    reference to him and to his efforts for the elevation of the Slavs.
    He has given me several views of Prague for Skarbek. I cannot
    possibly tell you by letter all that Herr Hanka showed us. I must
    describe, verbally, the lovely views, the majestic cathedral, with
    the figure of St. John, in silver, the beautiful chapel of St.
    Wenceslaus, inlaid with amethysts and other precious stones, and
    many other things.


    I am indebted to Blahetkaʼs and Würfelʼs letters for the friendly
    reception which I had from Pixis. He gave up his lessons, kept me
    at his house, and asked me about all sorts of things. I noticed
    Klengelʼs visiting card on his table, and asked if it belonged to
    a relative of the famous Klengel, of Dresden. “Klengel himself is
    here,” replied Pixis; “he called while I was out.”

    I was delighted at the prospect of becoming acquainted with this
    artist, to whom I had letters from Würfel. I spoke to Pixis about
    it, and he invited me to come in the afternoon, if I wished to
    meet Klengel, as he was expected then. We met by accident on the
    steps of Pixisʼs house, and effected our first acquaintance there.
    I listened to his fugues for more than two hours; I did not play,
    as I was not asked. Klengelʼs playing pleased me, but, to speak
    candidly, I had expected something still better. (I pray you not
    to mention this to anyone.) He gave me an introductory letter
    with the following address: “Al ornatissimo Signore Cavaliere
    Morlacchi, primo Maestro della Capella Reale;” in which he begs
    this gentleman to make me acquainted with the whole musical world
    of Dresden, and in particular to present me to Fräulein Pechwell.
    This lady is a pupil of Klengelʼs and, in his opinion, the first
    pianist in Dresden. He was extremely affable towards me. Before
    his departure—he is going to Vienna and Italy—I spent a couple of
    hours with him, and our conversation never flagged. This has been
    a very agreeable acquaintanceship, and I value it more highly than
    Czernyʼs; but not a word of this either, my dear ones.

    The three delightful days in Prague were over before we were aware.

    I am, as you know, very absent-minded, and on the day we left
    rushed suddenly into a strange room without knowing. “Good
    morning,” said a cheerful voice. “I beg your pardon, I mistook
    the number,” I answered, and ran away as fast as possible. We
    left Prague at noon in a private carriage, and arrived at Teplitz
    towards evening. The next day I found in the list at the Baths
    Ludwig Lempickiʼs name; I immediately went to call on him. He
    was very glad to see me, and told me there were several Poles
    here; among others he mentioned old Pruszack, Joseph Köhler, and
    Kretkowski, from Kamiona. Lempicki told me that they generally
    all dined together in the “German hall,” but that to-day he was
    invited to Prince Claryʼs Castle. This Prince belongs to one of the
    most distinguished of the Austrian princely families. He is very
    wealthy, and owns the town of Teplitz. Princess Clary, née Countess
    Chotek[41] is sister of the present Oberstburggraf of Bohemia.
    Lempicki said he was quite at home in Prince Claryʼs house, and
    would introduce me there in the evening when the Princess always
    gave receptions; he would mention my name to them at dinner.
    Having no engagement for the evening, I accepted the proposal with

    [Sidenote: VISIT TO PRINCE CLARY.]

    We have seen all that is worth seeing here, and have also been
    to Dux, the residence of the Count Waldsteins. We were shown the
    halberd with which Albrecht Waldstein (or Wallenstein) was stabbed,
    a piece of his scull, and other relics. In the evening, instead
    of going to the theatre, I dressed and went with Lempicki to the
    Castle. I put on my white gloves which had already done duty at
    the Vienna concert. The company was not numerous, but very select:
    an Austrian prince; an Austrian general, whose name I forget; an
    English naval captain; two or three elegant dandies (Austrian
    princes or counts, I believe); and the Saxon General von Leiser,
    who bore the uncommon decoration of a scar on his face.

    I talked most to Prince Clary. After tea Countess Chotek, mother
    of the Princess, asked me to play. The instrument was a good one,
    by Graff. I took my seat at the piano, and asked the company to
    give me a theme for improvisation. The ladies, who had established
    themselves at a table, immediately whispered to each other “un
    thème, un thème.” Three pretty young princesses, after some
    consultation, referred to a Herr Fritsche,[42] tutor to Prince
    Claryʼs only son, and he suggested the chief theme in Rossiniʼs
    “Moses,” which was unanimously approved of. I improvised, I suppose
    with some success, for General von Leiser had a long talk with me
    afterwards. When he heard I was going to Dresden, he at once wrote
    the following to Baron von Friesen.

        “Monsieur Frédéric Chopin est recommandé de la part du
        General Leiser à Monsieur le Baron de Friesen, Maître
        de Cérémonie de S. M. le roi de Saxe, pour lui être
        utile pendant son séjour à Dresde, et de lui procurer la
        connaissance de plusieurs des premiers artistes.”

    Below was written in German: “Herr Chopin is one of the best
    pianists I have heard.” I copied this literally for you, my
    dearests, from the generalʼs pencil letter.

    I had to play four times. The Prince and Princess asked me to
    prolong my stay at Teplitz, and dine with them the next day.
    Lempicki offered to accompany me to Warsaw, if I remained a day
    or two here, but I could not hear of being separated from my
    companions, so, with many thanks, I declined both proposals.

    [Sidenote: ARRIVAL IN DRESDEN.]

    We left yesterday morning, at 5 oʼclock, in a carriage, for
    which we paid two Thalers, and arrived at Dresden at four in
    the afternoon, when we met Lewinski and Lebecki. Everything has
    happened very fortunately for me throughout the journey. The first
    part of “Faust” is to be given to-day, and Klengel tells me that
    the Italian opera will be on Saturday.

    This letter was begun last night. Now I must dress for calling
    on Baron von Friesen and Morlacchi, so have no time to spare. We
    intend leaving in a week, but, weather permitting, not without
    seeing the Saxon Switzerland. We hope to spend a few days in
    Breslau, and go direct home from there. I am longing so much to
    see you again, my dear parents, that I do not at all care to go to
    Wiesiolowskiʼs first. Oh, how many stories and adventures I shall
    have to relate, and each more interesting than the last.

    P.S.—Baron von Friesen, maître dé cérémonie, received me very
    kindly. He asked me where I was staying, and regretted that the
    Chamberlain, who was also director of the royal band, was not at
    Dresden just now, but he would find out who was his deputy, and
    do all he could to show me something worth seeing during my short
    sojourn. Whereupon many bows and stammered thanks on my part. My
    next letter, from Breslau, will tell you the rest.[43] I have seen
    the world-renowned gallery, the fruit show, the gardens, have paid
    some visits, and am now going to the theatre. Enough, I hope, for
    one day.

    SECOND POSTSCRIPT.—It is night. Just returned from the theatre,
    where I saw “Faust.”[44] The rush was so great that we had to be
    in the _queue_, outside the office, before five oʼclock, to get
    a ticket at all. The performance began at six, and lasted till
    eleven oʼclock. Devrient,[45] whom I saw in Berlin, acted _Faust_.
    A fearful but magnificent conception. Portions of Spohrʼs Opera,
    “Faust,” were performed as Entrʼactes. Goetheʼs eightieth birthday
    was celebrated to-day. Now I am off to bed, I expect Morlacchi
    early to-morrow, and shall go with him to Fräulein Pechwellʼs, that
    is, he will come with me.

    Good night,

    Your FREDERIC.




The innocent youthful gaiety which accompanied Chopin on his journey
was his faithful companion for some time to come. The brilliant success
of his two performances in Vienna assured him that he really had
talent, and that his parents had not done wrong in allowing him to
dedicate himself wholly to art.

He returned from his second journey with wider views and riper
judgment. He left off drawing caricatures, with which, in boyish
mischief, he had often amused himself in Berlin. He felt, with intense
delight, that the wings of his genius were bearing him higher than
they did a year ago. With his inborn modesty he was surprised that
great musicians should marvel at his playing; he had, indeed, already
the courage to defend his opinions when they differed from those of
other musicians; but he always spoke with a certain reserve and
courtesy, which prevented him from giving offence, nor did he forget
to pay the respect which the young man owes to the elder. “That Vienna
would lose much if he went away without letting people hear him,” was
incomprehensible to the modest youth not yet fully conscious of his

It is characteristic of Chopin that he always began his letters in
a clear elegant hand; but, as if overpowered by the rush of thought
and feeling, the writing, as he proceeded, grew larger and more
hurried. His Polish letters are pithy and natural, and often contain
surprisingly original thoughts. A great deal cannot be transcribed into
German, although this language bears the palm for the best translations.

Fredericʼs humorous nature was often displayed in the address of a
letter. For example, he sent one to his father directed “To the Right
Hon. N. Chopin, Professor in Warsaw, and to the dear parents of the
son who is in Dresden.” He would often call his sisters “my children”
(mojo dzieci), out of tenderness, and add some playful affectionate
expressions. He never forgot to send remembrances to his much-honoured
teachers, Zwyny and Elsner, nor to gladden his fellow collegians and
intimate friends by kind words as reminders of himself.

[Sidenote: CHOPINʼS HEALTH.]

It has become the custom with most of the writers on Chopin to dilate
on his weak and exhausted health. The grossest exaggerations have been
current on this point, and, as is nearly always the case, more credence
has been given to the exaggerations than to the truth. Goethe says
truly, “People believe the truth so little because it is so simple.”

It has been said of Chopin that he suffered from his earliest years
from an incurable malady which might have caused death at any moment.
This may have been the reason why Liszt describes him as very sickly
when only a youth of fifteen or sixteen; among other things about him
he says:

    “* * * * Chopin was more like one of those ideal creations with
    which the poetry of the middle ages adorned the Christian temples:
    a beautiful angel, with a form pure and slight as a young god of
    Olympus, with a face like that of a majestic woman filled with a
    divine sorrow, and, as the crown of all, an expression at the same
    time tender and severe, chaste and impassioned.

    “He daily accustomed himself to think that the hour of his death
    was near, and, under the influence of this feeling, he accepted
    the careful attentions of a friend, from whom he concealed how
    short a time, he believed, remained for him on earth. He possessed
    great physical courage, and, if he did not accept with the heroic
    carelessness of youth the idea of his approaching end, he at least
    cherished the expectation of it with a kind of bitter pleasure.”

These remarks are not applicable to that period of Chopinʼs life, for
they are not in accordance with the facts. Chopin neither looked like
“a beautiful angel,” “a majestic woman filled with a divine sorrow,”
nor “a young god from Olympus;” just as little did he imagine daily
“that the hour of his death was near.” On the contrary, his cheerful
letters, pervaded with the joy of youth, showed that Frederic had as
good health as any other young man of his age. When travelling he
saw all that was worth seeing, gave two concerts within a week, paid
several visits, was present at long performances at the theatre, and
wrote a great many letters besides. Undeniably, Chopin had a delicate
constitution, but he was healthy, and strong enough to bear the fatigue
of travelling in a diligence.

It was not until ten years later that he was threatened with the
illness brought on by the excitement of Paris life. And if Frederic
had been sickly, would his parents have permitted their only, tenderly
loved son to travel abroad? Would they have consented to an absence of
two years—which followed the earlier journeys—if the young artist had
been troubled with a dangerous malady? Only in the last years of his
life his physical strength was often greatly exhausted, in consequence
of the rapid strides of the disease which caused his early death.

Chopinʼs playmate and schoolfellow, Wilhelm von Kolberg, who is
still living in Warsaw, affirms that till manhood, Chopin was only
ill once, and then from a cold. It is true that after the manner of
loving womanly hearts, mother and sisters very much petted their dear
Frederic. There was no lack of exhortations to “wrap up carefully in
cold damp weather;” he laughed good-humouredly at the instructions, but
followed them like an obedient son.

There were moments when, buried in thought, Frederic paid little heed
to the outer world, and avoided even his best friends. These were times
of communion with his muse, and he would suffer the intervention of no
third person.


In a general way he was fond of pleasure, and delighted to share
it with his parents, family and friends. He never marred anyoneʼs
enjoyment. If he were among company who wished to dance, he would sit
down to the piano without being pressed and play the most charming
Mazurkas and other dances. If a bad player were at the piano, he would
politely and pleasantly put himself in his place. In after years also,
when he lived in Paris and had acquired a European reputation, he was
always willing, in the kindest manner, to delight a Polish family
with some national dances. As a player he was as indefatigable as the
dancers, who in their enthusiasm often did not know how to stop.

Like all intelligent young men, Frederic returned from his travels with
a wider knowledge of human nature. He perceived that the artists, whose
acquaintance he had lately made, were not all so amiable and free from
envy as he had imagined; he, therefore, clung the closer to the more
noble-minded among his compeers, for whom he retained through life a
friendly recollection.

Unfortunately, he did not fail to meet with bitter disappointments in
later years.

The artists in Vienna looked upon Chopin as a young man with a thorough
and most refined musical education, who was not puffed up with vanity,
and had no thought of settling in the Imperial city. They were,
therefore, favourably disposed towards him, and willingly lent their

Like every true artist and poet, Chopin was tormented with doubts as
to the extent and range of his genius. Some, indeed, who heard him at
the concerts which he gave in Vienna, said that his playing was not
powerful enough; but with regard to his compositions there was but
one opinion. Real connoisseurs of pianoforte playing, truly musical
souls, knew how to value the smoothness, certainty, and elegance of his
style. The wonderful penetrating and melancholy expression peculiar
to Chopinʼs playing, found a response in all poetical minds. He was
pre-eminently the pianist for poets, and could not be exalted too
highly above the mass, who only desire technical skill and noise; the
musicians were especially interested by the character and originality
of his compositions. To complete the story of his Vienna experiences, I
give two letters to his most intimate friend Woyciechowski.


    _Warsaw, September 12th, 1829._


    You would not have heard from me, if I had not met Vicentius
    Skarbek, and thereby been reminded that you would be in Warsaw by
    the end of this month. I hoped that I should have been able to
    tell you personally of my GREAT JOURNEY, for truly and sincerely
    I should only be too glad to have a chat with you. But as this is
    unfortunately impossible, let me tell you, dear, that I have been
    to Cracow, Vienna, Prague, Dresden and Breslau.

    We passed the first week at Cracow in taking walks, and visiting
    the neighbourhood. Ojcow is very beautiful; but I shall not say
    anything, for although you were not there, you know all about it
    from Tanskaʼs accurate descriptions. I had good company on my way
    to Vienna; if Cracow made so many demands upon me that I could not
    find a few moments to think of you and my family, Vienna so utterly
    stupefied and infatuated me, that, although a fortnight passed
    without my receiving a letter from home, I felt no longing for my
    friends. Just imagine my playing twice in the Royal and Imperial
    Theatre in so short a time. This is how it came about: my publisher
    Haslinger represented to me that it would be of advantage to my
    compositions if I were to appear in Vienna; that my name was as yet
    unknown, and my music difficult both to play and understand.

    I did not yet think of it seriously, and replied:

    “That I had not played a note for a fortnight, and so was not
    prepared to present myself before a select and critical public.”
    In the meantime Count Gallenberg, who writes pretty ballets, and
    is manager of the Vienna theatre, came in. Haslinger introduced me
    to him as a coward, afraid of appearing in public. The Count very
    obligingly placed the theatre at my disposal, but I was shrewd
    enough to decline, with thanks. The next day Würfel came in, and
    urged me not to bring disgrace on my parents, Elsner, and myself by
    neglecting the opportunity of performing in Vienna.

    As soon as I had yielded to all this pressure, Würfel at once
    undertook the necessary preparations. The next morning bills
    announced my concert. It was impossible, therefore, to retreat,
    although I did not know how or what I should play. Three
    manufacturers proposed to send me pianos, but, owing to the narrow
    limits of my lodgings, I was obliged to refuse their offers. What
    would have been the use either of my practising a great deal two
    days before the concert?

    In one day I made the acquaintance of all the great artists
    in Vienna, among them Mayseder, Gyrowetz, Lachner, Kreutzer,
    Schuppanzigh, &c.

    [Sidenote: DÉBUT IN VIENNA.]

    The members of the orchestra looked sourly at me during the
    rehearsal; they were particularly vexed at my making my _débût_
    with new compositions. Then I began the Variations dedicated to
    you, which were to come after the Rondo Cracovienne. The Variations
    were a success, but the Rondo, owing to the way in which it was
    written, went so badly that we were obliged to commence from the
    beginning twice. I ought to have put the pauses below instead of
    above. Enough; the gentlemen made such wry faces that I felt very
    much inclined to announce myself ill in the evening.

    Demmar, the manager, noticed the ill-temper of the orchestra, who
    do not like Würfel. The latter wished to conduct himself, but the
    orchestra declined (I donʼt know why) to play under his lead. Herr
    Demmar advised me to improvise, at which proposal the orchestra
    stared. I was so much irritated by what had happened that I
    consented in despair; and who knows whether my miserable mood and
    strange humour were not the cause of the great success I achieved?

    The presence of the Viennese public did not excite me at all, and
    I sat down, very calmly, to a wonderful instrument of Graffʼs, the
    best, perhaps, then in Vienna. Beside me sat a young man, covered
    with rouge, who had turned over for me in the Variations, and
    plumed himself on having rendered the same service to Moscheles,
    Hummel, and Herz. I played, as you may imagine, in a desperate
    mood; the Variations, nevertheless, made such an effect that I was
    encored enthusiastically. Fräulein Veltheim sang very beautifully.
    As to my Improvisation I only know that it was followed by a storm
    of applause and many recalls.

