By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Ignaz Jan Paderewski
Author: Baughan, Edward Algernon
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 "Ignaz Jan Paderewski" ***

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






of the artist_]





Tavistock Street, London


CHAP.                                                    PAGE
   I. EARLY LIFE                                            1

  II. FROM WARSAW TO PARIS                                 11

 III. HIS DÉBUT IN LONDON                                  16

  IV. IN AMERICA                                           25

   V. LATER TOURS                                          35

  VI. PERSONAL TRAITS                                      40

 VII. HIS VIEWS ON MUSIC AND TEACHING                      54

VIII. AS PIANIST                                           62

  IX. AS COMPOSER                                          78


                                               _To face page_

IGNAZ PADEREWSKI                               _Frontispiece_

_From a charcoal sketch by Mr. Emil Fuchs, reproduced
by kind permission of the artist_

PADEREWSKI AT THE AGE OF ELEVEN                             4

_From a photograph by Mr. A. Schnell, Lausanne_

PADEREWSKI AT THE AGE OF TWENTY                             8

_From a photograph by Mr. A. Schnell, Lausanne_

IGNAZ PADEREWSKI                                           30

_From a drawing by Venino of New York, reproduced
by the kind permission of Mr. Daniel Mayer_

RESIDENCE NEAR LAUSANNE                                    40

_From a photograph by Mr. Jean Bauler_


_From a photograph by Mr. Jean Bauler_

GATEWAY OF THE VILLA RION-BOSSON                           44

_From a photograph by Mr. Jean Bauler_

PADEREWSKI AT HOME                                         62

_Reproduced from the original sketch by Mr. Emil
Fuchs, by permission of the artist_

ORLANDO ROULAND                                            64

_Reproduced by the kind permission of the artist_

IGNAZ PADEREWSKI                                           78

_From a bust by Mr. Emil Fuchs, reproduced by the
kind permission of the sculptor_



The professional critic is rather at a disadvantage in dealing with an
idol of the public. His occupation compels him to find a reason for his
appreciations; he may not be enthusiastic without measure, for his
nature makes him see both brilliancy and flaws in the rarest gems of
art; indeed, the flaws act as a foil to the brilliancies. And so it
comes about that the professional critic is often at loggerheads with
the verdict of the public, or appears to be so. The public has hailed
Paderewski as the greatest of living pianists. The critic may feel that
in many respects he is, but cannot, if he would, endorse that
enthusiastic verdict without clauses of limitation, and if he be not a
master of his craft his verdict will seem all limitations and but very
little enthusiasm. One recognises the greatness of Paderewski, but at
the same time the mind thinks of the subtle Chopin-playing of Pachmann,
the noble Beethovenish moods of d'Albert and Lamond, the clearness and
demoniac brilliancy of Busoni's technique in Liszt, the grace of Pugno's
Mozart-playing, the ruthless force of Rosenthal and the magical deftness
of Godowsky. These pianists have their specialities in which not even a
Paderewski can surpass them and in some cases cannot equal them. On the
other hand, he possesses that curious magnetism which always enchains
the attention of the public. It cannot be explained; yet the critic must
admit its existence in the case of Paderewski or stultify himself. If
sensitive to the poetic appeal of music he must feel, too, that at its
best the pianist's playing has a glamour and an individuality which are
to seek in the performances of many pianists who possess greater
technical ability, and that all his interpretations are informed by a
sincere musical nature.

It may seem absurd and unnecessary to insist on this in the case of a
great virtuoso, for assuredly in piano playing, as in acting or singing,
the nature of the artist counts for everything. But the word artist has
become so vulgarised that it has lost its meaning, and we are inclined
to separate technical ability from innate musical genius and to judge
performers rather by what they can do than by what they think and feel.
This is naturally the attitude of the specialist in forming an opinion
on the respective merits of different players. It is not possible to
dogmatise about poetic feeling or insight: we have to take these
qualities for granted. On the technical side there is a standard by
which we may judge apart from any question of taste. Yet in the end the
specialist who may go into raptures over the beauty of tone which
Pachmann has made his god, or may be hypnotised by the wonderful fingers
of a Godowsky, has to fall back on the inexplicable in attempting an
appreciation of such gifted artists as Joachim, Ysaye, Sarasate, or
Paderewski. Technical standards do not avail. And the curious point is
that the great artist, the musical executant who can think his own
musical thoughts, compels our admiration even though we may criticise
his playing in technical detail.

Paderewski is one of the few players who has that effect on all kinds
of music-lovers. There are many reasons why the pianist should have made
the effect he has. There are many reasons why he should be exceptional.
For one, he was a public pianist by after-thought; at a comparatively
early age, when other artists are theorising about life he was living it
in earnest, and, above all, he was a Pole, a member of that
extraordinary nation which has given birth to Chopin, Tausig and many
minor stars in the musical firmament. Paderewski is a Pole to his
finger-tips. He has the fire, the dreaminess, the power of fantasy of
that race. It comes out in his playing and especially in his

Podolia, the province of South-west Russia in which he was born on
November 6, 1860, is a fertile district, of which the Polish population
is quite considerable. The pianist's recollection of his childhood on
his father's farm in this garden of Russia must be full of pleasantness.
The father seems to have been a man of pronounced character. A gentleman
farmer of position he was also an ardent patriot. Three years after the
birth of his son he was "suspect" and was banished to Siberia. His exile
did not last long, but the iron had entered into his soul, and although
he lived until 1894 he was broken in spirit and his chief pleasure in
life was centred in the growing reputation of his son. The pianist did
not inherit his musical talent from his father but from his mother, who
died when he was still a child.


_From a photograph by Mr. A. Schnell, Lausanne_]

It is difficult not to be sceptical of the anecdotes related of the
childhood of celebrated musicians. But no doubt some of these stories
have a basis of truth, and certainly musical talent shows itself at a
very early age. It is said that young Ignace, long before he could play,
would climb to the piano-stool and attempt to produce as beautiful a
tone as possible. Of the ordinary early tuition he appears to have had
none, his mother having died when he was a child. A travelling fiddler
gave the boy a few lessons on the piano, but it may be imagined that
they were not of a very complete kind. Later on an old teacher of the
instrument was engaged to pay a monthly visit to the farm, and he taught
the boy and his sister to play simple arrangements of operatic airs.
This early life spent away from strong musical influences saved
Paderewski from the usual prodigy period in the career of pianist, for
it was not until he was twelve years of age that he went to Warsaw where
he was able to have regular music-lessons at the Conservatoire. There he
studied harmony with Roguski and the piano with Janotha, the father of
Natalie Janotha. In those days Paderewski did not show any particular
bent towards playing the piano but rather towards composition (he had
begun to compose in the old days on the farm) and general musical
knowledge. His first public appearances were not so much as pianist as a
composer who played his own music. He was then sixteen years old and it
would be interesting to know how the immature pianist impressed his
Russian audiences. That his technique was of the weakest may be judged
from the fact that he afterwards confessed that all the pieces he played
were really his own, inasmuch as when he could not manage the difficult
passages he merely improvised.

Miss Szumowska, a pupil of Paderewski's, has related a curious anecdote
of their first tour. Paderewski "had announced a concert at a certain
small town, but, on arriving, found that no piano was to be had for love
or money. The general was perfectly willing, on being applied to, to
lend his instrument; but when the pianist tried it he found, to his
dismay, that it was so badly out of repair that some of the hammers
would stick to the strings instead of falling back. However, it was too
late to back out. The audience was assembling and in this emergency a
bright thought occurred to the pianist. He sent for a switch, and
engaged an attendant to whip down the refractory hammers whenever
necessary. So bang went the chords and swish went the whip, and the
audience liked this improvised duo more, perhaps, than it would have
enjoyed the promised piano solo."

The young pianist evidently did not consider that his musical education
was complete, for at the end of the tour he returned to Warsaw and
studied for two years at the Conservatoire there. At the age of eighteen
he was appointed a professor of music and after a year he married. All
the world knows that his wife died a year later, leaving him an invalid
son in whose existence, until his death a little while ago, the pianist
was wrapped up. It was not a very bright beginning of his professional
career, for his earnings at the Warsaw Conservatoire had meant
comparative privation for his wife and himself. In some natures,
perhaps, this early tragedy would have killed ambition but hardly in an
artist. Without holding with the comfortable sentimentalists that grief
is as necessary to the artist as rain to the flowers, it may be asserted
that concentration on work is the natural result of life going awry.
This is not, as the sentimentalists imagine, peculiar to genius of the
artistic type, but is common to all men who are not invertebrate.