    The Vienna newspapers were lavish in their praise. By universal
    desire I played again a week after, congratulating myself that
    no one could say now that I was only able to appear once. I was
    especially pleased with the performance of the Rondo, because
    Gyrowetz, Lachner, and other masters, and even the orchestra were
    so delighted—forgive me for saying so—that they recalled me twice.
    I was obliged to repeat the Variations (at the special request of
    the ladies); Haslinger, too, was so pleased with them that he is
    going to bring them out in _Odeon_; a great honour for me, is it

    Lichnowski, one of Beethovenʼs friends, wished to lend me his
    piano for the concert (this is, indeed, something), as it seemed
    to him that mine was too weak. But this was on account of my style
    of playing, which pleased the ladies so much; especially Fräulein
    Blahetka. It might be that she is favourably disposed towards
    me (by the way, she is not yet twenty, a lovely and intelligent
    girl). At my departure she honoured me by a composition, with an
    inscription in her own handwriting.

    The _Wiener Zeitung_ said, in a notice of the second concert, “This
    is a young man who knows how to please by entirely original means.
    His style differs totally from that of the ordinary concert giver.”
    I hope this is satisfactory, especially as the article concludes,
    “Herr Chopin to-day again received the most unanimous applause.”
    Pardon me for writing such an opinion of myself, but I do so
    because it pleases me more than any
    amount of praise in the _Warsaw Courier_.

    I became quite intimate with Czerny, and often played with him on
    two pianos. He is a good-natured man, but nothing more. Klengel,
    whom I saw at Pixisʼs, in Prague, I like best of all my artistic
    acquaintances. He played his fugues to me (one might call them a
    continuation of Bachʼs, there are forty-eight, and as many canons.)
    What a contrast to Czerny! Klengel gave me a letter of introduction
    to Morlacchi, in Dresden. We visited the Saxon Switzerland, so
    rich in natural beauties, and the magnificent picture gallery;
    but the Italian Opera had to be given up before my very eyes. I
    was, unfortunately, obliged to leave the day on which “Crociato in
    Egitto” was to be performed. My only consolation was that I had
    already heard it in Vienna.

    [Sidenote: STAY IN DRESDEN.]

    Frau Pruszak, and her two children, Alexandrine and Constantin, are
    in Dresden. I met them the day I left. What a pleasure! They called
    out, “Pan Frycek, Pan Frycek;”[46] it was so charming that I should
    certainly have stayed but for my companions. Herr Pruszak I met at
    Teplitz. Teplitz is a wonderfully beautiful place. I was only there
    a day, but went to a soirée at Prince Claryʼs.

    I have been too much absorbed in my writing to be able to stop. I
    affectionately embrace you, and kiss your lips, if you allow me.

    Your FREDERIC.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Warsaw, October 3rd, 1829._


    You write that you have read something about my concerts in two
    newspapers; if they were Warsaw papers, you could certainly not
    have been gratified, for not only is their translation bad, but
    they have taken the trouble to distort, to my disparagement,
    the comments of the Viennese critics. The Vienna _Sammler_ and
    the _Zeitschrift für Literatur_, from which Hube brought me the
    extracts, made the most flattering criticisms on my playing and
    compositions (pardon me for writing this to you), and called me, in
    conclusion, “An independent _virtuoso_, full of delicacy and the
    deepest feeling.”[47] If such extracts had fallen into your hands I
    should have no occasion to be ashamed.

    You will learn from me bye and bye what I think of doing this
    winter. In no case shall I remain in Warsaw; where fate will
    lead me I do not yet know. Prince and Princess Radziwill have,
    in the most polite manner, invited me to Berlin, and offered me
    apartments in their palace; but of what use would this be? I have
    begun so much work that it would seem the wisest course for me to
    remain here. I have also promised to return to Vienna, and a Vienna
    paper openly declared that a sojourn in the Imperial city would be
    very advantageous to me, and have the best influence on my career.

    [Sidenote: CHOPINʼS IDEAL.]

    You will, perhaps, think so too; but do not imagine that I am
    thinking about Fräulein Blahetka, whom I mentioned in my letter.
    I have already—to my misfortune, perhaps—found my ideal, which
    I sincerely and loyally worship. Half a year has passed without
    exchanging a syllable with her of whom I dream every night. While
    thinking of this lovely being I composed the Adagio in my new
    Concerto,[48] and early this morning the Waltz, which I send you.
    Notice the passage marked +, nobody knows of it but yourself. How
    glad I should be if I could play my newest compositions to you, my
    dear friend. In the fifth bar of the Trio, the melody in the bass
    must rise to the higher E flat in the violin cleff, which, however,
    I need not tell you, for you will feel it for yourself.

    I have no other news to send than that every Friday there is music
    at Kesslerʼs. Yesterday they played, among other things, Spohrʼs
    Octett, a wonderful work. I go to Brzezinaʼs[49] every day; he has
    nothing new but Pixisʼs Concerto which made no great impression
    on me; the Rondo seems the best part of it. You cannot imagine how
    dull Warsaw looks. If it were not for the happiness I find with my
    family I could not live here.

    Oh, how miserable it is to have no one to share your sorrows and
    joys, and, when your heart is heavy, to have no soul to whom you
    can pour out your woes. You know very well what I mean. How often
    do I communicate to my piano all that I would confide to you.

    My friend, you must change into a delightful reality my dream of
    travelling with you abroad. I do not know what I should do for joy.
    But, alas, our ways lie wide apart.

    I hope to go to Italy, from Vienna, for my further improvement,
    and next winter I am to meet Hube in Paris; but everything may
    be altered, as my kind father would like me to go to Berlin, for
    which, to say the truth, I have no great desire. If, as I trust, I
    go to Vienna, I shall, perhaps, choose the way through Dresden and
    Prague, to visit Klengel again; also the famous picture gallery and
    the Conservatoire.

    I must now leave off, or I shall only weary you with my dry news,
    and I do not want to do that. If you would only write me a few
    lines, it would give me pleasure for several weeks. Forgive me for
    sending you the Waltz, which will make you angry with me in the
    end. My intention is to please you.

    Your FREDERIC.

The favourable critiques in the Vienna newspapers of Chopinʼs playing
awakened universal interest in Warsaw, and caused his father to
take counsel with Elsner and other friends about Fredericʼs further
training. All agreed on sending the young artist for a longer sojourn
abroad. Warsaw offered, indeed, little artistic stimulus to Chopinʼs
extraordinary abilities; he passed there for a perfect artist. His
compositions, published in Warsaw, are among the best he ever wrote,
and if his creative talent grew and matured in later years, his early
works bear the true Chopin stamp.


Elsnerʼs advice was that Chopin should go to Italy first, then to
Paris, and so be away two years in all. From letters to his friend,
Titus Woyciechowski, who now resides at his estate Poturzyn, in Poland,
and who very kindly furnished these letters, we learn from Frederic
himself how he passed the next few years. It is most fortunate for us
that his most intimate friend has religiously preserved, as sacred
memorials, every line of the talented artist.

    _Warsaw, October 20th, 1829._


    You wonʼt know how to make out why such a writing mania has
    suddenly seized me, and how it is that, in so short a time, I send
    you a third letter.

    I start at seven this evening, _per diligence_, for
    Wiesiowlowskiʼs, in Posen, and so write to you beforehand, not
    knowing how long I shall stay there, though I have only got a
    passport for a month. My idea is to return in about a fortnight.
    The object of my journey is to see Prince Radziwill, who is living
    at his estate not far from Kalitz. He wishes me to go to Berlin,
    and live as a guest in his house, &c.; but I cannot see that it
    would be of any real, that is to say, artistic use. “Mit grossen
    Herren ist nicht gut Kirschen essen.”

    My good father will not believe that these invitations are merely
    _des belles paroles_.

    Forgive me if I repeat myself. I easily forget what I have written,
    and often fancy I am giving you news which is really stale.

    Kessler gives a musical soirée every Friday; nearly all the
    artists here meet together, and play whatever is brought forward,
    _prima vista_; so, for example, there were performed, last Friday:
    Concerto in C sharp minor, by Ries, with quartet accompaniment;
    then Trio in E major, by Hummel; Beethovenʼs last Trio, which I
    thought magnificent and impressive; also a Quartet, by Prince Louis
    Ferdinand of Prussia, _alias_ Dussek;[50] and singing to conclude

    Elsner has praised my Concerto Adagio. He says there is something
    new in it. As for the Rondo I do not want any opinion on that at
    present, for I am not satisfied with it myself. I wonder whether I
    shall finish it when I return.

    Thank you very much for your letter, which pleased me exceedingly.
    You have the happy gift of cheering and delighting one. You cannot
    imagine how despondent I was in the morning, and how my spirits
    rose when I received your letter. I embrace you warmly. Many write
    this at the end of their letters and scarcely think about it; but
    you know, dearest friend, that I do it sincerely, as truly as I am
    called “Fritz.” I have composed a Study in my style; when we meet
    again I will play it to you.

    Your faithful


       *       *       *       *       *


    _Warsaw, Sunday, November 14th, 1829._


    I received your last letter at Radziwillʼs, at Antonin. I was there
    a week, and you cannot think how quickly and pleasantly the time
    passed. I travelled back by the last Post, and had great trouble
    to get away. As for myself I could have stayed there till I was
    driven away, but my occupations, and, above all, my concerto, which
    still impatiently awaits its _Finale_, forced me to quit Paradise.

    My dear Titus, there were three daughters of Eve there; the young
    princesses, extremely amiable, musical, and kind-hearted; and the
    Princess, their mother, who knows quite well that the value of a
    man does not depend on his descent, is so lady-like and amiable
    towards everyone that it is impossible not to honour her.

    You know what a lover of music the Prince is. He showed me his
    “Faust,” and I found much that is really beautiful in it; some
    parts, indeed, show considerable intellectual power. Between
    ourselves, I certainly should not have accredited a Stadtholder
    with such music. I was struck, among other things, by the scene
    where Mephistopheles allures Margaret to the window, by playing the
    guitar and singing outside her house, while a Chorale is heard at
    the same time in the neighbouring church. This is sure to produce
    a great sensation. I only mention this to give you an idea of his
    style. He is also a great admirer of Gluck. In the drama, he only
    gives importance to music in so far as it depicts the situation or
    the feelings, therefore the Overture has no conclusion, but leads
    directly to the introduction. The orchestra is always invisible,
    placed behind the stage,[51] so as not to distract the attention by
    such externals as the conducting, the movements of the musicians,

    [Sidenote: TEACHING A PRINCESS.]

    I wrote an “Alla Polacca,” with ʼcello accompaniment during my
    visit to Prince Radziwill. It is nothing more than a brilliant
    drawing-room piece—suitable for the ladies. I should like Princess
    Wanda to practice it. I am supposed to have given her lessons. She
    is a beautiful girl of seventeen, and it was charming to direct her
    delicate fingers. But, joking apart, she has real musical feeling,
    and does not need to be told when to play _crescendo_, _piano_, or
    _pianissimo_. Princess Elise was so much interested in my Polonaise
    (F minor) that I could not refuse to send for it. Please let me
    have it by return of post. I did not wish to be thought impolite,
    but I should not like to write it out of my head again, my dearest,
    for I should, perhaps, make it very different from the original.
    You can picture to yourself the character of the Princess from her
    having me play the Polonaise to her every day. The Trio in A flat
    major always pleases her particularly.[52] She wishes me much to
    go to Berlin in May, so nothing stands in the way of my going to
    Vienna in the Winter. It does not seem likely that I shall get off
    before December. Papaʼs birthday is on the sixth, which I shall, in
    any case, keep with him. I do not think of starting till the middle
    of December. I hope also to see you again.

    You would not believe what a blank I feel in Warsaw just now. I
    have no one to whom I can speak a couple of really confidential
    words. You want one of my portraits. I certainly would have sent it
    you if I could have stolen one from Princess Elise, who has two in
    her album, which, I am assured are very faithful likenesses; but
    you, my dearest, need no picture of me. Believe me, I am always
    with you and will never forget you to the end of my life.

    I remind you once more of the Polonaise; please send it by return.
    I have written some studies; I should play them well in your
    presence. Last Saturday, Kessler played Hummelʼs E major Concerto,
    at the Ressource. Next Saturday, perhaps, I shall play; I shall
    choose the Variations dedicated to you.

    Your faithful


       *       *       *       *       *

    _Warsaw, March 27th, 1830._

    I never missed you so much as now. I have no one to whom I can pour
    out my heart. A single look from you, after the concert, would
    be more to me than the praise of all the critics here. Immediately
    on the receipt of your letter, I wanted to describe my first
    concert to you; but I was so distracted and busy with preparations
    for the second, which took place on Monday, that I was not capable
    of collecting my thoughts. I am not, indeed, in a much better mood
    to-day, but I cannot delay the sending of this letter any longer,
    for the post goes, and who knows when my mind will be at rest again?


    The first concert, for which three days before there was neither
    box nor stall to be had, did not, on the whole, make the impression
    I had expected. The first Allegro of the F. minor concerto (not
    intelligible to everyone) was indeed rewarded with a bravo, but
    this was, I think, because the public wished to show that it
    knew how to understand and appreciate earnest music. In every
    country there are plenty of people who readily assume the airs of
    connoisseurs. The Adagio and Rondo made a great effect and were
    followed by the heartiest applause and shouts of bravo. But the
    Potpurri on Polish songs[53] completely missed its mark. They
    applauded indeed, but, evidently, only to show the player they were
    not wearied with him.

    Kurpinski[54] thought he discovered fresh beauties in my concerto
    that evening. Ernemann was entirely satisfied. Elsner regretted
    that my piano was not stronger, the bass being, as he thought, not
    heard clearly enough.

    Those sitting in the gallery or standing in the orchestra appear to
    have been most satisfied; there were complaints in the pit of the
    playing being too soft. I should very much like to know the gossip
    about me at “Kopciuszek.”[55] In consequence of the remarks in the
    pit, Mochnacki, after highly praising me—especially for the Adagio
    in the _Polish Courier_—advised me, for the future, to use more
    power and energy. I knew quite well where this power lay, so at the
    second concert I did not play on my own but on a Vienna instrument.
    This time the audience, again very large, were perfectly content.
    The applause knew no bounds, and I was assured that every note rang
    out like a bell, and that I played much more finely than before.
    When I appeared, in reply to a recall, they called out “give
    another concert.” The Cracovienne produced a tremendous sensation;
    there were four rounds of applause. Kurpinski regretted that I had
    not played the Polish Fantasia on the Vienna piano, a remark which
    Grzymala repeated the other day in the _Polish Courier_. Elsner
    says I could not be properly judged of until after the second
    concert. I confess, candidly, that I would rather have played on
    my own instrument. The Vienna piano was generally regarded as more
    appropriate to the size of the building.


    You know what the programme of the first concert was.[56] The
    second began with a Symphony by Nowakowski[57] (par complaisance)
    followed by a repetition of the first Allegro of my Concerto.
    Then the Theatre Concert-master, Bulawski, played an Air Varié,
    by Beriöt, and I, my Allegro and Rondo again. The second part
    commenced with the Rondo Cracovienne. Meier sang an air from
    Solivaʼs opera, “Helene and Malvina,” and, in conclusion, I
    improvised on the Volkslied “W—miescie dziwne obyczaje,” (there
    are strange customs in the town) which very much pleased the
    people in the first rows. To be candid I must say that I did not
    improvise as I had intended, but, perhaps, that would not have been
    so well suited to the audience. I wonder that the Adagio pleased so
    generally; from all I hear, it is with reference to this that the
    most flattering observations have been made. You must have read the
    newspapers, and you will see that the public were very pleased with

    A poem, addressed to me, and a large bouquet were sent to my house.
    Mazurkas and Waltzes are being arranged on the principal themes
    from my Concerto. Brzezina asked for my likeness, but I declined
    giving it. This would be too much all at once, besides I do not
    like the prospect of butter being wrapped up in the paper on which
    I am pourtrayed, as was the case with Lelewelʼs portrait.

    Wishes are expressed on all sides that I should give a third
    concert, but I have no desire to do so. You would not believe
    the excitement one has to go through for some days before the
    performance. I hope to finish the first Allegro of the second
    Concerto before the vacation, so I shall wait, at any rate, till
    after Easter, although I am convinced that I should have a larger
    audience than ever this time; for the “haute volée” have hardly
    heard me at all yet. At the last concert a stentorian voice called
    out from the pit, “Play at the Town Hall,” but I doubt whether
    I shall follow this advice; if I play again, it will be in the
    theatre. It is not a question of [Sidenote: PROCEEDS OF THE
    CONCERTS.] receipts with me, for the Theatre did not bring me in
    much. (The cashier, to whom everything was left, did as he liked.)
    From both concerts, after all expenses had been deducted, I did not
    receive quite 5,000 gulden,[58] although Dmuszewski, editor of the
    _Warsaw Courier_, stated that no concert had been so crowded as
    mine. Besides, the Town Hall, where the anxieties and arrangements
    would be many, would not please everyone. Dobrzynski[59] is vexed
    with me for not performing his symphony. Frau W. took it amiss that
    I did not reserve a box for her, &c., &c.

    I close this letter unwillingly, because I feel as if I had not
    told you anything interesting yet. I have reserved all for the
    desert which is nothing more than a warm embrace.

    Your FREDERIC.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Warsaw, May 15th, 1830._

    You will certainly have wondered that Fritz did not answer your
    letter by return of post; but as I could not immediately give the
    information you asked for I delayed writing till to-day.

    Now listen, my dearest, Henrietta Sonntag is coming to Warsaw
    in June, or, perhaps, at the end of May. I am sure you will not
    neglect the opportunity of hearing her. Oh, how thankful I am for
    it. She must be in Danzig now, and from there she comes to us.
    We have several concerts in prospect. Little Worlitzer, pianist
    to the King of Prussia, has already been here a fortnight. He
    plays very finely, and being of Jewish descent, has many natural
    gifts. He has been with me; he is just sixteen; some of the things
    he played at our house went famously. His best performance is
    Moschelesʼs Variations on the Alexander March. He really plays
    those excellently. You would like his style and manner of playing,
    although—this to you only—he still lacks much to deserve his
    title of Chamber _Virtuoso_. There is also a French pianist here,
    Monsieur Standt. He intended giving a concert, but seems lately to
    have relinquished the idea.