_From a photograph by Mr. A. Schnell, Lausanne_]

Paderewski himself has disclaimed the pretty stories which made the
death of his wife the impetus to his after career as pianist. "I was a
professor at the Warsaw Conservatoire," he told an interviewer, "and I
had to work awfully hard. Previous to this I had made a concert tour in
Russia. In Warsaw I gave lessons from morning to night. It was not
interesting. In fact, it was slavery. One day I asked myself why I
followed such an arduous profession, and so I decided to go to
Leschetitsky in Vienna, and become a performer, since in that way I
should work hard a few years and afterwards have a life of ease, to be
idle, or devote myself to composition as I pleased." As a matter of
fact, Paderewski did not go from Warsaw to Vienna, but first paid a
visit to Berlin, where he studied composition with Kiel and afterwards
with Heinrich Urban. He was able to hear much more music than was
possible in Warsaw and in every way his musical education was being
rounded off. At twenty-three years of age he was appointed professor of
music at Strasburg. That appointment may be considered the turning point
of his career, not because the professorship in itself was anything very
brilliant, but because it brought him into contact during a vacation
with the celebrated Polish actress Mme. Modjeska. She was practically
the first to recognise in the dreamy young pianist something out of the
common. She has described him as "a polished and genial companion; a man
of wide culture; of witty, sometimes biting tongue; brilliant in table
talk; a man wide awake to all matters of personal interest, who knew and
understood the world, but whose intimacy she and her husband especially
prized for the elevation of his character and the refinement of his

The effect such a friendship had on the young artist may be well
imagined. It is probable that even in the Warsaw days Paderewski had the
dream of being able to take up the career as virtuoso, but it might have
remained a dream, for a young man of twenty who has not blossomed forth
as a recital pianist is hardly likely in the ordinary run of things to
make any great name for himself as a public pianist. All the players of
genius have been prodigies, or would have been had there existed a
market for musical wonder-children in their day. Paderewski is the
exception. That he had the ambition of making a career for himself as
virtuoso even during the Warsaw days may be admitted, but it is probable
that had he not been encouraged by his brilliant countrywoman, Mme.
Modjeska, he would not have taken practical steps to realise the dream.



In the fact that a young professor of music, who was not without note in
his own circle, should have decided to give himself up to several years
of arduous study, we may perhaps find some indication of Paderewski's
tenacity of purpose. In 1886, at the age of twenty-six, he placed
himself under Leschetitzky's guidance, and for four years he studied
with the famous professor and his wife, Madame Essippoff. It is not too
much to say that Paderewski has made a brilliant name for his teacher as
well as for himself. Of course, Leschetitzky had a big reputation as a
teacher long before his famous pupil went to him, but it was not a
world-wide reputation, as it now is. Every season we hear pianists in
London who proudly emblazon their programmes with "pupil of
Leschetitzky"; they are as numerous as the many "pupils of Liszt," and
in many cases have as much right to the description. The difficulty is
to decide (from the many articles written by his self-styled pupils)
what is the method taught by this Viennese magician and it is almost as
difficult to draw any clear conclusion from their playing. A consistent
and illuminating account of the great teacher and his methods has been
given, however, by Miss Hullah in a volume of this series. Leschetitzky
has not any hard and fast methods. Mr. Henry C. Lahee, in his "Famous
Pianists of To-day and Yesterday," has this to say of the great teacher:
"Leschetitzky's method is that of common sense, and is based on keen
analytical faculties. He has the genius for seizing on what the finest
artists do in their best moments, observing how they do it physically,
and, in a sense systematizing it. He has his own ideas of how to train
the hand for all that it requires, but he never trains the hand apart
from the ear. He has no 'method' except perhaps in the technical
groundwork--the grammar of pianoforte playing--and this is taught by his
assistants. So long as the effect is produced, he is not pedantic as to
how it is done, there being many ways to attain the same end."

In general it may be said that the Leschetitzky pupils have "style." The
fault of the school, if one may judge by its exponents, is a desire to
be brilliant and startling at all costs. In the case of a player who has
no musical individuality of his own, and has acquired technical facility
out of all proportion to his musical endowment and general education in
the art, the Leschetitzky tuition seems to make for hardness and a
perverse brilliancy. Of course Paderewski himself would have been a
remarkable player no matter under whom he had studied, but the surety
and firmness of technique which Leschetitzky evidently knows how to
impart were just what he required. It must not be forgotten, too, that
when Paderewski went to Vienna he was practically an artist, an
all-round, well-educated musician, who, from the first, had been
interested in the historical as well as the poetic side of his art. In
addition, need it be said that he was a man of uncommon mind far removed
from the type of virtuoso who inspires his soul from the keys of the
pianoforte. No teacher and no method can produce the pianist of
"genius." The platitude is excusable in the face of the absurd things
which have been written concerning the effect of Leschetitzky's

That Paderewski gained much from it is clear enough from the fact that a
year after going to Vienna he made his début there as virtuoso with much
success, and from that time onward his progress was gradual until in
1888 he found himself the sensation of Paris. But it was by no means a
case of the kind of artistic conquest which the popular novelist
invariably describes when writing of musicians. The first recital at the
Salle Erard in 1888 was, indeed, but poorly attended, and, except that
no performer of genius ever makes his first appearance without his
reputation having preceded him among the inner circle of his brother
musicians, the début might have fallen as flat as the ordinary recital
by an ordinary, unknown pianist. As it happened, both Lamoureux and
Colonne, who were present, were so impressed by Paderewski's gifts that
both made him an offer to play at the well-known orchestral concerts
associated with their names. M. Lamoureux's offer, being made first,
was accepted, and the new pianist was thus given an opportunity of
performing before an enormous audience. He made his mark immediately,
and was invited to play at one of the Conservatoire concerts, a
distinction which, no doubt, he fully appreciated. From Paris Paderewski
naturally cast his eyes on London, but it was not until May 1890, that
he gave his first recital here. Again his triumph was not immediate, in
the novelist's sense, and there was certainly some uncertainty in his
reception by the critics, but he did triumph in the end.



The statement that the London critics did not recognise Paderewski's
greatness is often made to their discredit, but a close examination of
all that was written at the time does not bear out the accusation. It
was rather that the criticism was a trifle too guarded, and that to some
extent the journalists were prejudiced against the pianist through no
fault of his own but because he had been described as "The Lion of the
Paris Season." Also, although this may seem a trivial reason, the
recital took place on one of those pleasant days of our May when rain
and wind make conditions in London anything but merry. At any rate all
who were present at that first recital agree that the audience was
coldly critical. We do not accept the verdict of Paris on musical
matters, and the average Englishman is apt to suspect charlatanism in a
musician whose "wonderful aureole of golden hair" had been so sedulously
advertised. There is no doubt the sensitive pianist felt this atmosphere
keenly. He is always nervous when he begins his recital even to this
day. "The mere fact of knowing a great audience waits on your labours,"
he once remarked to an interviewer, "is enough to shake all your nerves
to pieces." There is no question that at the first recital he was not at
his best, and that there was good ground for the accusation of
"sensationalism" which was brought against him by several critics. But,
at the same time, his other merits were amply recognised. To prove this
I give some selections from the criticisms of the first recital. They
should be documents of some interest to the historian of the future.

"The player's loudest tones," said the _Times_, "are by no means always
beautiful, but the amount of fire and passion he gave to three of
Chopin's most difficult studies and to certain passages in Schumann's
Fantasia in C major produced a profound effect.... It is in Chopin ...
M. Paderewski is at his best, and here not so much in the sentimental
side of the master's work as in his passionate and fiery moods." On the
whole the "notice" had much of praise for the new pianist. The _Morning
Post_ contented itself with the expression of opinion that the pianist's
reading of compositions by Mendelssohn, Handel, Schumann, Chopin,
Rubinstein, Liszt and Paderewski was "by no means conventional, nor was
it always entirely artistic."