    It is an agreeable piece of musical news that Herr Blahetka, father
    of the _pianiste_ in Vienna, will, if I advise him, come here,
    when the Diet meets, and give some concerts. But my position is a
    difficult one; the man wants to make money, and if it happens that
    his hopes are not fulfilled, he will be angry with me. I answered
    immediately that I had often been asked whether he would not come,
    and that many musicians and lovers of music would be glad to hear
    his daughter; but I did not conceal from him that Sonntag would be
    here, that Lipinski was coming, that we have only one theatre, and
    that the expenses of a concert amount to at least 100 thalers. He
    cannot say now that I did not properly inform him of the state of
    things. It is very possible that he will come. I should be very
    glad, and would do all in my power to get a full house for his
    daughter. I would willingly also play with her on two pianos; for
    you would not believe how kindly her father interested himself for
    me in Vienna.

    [Sidenote: THE NEW CONCERTO.]

    I do not know yet when I shall commence my journey. I shall
    probably be here during the hot months. The Italian Opera does not
    begin in Vienna till September, so I have no occasion to hurry. The
    Rondo for the new Concerto is not ready yet. I have not been in the
    right mood to finish it. When the Allegro and Adagio are quite done
    with, I shall not be in any anxiety about the _Finale_.

    The Adagio in E major is conceived in a romantic, quiet, half
    melancholy spirit. It is to give the impression of the eye resting
    on some much loved landscape which awakens pleasant recollections,
    such as a lovely spring moon-light night. I have written for the
    violins to accompany _con sordini_. Will that have a good effect?
    Time will show.

    Write and tell me when you are coming back to Warsaw, for it would
    be worse than it was the first time if I had to give my concert
    without you. You do not know how I love you. Oh, if I could only
    prove it! What would I not give to be able to embrace you heartily
    once again.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Warsaw, August 21st, 1830._

    This is my second letter to you. You will scarcely think it
    possible, but so it is.

    I wrote to you directly after my prosperous return to Warsaw, but
    as my parents stopped at Count Skarbekʼs, at Zelazowa Wola, I, of
    course stopped too, and in the hurry forgot to post my letter. But
    there is nothing bad in the world that has not some good in it.

    Perhaps I shall not weary you so much with this as with the last
    letter, when I had the image of your quiet country life, which I
    had just quitted, constantly before my eyes. I may say, truly, that
    I recall it with delight; I always feel a certain longing after
    your beautiful country seat. I do not forget the weeping willow,
    that Arbaleta! Oh, with what pleasure do I remember it! You have
    teased me enough about it to punish me for all my sins. Let me tell
    you what I have done since you left, and what is settled about my


    I was especially interested with Paërʼs opera, “Agnese,” because
    Fräulein Gladkowska made her _débût_ in it. She looks better on the
    stage than in a drawing-room. Her first-rate tragic acting leaves
    nothing to be desired, and her vocalization, even to the high F
    sharp or G, is excellent. Her _nuances_ are wonderful, and if her
    voice was rather tremulous at first, through nervousness, she sang
    afterwards with certainty and smoothness. The opera was curtailed
    which, perhaps, did not make it seem so tedious to me. The harp
    romance which Fräulein Gladkowska sang in the second act was very
    fine. I was quite enraptured. She was recalled at the conclusion of
    the opera, and greeted with unbounded ovations.[60]

    In a weekʼs time Fräulein Watkow[61] is to play the _rôle_ of
    Fiorilla, in the opera of “Il Turco in Italia,” which will be sure
    to please the public better. A great many people blame the opera of
    “Agnese,” without knowing why.

    I do not contend that Soliva[62] might have chosen something better
    for Gladkowska; “Vestalin” would, perhaps, have been more suitable,
    but “Agnese” is beautiful also; the music has many good points,
    which the young _debutante_ brought out capitally.

    And now what am I to do?

    I start next month, but I must first try my Concerto, for the Rondo
    is ready now.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Warsaw, August 31st, 1830._

    It was high time for your letter to arrive, for as soon as I
    received it, I lost my catarrh. Would that my letters might be
    endowed with the same miraculous power.

    I still stay here, and nothing, indeed, attracts me abroad. But I
    am certain to go next month, in obedience to my calling, and my
    reason, which must be weak, if it were not strong enough to conquer
    all other inclinations.

    This week I must try the whole of the E minor Concerto, with
    quartet accompaniment, to give me confidence, as Elsner says the
    first orchestral trial will not go well. Last Saturday, I tried
    the Trio, and, perhaps, because I had not heard it for so long,
    was satisfied with myself. “Happy man,” you will say, wonʼt you?
    It then struck me that it would be better to use the Viola instead
    of the Violin, as the first string predominates in the Violin, and
    in my Trio is hardly used at all. The viola would, I think, accord
    better with the ʼcello. The Trio will then be ready to print. So
    much about myself. Now something as to the other musicians.

    [Sidenote: FRÄULEIN WOTKOW.]

    Last Saturday, Soliva brought forward his second pupil, Fräulein
    Wotkow, who delighted the whole house with her natural grace and
    good acting, also with her beautiful eyes and pearly teeth. She was
    more charming on the stage than any of our actresses. I scarcely
    recognized her voice at first, she was so agitated. But she acted
    so excellently, no one would have supposed her to be a _debutante_.
    Notwithstanding the encores and the enormous applause she received,
    she did not overcome her embarassment till the second act, when the
    capabilities of her voice revealed themselves, though not quite so
    fully as at the rehearsal, and at the performance the day before

    In vocal ability Fräulein Wotkow is far surpassed by Fräulein
    Gladkowska. If I had not myself heard the former I should not have
    believed there could be such a difference between two singers.
    Ernemann shares our opinion, that it is not easy to find a singer
    equal to Gladkowska, especially in the bell-like purity of her
    intonation, and true warmth of feeling, which are only properly
    displayed on the stage. She entrances her hearers. Wotkow made
    several slight mistakes, whilst with Gladkowska one did not hear a
    single note that was in the least doubtful, although she has only
    performed twice in “Agnese.”

    When I saw the two vocalists the day before yesterday and presented
    your compliments to them, they were evidently gratified and
    commissioned me to thank you.

    Wotkowʼs reception was warmer than Gladkowskaʼs, which Soliva
    did not seem to like. He said to me, yesterday, that he did not
    wish Wotkow to win more applause than her fellow pupil. I think
    a considerable share of the approbation is to be ascribed to the
    character which pleases the public better (captivated also by the
    young girlʼs beauty) than the tragic misery of the unhappy daughter
    in Paerʼs opera. Gladkowska is to appear shortly in the “Diebischen
    Elster,” but this “shortly” will last till I am over the mountains.
    Perhaps you will then be in Warsaw, and will give me your opinion
    of the performance. Her third _rôle_ is to be “Vestalin.”

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Warsaw, October 5th, 1830._

    I was longing very much for your letter, which has somewhat
    soothed me. You cannot conceive how impatient and wearied (a
    feeling I cannot struggle against) I am of everything here. After
    the orchestral trial of my second Concerto, it was decided that
    I should appear with it at the Theatre on Monday, 11th instant.
    Although this does not quite suit me, I am curious to know what
    effect the composition will have on the public. I hope the Rondo
    will produce a good impression generally. Soliva said, “il
    vous fait beaucoup dʼhonneur;” Kurpinski thought it contained
    originality, and Elsner an especially piquant rhythm. To arrange
    a good concert, in the true sense of the word, and to avoid the
    unfortunate clarionet and flageolet solos, Mdlles. Gladkowska and
    Wotkow will give some solo numbers. As to overtures I will not have
    the one either to “Leszek,” or to “Lodoiska,” but that to “William

    You would hardly imagine the difficulty I had to obtain permission
    for the ladies to sing. The Italian granted it readily, but I had
    to go to a higher authority still: to the Minister Mostowski, who
    finally agreed, for it makes no difference to him. I do not know
    yet what they will sing, but Soliva tells me that a chorus will be
    necessary for one of the arias.

    I am certain not to be in Warsaw a week after the concert. My
    trunk is bought, the outfit ready, the score corrected, the pocket
    handkerchiefs hemmed, the new stockings and the new coat tried on,
    &c. Only the leave-taking remains, and that is the hardest of all.

       *       *       *       *       *


    _Warsaw, October 12th, 1830._


    The concert, yesterday, was a perfect success; I hasten to inform
    you of it. I was not in the least anxious, and played as if I had
    been at home. The hall was crammed. Görnerʼs symphony opened the
    ball; then I played the first Allegro from the E minor Concerto;
    the notes seemed to roll along of themselves on the Streicher
    piano. A roar of applause followed. Soliva was very satisfied;
    he conducted his Aria, with chorus, which was very well sung by
    Fräulein Wotkow. She looked like a fairy in her light blue dress.
    After this Aria came my Adagio and Rondo, and then the usual
    interval. Connoisseurs and lovers of music came on to the stage and
    complimented me on my playing, in the most flattering manner.

    The second part began with the _Tell_ Overture. Soliva conducted
    capitally, and the impression it produced was deep and abiding.
    The Italian was really so good to me that I owe him my everlasting
    gratitude. He afterwards conducted the Cavatina from “La Donna del
    Lago,” which Fräulein Gladkowska sung. She wore a white dress, had
    roses in her hair, and looked charmingly beautiful. She has never
    sung as she did last evening, except in the air in “Agnese.” “O,
    quanto lagrime per te versai,” and the “tutto detesto” were heard
    splendidly, even to the low B. Zielinski declared that this B alone
    was worth a thousand ducats.

    When I had led the ladies from the stage I played my Fantasia
    on National Airs. This time I understood myself, the orchestra
    understood me, and the public understood us both. The Mazovian air,
    at the end, made a great sensation. I was so rapturously applauded
    that I had to appear four times to bow my thanks. And, be assured,
    I did it quite gracefully, for Brandt had fully instructed me. If
    Soliva had not taken my score home and corrected it, and, as
    conductor, restrained me when I wanted to run away, I do not know
    what would have happened. He kept us all so splendidly in check
    that I never played so comfortably with an orchestra before. The
    Streicher piano was very much liked, but Fräulein Wotkow still more.

    I am thinking of nothing but my packing up. On Saturday or
    Wednesday I go out into the wide world.

    Ever your truly affectionate


This last concert, therefore, called forth the most favourable and
enthusiastic notices of Chopin. The Warsaw newspapers were all full of
his praises. They compared him to the chief European _virtuosi_, and
prophesied the most brilliant future, saying that some day Poland would
be justly proud of the great pianist and composer, &c., &c.

The sad but very important day in the life of a young artist, that on
which he leaves his fatherʼs house, drew near. Frederic had to part,
for a lengthened period, from all that was dearest to him, home,
parents, sisters, and also from that lovely young artiste, the ideal
object of his enthusiastic love. He was to leave her, and, alas! for


On November 2nd, 1830, he said adieu to his beloved parents, who gave
him their blessing, and embraced his sisters with tearful eyes. From
Warsaw he went first to Kalisz, where he expected to meet his friend,
Titus Woyciechowski, to travel with him to Vienna, through Breslau
and Dresden. A circle of friends, of which the venerable Elsner was
one, accompanied Frederic to Wola (the first village beyond Warsaw)
where the pupils of the Conservatoire awaited him and sang a cantata,
composed for the occasion by Elsner. At the banquet given there in
his honour, a silver goblet, of artistic workmanship filled to the
brim with his native earth, was presented to him. The sight of this
beautiful and ingenious gift caused the shining, art-loving eyes of
Frederic to fill with tears of the deepest emotion.

“May you, wherever you go, never forget your fatherland, or cease to
love it with a warm and faithful heart,” said the friend who presented
him the goblet in the name of them all. “Think of Poland, think of your
friends, who are proud to call you their countryman, who expect great
things from you, whose wishes and prayers accompany you.”

The young artist once more pressed the hand of each, and then turned
his steps onwards. Before him lay the wide, checkered, unknown world;
but the consciousness of a true aim and a green blossoming hope
sustained him.





To the lover and especially to the _connoisseur_ of music it will
be interesting to make a more thorough examination of Chopinʼs
compositions, in order to appreciate them rightly, and to learn with
what intellectual equipment he set out on his long years of travel. His
first works were written in a period of apparent quietness and calm.
After the battle of Waterloo, which had happened during the peaceful
labours of the Vienna Congress, the nations once more breathed freely;
the great conqueror was in captivity, and the political relations
of the European States seemed for the time settled. Peace, so much
desired, had succeeded at length to the long and sanguinary wars, and
brought with it the hope of quickened life and renewed effort.

Poland, like every other country, grew conscious of its own powers, its
pride revived, and patriotic reformers were energetic in diffusing
plans for the amelioration of its internal affairs. By degrees chaos
resolved itself into order, foreign influences were shaken off,
and foreign customs discarded. Despite the miseries the country
had suffered, some enthusiasts dreamed that the golden age of the
Jagellons was about to return. Men of science were astir in the field
of discovery, and eagerly seeking to throw fresh light on established
truths. For years the garlands of fame had been won by bold warriors,
and subtle politicians; now, poet, artist, and _savant_ were to
gather _their_ laurels on the peaceful fields of science and art. A
new intellectual life, full of aspiring fancy and creative impulse,
universally prevailed.

At the Vienna Congress the right of being called a “kingdom” had been
granted only to the smaller portion of Poland. Although exhausted
by the Napoleonic wars, and earnestly engaged in healing its own
wounds, the nation was anxiously desirous of restoring culture, and
encouraging literature and art. There was a general feeling that on
the establishment of a new social and political order, literature—as
in Germany and other countries—would find its subjects in the life
and manners of the people. The outbursts of feeling, the power of
conception, and the universal impulse towards expression would, it
was thought, lay the foundations of a national poetry, the classic
forms not being considered in harmony with the character of the Polish

Following the example of some industrious collectors of Polish
songs and proverbs, a brisk investigation was instituted into the
literary treasures of other countries. We had at that time but one
representative of the new æsthetical and philosophical ideas and poetic
tendencies—Casimir Brodzinski. As professor of Polish Literature at
the Warsaw University, and member of the Scientific Society, he could
not directly oppose the fundamental principles of his colleagues, who
belonged to the classical school; but these circumstances facilitated
rather than retarded the spread of his opinions, which he propagated
by his lectures at the University and by essays in the journals. These
opinions were based on the principles of Kant and Schiller, on the
historical study of Polish literature, and on the poetical theories
of the Romantic School. [Sidenote: RISE OF THE ROMANTIC SCHOOL.]
Casimir Brodzinski gathered around him a band of talented young men,
and a contest began, which daily became more violent and bitter,
between the Classists and Romanticists. On one side were the advocates
of the old classic principles; on the other youth, with its ready
enthusiasm for everything new, with such men as Bohdan Zaleski, Sewerin
Goszczynski, Anton Malczewski, Stephan Witwicki, Moritz Goslowski, and
later on Slowacki and Sigismund Krasinski. Mickiewicz,[63] the gifted
author of “Grazyna” and “Dziady;” and the greatest of Polish poets,
supported by the historians Lelewel and Brodzinski, placed himself at
the head of the Romantic School, and his genius soon triumphed over its

At the time when the battle between the champions of the two schools
was raging hottest, Chopin felt the first stirrings of creative genius.
Living in the midst of a youthful circle, enthusiastic for national
poetry, which it not unjustly regarded as the basis of all poetry, he
made research for national melodies, and sought by careful artistic
treatment to enhance their value and give them an assured place in
musical literature. In this he succeeded more completely than any
other composer. No one could reproduce with such beauty and truth the
peculiar melancholy feeling pervading all Sarmatian melodies.


The noblest enthusiasm glows in Chopinʼs music: it may be called the
complement, or rather the illustration of the new national poetry. An
eminent Polish historian says of it: “A peculiar importance belongs
to Chopinʼs music, because in it more than in any other our nation is
represented in the noblest light, in the possession of an independence,
hitherto unknown. Such music springs from the same source as our
national poetry.”

With respect to Chopin, the same author also quotes the following
passage from Alfred de Mussetʼs “Confessions dʼun enfant du
siecle,” which characterizes, with such wonderful poetic feeling and
psychological keenness, the prevailing malady of the age: “When the
war was over, the Emperor an exile, and portraits of Wellington and
Blücher, with the inscription ‘Salvatoribus mundi,’ adorned every wall,
a new generation was beholding, with gloomy thought, the ruins of the
past. In the veins of these youths flowed the same warm blood which had
flooded the whole world. Everyone raved about the snows of Moscow, and
the sands of Egypt, every soul was full of dreams, swelling with lofty
thoughts and panting with desires which were impossible, for wherever
men turned their eyes all was emptiness and desolation. The more mature
believed in nothing, the learned lived in an eternal contradiction,
poets preached despair. An awful hopelessness raged like a pest in
the civilised world.” If, according to Alfred de Musset, political
and literary circumstances had exercised so baneful an effect on the
younger generation in France, how much more excuse was there for such a
state of things in Poland, where hope had turned into scepticism, and
melancholy become a chronic evil.

The sensitive and pliant Sarmatian temperament is as susceptible
to hope as to despair, but the miserable political condition of
the country for generations could not but foster an inclination to
melancholy. The more finely strung natures, who perhaps, maintain with
difficulty the necessary equilibrium for ordinary affairs, are, of
course most sensitive to such influences. Considering the political
circumstances of Poland, we can only wonder that misery and despair
did not lead the nation to further extremes.

Among those whose productions expressed their love for their country,
and profound sorrow for its shameful debasement, Chopin, for tenderness
and refinement, stands pre-eminent. His handsome aristocratic
appearance, and that enthusiasm of nature, which was transfused into
his music, distinguished him above his compeers. The fatal events
which, at the beginning of the decade of 1830, brought Poland to the
verge of ruin, could not but influence the works of every native
artist. Libelt, one of the chief poets of that time, sung from the very
depth of his soul:

    “Die traute Heimathe bietet uns kein Gluck,
    Erliegt dem Vaterland das Misgeschick.”

How could Chopin sing a cheerful song out of a merry heart? He would
have had to assume a cheerfulness he could not feel, which to his
intensely natural character would have been extremely difficult. Like
every great man, he was greatest when left to the inspirations of his
genius. The fire and spirit of youth, indeed, glowed in his soul, and
sweet melodies flowed from his pen, but through his smile the hot tear
always glistened—a tribute to his country and to his brethren fallen in
her defence.

The Rondo, op. 1 (dedicated to Madame Linde) composed in 1825,
and afterwards arranged as a duet, although artistically written
throughout, is Chopinʼs weakest work. His individuality was not
at that time fully developed, and Hummelʼs influence was unmistakable.
It is no disparagement of his talents to say this, for every young
pianist of that period made Hummel his model, and, moreover, every
genius, however independent, begins by unconsciously imitating his
favourite composers and artists. As an instance of this we need only
mention Beethoven.

In the following works, the “Introduction et Polonaise brillante pour
piano et ʼcello” (op. 3), the Sonata in C minor, (op. 4), dedicated to
Elsner, and the Trio (op. 8), which, although entitled “Premier Trio,”
has had no successor, the leaning towards Hummel is still evident; the
motives are easily comprehensible, harmonious, clear and simple in
their development, but the Variations on “Don Juan” already bear the
true Chopin stamp.


In 1831, just after the appearance of this piece, R. Schumann wrote a
long article in the _Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung_, under the simple
heading, “An opus 2.” We quote a part of it:

    “Eusebius had just stepped softly into the room. You are familiar
    with the ironical smile on the pale face by which he tries to
    excite attention. I was sitting at the piano with Florestan, who
    is, as you are aware, one of those peculiar musicians who pre-judge
    everything new and extraordinary. But to-day a surprise awaited
    him. With the words, ‘Hats off, gentlemen, a genius!’ Eusebius laid
    before us a piece of music of which we were not allowed to see the
    title. I carelessly turned over the leaves. There is something
    fascinating in the enjoyment of music without sound. I think, too,
    that every composer has his own manner of writing notes; Beethoven
    looks different to Mozart, just as Jean Paulʼs words do not look
    like Goetheʼs. But now it seemed to me as if quite strange eyes,
    flowersʼ eyes, basilisksʼ eyes, peacocksʼ eyes were gazing at me.
    Light dawned in places; I thought I saw Mozartʼs ‘La ci darem la
    mano’ entwined in a hundred chords. Leoporello seemed to be looking
    steadily at me, and Don Juan glided past in his white mantle.
    ‘Now play it,’ said Florestan. Eusebius consented, and we sat
    squeezed in a window niche to listen. He played like one inspired
    and brought forth an innumerable host of the most life-like forms;
    as if the enthusiasm of the moment had raised his fingers beyond
    their usual possibilities. With the exception, however, of a happy
    smile, Florestan only expressed his approbation by saying that
    these Variations might have been Beethovenʼs or Franz Schubertʼs,
    if these composers had been pianoforte _virtuosi_. But when he
    turned to the title page and read, ‘_La ci darem la mano_, varié
    pour le pianoforte par Frédéric Chopin, Oeuvre 2,’ we both cried in
    astonishment, ‘a second work!’ We were dumbfounded, and could only
    exclaim, ‘Yes, but this is something clever. Chopin—I never heard
    the name, who can he be? An unmistakable genius. In the Variations,
    in the concluding movement and in the rondo genius shines in every

For one of the greatest musicians in Germany to write thus
enthusiastically of an Opus 2, by an unknown composer, the work must
have been marked by unusual originality, creative power, and technical
perfection. One of the most noteworthy of the innumerable services
rendered by Robert Schumann is, that in spite of the most adverse
criticism, he first paved the way for Chopinʼs popularity in Germany,
in which endeavour he was zealously aided by his wife, the world-famed
pianist, Clara Wieck Schumann.


Among Chopinʼs works, especially distinguished for newness of form,
we place the Mazurkas, op. 6 and 7. This national dance, with its
monotonous, poor, and apparently common-place rhythm, rose under
Chopinʼs magic touch to a poetic dignity, of which no Polish musician
had hitherto dreamed. I have already mentioned how carefully and
perseveringly Chopin listened to and assimilated the national songs;
he eliminated all vulgarity from the rhythm, and retained only its
characteristic element, while the melody he idealised and glorified
with his finest poetry. Thus arose that exquisite series of mazurkas,
filled with gladness and melancholy, smiles and tears. The two works
referred to form, so to speak, the first links in the chain.

In a foreign country, hundreds of miles from his beloved home, Chopin
often felt an indescribable yearning for his family and fatherland.
At such times art was his only, and indeed his best solace. His piano
was his confidant, and for hours he would pour out his feelings in
sweet melancholy strains: the tones-poems thus composed being among
the finest which ever flowed from his pen. This mazurka form, peculiar
to the Poles, seemed to reveal a particular phase of feeling shared in
more or less by all Chopinʼs contemporaries. The mazurka is the musical
expression of a national yearning, and is to every Slav singularly full
of charm and sympathy.


The three Nocturnes (op. 9) are true Petrarchian sonnets, overflowing
with grace, fairy-like charm, and captivating sweetness; they seem like
whisperings, on a still summer night, under the balcony of the beloved
one. Chopin writes: “I have the _cognoscenti_ and the poetic natures
on my side.” But the reviewers appear to have belonged to neither
category, for the reception they gave to the nocturnes was to put their
heads together and say, “he has stolen it from Field!” They even went
so far as to assert that Chopin was a pupil[64] of that composer, who
was then living in St. Petersburg.[65]

There exists, at all times, a species of half-educated, envious
criticism, ever ready to support mediocre talent, and to stifle the
first germs of genius. Chopin felt its sting. Foremost among such
opponents was Rellstab, of Berlin, who, in his journal, the _Iris_,
wrote disparagingly of Chopinʼs talents and compositions. Sikorski, on
the other hand, well-known as one of the best and most conscientious
of Polish critics, says: “On comparing Fieldʼs nocturnes with those of
Chopin, it must be candidly confessed that the former do not surpass
the latter; although it is not to be denied that in spite of some
striking Chopin traits, opus 9 somewhat resembles Fieldʼs works in
depth of feeling and particular turns of expression. Their differences
may be thus described: Fieldʼs nocturnes represent a cheerful, blooming
landscape, bathed in sunshine; while Chopinʼs depict a romantic,
mountainous region, with a dark back-ground, and lowering clouds
flashing forth lightning.”

Worthy of mention among Chopinʼs early works are the “Variations
brillantes” (op. 12), “Grandes Etudes” (op. 10), and some very
interesting pieces with orchestral accompaniments, written between
1828—30, for example, “Grand Fantaisie sur des airs polonais” (op. 13),
“Cracovienne” (op. 14), and two Concertos, of which the one in E minor
was composed before his last journey from Warsaw. The Fantasia and
Rondo are almost unknown to the German public, although distinguished
by an originality never wanting in Chopinʼs works. The technical
difficulties, and the specifically Polish character of the earlier
works have, perhaps, hindered their popularity. But this is not the
case with the Concertos in E minor (op. 11), and F minor (op. 21.)[66]
Chopinʼs spiritual kinsman, Robert Schumann, valued them very highly,
and made merry over their opponents, whom he jocosely likened to the
French, in the time of Louis Philippe, refusing to recognize the
legitimate Duke of Modena as King, because he had ascended the throne
by a revolution.

Chopin never imitated other composers; and never suffered himself to
be misled by unjust blame or vulgar praise. The approval of genuine
musicians gave him pleasure, but we can say of him, as we cannot of
everyone, that he never courted distinctions or applause. This noble
feature of his character was sometimes inimical to his interests, for
the gentlemen of the press are not best pleased when a poet and artist
pays no homage to their power by asking for their help and favour.

In 1834, Schumann wrote, in his “Gesammelte Schriften über Musik und
Musiker,” vol. 1, p. 275: “We may incidentally refer to a famous
jackass of a newspaper which, as we hear, (for we do not read it, and
flatter ourselves that in this we are not quite unlike Beethoven)
sometimes glances at us, under its mask, with its dagger-like eyes,
and only because we jokingly suggested that the member of their staff
who wrote about Chopinʼs Don Juan Variations resembled a bad verse,
with a couple of feet too much, which it was proposed to lop off at
leisure. But why should I recall this to-day, when I have just come
from Chopinʼs F minor Concerto? Beware! Milk, cool blue milk _versus_
poison. For what is a whole year of newspapers to a Chopin concerto?
What is master of arts madness to poetic madness? What are ten
editorial crowns to an _adagio_ in the second concerto?... Chopin does
not present himself with an orchestral army like the great geniuses, he
has only a little cohort, but this is devoted to him to the last man.”


Chopinʼs friend and brother artist, Franz Liszt, the greatest pianist
of the present century, although not sharing Schumannʼs unbounded
enthusiasm, always pays due recognition to Chopinʼs talents, and
occasionally the tribute of his supreme admiration. Speaking of the two
Concertos, Chopin would, he thinks, have preferred greater freedom, but
did violence to the promptings of his genius in order to conform to
the old-fashioned rules of composition. Liszt says: “These works are
distinguished by a style of rare excellence, and contain passages of
great interest, phrases of astonishing grandeur. Take, for example,
the _Adagio_ in the second Concerto, for which he had a decided
preference himself, and was in the habit of frequently performing.
The accessory figures display the composerʼs happiest manner, while
the proportions of the chief phrase of the fundamental subject are
wonderfully grand. This subject, with a recitative in the minor, forms
the antistrophe. The whole movement is ideally perfect, now radiant
with joy, now melting in pity.”

I feel bound, in conclusion, to supplement the criticisms of Schumann
and Liszt, at that time the only representatives of the so-called music
of the future, by an opinion formed at the present day, and unbiased,
therefore, by the prejudices and controversies to which our masterʼs
creative genius gave rise. The younger generation of musicians—and the
pianists in particular—having, in a great measure, studied Chopin from
their early youth, know how to appreciate him, for we can only truly
estimate what we are thoroughly acquainted with, and which has, so to
speak, become to us a second nature. The discussion as to Chopinʼs
_status_ in the musical world is over, and his high position assigned
to him once for all. It is, however, interesting to read the criticism
of one of the most gifted pianists of the present day, Hermann Scholtz.
In a letter, which I here quote, he says, speaking of Chopinʼs earliest


“In considering these works, we are most astonished at the great
productiveness which he displayed in early youth. What a wealth of
melody, harmony, and rhythm appears even in these first compositions!
His originality is marvellous, for at a period when other composers
are more or less dependant on models, with him everything is new.
He is rightly called the creator of a new pianoforte music; for who
before him wrote for the instrument as he did? in whom do we find
such nobility of thought, such spiritualization of passages? I will
merely remind you of the manner in which he treated the left hand. His
tone-poems in the dance form (especially his mazurkas and polonaises)
receive an unusual charm from their national colouring.

“Among his weakest compositions are the ‘Rondo, op. 1,’ ‘Sonata,
op. 4,’ and ‘Rondo à la Mazur, op. 5,’ which in form leaves much
to be desired, but, by its melodic charm and grace of feeling,
is so irresistably fascinating that its weaknesses are more than
counterbalanced. Exception might be taken to the instrumentation of
the ‘Cracovienne,’ the Fantasia on Polish airs, the Variations on ‘Don
Juan,’ and the two Concertos, but on examining the pianoforte part we
find it full of the most beautiful thoughts, besides an unusual number
of passages quite new of their kind and affording ample opportunity for
the display of the pianistʼs virtuosity. I would particularly mention
the _Larghetto_, from the second Concerto, a piece full of poetic
charm. In it all the attributes of a perfect work of art appear in the
happiest union: noble melody, choice harmonies, agreeable figures, and
the perfection of form, while the thoroughly original ideas are finely
contrasted. One thing, indeed, is frequently lacking in Chopinʼs
compositions—especially in those written in the larger forms—the
thematic work, which is the _point dʼappui_ in the works of Beethoven
and the older masters. In view of his undeniable excellencies, we
readily look with indulgence on these minor failings in an artist of
such rare imaginative power as Chopin, who, while revealing to his
hearers a new world of thought, is himself, completely absorbed in the
creations of his fancy, for which reason most of his shorter works give
the impression of an improvisation.

“Chopin gives us his finest and most finished work in the smallest
forms, such as the nocturnes, in which we see the real enthusiasm of
his nature; his studies even are redolent with poetry. Play numbers 3,
6, 9, 10, and 12 from op. 10, and you cannot fail to agree with me. I
consider the last study (in C minor), with its heroic character, as the
most beautiful in this collection. To Chopin is due the merit of having
first used the broken chords in a spread-out form, which had formerly
been written only in a close position. To this innovation we owe a host
of interesting figures, as his studies and concertos abundantly prove.
The transposition of the third and other intervals to a higher octave
produces that agreeable effect which is so captivating in his music.
Chopin may possibly have received a suggestion from Weber, who used
plenty of firm chords in a scattered position.


“One of Chopinʼs special characteristics is the employment of the
diminished chord, especially the chord of the seventh. This frequently
occurs in his mazurkas, in which, by the enharmonic use of this chord,
he accomplishes a charming return to the chief subject. We must point
out a passage in the Etude in A flat, No. 10, op. 10, in which, by
an enharmonic change of the ordinary chord of the seventh, the chief
melody re-enters on the chord of the six-four, which produces an effect
quite bewitching. We meet with similar examples in Schumannʼs Romance
(F sharp) and Mendelssohnʼs ‘Songs without Words’ (No. 1, book 2.)
Wagner, also, has turned this modulation to the happiest account in his
newest operas.

“Another of Chopinʼs peculiarities is that he always repeats the chief
thought in a new form, and by arabesques or fresh harmonization always
gives it an additional interest.”

With such an intellectual equipment, of whose greatness he was not
himself conscious, Chopin went abroad. Granting that his creative
talent developed in after years, and that he daily gained fresh stores
of knowledge and experience, we still maintain that, as regards real
inspiration, he was never grander or more independent than in his
first works. They glow with that inimitable youthful fire, which no
one possesses for more than a limited period, but which produces an
unfailing delight and an indelible impression.





The goal of Chopinʼs travels was Italy, the land still glorious in
fame, the land of love, the cradle of the arts. In the home of the
great masters, where sweet melodies are heard in every mouth, he hoped
to perfect himself in the practice of his art, and to gather fresh
thoughts for new works.


In Germany, music had, by the first quarter of the present century,
attained a high position; such men as Handel, Glück, Haydn, Mozart,
Beethoven, and Weber had enriched the world with masterpieces; all the
larger towns possessed a good opera house, and the best singers and
instrumentalists were heard in the concert halls. But the _repertoires_
consisted almost exclusively of Italian music, especially of the works
of that most prolific writer and universal favourite, Gioacchino
Rossini. Mozartʼs operas were rarely heard: “Der Freischütz” was the
only German opera that had attained any popularity; “Fidelio” met with
so little success that, after one performance in Vienna, it was
withdrawn, and, as was then thought, finally.

Beethovenʼs immortal works, however highly _connoisseurs_ might esteem
them, were lying unheeded in libraries. The _chefs dʼorchestres_,
either from indolence, personal grudge, or because they were envious
of the master who had surpassed all other composers, showed little
readiness to study his wonderful creations; besides which, the players
of that time were seldom technically qualified for the difficult
task of adequately rendering Beethovenʼs Symphonies. The more easily
comprehensible music of the Italian school was received by the public
with great _gusto_, and only a few isolated voices were heard asking
for deeper and more earnest works.

Although Beethoven had been sleeping three years in the Währinger
churchyard, at Vienna, nothing of his music was heard beyond an
occasional performance of his larger works at the Vienna “Spirituel
oder Gesellschafts-Concerten,” or the production of one of the last
quartets by Schuppanzigh, who received but little thanks for his
pains.[67] Beethovenʼs Sonatas had as completely vanished from the
piano as if they had been buried with their author. By a considerable
section of the public his glorious Pianoforte Concertos, and the Violin
Concerto were thought wearisome, and almost unplayable; only by a very
small and select minority was the master sincerely reverenced and
warmly admired. Through their exertions to make his works accessible to
the general public, his fame gradually increased, till, like the sun
long struggling through its clouds, it shone over the whole civilised

How often must the master have been cut to the heart at seeing how
small was the number of those who understood him, and how many of his
countrymen exclusively preferred Italian music. But every lofty genius
is aware of the real measure of its own greatness: mediocre ability
over-estimates itself, great talent knows what are its capacities,
but genius despite much or long misunderstanding, and uninfluenced by
praise or blame, goes on its way, trusting to the voice within which
ever and again cries, “your time is coming.”

Beethoven made no secret of his opinions, and, regardless of giving
offence, spoke out plainly against the French and Italian music of
his day. To this Schindler, in his Biography of Beethoven, refers as
follows: “At the beginning of the third decade of the present century,
when the flood of Italian music was at its height, Beethoven was one
day conversing with some friends on the almost desperate prospects of
musical art, when we heard him say decisively, ‘But they cannot deprive
me of my place in the history of art.’” This clearly shows that sure
confidence about the future consoled him for the lack of present

Under such circumstances the generality of compositions were, of
course, of an insipid kind, designed only for external effect. The
famous pianists of the day—Field, Cramer, Klengel (pupils of Clementi),
and Hummel (pupil of Dionys Weber)[68]—gradually disappeared from the
scene of the triumphs of Field as a _virtuoso_, and of Hummel as a
composer and tasteful player. Among a younger generation of musicians,
Kalkbrenner bore the palm; after him came Moscheles, Herz, Thalberg,
and Mendelsohn. Liszt had not made a name till some years later. Felix
Mendelssohn had attracted attention by his instrumental works, but his
fame was then merely in the bud. Franz Schubert[69] was only known in
Vienna and Prague as a song-writer. In Vienna, where he was born and
lived for the whole of his short life, people knew nothing, or cared
nothing, about his C major Symphony.