The _Daily Telegraph_ contained the most important criticism of the new
pianist. "Mr. Paderewski astonishes, and the good English public will
run after him, no matter what the character of the astonishment may
be.... Mr. Paderewski is a monstrously powerful pianist, and herein lies
his quality for the lover of marvels. The lover of music will sit at his
feet on other grounds; but the main point is that the Polish artist
appeals to both classes, and they comprise everybody.... We do not
pretend to much admiration for the Mr. Paderewski who astonishes. It was
impossible to find any even for Rubinstein, when he appeared as a
Cyclops wielding his hammers with superhuman energy, making the
pianoforte shake to its centre, and not always hitting true and
straight. That which was refused to the Moldavian Colossus is not likely
to be secured by Mr. Paderewski, the less because he transcends his
exemplar in fury and force of blow. It may safely be declared that no
one present at St. James's Hall on Friday afternoon had ever before
heard Mendelssohn's Prelude and Fugue in E minor so played--with clang
and jangle of metal, and with such confusion of sound that trying to
follow the working of the parts, resembled looking at moving machinery
through a fog. It was the march of an abnormally active mammoth about
the keyboard, while the wondering observer expected the pianoforte to
break down at any moment." The critic (Mr. Joseph Bennett from internal
evidence) had the same complaint to make of the performance of Handel's
"Harmonious Blacksmith." "Plainly," the critic adds, "we do not like Mr.
Paderewski as an exponent of physical force. The result of his labours
may be marvellous but it is not music." After this castigation came
praise. "There is another Mr. Paderewski whom we can well abide. He is
gentle and pleasant, refined and poetic to a degree which makes him
altogether charming. This, we suspect, must be the true Paderewski, the
other being, in the old demoniacal sense, 'possessed.' If so, is there
no power to cast out the evil spirit?" As examples of the "true
Paderewski" the critic praised the playing of some Chopin compositions
and two of the pianist's own pieces.

The critic of the _Standard_ was quite as severe on the "sensational"
aspects of Paderewski's playing. "It was quickly manifest," he wrote,
"that the performer was more anxious to astonish than to charm. His
rendering of a Prelude and Fugue in E minor of Mendelssohn was utterly
at variance with the traditional methods of interpreting the music of
this composer, and in Schumann's Fantasia in C, op. 17, we were
constantly met by surprises. The playing was marked by violent
contrasts, the pace and tone being sometimes reduced far more than the
directions given by Schumann seem to warrant, while at others the
physical powers of the executant were exercised in a manner that
resulted in much noise, but little music. The same exaggerations of
style were perceptible in Chopin's Etudes in C minor and F, op. 10, and
G sharp minor, op. 25. It must be said in M. Paderewski's favour that he
plays fewer wrong notes than most pianists of his school, and, further,
that his tone in _pianissimo_ passages is bell-like and delicate. He is,
in brief, a _virtuoso_ of no common order, but that he is entitled to
the higher rank of an artist is more than can be said, judging from
yesterday's performance." In a criticism of the third recital the critic
still complained of Paderewski's occasional exaggeration, but on the
whole the notice was a shade more appreciative, although London was
still left in doubt as to whether the pianist was "entitled to the
higher rank of artist."

The _Daily News_ thought that the leonine attributes with which
Paderewski was accredited in "his own advertisements" were "fully
exemplified in the Prelude and Fugue of Mendelssohn which opened the
programme. Mendelssohn of all composers can least bear heroic treatment
from the ultra vigorous among modern pianists, and the Fugue especially
suffered." The critic admired the pianist's Chopin playing, but added
that "he was most in his element in his own music." The pianist's
talent was thus summed up: "In short, of M. Paderewski's ability there
can be no question; and while audiences will probably prefer the
exquisite delicacy and poetical feeling which he displays in his calmer
moments to the extravagance in which he indulges when in the Ercles
vein, it is obvious that his talent lies chiefly in his interpretation
of the music of the modern and romantic schools, in which during the
current London season he bids fair to create some sensation." The critic
thought that Paderewski somewhat modified his super-abundant energy at
the second recital, which seems to have been the general opinion, and
naturally was not shared by Mr. G. Bernard Shaw, who had just begun to
write musical criticism for the _World_. "There is Paderewski, a man of
various moods, who was alert, humorous, delightful at his first recital;
sensational, empty, vulgar and violent at his second; and dignified,
intelligent, almost sympathetic at his third. He is always sure of his
notes; but the licence of his tempo rubato goes beyond all reasonable
limits." The "almost sympathetic" is distinctly good. With the exception
of the _World_ the weekly papers were not at that time remarkable for
their musical criticism, but it may be mentioned that the _Saturday
Review_ ventured to state that no one who had heard Paderewski at the
second recital would deny that "he is one of the most remarkable artists
who has been heard of late years."

The most frankly enthusiastic of all the criticisms appeared in the
_Globe_. The writer was "inclined to think" that Paderewski surpassed
all the pianists who had recently visited London (Sofie Menter,
Sapellnikoff, Schönberger and Stavenhagen) and was, indeed second only
to Rubinstein among living pianists. "His mastery of the keyboard is
complete, his touch is so exquisite, both in _fortissimo_ and
_pianissimo_ passages, and in the three intermediate gradations of tone,
that every shade of expression is at his command, and in the art of
singing on the pianoforte he can only be compared with Thalberg. There
is no kind of _charlatanerie_ in his playing; wrapt up completely in the
works he performs he devotes himself to their exposition, and while thus
engaged appears to ignore the presence of an audience." The critic's ear
was not hurt by the loudness with which the pianist played
Mendelssohn's Prelude and Fugue and Handel's "Harmonious Blacksmith"
and it was predicted that the remaining recitals would be crowded by
music-lovers, who would recognise in Mr. Paderewski one of the greatest,
if not absolutely the greatest, of living pianists. And this prediction
was realised to the full. It is very easy for those who may accept
ready-made the world's opinion of a famous artist to fall foul of the
want of enthusiasm with which he was at first received by the
professional critics. Their experience tells them that no
instrumentalist or singer can be adequately judged by one recital and
there is no doubt Paderewski showed the more violent and _bizarre_ side
of his temperament when making his début here, perhaps from nervousness
or perhaps from a natural desire to astonish, for musical artists,
however great, are but human after all. At any rate as one recital
followed another the tone of London criticism became warmer, and by the
time the series had come to an end Paderewski had established his fame
in London on a sound basis. It may be said, without indiscretion, that
although the recitals were an artistic success they only produced just
under £280 gross.



On November 17, 1891, eighteen months after his London début, Paderewski
made his first appearance in New York. The success he had made in London
naturally excited the curiosity of New York amateurs and critics and the
pianist's first American recital attracted a brilliant audience. That
does not mean that the special public was ready to fall on its knees and
worship Paderewski. On the contrary, it seems as if the critics and
amateurs of New York take a special pleasure in upsetting the verdict of
London if they can, and Paderewski had to face an audience eager to
compare its impressions with what had been written in London about this
new star in the musical firmament. According to all accounts the same
thing happened in New York as had already happened in London. The
public immediately recognised the uncommon qualities of the new artist,
and not having any hard-and-fast critical standards to employ as a test
of his playing, and being impressed by the romantic simplicity of his
bearing, hailed him as a great artist _sans phrase_. On the whole, the
critics were not wildly enthusiastic. They recognised the talent of the
new pianist, but they did not immediately label him as "great." The
usual comparisons were made, not always to Paderewski's advantage. But
while the critics were making up their minds the public decided for
themselves. Two concerts with orchestra were given, and when Paderewski
began a series of recitals, it was found that the Madison Square Garden
Hall was too small to hold all his admirers, and the Carnegie Hall which
has seating accommodation for 2700 persons and standing-room for nearly
another 1000, had to be re-engaged. New York was even quicker to
discover the greatness of the pianist than London. During his six months
stay in America, Paderewski gave no less than 117 recitals. It was only
to be expected that he would be engaged for a second tour in the
following season. This visit, beginning in the autumn of 1892, was even
more successful than the first. In New York he gave two orchestral
concerts and nine recitals in the large Carnegie Hall, and from New York
he began his triumphant progress through the States. No pianist had
excited such a furore of interest. A paragraph in a newspaper of the
West gives some idea of this. "Paderewski played on Monday evening in
Cleveland, and the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad Company ran
special trains, one from Sandusky and the other from Norwalk, for the
benefit of the residents of those two cities who wished to hear him. The
receipts equalled the enthusiasm. Practically Paderewski could rely on
filling the largest concert-hall in America. The Chicago Auditorium
realised £1400 for one concert. Sixty-seven recitals, given in
twenty-six cities, brought in £36,000, the largest sum hitherto earned
in America by any instrumentalist. Rubinstein had not touched the record
made by Paderewski, although the Russian pianist, late in life, was
offered £500 an evening for a tour in America." It is possible, however,
that the £1000 paid by Mr. Robert Newman for an orchestral concert at
the Queen's Hall was the largest fee ever received by Paderewski. These
figures may seem a prosaic proof of the popularity of the pianist in
America, but they certainly prove that the public genuinely admired the