A little band of true lovers of art, men to whom music was something
sacred, strove to bring about a reform, and shrunk not from material
sacrifices in the cause of earnest music. Deeming the encouragement
of young and struggling artists a _desideratum_ they offered prizes
for the best symphony, which were competed for from time to time,
as, in 1834, when Lachner won the first prize. Attracted by the
honour and pecuniary advantages there was no lack of competitors, but
although most of the compositions displayed knowledge, industry, and
conscientious work, none of them were illumined by the immortal spark
of genius. It was at length perceived that no amount of prize-giving
would produce genius, or even talent; that the true musician, like the
poet, must be _born_; and the scheme was abandoned.

The German masters of that day were more successful in the domain of
opera than in that of symphony; Winterʼs “Das unterbrochene Opferfest,”
Weiglʼs “Schweizerfamilie,” Spohrʼs “Jessonda,” “Azor und Zemire,”
and “Faust,” were favourably received for upwards of twenty years.
Of Kreutzerʼs works, “Das Nachtlager von Granada” has alone been
preserved, of Marschnerʼs (the greatest opera composer of the three we
have mentioned) “Der Templar und die Judin” and “Hans Heiling” have
remained on the stage. Lortzing, a writer of comic operas, came out
later, as also did Flotow. Meyerbeer, whose “Robert le Diable,” and
“Les Huguenots” have now been over the whole world, had then, with the
exception of his “Ritter des Kreuzes,” only written operas for the
Italian stage, but had been unable to compete with the highly-admired


Italy could no longer boast illustrious _virtuosi_ like Corelli,
Tartini, Viotti, Scarlatti, and Clementi, whose genius had attracted
the eyes of all Europe; but she possessed a Paganini, the greatest
violinist of the century, as Catalini was the greatest singer. Spohr,
in his autobiography, says a great deal in disparagement of Paganini,
not, indeed, from jealousy, for, being himself one of the greatest
violinists musical history can produce, he adhered as closely to the
principles of the Classic School as Paganini did to those of the
Romantic. Those who heard them both say, that although they could not
but admire Spohr, he never carried them away with the same force, or
produced such a deep undying impression as Paganini.

In 1829, Paganini appeared at several concerts in Warsaw, and Chopin
was entranced by his playing. He never ceased to speak with enthusiasm
of the Paganini evenings, which seemed to carry him out of the real
world into a land of happy dreams.

Lipinski,[70] who had made Paganiniʼs acquaintance at Piacenza, met
him again in Warsaw, and the two artists greeted each other with the
sincerest pleasure. In spite of all the honour paid to the great
Italian, it was felt that Polish patriotism was in question, and this
showed itself very warmly. A competition was proposed, which the two
artists accepted; they each played their favourite pieces in turn, and
concluded with a double Concerto by Kreutzer,[71] amid frantic shouts
of applause.

The modesty of Chopinʼs character and his freedom from jealousy
appear from a remark which he made on this occasion, “If I were such
a pianist as Paganini is a violinist I should like to engage in a
similar competition with a pianist of equal powers.” That evening he
made up his mind to pay a long visit to Paganiniʼs fatherland; no less
did the singers attract him “to the land where the citrons bloom,” for
Italy had at that day a more brilliant array of vocal artists than
any country in Europe. The mild climate of those happy regions is
favourable to the development of fine voices; but the Italian singing
masters understand also the art of bringing out the voice to the best

[Sidenote: ITALIAN MUSIC.]

The Italian composers, Rossini, Mercadente, Vaccai, Bellini, and
Donizetti wrote excellently for the voice, but they not only required
a fine, rich organ, but an artistic culture, such as in these days,
unfortunately, is rare. What a stimulus to fresh effort Chopin hoped to
receive from hearing Rubini, Mario, Galli, Lablache, Tamburin, Pasta,
Judith, Grusi, and Palazzesi!

In Poland, Italian opera was considered the finest in the world. Every
great city, like London, Paris, Vienna, St. Petersburg, or Stockholm,
had an Italian opera house; even in such cities as Dresden and Münich
there was an Italian as well as a German opera, or at least Italian
singers were engaged besides German ones.

Had Chopin gone to Italy his playing would undoubtedly have captivated
a people so sensitive to artistic beauty, and it is possible that the
voice of praise might have rendered him insensible to other influences;
but as a mere listener he had been learning to admire, and criticise
the achievements of others.

Mozart, to whom Chopin looked up with reverence, had visited Italy
when fourteen years of age, and won great triumphs as a pianist, but
as soon as he had heard the glorious voices and perfect vocalization
of the operatic singers, he felt stirred by the desire of writing an
opera. In 1770, he composed “Midritate Rè di Ponta,” and the success
of this work made him resolve to devote his energies thenceforth more
especially to the stage. In no other country could a composer attain
such operatic triumphs; the report of a new and well-received opera
ran like wild-fire from town to town, and the fame of a young composer
spread from the Italian cities over the whole world.

Meyerbeer also began his career as a pianist, and as such achieved a
brilliant success. Salieri, hearing him improvise at Vienna, at once
discerned his ability, and said to him, “What are you going to do?
Go to Italy, and study the operatic style, and the Italian method of
singing.” Through the influence of his wealthy family, Meyerbeerʼs
first operatic attempts had been produced at the Royal Theatre in
Berlin, but had excited little interest. To the somewhat dispirited
young writer, Salieriʼs advice seemed very acceptable. He acted upon
it, and when he had been some months in Milan, wrote an operetta,
which had a very favourable reception. After an interval of a year he
produced the “Crociato in Egitto,” which carried the name of Meyerbeer
all over Italy. Although not quite twenty years of age, the doors of
the Royal Academy of Music in Paris were opened to him, and they were
the key to those of the entire musical world.

Many of Chopinʼs friends and admirers used to say, “Our Frederic will
do likewise, and become a first rate operatic composer.” For him,
however, a different though a still splendid destiny was in store. The
non-fulfilment of these expectations, to which his rare musical gifts
had given rise, may be explained by external circumstances.


It seems at first sight a matter of surprise that Chopin did not
produce one dramatic work during his many yearsʼ residence in Paris,
where there is such an abundance of good models and first-rate artists;
besides which there was at that time not only the Grand Opera, but
the Comic and Italian operas. But no one fully acquainted with the
circumstances will be astonished that, in Paris, Chopin should have
held aloof from the stage. In Italy, a new opera can be mounted without
much expense, for the public care little about costumes and scenery.
They attend the opera solely for the music; if this finds favour and
the singers are good a new work may be performed, several nights in
succession, and the fortune of the composer is made. But in Paris a new
opera necessitates a large outlay, besides which—and particularly in
the case of a foreigner—a famous reputation and influential patronage
are requisite for the acceptance of any great operatic work. The
Parisians demand a mounting at once tasteful and gorgeous, and every
opera—whatever the excellence of the music—must include some brilliant
dances in order to produce a due effect. Otherwise a _fiasco_ may be
predicted with something like certainty.

When Chopin settled in Paris he had to take thought for means of
subsistence, in order to render needless any further pecuniary
sacrifices on the part of his parents. In spite of his masterly skill
he did not find it easy to gain a footing in a city, where there were
already many pianists of talent and celebrity. In the winter famous
performers from all parts of Europe resorted to the capital of the
continent to let their light shine before the leaders of fashion.
To keep abreast of such competitors Chopin was compelled to study
continuously, and only a _virtuoso_ knows what this means. Neither
could he abandon society, although this would have been better for his
delicate health. If he could have lived according to his inclinations
as a composer, not as an executant, and a Scribe had written a libretto
for him, an opera might then have been included among his productions
in Paris.

But we have been anticipating and must return to our artist, whose
beautiful, dreamy eyes beamed with delight as he thought of Italy, the
ideal land of his imagination. He was subject, of course, to seasons
of depression, and yearning after his beloved family, for his was not
one of those superficial natures which soon forgets what is not before
its eyes. He thought fondly of parents and sisters, and of his adored
Constantia with all the passionate ardour of his poetic soul. Her sweet
voice was ever ringing in his ears, and in his dreams he saw her eyes
suffused with tears; while the ring which she had slipped on his finger
at parting was his dearest jewel. His letters to his confidential
friend, Johann Matuszynski, show how noble and fervent was his love,
yet Constantiaʼs name never once appears in his letters to his family,
from whom he kept secret his attachment. He used earnestly to beg his
friend to send him frequent news of his “angel of peace,” as he called
his Constantia, that he might not perish with longing and unrest.


As this friend faithfully fulfilled what was required of him, a brief
reference may be made to his life. Johann Matuszynski was born in
Warsaw, December 9th, 1809, and, after passing through the Lyceum,
went to the University to study medicine. At the end of six terms of
diligent study, he was appointed regimental surgeon in 1830, just
when the war of freedom broke out in Poland. Four years later he
graduated at Tübingen, and received the diploma of doctor of medicine
and surgery. At the same time he wrote a treatise on “Plica Polonica,”
which was highly commended. He next went to Paris, where he immediately
visited his friend Chopin, whom he had not seen for five years.
They had been schoolfellows at the Lyceum, and as the doctor was an
excellent flautist they had as boys played duets together. A weakness
of the chest obliged Matuszynski, in after years, to abandon his

In Paris he soon attracted the attention of the first physicians, and,
what for a foreigner is very rare, was made professor at the “Ecole de
Médicine.” Proud of this position, he devoted himself to his profession
with an assiduity injurious to his delicate health, and he died of
consumption, April 20th, 1842.




At Kaliz, where Frederic met his friend and travelling companion, Titus
Woyciechowski, he was the guest of the physician, Dr. Kelbich. That
most agreeable man requested him to give a concert in the little town,
but the young artist declined, not being satisfied with the orchestra.

At the present day, a famous pianoforte _virtuoso_ like Chopin would
not concern himself about the orchestra, but unhesitatingly perform the
longest programme, without the assistance of any other artists. Then,
however, pianists rarely played less than two pieces with orchestral
accompaniment; they engaged the co-operation of other musicians, partly
from a respect for art, partly for the sake of offering the public more

Chopin declared that it was impossible to play the whole evening,
and as soon as Woyciechowski arrived, he bade a grateful farewell to
his hospitable host and pursued his journey. The friends stopped at
Breslau, from whence Chopin wrote as follows:—

    _Breslau, November, 9th, 1830._


    We arrived here very comfortably on Saturday evening, at six,
    in bright pleasant autumn weather. We put up at the Hotel “Zur
    Goldenen Gans,” and, as soon as we had dressed and taken some
    refreshment, we went to the theatre, where Raimundʼs “Alpine King”
    was being performed. You will see the piece some day. The public
    admired the scenery more than we did. I thought the acting pretty
    good. The day before yesterday “Maurer and Schlosser” was given,
    but not in first-rate style. To-day I shall hear the “Interrupted
    Sacrifice;” I am quite curious to see how it will turn out. There
    is a want of good singers here, but then the theatre is very cheap;
    a place in the pit only costs two Polish gulden.[72]

    [Sidenote: MUSIC AT BRESLAU.]

    Breslau pleases me much better this time than last. I have
    delivered Sowinskiʼs letter, but have scarcely seen him yet, for
    we were unfortunately out when he called. We had first gone to the
    _Ressource_, where, by invitation of the conductor, Schnabel, I was
    present at the rehearsal for the concert in the evening. There are
    three concerts a week.

    As is often the case at rehearsals, there was a very poor
    orchestra; a certain Referendar Hellwig was going to perform
    Moschelesʼ E flat major Concerto. Before this gentleman sat down,
    Schnabel, who had not heard me for four years, asked me to try the
    piano. I could not refuse this request, and played some Variations.
    Schnabel overwhelmed me with expressions of praise and pleasure.
    This made Hellwig feel a little uneasy, and I was pressed to take
    his place in the evening. Schnabel threw his influence into the
    scale, and asked me so heartily, that I could not deny the dear old
    man his wish. He is a great friend of Herr Elsnerʼs, which means
    much to me; but I told Schnabel at once that I only played for his
    sake, that for weeks I had not touched an instrument, and that it
    was not part of my programme to play in Breslau. Schnabel replied,
    that he was well aware of that, but that when he saw me in church,
    yesterday, he wished to ask me, but did not venture to do so. What
    could I do? So I went back to the hotel with his son to fetch my
    music, and played the Romance and Rondo from the second Concerto.

    The Germans admired my playing at the rehearsal. “What a light
    touch he has,” I heard them whisper; but about the composition I
    did not catch a syllable. Titus, whose ears are everywhere, and who
    is always active on my behalf, heard one gentleman say, “there is
    no doubt that this young man can play, but he cannot compose.”

    Yesterday, at the _table dʼhôte_, I made the acquaintance of a
    very amiable-looking gentleman, who was sitting opposite me. In
    the course of conversation I discovered that his name was Scharff,
    that he knew Scholtz, of Warsaw, well, and was on friendly terms
    with the gentlemen to whom I had letters of introduction. This Herr
    Scharff was wonderfully kind and obliging to Titus and myself. He
    took us all over Breslau, went with us to the suburbs of the town,
    wrote down our names as guests at the _Ressource_, and procured
    us visitorsʼ tickets for the concert yesterday, which he sent
    before the rehearsal. How astonished this friendly gentleman, and
    his companion who had obtained the tickets, must have been, when
    they beheld in one of the strangers the chief personage in the

    [Sidenote: PLAYS AT A CONCERT.]

    Besides playing the Rondo, I improvised, for the sake of the
    connoisseurs, on a theme from the “Mutes of Portice.” There was an
    overture, and some dancing to conclude with. Schnabel wanted to
    regale me with a sumptuous supper, but I only took a cup of broth.

    Of course I have made the acquaintance of the chief organist in
    Breslau, Herr Köhler; he promised to show me his organ. I met,
    also, a certain Baron Nesse di Neisse, a great violin player and a
    pupil of Spohrʼs.

    Another musician resident here, a Herr Hesse,[73] was also very
    complimentary to me; but none of the Germans, except Schnabel,
    whose face beams with real delight, and who claps me on the
    shoulder every moment, quite know what to make of me.

    Titus took delight in watching what went on around. As I have not
    yet got a name, people could not make up their minds whether to
    praise or to blame me, and connoisseurs were not quite certain
    whether my music was really good, or only seemed so. A gentleman
    came up to me and praised the form, as something quite new. I donʼt
    know his name, but I think of all my listeners he understood me the

    Schnabel placed a carriage at my disposal in the kindest manner;
    but when the dancing began, about ten, we went quietly home. I am
    truly glad that I was able to give pleasure to the dear old man.

    After the concert, Schnabel introduced me to a lady who is
    considered the first pianist in Breslau. She thanked me very much
    for the “delightful surprise,” as she expressed it, but regretted,
    exceedingly, that I would not make up my mind to appear in public.

    The Referendar consoled himself, and sang—though very
    indifferently—Figaroʼs air from the “Barbiere di Sevilla.”

    A great deal was said about Elsner, yesterday, and his Echo
    Variations for the orchestra were much praised. I said that
    they could only judge what a composer Elsner was after hearing
    his Coronation Mass. We leave for Dresden to-morrow at two oʼclock.
    I kiss and embrace you. My kindest remembrances to Messrs. Eisner,
    Zywny, Matuszynski, Kolberg, Marylski, and Witwicki.

    Your FREDERIC.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Dresden, November 14th, 1830._

    I have scarcely found a moment yet to write you a few words. I have
    just come from a dinner at which the company were all Poles. I
    have crept away to write to you, for the post goes at seven, and I
    should much like to see the “Mutes of Portici,” at the Theatre.

    We quitted Breslau unwillingly; the society of the gentlemen to
    whom Scholtz had given us letters of introduction made our sojourn
    in the capital of Silesia very agreeable.

    [Sidenote: ARRIVAL IN DRESDEN.]

    My first visit in Dresden was to Fräulein Pechwell. She played,
    on Friday, at a Musical _Soirée_ at Councillor Kressigʼs, and
    procured an _entrée_ for me. The “Mutes” was to be performed the
    same evening at the theatre. The choice was difficult; but one must
    always be polite to ladies, so I decided for the _Soirée_. Another
    important reason with me was, that Signora Palazzesi,[74] the
    _prima donna_ of the Italian opera, was expected to be there.

    After making a very careful toilet, I had a Sedan chair fetched,
    got into the queer, comfortable box, and was carried to the house
    where the musical entertainment was to take place. The spirit of
    mischief seized me, and I felt a desire to stamp through the bottom
    of the chair; however, I forebore.

    Arrived at Kressigʼs abode, I sent up my name to Fräulein Pechwell,
    whereupon the master of the house appeared, received me with many
    compliments, and led me into a room where a number of ladies were
    sitting at eight large tables. No flashing of diamonds met my gaze,
    but the more modest glitter of a host of steel knitting needles,
    which moved ceaselessly in the hands of these industrious ladies.

    The number of ladies and of needles was so large that if the ladies
    had purposed an attack upon the gentlemen, the latter would have
    been in a sorry plight. The only resource left them would have been
    to have made weapons of their spectacles, of which there were as
    many as there were bald heads.

    The clatter of knitting needles and tea cups was suddenly
    interrupted by music from the adjoining room. The overture to
    “Fra Diavolo” was played first; then Signora Palazzesi sang, in a
    magnificent voice, clear as a bell, and with plenty of bravura. I
    presented myself to the songstress, which gave me an opportunity of
    speaking also to the Musical Director, Rastrelli,[75] who had
    accompanied her. With true artistic politeness Rastrelli introduced
    me to Signor Rubini, who, with much affability, promised me a
    letter to his brother, the famous tenor. I do not need anything
    more for Milan. Yesterday, Rubini kindly took me to the Catholic
    Church, where a mass was being performed of Morlacchiʼs (bandmaster
    here.) This refined and agreeable man remembered me at once,
    and, giving me a place beside him, talked to me a long time. At
    these Vespers I heard the two celebrated Neapolitan soprani,
    Sassaroli and Tarquinio; the violin obligato was played by the
    bandmaster, the incomparable Rolla, to whom Soliva had given me
    a recommendation. Rolla received me very pleasantly, and said he
    would give me a letter to his father, the opera director in Milan.