At the end of this second tour there was a regrettable incident at the
Chicago World's Fair. Paderewski, at great personal inconvenience and
considerable financial loss, had promised to take part in the two
opening concerts of the series to be given at the exhibition under the
conductorship of the late Mr. Theodore Thomas, for whom the pianist had
a warm personal admiration. In America Paderewski had played on the
Steinway piano, and the famous firm, not approving of the system of
awards at the exhibition, were not exhibitors. The Board of Directors
informed the artist that he must play on an instrument by an exhibiting
firm, but Paderewski naturally declined to change his piano at the last
moment. Quite a newspaper war arose, until the directors were made aware
that an artist has some rights, and then they gave way. The incident is
worth mentioning because it is often stated in private that great
pianists are in receipt of salaries from pianoforte manufacturers in
exchange for which they are bound to play on their instruments. However
this may be with others it is not so with Paderewski. Here in England he
invariably plays on an Erard, because the instrument is to his taste and
the manufacturers have always done their best to adapt their pianos to
Paderewski's requirements. The pianist himself, at the time of the
Chicago incident, felt compelled to write a letter to a New York paper
which had editorially expressed the opinion that it "was not very
generous on Mr. Paderewski's part to sell himself to a piano firm." "I
must emphatically deny," he wrote, "that I am bound by contract or
agreement, either in writing or verbally, to the use of any particular
make of piano. In this respect I am at perfect liberty to follow my
convictions and inclinations, and this privilege I must be free to
exercise in the prosecution of my artistic career. Throughout the wide
world any artist is permitted to use the instrument of his choice, and I
do not understand why I should be forced to play an instrument of a
manufacturer strange to me and untried by me, which may jeopardise my
artistic success." This dignified protest should be sufficient
contradiction of the persistent rumours that Paderewski has been bound
to play certain pianofortes. Those who understand the light in which an
artist views the instrument he plays know full well that the use of a
certain piano could not possibly be a mere matter of financial

The success of Paderewski in America was indeed phenomenal. It rivalled
that of Rubinstein, and was financially more brilliant. It became quite
the proper thing, an American biographer has told us, to crowd on to the
platform at the end of a concert and induce the pianist to play a few
more selections in an informal way. In Texas whole schools marched many
miles to hear him, and such was the interest aroused by his personality
that crowds frequently waited at railway stations merely to see the
train pass, in hopes of catching a glimpse of his remarkable
countenance. Sometimes crowds would line the streets from his hotel to
the concert hall and make it impossible for him to get past.


_From a drawing by Venino of New York, reproduced by the kind permission
of Mr. Daniel Mayer_]

The pianist was fortunate in having an agent or manager of energy in
Mr. Hugo Görlitz, who directed the first three tours in America. The
distances to be traversed make an artistic visit to the States something
of an ordeal for a sensitive artist. Rubinstein found it unbearable and
not even the offer of a very handsome fee could in the end persuade the
great Russian pianist to revisit America. M. Paderewski's manager,
however, did his utmost to make the travelling as little arduous as
possible. He himself has given an account of the manner in which
Paderewski travelled in America. "In travelling in a private car in
America," Mr. Görlitzt told an interviewer some years ago, "one is
entirely independent of hotels, which in most cases are fine comfortable
buildings, but with very bad service and cooking; hence the artist, who
lives very irregularly, and when his nerves are highly strung, is not in
possession of a good appetite, must have everything to his liking; and
the only way to obtain that in America is by engaging one of the private
Pullman cars, which contain all modern luxuries and comforts. Before
starting on a tour on the car a series of menus is prepared and, in
accordance with the same, the car is provided with everything but fish
and bread, which can be obtained at the different stations by
telegraphing through the commissariat department of the Pullman Company.
Then the head waiter takes charge of the stores and prepares the menus
in the most tempting fashion. As a rule Paderewski takes his principal
meal after his concert, and, as his concert is generally usually over at
half-past ten at night, his dinner hour is eleven o'clock. But the main
comfort consists in not having to rise early in the morning after a hard
day's work, for, without having to notify any one, the car will be hung
on to an express train and he wakes up at his next station. Then there
is usually a side track, where there is very little noise, for the car
to remain during the day. In the observation room of this car we carried
an upright piano, so that the master could practise whenever he found it
necessary to do so, and as we did not enter a hotel for three weeks
during our trip, this was the only way for him to keep in practice.

"With regard to Paderewski's journey, everything is arranged for him
weeks before hand, so that it works like a machine. Whenever we arrive
in a town, a carriage has to be waiting at a station, and the same in
the evening from the hotel to the hall and back again. This, in many
instances, is essential as he leaves the concert platform so exhausted
that he might easily contract an illness if he were not immediately
taken to his hotel without any delay on the way. On one occasion,
however, all our arrangements were upset in consequence of a snow-storm,
which delayed the train from Toronto, Ontario, to Suspension Bridge. We
arrived, instead of twelve o'clock in the day, at seven o'clock in the
evening. At eight there was to be a concert at Buffalo, New York: it was
impossible to get there in time, so we telegraphed to inform the
audience that if they would wait an hour longer the artist would appear
and play his programme through. But the only way for him to accomplish
this was to dress in the train. When he had decided to do so, it was
found that our baggage had been removed into the Custom House, and the
Custom House attendants, not knowing of the arrival of this train, had
gone home. The only possible way to get at his dress-suit was for me to
break open the Custom House window, go in, bring out his dress-suit and
lock up the box again. I accomplished this without being detected, and
we arrived, finally, at Buffalo in time for the concert."

Mr. Görlitz's account gives the English reader a vivid idea of the
arduous work before a celebrated artist. How a pianist can be in a good
mood for his art after a few weeks of such high-pressure work is not
easy to understand. On the whole M. Paderewski has stood the arduous
work of his American recitals extremely well, but in 1896 at the end of
a tremendous tour through the United States he was compelled to take a
rest, cancelling an engagement to play a new fantasia by Sir Alexander
Mackenzie at one of our Philharmonic Concerts, and postponing a recital
already arranged for him in London.



It will not be necessary to describe in detail the triumphant career of
the virtuoso in America and Europe. Such a description would become a
mere catalogue of towns visited with an enumeration of the fees
received, enlivened by a few more or less apocryphal anecdotes. It will
be sufficient to say that M. Paderewski's second tour in America
included sixty-seven concerts in twenty-six cities and that the receipts
amounted to $180,000 (about £36,000), a sum which had never been reached
by any instrumentalist. As far as England is concerned the highest fee
paid the pianist was that given by Mr. Robert Newman, which I have
already mentioned. It must be confessed that the pianist's agent in
England, Mr. Daniel Mayer, the well-known concert agent, has managed
his affairs with the utmost discretion. We have never had an
opportunity of becoming surfeited with M. Paderewski's talent. His
visits have been comparatively few and far between and the announcement
of a recital to be given by him in London arouses a curious interest.
This is the more remarkable when we remember that the pianist has been
accepted as the chief virtuoso of his instrument ever since 1891, a
season after he made his début here. In July of that year he gave a
Chopin recital which drew the largest audience since the last recital of
Rubinstein, and also appeared at a Philharmonic and a Richter concert.
In fifteen years many new pianists have come forward, and, of recent
years, season after season has gone by without Paderewski having given a
series of concerts. His last recital was held in November 1902. It might
be thought that he would be forgotten in the midst of such fine playing
as we hear in London; but the pianist has one of those temperaments
which impress themselves on the public, so that even quite young people
who cannot have any close acquaintance with his playing know all about
Paderewski and are ready to sacrifice time and patience to attend one
of his rare recitals. Those who understand the temper of London will
agree that many a fine artist's reputation has suffered from his
recitals being so frequent that they become almost a drug in the market.
We have never had an opportunity of becoming tired of M. Paderewski.[1]

Before leaving the subject of the pianist's active career as virtuoso a
few words must be said on his rather tardy conquest of Germany. It is a
strange fact that the Berlin public and critics invariably lag behind
the rest of the world in accepting a new virtuoso. Signor Busoni, for
instance, had to wait some time for the enthusiasm which had greeted his
playing in England. He was accused of dealing with the great classical
composers in a virtuoso spirit. With regard to Paderewski it is said
that there was a good reason for his dislike of Berlin in particular.
After playing his own concerto with the orchestra of the Berlin
Philharmonic Society on one occasion he was repeatedly recalled and had
to play an encore, for which he selected a piece of Chopin's. The late
von Bülow, the conductor, is said to have openly shown his resentment of
the ovation accorded to the pianist. During his playing of the encore
Bülow indulged in an apparently uncontrollable series of sneezes, which
it may be imagined, rather upset the pianist. But it can hardly be true
that so trivial a reason made Paderewski dislike the idea of Berlin. If
so he might put our own Manchester on the black list, for a few years
ago he was obliged to stop in the middle of Chopin's Ballade in G minor
and leave the platform in consequence of the inconsiderate restlessness
of part of the audience who would enter and depart from the hall during
the performance.