    After hearing Fräulein Pechwell play at the musical _soirée_,
    I quietly slipped away to the opera; but only arrived at the
    commencement of the fifth act, so refrain from any criticism. I
    shall hear it all this evening.


    As I was going at the Dresden visiting hour, to call on Klengel, I
    met him in front of his house. He knew me directly, and welcomed
    me with heart-felt politeness. I have a great respect for him.
    Klengel asked me where I lived, and begged me to come and see
    him early the next day, as he could not go back with me then. He
    advised me to play in public, but I told him, in as friendly a way
    as I could, that I should not be here long enough for that. I donʼt
    think Dresden would bring me either much fame, or much money, and I
    have no time to spare.

    General Kniaziewicz, whom I saw at Frau Pruszakʼs, talked about a
    concert, but thought with me that I should make little by it.

    Yesterday I heard “Tancred,” but could not, on the whole, praise
    the performance. Rollaʼs marvellous solo, and the song by Fräulein
    von Hähnel, of the Vienna Royal Opera Theatre, had to make up
    for the shortcomings of the rest. The King, with his court, were
    present; they were, the same morning, at the service in the church,
    where a mass, by Baron Miltitz, was performed, under the direction
    of Morlacchi. The voices of Messrs. Sassarole, Muschetti, Babnigg,
    and Zezi sounded magnificent. I cannot call the composition
    original, but well worked out; the royal chamber musicians,
    Dotzaceer and Rummer, celebrated violincellists, played their solos
    very finely.

    I know none of the chief artists intimately, except dear Klengel,
    to whom I am sure to play to-morrow. I like to talk to Klengel, for
    one always learns something from him.

    I saw the Green Arch when I was here before, and once is enough
    for me; but I have visited the Picture Gallery again with the
    greatest interest; if I lived here I should go every week; there
    are pictures in it, the sight of which makes me fancy I hear music.
    Good bye for to-day.

    Your FREDERIC.

       *       *       *       *       *


    _Prague, November 21st, 1830._

    The week at Dresden slipped away so quickly that I hardly noticed
    how it went. I used to leave my hotel in the best of spirits in the
    morning, and did not return till night. When Klengel came to know
    me better as a musician, that is, when I had played my Concerto to
    him, he said that my playing strongly reminded him of Field, that
    my touch was quite unique, and that, although he had already heard
    much about me, he had not thought that I was such a _virtuoso_.

    I saw—and why should I be ashamed of it?—with pleasure, that these
    were sincere compliments; and he gave me a practical proof of their
    being so, for scarcely had I left him when he went to Malacchi,
    and to Councillor von Lüttichau, who is director general of the
    Royal drama, to find out whether, if I stayed four days longer
    in Dresden, I could give a concert without any very burdensome
    preparations. Klengel assured me afterwards that he did not do
    this for me, but for Dresden, and that he should like to force me
    into giving a concert. He came to me the next morning and said,
    that he had taken all the necessary steps, but that there was no
    evening disengaged till next Sunday (this was Wednesday.) The first
    performance of “Fra Diavolo” was fixed for Friday, and Rossiniʼs
    “La Donna del Lago,” in Italian, for Saturday.

    I gave Klengel a hearty welcome, for, indeed, I feel as if I had
    known him for years, and he seems to feel the same towards me; he
    asked for the score of my Concerto, and took me with him to the
    _soirée_ at Frau Niesiolowskaʼs. I also called on Frau Szczerbinin,
    but I had stayed so long at Frau Niesiolowskaʼs that by the time I
    arrived the company had gone. I was, therefore, asked to dinner the
    next day. In the afternoon I went, by invitation, to see Countess
    Dobrzycka, who is head governess to Princess Augusta.

    The countess was celebrating her birthday, and I had scarcely
    offered my congratulations, when two Saxon Princesses entered:
    Princess Augusta, only daughter of the late King Frederic Augustus,
    surnamed “the Just,” and Princess Maximilian, neé Princess of
    Lucca, daughter-in-law of the present King, a pleasant young lady.

    [Sidenote: LETTERS FOR ITALY.]

    I played before these ladies, whereupon letters were promised me
    for Italy, which showed that my playing must have pleased them. Two
    letters were in fact sent to my hotel the next day; the Countess
    Dobrzycka will send the others after me to Vienna. I gave her my
    address there. The letters were addressed to the Queen of the
    Sicilies, at Naples, and Princess Ellasino, at Rome. Letters of
    recommendation were also promised me to the reigning Duchess of
    Lucca, and the Viceroy of Milan, which I was to receive through the
    kind care of Kraszewski.

    Klengel has just given me a letter to Vienna, where he thinks of
    going himself bye and bye. At Frau Niesiolowskaʼs he drank my
    health in champagne. The lady of the house teased me a good deal,
    and insisted on always calling me “Szopski.”

    Rolla is a first-rate violinist, as anyone who knows anything about
    violin playing must admit.

    Goodbye till you hear from Vienna, which we hope to reach by nine
    on Thursday morning.

    I pleased General Kniaziewicz very much; he told me that no other
    pianist had made such an agreeable impression on him; I tell you
    this because I know you will like to hear it.

    Your FREDERIC.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Vienna, December 1st, 1830._

    I was greatly delighted with your letter, my dearests, the first
    I have received for a month, that is since I parted from you. My
    appetite increased a hundred per cent. at once.

    “The Wild Man”—as the capital Restaurant where I dine is
    called—charged a gulden and some kreuzers for an excellently
    prepared fritter; what more would you wish?

    Titus was full of joy too, for he received letters from his family.
    I thank Celinski for the accompanying note; it vividly recalled
    the time when I was still among you; it seemed to me as if I were
    sitting at the piano, and Celinski standing opposite to me, looking
    at M. Zwyny, who had just offered Linowski a pinch of snuff. Only
    Materszynski was wanting to complete the group. Has he recovered
    from the fever yet?

    I must say that there are many charming girls in Vienna.

    Haslinger received me very kindly, although he would print neither
    the Sonata, nor the second Variations, but he shall repent this.

    I learned, also, from Haslinger that Fräulein Blahetka is in
    Stuttgart with her parents, and that, perhaps, she will not come
    back at all this winter.


    I have taken lodgings with Titus in one of the principal streets,
    close to the vegetable market. For three elegant rooms on the third
    floor, we pay fifty gulden a month, which is considered cheap here.
    An English Admiral is occupying them at present, but he leaves
    to-day. Admiral! And I am admired.[76] So the house is a desirable
    one, especially as the mistress, a handsome, widowed baroness,
    still young, has been—as she says—for some time in Poland, and
    heard of me in Warsaw. She knew the family Skarzynski had moved in
    good society, and asked Titus if he did not know a beautiful young
    lady of the name of Rembielinska.

    The presence of this charming and intelligent lady makes the
    apartments all the more agreeable, for she likes Poles, and being a
    Prussian she regards the Austrians with no great favour.

    As soon as we go in Graff, the pianoforte-maker, will send us an
    instrument. When I went to see my friend Würfel, he began to talk
    immediately about arrangements for a concert. He is a remarkable
    man; although too ill to go out he gives lessons at his house. He
    spits blood, which has weakened him very much, and yet he talks
    of a concert. The poor sufferer told me that the newspapers here
    wrote enthusiastically about my F minor Concerto, which I had not
    the remotest expectation of. So I shall give a concert, but when,
    where, how and what, I do not in the least know.

    The change of air has given me a swollen nose, which hindered me
    from presenting myself at the Prussian Ambassadorʼs hotel, or at
    Countess Rzeiouskaʼs, the _rendezvous_ of all the “haute voleé.”
    This lady lives next to Hussarzewskiʼs, where, in spite of my
    nose, I have already been two or three times. He is of the same
    opinion as Würfel, who advised me to play without honorarium. Dr.
    Malfatti[77] welcomed me as warmly as if I had been a relation.
    When he read my name on my visiting card, he hastened to me,
    embraced me, and said, that Herr Wladislaw Ostrowski had written to
    him about me, and that if he could be of any service he was ready
    to do anything for me. He said, besides, that he would present me
    to Madame Tatzszczew, the Russian Ambassadorʼs wife, and would
    manage the necessary introductions; the Court was unfortunately in
    mourning for the King of Naples, but he would do what was possible.
    He also promised to introduce me to Baron Dunoi, director of the
    Musical Society here, who would probably be most useful to me.

    Elsnerʼs letter of recommendation to Herr Mittag procured me
    another equally agreeable acquaintance, who took a lively interest
    in me, and seems to be a person of influence.

    I have been to see Czerny, who was as polite as ever, and asked,
    “Have you been studying diligently?” He has arranged another
    Overture for eight pianos and sixteen players, and seems very happy
    about it.

    Except Czerny, I have seen none of the pianists this time. I have
    been twice to Frau Weyberheim, Frau Wolfʼs sister. I am invited
    to the _soirée_ there to-morrow, “en petit cercle des amateurs.”
    I shall pay a visit afterwards to Countess Rosalie Rzewuska, who
    receives between nine and ten. Hussarzewski has informed her that
    I am coming; I shall meet the celebrated Frau Cibini,[78] for whom
    Moscheles wrote a duet sonata.

    Yesterday I went with my letters to Stametzʼs counting-house, and
    was received just as if I had come for money. He handed me a paper,
    which notified that I was to go to the police with my card of
    permission to stay, and—basta. But perhaps it will be different bye
    and bye.


    I was also at Banker Geymüllerʼs yesterday, where Titus has to
    receive his 6,000 Polish gulden. When he had read my name Herr
    Geymüller, without taking any further notice of the letter, said,
    it was very agreeable to him to become acquainted with an artist
    of such distinction as myself; but he could not advise me to give
    a concert here, as there were very many good pianists in the city,
    and a great reputation was requisite to make money. Finally, he
    remarked, “I cannot help you in any way, the times are too bad.”

    I listened with big eyes to this edifying discourse, and when it
    was over I replied, that I was not at all sure whether it would
    pay to make a public appearance, for I had not yet called upon any
    influential people, not even on the Russian Ambassador, to whom I
    had a letter from the Grand Prince Constantine.

    At that, Herr Geymüller suddenly changed his tactics; but I took my
    leave, regretting that I had robbed him of his precious time, and
    thought to myself, “Wait you ... Jew.”

    I have not been to the bandmaster, Lachner, yet, as I have not room
    enough to receive return visits.

    We went from the “City of London,” where we had a long bill to pay,
    to the “Golden Lamb,” in Leopold Street, where we are still, hoping
    that the Englishman will quit the Baronessʼs rooms to-day. “As soon
    as we are in our own house,” says Titus, who always tries to make
    me assume the position of the haughty patron, “we will introduce
    an aristocratic _ton_. Then,” he continued, “we will receive, have
    music, and arrange for concerts—but not gratuitous ones.”

    I have not yet visited Madame Raayek, Frau von Elkau, Rothschild,
    the Vogts, and various other interesting people. To-day I am going
    to the Embassy, where I hope to see Baron Meindorf, whom I shall
    ask for first, on Hussarzewskiʼs advice, for Baron Meindorf will
    tell me when I can best present myself to Herr Tatyszezew.

    [Sidenote: OPERA IN VIENNA.]

    I have not touched the money which I had from the banker the day
    before yesterday. I mean to be very careful of it. I am sorry, my
    dear parents, but I must ask you to send me something more at the
    end of the month for the journey to Italy, in case my concerts turn
    out badly. The theatre is my heaviest expense; but this I regret
    the less as Fräulein Heinefetter[79] and Herr Wildt[80] sing nearly
    every evening, and are excellent beyond all description. This week
    I have heard three entirely new operas: “Fra Diavolo” yesterday,
    three days ago “Titus,” and to-day “William Tell.” I certainly
    prefer “The Mutes of Portici” to “Fra Diavolo.”

    I do not envy Orlowski[81] because he accompanies Lafont. Will the
    time come when Lafont shall accompany me? Does the question seem
    presumptuous? But if God wills it may come to pass.

    Nidecki thinks of staying here the whole winter. All this week I
    have done nothing but take care of my nose, go to the opera and
    to Graffʼs. I play every afternoon to get my stiff fingers into
    working order. I do not know how this week has flown. I have, as
    yet, taken no definite steps towards a concert. _A propos_ of that,
    do you advise me to play the F minor or E minor concerto? Würfel
    thinks my F minor concerto more beautiful than Hummelʼs in A flat
    major, which has just been published by Haslinger. Herr Haslinger
    is shrewd, trying in a cautious, subtle way, to induce me to let
    him have my compositions gratis. Klengel was surprised that he gave
    me nothing for the variations. Perhaps Haslinger thinks that if he
    treats my works as _bagatelles_, I shall be only too glad to get
    them printed; but the time for gratuitous work is over with me; now
    it is, pay _bestie_.

    Graff advised me to choose the States Deputies Hall, where the
    “Spirituel” concerts are given, as the nicest and best place
    for my concert. But I must first obtain the permission of Count
    Dietrichstein, which, indeed, will not be difficult through

    I am as strong as a lion, and they say I am stouter. Altogether I
    am doing well, and I hope, through God, who sent Malfatti to be a
    help to me—oh, splendid Malfatti—that I shall do still better.




The tyrannical rule and the capricious and despotic temper of the Grand
Prince Constantine, which the nation had borne with indescribable
patience and meekness for fifteen years, at length led to a revolution.
The Constitution framed for Poland at the Vienna Congress was regarded
in St. Petersburg and Moscow as the work of an encroaching Western
Liberalism, and as a revolutionary form of government which threatened
to shake the stability of the Russian monarchy. It was, therefore, the
constant aim of statesmen on the Neva to circumscribe this hateful
Constitution, to make it as far as possible a dead letter, and,
finally, to oppress Poland to the uttermost. For the accomplishment
of these ends, the advisers of the Czar conceived the idea of sending
his brother, the Grand Prince Constantine Pawlowicz, to Warsaw, as
plenipotentiary and military governor.

In St. Petersburg, the character of this cruel, coarse man had
caused the Emperor numberless embarrassments; for the higher State
functionaries found him unbearable.

With the title of commander-in-chief of the whole Polish army,
Prince Constantine received unlimited power of life and death over
the soldiers. He had, at the same time, full authority over all the
officials of the kingdom; practically, the Constitution ceased to
exist; as early as the year 1819, the freedom of the press had been
withdrawn, and a strict censorship established.

When the appointed time arrived, the Diet was not convoked, and
faithful patriots who dared to express their opinions were imprisoned.
The country swarmed with spies, whose business was to persecute and
punish those who showed the least sign of a desire for freedom. Not
only the actions, but the half-whispered words, and even the thoughts
of the people were betrayed to the Government. Especial severity was
exercised towards the young, whom for their natural love of liberty and
resistance to despotism the Grand Prince hated with all his heart.

To enforce obedience, the most harsh and unjust means were employed,
which could not but embitter the people. The long-cherished wish
of Constantine was that the Polish youth should wear a uniform, be
enlisted in the army, and thus become the obedient tools of his
tyranny. Every young man who devoted himself to science, literature,
or the fine arts, instead of entering the army, was, in his eyes, as
also in those of the ever vigilant police, either a foolish fanatic, or
dangerous to the State. From such proceedings a revolution could not
fail, sooner or later, to ensue.


Inflamed by the example of the July revolution in Paris, the Polish
youth, whom Constantine hated so intensely, instigated the insurrection
of November 29th, 1830. The army and the whole nation followed the
revolutionary banners, for all classes were equally incensed against
the tyrannical government of the Grand Prince.

At the first news of disquietude in Poland, Titus Woyciechowski at
once left Vienna to enter the army. Frederic wished to do the same,
as he thought that in such circumstances he could not endure to be so
far from his family and friends, and he was only prevented from doing
so by the entreaties of his parents, who knew that their sonʼs health
was not fit for the hardships of war. Chopinʼs family were naturally
undesirous that he should cut short the artistic career on which he had
just entered at so much cost, and in which he had already achieved good
success. But his anxiety about his parents and sisters was so great
that he followed his friend by the extra post, and had he overtaken
him, he would certainly have gone back to Warsaw. Returned to Vienna,
Chopin yielded to his fatherʼs will, and resumed the idea of giving a

This, however, was not so speedily arranged. The interest of the
Viennese musicians had waxed somewhat faint, and he had no benevolent
or influential friends among the newly-arrived artists. When he played
gratuitously help was readily forthcoming; but the case was altered
now, and Frederic saw himself neglected. It is not impossible, in the
time of Metternich, that people kept aloof from Poles from motives of
prudence; and the energy necessary for overcoming all these obstacles
failed Chopin.

Some of his former acquaintances were ill, others had gone away, and
the rest were afraid that the agreeable, educated, and highly-gifted
artist might settle in Vienna, and thus become a dangerous rival. Many
even were displeased at his success in the drawing rooms. The rapid
succession of military events in Poland frightened most of his patrons
from serving him, while his own mind was more occupied with politics
than music.

Several of Fredericʼs letters, written in a spirit of patriotic
enthusiasm, were destroyed by his parents, in case they should fall
into the hands of the Russian Government, which had even instituted
domiciliary visits. In consequence of the war, much that he wrote never
reached Warsaw at all. The sad condition of his country made a deep
and lasting impression on the mind of the young artist, so sensitive
alike to happiness and sorrow. The gay, buoyant tone of his letters,
which had formerly so delighted their recipients, changed to a certain
discontent and sadness; even his pleasant wit, as the reader will see
by the following correspondence, was frequently turned into bitter

    _Vienna, Wednesday before Christmas-day._

    (_I have no almanack at hand, so do not know the day._)


    It was seven weeks, yesterday, since I left you. What for? But it
    is so, and cannot be helped.