But if it is with some difficulty that he is persuaded to play in
Germany, it cannot be because of a want of enthusiasm on the part of
amateurs. In May of 1894, three years after he had finally captured
London, he played his Polish Fantasia at the Nether-Rhenish Musical
Festival, held at Aix-la-Chapelle. The enthusiasm he aroused was
extraordinary. Encouraged by this reception, he gave recitals in Leipzig
and Dresden during the following year. "Not since Liszt has a pianist
been received as Paderewski was last night," and "Never since the Albert
Hall was built has such applause been heard there as last evening," are
typical extracts from the Press notices. The _Tageblatt_ critic wrote:
"Paderewski has for some years been enjoying the greatest triumphs in
Austria, France, England and America, but, for unknown reasons, avoided
Germany almost entirely. Concerning his colossal success in our sister
city of Dresden our readers have already been informed. Such positively
fabulous enthusiasm no other artist has aroused in Leipzig as far back
as our memory goes. The public did not applaud; it raved. If Paderewski
has hitherto avoided Germany in the belief that he might be coolly
received, he must have been radically cured of that idea last evening."
At this recital, which was given in aid of the Liszt Memorial, the
audience insisted on the pianist playing for more than an hour after the
programme had been completed, and would not leave the concert-hall until
all the lights were extinguished.


[1] His recital on June 18 of this year drew an enormous audience to the
Queen's Hall.



"Paderewski," said Pachmann in one of those speeches with which he
sometimes enlivens his recitals, "Paderewski is the most modest artist
that I have ever seen. I myself am the most unmodest artist, except Hans
von Bülow. He is more unmodest than I am." It is curious, indeed, how
little is known at first hand of Paderewski. Knowledge of him as a man
is confined to the friends with whom he is intimate. The outside world
knows no more than that he is an accomplished linguist and a man of
considerable reading and catholic tastes; that he is the soul of
generosity to those with whom he is acquainted; that he is an expert
billiard player--a talent he may have learnt from his master
Leschetitzky; that he is a brilliant conversationalist; that he smokes a
great many cigarettes; and that he is fond of staying up until the
early hours of the morning. It is not, perhaps, so generally known that
he is an expert swimmer. With regard to the billiard playing, the
pianist once explained to an interviewer the place it takes in the
economy of his life. The necessity of practising during his tours for a
series of recitals has sometimes meant playing nearly seventeen hours a
day, counting the time taken by the recitals themselves--a circumstance
which has often happened during the pianist's American tours--and M.
Paderewski confessed it was playing billiards that had saved his life.
"If I walk or ride, or merely rest," he said, "I go on thinking all the
time, and my nerves get no real rest. But when I play billiards I can
forget everything, and the result is mental rest and physical exercise


_From a photograph by Mr. Jean Bauler_]

Very few people understand what a life of nervous stress a great pianist
must lead. When Paderewski, in the ordinary course, has to prepare for a
recital tour, he seldom practises less than ten or twelve hours a day.
And that does not end his work, for he once told Mr. Henry T. Finck, the
celebrated American critic, that he often lies awake for hours at night,
going over his programme mentally, note for note, trying to get at the
essence of every bar. Mr. Finck goes on to say: "This mental practice at
night explains the perfection of his art, but it is not good for his
health. Indeed, if he ever sins, it is against himself and the laws of
health. He smokes too many cigarettes, drinks too much lemonade, loses
too much sleep, or sleeps too often in the daytime. For this last habit
he is, however, not entirely to blame; for whenever he gives a concert,
all his faculties are so completely engaged that he is quite exhausted
at the end, and unable to go to sleep for hours."


_From a photograph by Mr. Jean Bauler_]

The pianist's life has its compensations, however. He is not one of
those artists whose whole life is made up of concert-tours, and this is
even less the case now than it was some years ago. In the intervals
between his tours he lives an ideal life in his Swiss home, busy with
composition, which from the very first was his real aim in life. A
writer in a German newspaper has given an interesting account of
Paderewski's home on the lake of Geneva. "It is situated some distance
away from the road, yet is easily accessible. If you visit the pleasing
little town of Morges, on the lake of Geneva, and walk westward to the
picturesque village of Islochenaz, you will, in a quarter of an hour,
reach a shady park, amid which the châlet de Riond Bosson presents an
imposing appearance. If you heed the warning notice on the gate:
'N'entrez pas sans sonner. Prenez garde aux chiens,' you may enter the
grounds without danger. At most you will risk having your clothes torn,
for Paderewski's dogs have particularly sharp teeth. By way of
compensation, there are many beautiful things to see on the other side
of the wire fence. Of course, the little castle of the Polish virtuoso
is not open to everybody, not even in the absence of the owner, but all
may visit the beautiful park which was planted by the Duchess of
Otranto. The widow of Fouché, the notorious Police Commissioner of
Napoleon I., bought this place in 1823, and occupied it a long time.
After her death the Châlet de Riond Bosson came into the possession of
her heirs, the Vicomte d'Estournel and the Comte Le Marois, who sold it
in 1898 to Paderewski. On emerging from the shady walks of the park, the
visitor comes upon an enchanting scene. In the foreground lies the
antique little town of Morges; behind it is the semicircular blue
expanse of the lake, and beyond that tower the snowy peaks of the Alps.
Behind the orchard is a big greenhouse containing nothing but grapes for
the table." Paderewski by no means spends his time in the _dolce far
niente_ for which there would be an excuse in so beautiful a spot. In
addition to his composition he interests himself in everything connected
with his estate, and particularly, like M. Jean de Reszke, in the
breeding of live-stock.


_From a photograph by Mr. Jean Bauler_]

The reserve which his bearing on the concert platform suggests is the
effect of an artist's well-poised, nervous control. In private life
among his intimate friends he is a most sympathetic, pleasant companion,
ready and able to talk brilliantly on other arts than his own, as well
as on literature and life itself. Among those whose appreciation he
values, he is willing to exercise his particular art without any of that
false pride which has been characteristic of some virtuosi. Mr. Hermann
Klein, in his interesting "Thirty Years of Musical Life in London"
(Heinemann), gives an instance of this. Paderewski had been asked to
meet Sir Arthur Sullivan, Signor Piatti, Sir Alexander Mackenzie and a
few other well-known musicians at a dinner-party in Mr. Klein's house on
May 3, 1904. "Just before dinner a quaint sort of letter was placed in
my hand. It was from some one in the famous pianist's entourage,
reminding me that M. Paderewski was very fatigued after his heavy work
in the provinces, and begging that I would under no circumstances ask
him to play that evening. I was half amused, half annoyed by this
unexpected communication, which, of course, I knew better than to regard
as inspired by my guest of honour himself. However, I thought no more
about it until after dinner, when I took an opportunity to inform
Paderewski, in a whispered 'aside,' of the strange warning I had
received. I assured him seriously that I had not the slightest idea of
asking him to play, and that my friends were more than satisfied to have
the pleasure of meeting him and enjoying his society. He replied:--

"'Do you imagine I think otherwise? This is a case of "Save me from my
friends!" That I am tired is perfectly true. But when I am in the mood
to play fatigue counts for nothing. And I am in that mood to-night. Are
you really going to have some music?'

"'Yes, Piatti has brought his 'cello, and he is going to take part in
the Rubinstein sonata in D.'

"'Then I should like to play it with him; and more besides, if he will
permit me, Piatti and I are now old colleagues at the "Pops," and we
always get on splendidly together.'

"What could I say?--save express my gratitude, and apprise my friends of
the treat that was in store. It was the more welcome because it was
virtually unexpected. An unalloyed delight was the performance of that
lovely sonata by the Prince of 'cellists and the greatest of living
pianists. Both seemed to revel in the beauties of a work admirably
designed for the display of their respective instruments, and the
rendering was in every way perfect. After it was over, dear old Piatti,
who rarely talked much, said to me in his quiet way, 'I quite enjoyed
that. I have played the sonata with Rubinstein many times, but it never
went better than to-night.' Later on he played again; and so did
Paderewski--with Sullivan close by his side, watching with fascinated
eyes the nimble fingers as they glided over the keys. That evening the
illustrious pianist was inspired. Fatigue was forgotten; indeed, he
seemed much fresher than on the preceding night, when he introduced his
fine Polish Fantasia at the Philharmonic. He went on and on from one
piece to another, with characteristic forgetfulness of self, and it was
well on to dawn before we parted."

This type of anecdote is told of most great instrumentalists, and
especially of Rubinstein. To the lay mind it always seems strange that
an artist who earns fabulous sums from public and private recitals
should display his gifts for the mere love of the thing, but to the
artist himself there is an enjoyment in the appreciation of a few gifted
brother-artists which not all the thunder of popular applause can equal.
And M. Paderewski is, above all, an artist. His public career of course
necessitates advertisement, but he has never sought after means to bring
himself forward apart from his playing. In consequence an air of mystery
surrounds him as an atmosphere. On the few occasions when he has broken
through this retirement it has always been for the sake of some project
connected with his art or to show his esteem for a fellow artist. As an
instance of this may be mentioned the fund for the encouragement of
American composers which he founded after his 1895-96 tour. He placed a
sum of £2000 in the hands of three trustees of which the interest was to
be devoted to triennial prizes for composers of American birth
irrespective of age or religion.

Another instance is the prominent part he meant to take in the
testimonial given to Mme. Modjeska at Boston in May 1905. It will be
remembered that the great pianist as a young man owed a deal to the
encouragement of the celebrated actress, and it may be imagined how
ardently he desired to make some public acknowledgment of his
friendship. Unfortunately the serious accident which brought about the
nervous breakdown of the pianist happened just previous to the benefit
performance. The American Press teemed with alarmist reports of the
permanent character of this breakdown, and to some extent there was
justification for them. According to M. Paderewski's business manager,
Mr. J. G. Francke, the following are the facts of the case: "I was with
M. Paderewski when the accident occurred in Syracuse which upset his
nerves. We were coming from Auburn, twenty-six miles from Syracuse,
where the artist had been playing. We had a special engine. When the
switch leading from the Auburn line to the tracks of the New York
Central Railroad, half a mile from the station, was entered, the
switchman gave our engine-driver the signal to stop. This signal was
disregarded. The switchman, noting the arrival of the Buffalo express,
threw our engine off the track, and just in time, or we should have been
cut to pieces by the incoming train. M. Paderewski was seated at the
head of the table where he was supping. The force of the sudden jolt
threw him against the table as it hurled us to the floor. He did not
suffer much from the shock at the time, but he felt it more the next
day. A muscle in the back of his neck, connected in some way with the
muscles of the spinal column, was affected by the collision. That has
been his trouble. He did play after that in some Canadian cities, but
the complaint developed in Boston, and overwhelmed him eventually." On
April 29 he had arrived in Boston but was too ill to play at the
Symphony Concert to be held in aid of the Orchestral Pension Fund. This
and his inability to assist at the Modjeska benefit seemed to have
preyed on his mind and naturally did not improve his condition.

To the committee of the Modjeska Testimonial the pianist sent a
characteristic letter--a letter which is no mere expression of regret
but is of value in our understanding of the pianist, since throughout it
there breathes a love of his country worthy of Chopin himself. "For many
months," Paderewski wrote, "I have been looking forward to the 2nd of
May, anticipating one of the greatest joys of my career. The thought of
joining you all on this solemn occasion has been my pride for many
months. The sudden adversity of fate makes me feel now grieved and
humiliated, and words cannot express all the bitterness of my
disappointment. But there is still a pride and a joy I cannot be
deprived of--the pride of belonging to the same country, to the same
race which sent into the wide world one of the greatest and noblest
artists of all times and nations; the joy of being one of many to whom
Mme. Modjeska has been good, kind and generous. The first encouraging
words I heard as a pianist came from her lips; the first successful
concert I had in my life was due to her assistance. Unable to be
present, I beg of you to convey to Mme. Modjeska the homage of profound
admiration and gratitude, and to extend my sincerest thanks to all who
contribute to make this the day of legitimate and crowning triumph for a
career great, noble, pure and beautiful."

The passionate love of his country which this letter expresses will not
be new to those who are acquainted with the pianist, nor, indeed, to
those who only know him through his compositions. Once before, in 1893,
when a guest of the New York Lotus Club, he had given public utterance
to the same passion. "I loved your country," he said in his after-dinner
speech, "before I knew it, for the very simple reason, allow me to tell
you, that this country is the only one in which hundreds of thousands of
Poles are living freely and enjoying liberty; the country in which every
countryman of mine may speak whatever he likes of the past and future
of his country without fearing to be arrested. A few years ago, at the
same time that you were fighting the glorious fight against slavery, our
poor nation made its last effort for liberty. Our fate was
different--you have succeeded, and we have not; but still you gave us a
great deal of happiness in the feeling that we were not alone."

Perhaps it is not very safe to take into account the environment of an
artist in any criticism of his artistic achievements, but there is more
reason for it in the case of an executant musician than in that of a
composer, for the one so clearly makes capital of all that he is,
whereas the other often only rises to creative serenity by forgetting
his surroundings. It was in that atmosphere created by his will that
Wagner composed "Die Meistersinger," for instance. At any rate the
spirit of passionate rebellion is often to be heard in Paderewski's
playing, especially of Chopin, and it may well be that the early death
of his first wife had the effect of deepening his nature. In other
directions, too, he has known sorrow, for his only son, who recently
died, was for years a confirmed invalid. It is pleasant to think that
the pianist's life has been brightened since 1899 by his marriage to the
Baroness Hélène von Rosen.



It is not often that Paderewski has expressed his thoughts on his art,
but by careful research I have come across a few interviews here and
there which have something of value in them, and, I think, are worth
quoting. Again I must quote Mr. Henry T. Finck, an enthusiastic admirer,
who can speak with first-hand authority of the pianist's musical faith.
His taste, we are told, is remarkably catholic. "He likes Grieg's songs
better than his pianoforte works, while Brahms's piano pieces, as he
once said to me, hardly exist for him! 'They seem all treble and
bass!'[2] But he admires the chamber music of Brahms. His worship of
the romantic Chopin, Liszt and Schumann does not interfere with his
enjoyment of the classical Mozart and Beethoven. He adores Bach and
Schubert, and at the same time he is a thorough Wagnerite. To hear
'Parsifal' or 'Tristan,' he says, you ought to go to Bayreuth; for the
'Meistersinger' to Vienna, for 'Tannhäuser' to Dresden; while of 'The
Flying Dutchman' the best performance he ever heard was at a small
German city of thirty thousand inhabitants. This catholicity of taste
compares strangely with Rubinstein's rather limited enthusiasms." There
are certainly few pianists who have shown so eclectic a taste in their
playing as Paderewski has always displayed. It would be difficult,
indeed, to decide from his interpretations what composers appeal to him
most, for while at one moment you are ready to declare that no pianist
can surpass him in a performance of the music of Liszt and Chopin, at
the next a singularly noble and sensitive interpretation of a Beethoven
sonata will compel you to place Paderewski as the most sympathetic
player of Beethoven in the world. But this aspect of the pianist's
gifts may be more conveniently dealt with in the next chapter.

In the few public utterances he has made on his art, Paderewski has at
once paid a tribute to his instrument, and has emphasised the enormous
difficulty in becoming a master of it. "Assuredly the piano is the
greatest of musical instruments," he once exclaimed. "Its powers, who
has yet been able to test them to the full? Its limitations, who shall
define them? No sooner does one fancy that nothing further can be done
to enhance its possibilities than inventive ability steps forward and
gives to it a greater volume, a more velvety smoothness of tone." On
another occasion he said of the piano: "It is at once the easiest and
the hardest. Any one can play the pianoforte, but few ever do so well,
and then only after years and years of toil, pain, and study. When you
have surmounted all difficulties, not one in a hundred amongst your
audience realises through what labour you have passed. Yet they are all
capable of criticising and understanding what your playing should be.
Any one who takes up piano-playing with a view to becoming a
professional pianist has taken on himself an awful burden. But better
that than the drudgery of giving pianoforte lessons. The one is only
purgatory, but the other--hell!"