    I was invited, yesterday, at the very hour that I was conducted to
    Wola, to a little dancing party, at the Weiberheimʼs. There were
    several handsome young people there, not old-fashioned looking,
    that is, not Old Testament-looking.[82]

    I was pressed to join the Cotillon; so I went round a few times and
    then returned home. The hostess and her amiable daughters had asked
    several musical people, but I was not in a humour for playing the

    Herr Likl, who knows Louise, was introduced to me. He is a good,
    honest German, and thinks me a great man; so I would not destroy
    his good opinion by playing when I was not in the right mood.
    I also spoke to Lampiʼs nephew, who knows Papa well. He is a
    handsome, agreeable young man, and paints very well. _A propos_ of
    painting, Hummel and his son were with me yesterday. The latter
    has now almost finished my portrait. It is so good, one cannot
    imagine it better. I am sitting in my dressing-gown, with a look
    of inspiration which I do not know why the artist should have
    given me. The portrait is in quarto size, drawn in chalk, and
    looks like a steel engraving. The elder Hummel was exceedingly
    polite, and introduced me to his old acquaintance, M. Duport,
    director of the Kärthner-Thor Theatre. The latter, who has been
    a celebrated dancer, is said to be very stingy; however, he was
    exceedingly complaisant to me, thinking, perhaps, that I should
    play gratuitously for him. He makes a mistake there! We had a sort
    of conference together, but nothing definite was decided on. If
    Herr Duport offers too little, I shall give my concert in the large
    Redoubt Hall.

    Würfel is better; I met Slawick, an excellent violinist,[83] at
    his house last week. He is at the most twenty-six, and pleased me
    very much. When we left Würfelʼs he asked me if I were going home,
    to which I replied in the affirmative. “Come with me instead, to
    your countrywomanʼs, Frau Beyerʼs,” said Slawick. I agreed. Now
    Kraszewski had sent me, the same day, from Dresden, a letter to
    Frau Beyer, but without any address, and Beyer is a common name
    in Vienna. So I resolved at once to fetch my letter and go with
    Slawick; when, lo and behold! I really went to the right Frau
    Beyer. Her husband is a Pole from Odessa. She declared that she had
    heard of me, and invited both Slawick and myself to dinner the next


    After dinner Slawick played, and pleased me immensely, more than
    any one since Paganini. As my playing was also agreeable to him,
    we determined to compose a duet together for violin and piano. I
    had thought of doing so in Warsaw. Slawick is, indeed, a great and
    talented violinist. When I become acquainted with Merk, we shall be
    able to manage a trio. I hope to meet him soon at Mechettiʼs.

    Czerny was with me at Diabelliʼs, yesterday; the latter invited me
    to a _soirée_ on Monday next, where I am to meet none but artists.
    On Sunday there is a soirée at Liklʼs, where the aristocratic
    musical world assemble, and the Overture for four performers is to
    be given. On Saturday there is to be a performance of old church
    music at Kiesewetterʼs (author of a work on music.)

    I am living on the fourth floor; some English people took such a
    fancy to my abode, that they said they would rent it of me for
    eighty gulden; a proposal to which I acceded most willingly. My
    young and agreeable hostess, Frau Baroness of Lachmanowicz,
    sister-in-law of Frau von Uszakow, has just as roomy apartments
    on the fourth storey for twenty gulden, which satisfy me quite
    well. I know you will say, “the poor wretch lives in a garret.”
    But it is not so; there is another floor between me and the roof,
    and eighty gulden are not to be despised either. People visit me
    notwithstanding; even Count Hussarzweski took the trouble to mount
    up. The street is in an advantageous position for me, in the midst
    of the city, close to where I most often want to go. Artaria is at
    the left, Mechetti and Haslinger are at my right, and the Royal
    Opera Theatre is behind. Could I have anything more convenient?

    I have not yet written to Herr Elsner, but I was at Czernyʼs just
    now. Up till to-day, the Quartett has not appeared.

    Dr. Malfatti scolded me for appearing at Madame Schaschekʼs to
    dinner at four instead of two. I am to dine with Malfatti again
    next Saturday, and if I am late again, Malfatti will—so he
    threatens—subject me to a painful operation.

    I can imagine dear Papa looking grave over my frivolity, and want
    of respect to my elders; but I will improve. I am proud to say that
    Malfatti is really fond of me. Nidecki comes to me every day to
    play. If my concerto for two pianos succeeds to my satisfaction,
    we are going to play it together in public, but I shall play alone

    Haslinger is always pleasant, but does not say a word about
    publishing. Shall I go shortly to Italy, or shall I wait?[84]
    Dearest Papa, please tell me what are your and dear Mammaʼs wishes.

    I daresay Mamma is glad I did not return to Warsaw, but how I
    should like to be there! Embrace dear Titus for me, and beg him to
    write me a few words.

    I know you believe in my affection and deep attachment; but you
    can scarcely imagine what a very great delight your letters are to
    me. Why is not the post quicker? You will think it natural that I
    should be very anxious about you, and impatiently await news of you.


    I have made a very agreeable acquaintance, a young man of the name
    of Leibenfrost; he is a friend of Kesslerʼs. We meet frequently,
    and when I am not invited out we dine together in the city. He
    knows Vienna perfectly, and will be sure to take me to see whatever
    is worth seeing. For instance, yesterday, we had a splendid walk
    to the fortifications; Dukes, Princes, Counts, in a word, all the
    aristocracy of Vienna were assembled there. I met Slawick, and we
    agreed to choose a Beethoven theme for our Variations.

    For some reasons I am very glad that I am here, but for others!...

    I am very comfortable in my room; there is a roof opposite, and
    the people walking below look like dwarfs. I am most happy,
    when I have played to my heartʼs content on Graffʼs magnificent
    instrument. Now I am going to sleep with your letters in my hand;
    then I shall dream only of you.

    The Mazurka was danced, yesterday, at Beyerʼs. Slawick fell down
    with his partner, an old Countess with a coarse face and a large
    nose, who daintily held her dress in the old-fashioned way, by the
    tips of her fingers, her head resting on the flap of his coat. But
    all respect to the couple, and to the lady in particular, who is
    sensible and entertaining and knows the _usage du monde_.

    Among the most popular of the numerous amusements of Vienna are the
    Garden Concerts, where Launer and Strauss play waltzes while the
    public sup. After every waltz the musicians receive a boisterous
    bravo. If an _ad libitum_ is played, introducing favourite operatic
    melodies, songs, and dances, the enthusiasm of the Viennese knows
    no bounds.

    I wanted to send you with this my last Waltz, but the post goes,
    and I have no time to write it out, so must wait till another
    opportunity. The Mazurkas, too, I must get copied first; but they
    are not for dancing.

    I do not like to say goodbye already; I would gladly write more. If
    you should see Fontana tell him that he shall soon have a letter
    from me. Matuszynski will have a long epistle either to-day or by
    the next post.

    Farewell, my dearests,

    Your FREDERIC.




    Sunday, Christmas Morning._

    This time last year I was in the Bernhardine church, to-day I am
    sitting in my dressing gown, quite alone; I kiss my sweet ring and


    I have just come from hearing the famous violinist, Slawick, who
    is second only to Paganini. He takes sixty-nine staccato notes at
    one stroke of the bow! It is almost incredible! When I heard him
    I wanted to rush home and sketch out some variations for piano
    and violin on an Adagio by Beethoven; but a glance at the post
    office, which I always pass (that I may ask for letters from home),
    diverted my desires.

    The tears which this heavenly theme brought to my eyes have
    moistened your letter. I long, unspeakably, for a word from you;
    you know why.

    How any news of my angel of peace always delights me!

    How gladly would I touch the strings which should awaken not only
    stormy feelings, but the songs whose half echoes still haunt the
    shores of the Danube—songs sung by the warriors of King John

    You advised me to choose a poet. But you know that I am an
    indecisive being, and only once in my life made a good choice.

    I would not willingly be a burden to my father; were I not afraid
    of that, I should immediately return to Warsaw. I am often in
    such a mood that I curse the moment in which I left my beloved
    home. You will, I am sure, understand my condition, and that since
    Titus went away too much has fallen suddenly upon me. The numerous
    dinners, _soirées_, concerts, and balls I am obliged to attend only
    weary me. I am melancholy. I feel so lonely and deserted here, yet
    I cannot live as I like. I have to dress, and look cheerful in
    drawing rooms; but when I am in my room again, I talk to my piano,
    to whom, as my best friend in Vienna, I pour out all my sorrows.
    There is not a soul I can unreservedly confide in, and yet I have
    to treat everyone as a friend. Plenty of people seem, indeed, to
    like me, take my portrait, and seek after my company, but they do
    not make up for you. I have lost my peace of mind, and only feel
    happy when I can read your letters, think of the monument of King
    Sigismund,[86] or look at my precious ring.

    [Sidenote: A LOVERʼS ANXIETIES.]

    Pray forgive me, dear Hänschen, for writing so complainingly, but
    my heart feels lighter when I can thus talk to you, and I have
    always told you everything that concerned myself. Did you receive
    a short letter from me the day before yesterday? Perhaps my
    scribbling is not of much consequence to you as you are at home,
    but I read your letters again and again.

    Dr. Freyer, having learnt from Schuch that I was in Vienna, has
    been to see me two or three times. He gave me a great deal of
    interesting news, and was very pleased with your letters, which I
    read to him up to a certain passage, which passage made me feel
    very sad. Does she really look so changed? Do you think she was
    ill? She is of such a sensitive nature that this is not at all
    unlikely. But, perhaps, it was only your imagination, or she had
    been frightened by something. God forbid that she should suffer
    anything on my account! Comfort her, and assure her that as long
    as my heart beats I shall not cease to adore her. Tell her that,
    after my death, my ashes shall be spread beneath her feet. But
    this is not half what you might say to her on my behalf. I would
    write to her myself, and, indeed, should have done so long ago, to
    escape the torments I endure, but if my letter chanced to fall into
    other hands, might it not injure her reputation? So you must be the
    interpreter of my thoughts; speak for me, “et jʼen conviendrai.”
    These words of yours flashed through me like lightning, when I read
    your letter. A Viennese, who happened to be walking with me at the
    time, seized me by the arm, and could scarcely hold me in. He could
    not make out what had come to me. I could have embraced and kissed
    all the passers by, for your first letter had made my heart feel
    lighter than it had been for many a day.

    I am sure I must be wearying you, my dear friend, but it is
    difficult for me to hide from you anything that touches my heart.
    The day before yesterday I dined with Frau Beyer, who is also
    called Constantia. I enjoy visiting her very much, because she
    bears a name so unspeakably dear to me; I even rejoice if one of
    her pocket-handkerchiefs or serviettes marked “Constantia” falls
    into my hands. Slawick is a friend of hers, and I often go to her
    house with him.

    Yesterday, as on Christmas Eve, we played in the fore and
    afternoon. The weather was spring-like. As I was returning in
    the evening from the Baronessʼs circle, I walked slowly into St.
    Stephenʼs. I was alone, for Slawick was obliged to go to the
    Imperial Chapel. The church was empty, and, to get the full effect
    of the lofty and imposing edifice, I leant against a pillar in
    the darkest corner. The vastness and splendour of the arching are
    indescribable: one must see St. Stephenʼs for oneʼs self. The
    profoundest silence, broken only by the resounding steps of the
    vergers coming to light the tapers, reigned around.

    Before and behind me, indeed everywhere but overhead, were graves,
    and I felt my loneliness and desertion as I never had before.
    When the lights had burned up, and the cathedral began to fill,
    I muffled myself in my cloak (you know how I used to go about in
    the Cracow suburb), and hastened off to the Mass at the Imperial
    Chapel. Amid a merry crowd, I threaded my way to the palace, where
    I heard some sleepy musicians play three movements of a mass. I
    returned home at one oʼclock in the morning, and went to bed to
    dream of you, of her, and of my dear children.[87]

    Next morning I was awakened by an invitation to dinner from
    Frau Elkan, a Polish lady, and the wife of a well-known wealthy
    banker. The first thing I did that day was to play some melancholy
    fantasias, and, after receiving calls from Nidecki, Liebenfrost,
    and Steinkeller, I went to dine with Malfatti. This excellent man
    thinks of everything; he even goes so far as to provide dishes
    cooked in Polish fashion.


    Wildt, the famous tenor, came after dinner. I accompanied him, from
    memory, in an air from “Otello,” which he sang admirably. Wildt
    and Fraulein Heinefetter are the stars of the Royal opera; the
    other singers are not so good as one would expect. But a voice like
    Heinefetterʼs is very rare; her intonation also is always pure, her
    colouring refined, and, indeed, her singing altogether faultless;
    but she is cold; I nearly got my nose frozen in the pit. She looks
    particularly handsome as a man. I liked her better in “Otello”
    than in “Barbiere,” in which she represented the consummate
    coquette, instead of the lively witty girl. As Sextus in “Titus”
    she was exceedingly brilliant. In a few days she will appear in
    “Der Diebische Elster,” which I am curious to see. Fräulein Wolkow
    pleased me better as Rosine in the “Barbiere,” but she certainly
    has not the voice of Heinefetter. I wished I had heard Pasta.

    You know that I have letters from the Saxon court to the Viceroy
    of Milan, but what had I best do? My parents leave me to follow my
    own wishes, but I would rather they had given me directions. Shall
    I go to Paris? Friends here advise me to stay in Vienna. Or shall I
    go home, or stay here and kill myself? Advise me what to do. Please
    ask a certain person in Warsaw, who has always had great influence
    over me. Tell me her opinion, and I will act upon it.

    Let me hear again before you go to the war. Address, Poste
    Restante, Vienna. Do go and see my dear parents and Constantia;
    and, as long as you are in Warsaw, please pay frequent visits to
    my sisters that they may think you are coming to see me, and I am
    in the next room; sit with them that they may fancy it is me; in a
    word, take my place at home.


    I am not thinking any more of concert-giving just now. Aloys
    Schmitt, the pianist from Frankfort-on-the-Maine, whose studies are
    so famous, is here at present. He is something over forty years of
    age. I have made his acquaintance, and he promised to come and see
    me. He intends giving a concert, and it must be admitted that he
    is a clever musician. On musical matters we shall, I think, soon
    understand one another.

    Thalberg is also here, and playing famously, but he is not the man
    for me. He is younger than I am, very popular with the ladies,
    makes _pot-pourris_ on the “Mutes,” plays _forte_ and _piano_ with
    the pedals, but not with his hands, takes tenths as I do octaves,
    and wears diamond studs. He does not at all admire Moscheles; so
    it is not surprising that the _tutti_ were the only part of my
    concerto that pleased him. He, too, writes concertos.

    I finish this letter three days after I began it, and have read
    through my stupid scribble again. Pray excuse having to pay
    the postage, dear Hänschen. When dining to-day at the Italian
    restaurant, I heard some one say, “God made a mistake in creating
    Poland.” Is it any wonder that my feelings are more than I can
    express? Somebody else said, “There is nothing to be got out of
    Poland,” so you ought not to expect anything new from me who am a

    There is a Frenchman here who makes all kinds of sausages, and
    for a month past crowds have gathered round his attractive shop,
    for there is something new in it every day. Some people imagine
    that they are beholding the remains of the French Revolution, and
    look compassionately at the sausages and hams, which hang up like
    pictures, or they are indignant at the revolutionary Frenchman
    being allowed to open a meat shop, as there were quite enough
    pigs in his own country. He is the talk of Vienna, and there is a
    general dread that if there should be a disturbance the French will
    be at the bottom of it.

    I must close, for the time is quite up. Embrace all my dear friends
    for me, and be assured that I shall not leave off loving you till
    I have ceased to love my parents, my sisters, and her. My dearest,
    do write me a few lines soon. You can show this to her if you like.
    I am going to Malfattiʼs again to-day, but to the post first. My
    parents do not know of my writing to you. You can tell them, only
    donʼt show them the letter.

    I do not know how to part from my sweet Hänschen. Depart, you
    wretch! If W—— loves you as warmly as I do, so would Con ..... No,
    I cannot even write the name, my hand is too unworthy. Oh! I should
    tear my hair out if I thought she forgot me: I feel a regular
    Othello to-day. I was about to fold and seal the letter without
    an envelope, forgetting that it was going where everybody reads
    Polish. As I have a little space left, I will describe my life here.

    I am living on the fourth floor in a handsome street, but I have to
    be on the alert if I want to see what passes. When I come home you
    will see the room in my new album, young Hummel having kindly made
    me a drawing of it. It is spacious, and has five windows, to which
    the bed stands opposite. My wonderful piano stands on the right,
    the sofa on the left, a looking-glass between the windows, a large
    handsome round mahogany table in the middle of the room; the floor
    is waxed. Donʼt be alarmed!...

    [Sidenote: DIVISION OF THE DAY.]

    “The gentleman does not receive in the afternoon,” so I can be
    in your midst in thought. The intolerably stupid servant wakes
    me early; I rise, take my coffee, which is often cold, because
    I forget my breakfast over my music. My German teacher appears
    punctually at 9 oʼclock; then I generally write, Hummel comes to
    work at my portrait, and Nidecki to study my Concerto. I keep on
    my comfortable dressing-gown till 12 oʼclock, at which hour Dr.
    Leibenfrost, a lawyer here, comes in to see me. Weather permitting,
    I walk with him on the Glacis, then we dine at the “Zum Bömischen
    Köchin,” the _rendezvous_ of the students from the Academy, and
    afterwards, according to the custom here, we go to one of the best
    coffee-houses. Then I make calls, returning home at dusk, when I
    throw myself into evening dress, and go to a _soirée_. About 11 or
    12 oʼclock (never later) I come home, play, laugh, read, and then
    go to bed and dream of you.