Of course Paderewski has not made teaching a serious part of his career
since he became famous as a virtuoso, but at least one pupil of his, Mr.
Ernest Schelling, has made public appearances, and in his early days
Paderewski knew what teaching meant. To a London evening paper[3] he
once gave the benefit of his experience. He was particularly severe on
the teaching professed by young girls who, having had a superficial
training, endeavour to turn their limited talents to effect when a
living has to be earned or supplemented.

"To teach or to learn to play the piano or any other instrument we must
commence at the beginning. The pupil must first be taught the rudiments
of music. When those have been mastered he must next be taught the
technique of his instrument, and if that instrument be the piano, or the
violin, or the harp, or the violoncello, the muscles and joints of the
hands, wrists, and fingers must be made supple and strong by playing
exercises designed to accomplish that end. At the same time by means of
similar exercises, the pupil must also be taught to read music rapidly
and correctly. When this has been accomplished she should render herself
familiar with the works of the masters--not by having them drummed into
her by her instructor, but by carefully studying them for herself; by
seeking diligently and patiently for the composer's meaning, playing
each doubtful passage over and over again in every variety of
interpretation, and striving most earnestly to satisfy herself which is
the most nearly in harmony with the composer's ideas. The chief aim of
every teacher of the pianoforte should be to impart to his pupils a
correct technique and to enable them to play any composition at sight
with proficiency and correctness; but how much, or rather how little of
this kind of teaching is practised by many so-called music teachers?
Many really competent music teachers have assured me that of all the
pupils who came to them from teachers of lesser reputation to be
'finished' there is not one in ten who has ever been taught to play all
the major and minor scales in all the various keys."

Paderewski insisted on the necessity of amateurs learning compositions
by heart, and was careful to point out that the pupil must not be made
mentally weary by over-practice. "Physical weariness from too much
practice," he added, "is just as bad as mental. To over-fatigue the
muscles is to spoil their tone, at least for the time being, and some
time must elapse before they can regain their former elasticity and
vigour." On the importance of a healthy muscular system to the pianist
Paderewski wrote at some length in a magazine.[4]

"It is highly desirable that he who strives to attain the highest
excellence as a performer on the pianoforte should have well-developed
muscles, a strong nervous system, and, in fact, be in as good general
health as possible. It might be thought that practice on the pianoforte
in itself would bring about the necessary increase in muscular power and
endurance. This, however, is not altogether the case, as it sometimes
has a distinctly deteriorative effect, owing to the muscles being kept
cramped and unused. The chief muscles actually used are those of the
hand, the fore-arm, neck, small of the back, and the shoulders. The
latter only come into play in striking heavy chords for which the hands
and arms are considerably raised from the keys; in light playing the
work is chiefly done from the wrists, and, of course, the fore-arm
muscles which raise and lower the fingers. It is not so much that
greater strength of muscle will give greater power for the pianoforte,
but rather that the fact of the muscle being in good condition will help
the player to express his artistic talent without so much effort. To
play for a great length of time is often very painful, and you cannot
expect a player to lose himself in his art when every movement of his
hands is provocative of discomfort, if not actual pain. Sometimes,
indeed, a great amount of playing brings on a special form of complaint
known as 'pianist's cramp,' which may so affect the muscles and nerves
that the unfortunate artist thus afflicted finds his occupation gone. I
have frequently found that though, whilst playing, I have experienced no
trouble from my muscles being overtaxed, afterwards the reaction has set
in, and I have had no little exhaustion of the shoulders and neck, and I
have also suffered from severe neuralgic pains affecting the nerve
which runs from the head and conveys impulses from the brain to the
deltoid muscle. Weakness in the small of the back has been by no means

As to the higher side of pianoforte teaching, Paderewski thinks that all
theoretical teaching is a mistake, "for when you have reasoned out an
effect you have lost that over which you have reasoned? You must teach
the student to feel." There must be no hard and fast rules. All depends
on the mood and the atmosphere. And that appears to be the spirit of the
teaching of Leschetitzky, the master of Paderewski.


[2] In London Paderewski has not entirely neglected Brahms's
compositions. Among others he has played the "Paganini" and the "Handel"
variations.--E. A. B.

[3] The now defunct _Sun_.

[4] Eugene Sandow's _Physical Culture_.



The critic who would give a true appreciation of Paderewski as artist
must at once admit that he has the power of moving an audience as no
pianist since Rubinstein has been able to move it. In the opening
chapter I touched on some generalities with regard to Paderewski's
position in the world of piano-playing, and I referred to the
modifications in the verdict of the general which the critic must make.
In the difference between his outlook and the public's will be found his
divergence from the critical and popular estimation in which the great
pianist is held. I will at once confess that a professional critic is
apt to be too theoretical in his judgments: it is, if viewed aright, the
defect of his merits. We are compelled to give reasons for our likes and
dislikes, and these in turn are apt to proceed too much from the
intellect and not sufficiently from the emotions. The public, on the
other hand, has no hard-and-fast theories concerning piano playing,
singing or conducting. Provided an instrumentalist or a conductor
creates a "sensation" no close inquiry is made into a sacrifice of
artistic virtue. In the following appreciation of Paderewski as pianist
I have been at pains to collate my own opinions with those of men who
have, it seems to me, some authority to write on the subject. I may say
in passing that it is extraordinary how little of the criticisms penned
on the different recitals give the reader any clear and general idea of
Paderewski. His interpretations and playing are praised or blamed, but a
writer in a daily paper has to take it for granted that the pianist's
gifts and limitations are known and understood. Indeed, a journalist who
should sit down to pen a general criticism of a celebrated artist would
be considered a kind of critical Rip van Winkle. That is a pity, because
criticism demands reconsideration every few years. How could we tell of
what a pianist's fingers might be capable until we had heard Leopold
Godowsky? How judge of the future of opera until we had heard Puccini's
"Madame Butterfly"? For this reason contemporary Press criticisms of
Paderewski do not tell us very much. But here and there, scattered up
and down the pages of weekly periodicals and magazines, I have come
across passages which give a good idea of his powers and his
limitations. I propose to quote a couple of these as preliminary to my
own estimate of the pianist.


_Reproduced from the original sketch by Emil Fuchs by permission of the

In all criticism comparison must play an important part. However great
may be the natural gifts of a critic his verdict on a particular artist
is of not much value unless he has some clear standard of technical and
interpretative excellence. Those who remembered Rubinstein at his best
were on firmer ground in judging the new star, Paderewski, than those
who knew him not. For this reason the enthusiastic estimate of Dr.
William Mason, the well-known American writer on music and professor of
the piano, has peculiar value. Dr. Mason, it should be stated, studied
in Germany under Moscheles, Dreyschock and Liszt. In an interesting
critical study of Paderewski, written in 1893, he compared the playing
of that artist with the playing of many others, including Pachmann,
Rosenthal, D'Albert, and Scharwenka, and, while recognising their worth,
came to the conclusion that Paderewski was "an exceedingly rare
occurrence, indeed phenomenal."


_Reproduced by the kind permission of the artist_]

"As Moscheles played Bach half a century ago, and as Rubinstein played
him later on, so does Paderewski play him now--with an added grace and
colour which put these great contrapuntal creations in the most charming
frames. It is the great, deep, musical playing combined with the calm,
quiet repose and great breadth of style. Paderewski has an advantage
over Rubinstein, however, in the fact that he is always master of his
resources and possesses power of complete self control.... In Rubinstein
there is an excess of the emotional, and while at times he reaches the
highest possible standard, his impulsive Nature and lack of
self-restraint are continually in his way, frequently causing him to
rush ahead with such impetuosity as to anticipate his climax, and,
having no reserve force to call into action, disaster is sure to follow.

"Of five prominent pianists, in Liszt we find the intellectual emotional
temperament, while Rubinstein has the emotional in such excess that he
is rarely able to bridle his impetuosity, Paderewski may be classified
as emotional-intellectual--a very rare and happy blending of the two
temperaments--and Tausig was very much upon the same plane, while Von
Bülow has but little of the emotional, and overbalances decidedly on the
intellectual side.