    My portrait—which is a secret between you and me—is very good. If
    you think she would like it I could send it through Schuch, who
    will probably leave here with Freyer, about the 15th of next month.
    I began to write this letter quite clearly, but I have finished
    it in such a way that you will have some trouble in reading it.
    Embrace my college friends, and, if possible, get them to write to
    me. Kindest love to Elsner.

       *       *       *       *       *

    To the same.


    New Yearʼs Day, 1831._


    Now you have what you wanted. Did you receive the letter, and
    deliver any of it? I still regret what I have done. I was full
    of sweet hopes, and _now_ I am tormented with doubt and anxiety.
    Perhaps she scorns me, or laughs at me! Perhaps—oh, does she love
    me? asks my throbbing heart. You good-for-nothing Esculapius. You
    were in the theatre with your opera glasses, and did not take your
    eyes off her! If that is so, confound it.... Do not make light
    of my confidence, but I only write to you for my own sake; you
    are not worth the trouble. Now you know all my thoughts. When you
    are in your room with your old friends Rostowski, Schuch, Freyer,
    Kyjewski, and Hube, imagine that I am enjoying myself with you,
    but oh! I feel so strange in writing to you here. It seems as if I
    were with you, and what I see and hear around me only a dream. The
    voices to which my ear is unaccustomed seem to me only like the
    rattling of a carriage, or some other unimportant sound. Only your
    or Titusʼs voice could wake me out of my stupor. To-day, life and
    death are indifferent to me. Say nothing of this to my parents.
    Tell them that I am in capital spirits, that I want for nothing,
    am enjoying myself gloriously, and never feel lonely. Tell her the
    same, if she laughs at me, but if she asks kindly after me, and
    seems anxious about me, whisper to her not to be uneasy, but say
    that I am very lonely and unhappy away from her. I am not well, but
    do not tell my parents. All my friends are asking what ails me;
    “humour,” I sometimes say, but you know what is really the matter.


    At the end of next month I shall go to Paris, if things remain
    quiet there. There is no lack of amusements here, but I very seldom
    care to participate in them. Merk, the first violinist in Vienna,
    has promised me a visit. This is the first of January. Oh, what
    a sad beginning of the year for me! I love you dearly. Write as
    soon as possible. Is she at Radom? Have you built forts? My poor
    parents! How are my friends? I would die for you, for any of you.
    Why am I condemned to stay here, lonely and forsaken? You who are
    together, can comfort one another in these fearful times. Your
    flute will have enough to mourn over? How my piano will weep itself

    You write that you are going to take the field with your regiment;
    how will you forward the letter? Do not send it by a messenger; be
    careful! My parents might—they might misunderstand.

    Once more I embrace you. You are going to the war; come back a
    colonel. May all go well! Why can I not at least be your drummer?
    Excuse this rambling letter, for I feel quite dazed.

    Your faithful




[1] Speaking of this new Constitution, Fox said, “It is a work, in
which every friend to reasonable liberty must be sincerely interested.”
Burke exclaimed: “Humanity must rejoice and glory when it considers the
change in Poland.”—_Translatorʼs Note._

[2] In a letter to the King of Poland, dated May 23rd, he said, “I
congratulate myself on having had it in my power to maintain the
liberty and independence of the Polish nation, and one of my most
pleasing cares will be to support and draw closer the bond which unites
us.”—_Translatorʼs Note._

[3] All the foreign biographers of Chopin have mistaken the date of
his birth. Even on his monument at Père la Chaise, in Paris, 1810 is
engraven instead of 1809, an error which ought to have been rectified
long ago.

[4] This March was afterwards published in Warsaw, but without the
composerʼs name.

[5] This story is given by Wladislaus Casimir Wocicki in his work
entitled “Cmentarz Powazkowski.”

[6] One of these pupils, Casimir Wodzynski, a property owner, who is
still living, often tells this story.

[7] Chopin generally improvised in the dark, frequently at night, as
then the mind is undisturbed by outward impressions. Then he would bury
himself in the theme heart and soul, and develope from it tone-pictures
full of lofty inspiration and fairy-like poetry.

[8] Another kind of national song is the product of the trained
musician, and being, from its original, majestic, war-like or
sentimental character, easily understandable, it is readily remembered
and rapidly diffused. Everyone sings it to the best of his ability;
but the less-educated, even when they delight in a work of art, seldom
inquire who created it. For example, many people are not aware that
Henry Carey was the author and composer of “God Save the King.”

[9] Julian Klaczko, a contributor to the _Revue des Deux Mondes_.

[10] Brunner and Hoffman were the inventors.

[11] Alexander Rembielinski, an excellent pianist, who died young.

[12] Julius Fontana, pianist and composer, was born in Warsaw, in 1810,
and educated with Chopin at the Conservatoire, under Elsner. In 1830
he entered the army and soon became a lieutenant of artillery. After
the insurrection he emigrated to France; some years later settled in
America, but in 1850 returned to Paris, where he died in 1870. He was
an almost daily guest of Chopinʼs, and knew exactly what compositions
were published at that time; the facts that he gives in the preface
to his edition of Chopinʼs works are, therefore, trustworthy. Besides
many smaller compositions, (Walzes, Studies, Caprices, Fantasias)
which he wrote and published in Paris, he published “Polish National
Melodies” (London); “Comments on Polish Orthography” (Leipsic, 1866);
and “Popular Astronomy” (Posen, 1869.)

[13] It appears as op. 73, in Fontanaʼs collection of the posthumous

[14] Ernemann was a music master, and Bucholtz a pianoforte maker, in

[15] Professor Jedrzejewicz, Chopinʼs brother-in-law, born 1803, died
in Warsaw, 1853.

[16] A composer, pianist, and _litterateur_, who is still living in

[17] September 16th, 1828.

[18] Peter von Winter, born at Mannheim, in 1755, died at Munich, 1825,
was a popular and rather over-rated composer. This opera made a great

[19] A long wide street in Warsaw.

[20] George Onslow, born in 1744, at Clermont-Ferrand, was descended
from a noble English family. He was a pupil of Cramer and Dussek, and
besides operas, of which “Der Hausirer” was the favourite, he wrote a
great deal of chamber music, especially some excellent quartets.

[21] A reference to the Warsaw lady singers, who often left out or
altered _coloratures_.

[22] In Polish “your” is “wasz,” pronounced “wasch” or “vache.”

[23] In the summer of 1827, Chopin stayed for several weeks at his
godmotherʼs house, from whence he took a trip to Dantzig, to see the
old trading city which used to belong to Poland. He wished also to make
the acquaintance of the Superintendent Linde, brother of the Principal
of the Warsaw Lyceum, at whose residence Frederic had already met the
sisters of these gentlemen.

[24] J. N. Hummel, born in Pressburg, November 14th, 1782; died in
Weimar, October 17th, 1837.

[25] Clementine Tanska, a famous Polish authoress for the young.

[26] Chopinʼs second sister; she and her husband, M. Barcinski, are
still living in Warsaw.

[27] A nickname given to this prince on account of his extraordinary
small stature, in spite of which he was one of the most able rulers.
A thorough exploration of the Kingʼs Grotto has recently been made by
archæologists, and the bones of prehistoric animals discovered.

[28] Chopin had sent Haslinger for publication, the Variations on “La
ci darem la mano,” op. 2; and the Sonata, op. 4.

[29] Wilhelm Würfel, born in Bohemia, was, for some years, pianoforte
teacher at the Warsaw Conservatoire. In 1826, he became conductor at
the Kärthner Thor Theatre, in Vienna, where he died in 1832.

[30] Charlotte Veltheim was one of the most celebrated bravura singers
of her time (1821—1840), and a much valued member of the Dresden Hof
Theatre. She was a thorough musician, and played the piano very well.

[31] “Chmiel” is a song in the mazurka measure, sung by the Poles at
marriage ceremonies at the moment when the brideʼs sisters place the
cap on her head.

[32] Thomas Nidecki, one of the best pupils at the Warsaw Lyceum,
was sent to Vienna, in 1822, at the public expense to complete his
education. He became bandmaster at the Leopoldstadter Theatre. From
1841 he was bandmaster at the Grand Theatre, in Warsaw, in which City
he died in 1852.

[33] The seal belonged to the waiter, and bore the word “Madeira.”

[34] An old Polish proverb.

[35] The “Wiener Theater Zeitung,” published by Adolph Bäuerle, from
1828 to 1848, was to every artist an important and dreaded publication.
There were then but few papers devoted to art matters, and this
journal was to be found in the clubs and coffee-houses of every town
in Germany. Whoever was praised by the “Wiener Theater Zeitung,” was
a made man. Bäuerle was the composer also of “Staberl, Staberlʼs
Hochzeitstag,” “Aline, Queen of Golconda, or, Vienna in another quarter
of the world,” and “The false Catalini,” pieces which were performed an
immense number of times.

[36] Leopolda Blahetka, born in Vienna, Nov. 15th, 1811, a
distinguished pianoforte _virtuoso_, pupil of Czerny and Moscheles.
She made several artistic _tournées_, winning everywhere the highest
approbation. Her amiability was also much noted.

[37] Waclaw Hanka, a celebrated philologist and Slavonic linguist,
founder of the reviving Czech national life; born in 1791, died in
Prague, 1861.

[38] Especially in the time of Otto the Great the last independent King
of Bohemia, who was conquered by Rudolph of Habsburgh, and died on the
field of March. From 1790 to 1848 the Royal Theatre at Prague was one
of the best and most celebrated in Germany.

[39] August Alexander Klengel, one of the most celebrated pianoforte
_virtuosi_, born January 27th, 1783, was a pupil of Clementi. The
pianoforte studies which he wrote are unsurpassed. He composed besides
ninety-six Canons and Fugues. In 1819 he went as organist to the Royal
Catholic Church in Dresden, and died there in 1852.

[40] Two famous Polish poets.

[41] Princess Aloysia von Clary was an extremely amiable lady. She
was an excellent pianist, and to rare culture united true goodness
of heart. Artists and poets met with the most cordial reception in
her hospitable house, and to extreme old age the Princess took a warm
interest in all artistic matters.

[42] Composer of several short comedies which were performed
successfully in Dresden and Vienna, between the years 1836 and 1848.

[43] I have not found any letters from Breslau. He probably hurried on
as fast as he could, to give his news in person.

[44] The first part of Goetheʼs “Faust” was performed for the first
time, that evening, in Dresden. Louis Tieck had made the necessary

[45] Charles Devrient, eldest of the three brothers, and nephew of the
great Louis Devrient.

[46] The Polish for Frederic.

[47] Edward Hanslick, in his book, “History of Concerts in Vienna,”
uses the same words as the _Sammler_ does about Chopin.

[48] E minor Concerto op. 11.

[49] Book and Music Seller, in Warsaw.

[50] Chopin says what he may have heard reported, for it is well
known that the world rarely credits the nobly born with artistic
talent. Prince Louis Ferdinand was, indeed, Dussekʼs pupil, but he
was not, therefore, helped in his compositions by his teacher. Prince
Ferdinand—called Louis Ferdinand in history, and on the title pages
of his compositions—was of an inventive nature, and what works he has
left are really the produce of his own brain. Full of patriotism and
courage, he took part in the war and fell at Saalfield, October 13th,

[51] One thinks involuntarily of the Orchestra at the Bayreuth
Festival, in 1876. Yes, yes, “Original fahrʼ him in deiner

[52] This polonaise appears as op. 71 in the collection of posthumous

[53] Grand Fantasia on Polish airs, op. 13.

[54] Charles Kurpinski, bandmaster, and composer of several national
operas, was born in 1785, and died in 1857, in Warsaw.

[55] A coffee-house frequented by most of the _literati_; called in
German “Aschenbrodel.”

[56] The following programme was performed in the Warsaw Theatre, March
17th, 1830.

    _First Part._

    1.—Overture to the Opera “Leszek Bialy,” by Elsner.

    2.—Allegro from the F minor Concerto, composed and played by Herr
    F. Chopin.

    3.—Divertissement for Horn, composed and played by Herr Görner.

    4.—Adagio and Rondo, from F minor Concerto, composed and played by
    Herr Chopin.

    _Second Part._

    1.—Overture to the Opera, “Cecilia Piaseczynska,” by Kurpinski.

    2.—Variations by Paër, sung by Madame Meier.

    3.—Pot-pourri on national songs, by Chopin.

[57] A fellow student of Chopinʼs, born 1800, died in Warsaw 1865.

[58] About 850 Thalers.

[59] Felix Ignaz Dobrzynski, pianist and composer, born 1807, died in
Warsaw, 1865.

[60] Fräulein Gladkowska was the realization of Chopinʼs ideal. His
thoughts of her are interwoven into all the compositions which he wrote
at that time. Dreaming of her, he wrote the Adagio of the E minor
Concerto; his desire of leaving Warsaw vanished; she entirely filled
the soul of the passionate youth of twenty. Constantia Gladkowska, a
pupil of Soliva, was married in 1832, and left the stage, to the great
regret of all connoisseurs.

[61] Fräulein Wotkow, a fellow pupil with Gladkowska, also left the
stage on her marriage, in 1836.

[62] Signore Soliva, an Italian by birth, went to the Warsaw
Conservatoire in 1821 as singing master. When the institution was
closed by the Russian Government, he migrated first to St. Petersburg,
then to Paris, where he died, in 1851. Soliva composed the operas, “La
Testa di bronzo,” “Elena e Mauvina,” and several smaller works.

[63] His poems have been translated into nearly every living language,
perhaps with most success into German. They have a peculiar colouring,
are full of poetic inspiration, and rich in thought.

[64] See Schillingʼs Universal Lexicon of Music.

[65] John Field, born in Dublin, in 1782, a pupil of Clementi, was one
of the greatest and most celebrated pianists of his time. In 1804,
he went to St. Petersburg, where, except for some artistic tours, he
resided till 1820. He died in Moscow in 1837.

[66] I will not refer to the other works produced between 1824-9, and
first published after Chopinʼs death by Julius Fontana, as the composer
did not himself desire their publication.

[67] From 1827 to 1832 there was only one performance of a Beethoven
Symphony at the “Spirituel” concerts. The one given was the C minor.
(See Hanslickʼs “Geschichte des Concertwesens in Wien.”)

[68] Dionys Weber, born 1771, died 1842, founded the Prague
Conservatoire in 1811. He was a good composer and an excellent teacher.
Under his management the Prague Conservatoire became one of the best in

[69] Born January 31st, 1797, died November 18th, 1828. His grave is
close to Beethovenʼs.

[70] Charles Lipinski, born at Rdzyn, in Poland, in 1790, was as
great a violinist as Chopin was a pianist. He enjoyed a considerable
reputation; but as a composer is so far surpassed by Chopin that the
two can only be mentioned together as Polandʼs greatest _virtuosi_.
Lipinski died in 1861, at his estate in Galicia, after holding, for
more than twenty years, the post of chef dʼorchestre at Dresden.

[71] Rudolph Kreutzer, not to be confounded with Conradin Kreutzer,
was born in 1766, at Versailles, of German parents. He was a great
_virtuoso_, wrote several brilliant Concertos, and some incomparable
studies. He died in 1831, at Geneva.

[72] An Imperial Mark.

[73] Adolf Friedrich Hesse, born in Breslau 1809, died there 1863, was
one of the most distinguished of organists and organ composers. He was
a pupil of Köhler, whom he afterwards succeeded. By long artistic tours
he acquired a brilliant reputation. In 1844 he was invited to Paris for
the opening of the great organ in the church of St. Eustache.

[74] Mathilde Palazzesi, an excellent Italian singer, was engaged by
Morlacchi, at Dresden, in 1828, where she remained till the closing of
the Italian Opera, in 1832.

[75] Joseph Rastrelli was musical director of the Royal Opera in
Dresden from 1823 to 1842. He was an excellent conductor, and a good
composer. His operas, “Salvator Rosa,” and “Bertha of Bretagne,” both
achieved success.

[76] N.B.—Do not show this letter lest I may be thought vain. (Chopinʼs
own observation.)

[77] Malfatti, royal physician in ordinary, and a very famous doctor in
his time.

[78] Fräulein Cibini was a daughter of Leopold Kozeluck, who, after
Mozartʼs death, became Royal Court Composer. She herself was an
accomplished pianist, afterwards lady-in-waiting to the Empress Anna
Maria. She nursed the Emperor Ferdinand in his severe illness, and died
at the Hradschin, in 1860, highly esteemed as a faithful servant by the
Imperial pair.

[79] Sabine Heinefetter, the most famous and distinguished of the
three sisters, who all excelled as great singers; in Milan, even among
Italians, she shone as a star of the first magnitude. Circumstances
obliged her to leave the stage while still in full possession of her

[80] Franz Wildt, the most celebrated, and in truth the best tenor
singer the German opera possessed from 1820 to 1845. His voice and
training were alike first-rate.

[81] Anton Orlowski, a fellow-student of Chopinʼs, a talented musician,
afterwards chapel-master at Rouen. Born in Warsaw 1811, died 1861.

[82] Viz., not Jewish.

[83] Joseph Slawick, born in Bohemia in 1806, studied at the Prague
Conservatoire, under Pixis, at the expense of Count Wrbna; he died at
Pesth in 1833, just as he was about to commence a long artistic tour.

[84] A reference, perhaps, to the disturbances then prevailing in the

[85] Fräulein Constantia Gladkowska was in the habit of going to the
Bernhardine Church, which was close to the Conservatoire.

[86] The Conservatoire, where Constantia boarded, was near the statue
of King Sigismund.

[87] Chopin often called his sisters his children.

[88] This letter, written on two loose sheets, was found enclosed
in one to his parents, which had no envelope, and was only slightly
sealed. Frederic had written under the direction these words to his
sisters, “You are requested not to break the seal, and not to be
inquisitive, like old women.”


  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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