"It seems to me that in this matter of touch Paderewski is as near
perfection as any pianist I ever heard, while in other respects he
stands more nearly on a plane with Liszt than any other virtuoso since
Tausig. His conception of Beethoven combines the emotional with the
intellectual in admirable poise and proportion. Thus he plays with a big
warm heart as well as with a clear, calm, discriminative head; hence a
thoroughly satisfactory result.... In musical conception he is so
objective a player as to be faithful, true, and loving to his author,
but withal he has a spice of the subjective, which imparts to his
performance just the right amount of his own individuality.

"The heartfelt sincerity of the man is noticeable in all that he does
and his intensity of utterance easily accounts for the strong hold he
has over his audiences. Paderewski's playing presents the beautiful
contour of a living, vital organism.... It possesses that subtle quality
expressed in some measure by the German word _Sehnsucht_, and in English
as intensity of aspiration. This quality Chopin had, and Liszt
frequently spoke of it. It is the undefinable poetic haze with which
Paderewski invests and surrounds all that he plays which renders him so
unique and impressive among modern pianists."

The foregoing estimate represents the discrimination of an enthusiastic
admirer. Its value consists of its recognition of the power of
Paderewski's personality. No criticism of his technical mannerisms
alone--however much he may lay himself open to it--will give a true idea
of the great pianist. Among the many estimates of Paderewski written in
this country one of the most balanced and illuminative was penned by the
late Arthur Johnstone, for many years the musical critic of the
_Manchester Guardian_:--"Mr. Paderewski's distinguishing quality is a
certain extraordinary energy--not merely a one-sided physical, or even
a two-sided physical and intellectual, energy; it is of the fingers and
wrists, of the mind, the imagination, the heart and the soul, and it
makes Mr. Paderewski the most interesting of players, even though to the
extreme kind of specialist, absorbed in problems of tone production, he
is not the most absolute master of his instrument at the present day.
His art has a certain princely quality. It is indescribably _galant_ and
_chevaleresque_. He knows all the secrets of all the most subtle dancing
rhythms. He is a reincarnation of Chopin, with almost the added virility
of a Rubinstein. No wonder such a man fascinates, bewilders and enchants
the public! Greatly surpassed by Busoni in the interpretation of
Beethoven, by Pachmann in the touch that persistently draws forth
roundness, sweetness and fulness of tone, and by Godowsky in the mastery
of intricate line and the power of sucking out the very last drop of
melody from every part of a composition, Paderewski still remains the
most brilliant, fascinating and successfully audacious of present-day
performers, and in preferring him the general public is probably right,
though the keen student of the pianoforte in particular may learn more
from Godowsky, and the earnest lover of the musical classics in general,
more from Busoni."

In much the same vein I wrote of a recital held at St. James's Hall in
1901. "The fascination of Paderewski held criticism in check. I know
that his Beethoven in C was smallish Beethoven; that there were many
spots of virtuoso exaggeration of contrast; but I also know that the
_adagio molto_ had a poetry of expression which many better-balanced
pianists miss, and that the last movement had a growing power which
carried one away. I know, too, that Schumann's sonata in F sharp minor
was too exaggerated, that its force was often too febrile. I will even
admit that Paderewski's technique is not always as clear as it might be;
that for perfection of finger dexterity Rosenthal, Godowsky, Busoni and
Pachmann surpass him. If you press it, I will confess that Paderewski's
force is hysterical, an explosion of exacerbated nerves; that,
metaphorically, he has his back to the wall and with tight-drawn lips is
fighting for his life. His strength, you may say, is almost a weakness.
It has no reserve and occasionally it is perilously akin to ranting. He
is also too fond of unnecessary dynamic contrasts--the sign of the
virtuoso all the world over, whether he be a pianist or a chorus-master.
I would not even combat the assertion that he often allows a fastidious
brain to prompt new readings when novelty is unnecessary, and I must
admit that he has the abominable trick of opening his chords--the kind
of thing one expects in a third-rate pianist bidding for a cheap
popularity. Is the catalogue of defects full? If not, insert some more,
and then--

"Why, then, I will still assert that Paderewski is the greatest of
living pianists. He has what so many of them do not possess--a strong
individuality and real insight as a musical poet. D'Albert might play
that Beethoven sonata with a nicer balance and a more intellectual
grasp; but he would not create that glowing atmosphere. Paderewski's
reading cannot be held up as a model to young men and maidens. It was
very subjective. I do not ask Paderewski to be anything but himself, for
his self interests me. But, at any rate, the performances of Haydn's
Variations in F minor and Mozart's Rondo in A minor were perfect enough
in restraint and classical grace to rank as models. They seemed to me to
represent the normal Paderewski.

"And his Chopin playing particularly appeals to me. Pachmann, in the
lesser Chopin, and Godowsky as well, play with more polish of phrase,
and they have a more extended gamut of dynamic _nuances_; but neither
plays as a poet would play, and Chopin, with all his absolute musical
fastidiousness, was a poet. Pachmann is too pre-occupied with mere
beauty of tone and with the rhetoric of antithesis; Godowsky with the
perfection of finger technique. Busoni's Chopin playing can alone be
compared to Paderewski's, for Busoni has a poet's imagination. But
Paderewski has more emotional fibre." As a marginal note to this
criticism, it should be said that the pianist was not at his best in
that year. The tendency to nervous explosions was not so marked when he
visited us the following summer.

It must be confessed that Paderewski's repertoire is rather limited. He
never makes experiments with the compositions of new men, and I do not
remember if he has ever played anything of Alkans or of César Franck.
The plan of his programmes is apt to be stereotyped--a group of pieces
by Bach, Handel, Scarlatti--or other of the harpsichord composers; then
a sonata of Mozart or Beethoven, followed by the German romantic school,
and ending with Chopin, Liszt, and Rubinstein, or his own compositions.
Still, it is very difficult for a pianist to import novelty into the
programme of a recital, and until quite recently modern composers have
ignored the piano. But if Paderewski's repertoire is not very extended,
his sympathies are catholic enough. There is only one other pianist who
can be compared with him in this respect--Busoni. The rest have such
limitations of sympathy that one could wish they would follow Pachmann's
example and confine themselves to the composers they understand.
Paderewski is, perhaps, at his best in the playing of Chopin and Liszt,
and, at the other extreme, in his reproduction of the old harpsichord
music. The racial spirit in him, which I have already shown is a real
part of his composition, enables him to realise the bigger Chopin as no
other pianist realises him. In the Chopin which mainly demands agility
of finger and a refined sense of harmony, Busoni and Pachmann excel
Paderewski; but neither can play the great Scherzo in C sharp minor as
Paderewski plays it. His Beethoven is unequal. Sometimes, if in the
mood, he will give you a performance of one of the later sonatas which
cannot be surpassed for grandeur and glow of emotion (he could never be
a mere "classical" Beethoven player); at other times his readings are
rather small and not sufficiently architectural. He has done wonderful
things with the "Moonlight" and "Waldstein" sonatas, however. His
Beethoven is never uninteresting, and it is something that he spares us
the hard austerity of some of the Beethoven playing which is so highly
praised in these days.

It has been well said that Paderewski treats Bach as a modern
romanticist, following the example of Liszt in this. The Bach worshipper
of a certain type is not likely to admire Paderewski's readings, but the
pianist certainly does bring out all the beauty of the composer's music.
If Mme. Schumann's idea of her husband's music was right, then
Paderewski is apt to treat him too much as a virtuoso composer. His
playing is a trifle wanting in the true German reflectiveness, but the
romance is realised. The concerto is one of Paderewski's finest
achievements, however. When an appeal is not made to his Slav
temperament, Paderewski's mind seems to find most pleasure in the
refinement of Weber, Mendelssohn, and Mozart. He has done a great deal
to rehabilitate Mendelssohn. He made serious musicians ashamed of their
estimate of the "Variations Sérieuses," and he reset the exquisite gems
of melody enshrined in the "Songs without Words," made so dim by the
clumsy handling of generations of schoolgirls.

In all Paderewski does there is evidence of much musical thought. That
is to say, even when he treats a composition to a new, and, as it seems,
a sensational performance, the conception is consistent throughout. And
that is one of the reasons why the pianist carries you away even when he
runs counter to theories or prejudices. Your mind may be critically at
work throughout the whole performance, but you feel at the same time
that the player is not making a bid for the popularity of empty
sensationalism. Those who accuse him of that are wrong. They forget that
with all his intense quietude of manner, Paderewski is at heart a Pole,
and that the very nervous force which enables him to play with glowing
power is also apt to make him exaggerated and exuberant; but the musical
intellect has artistically planned out these outbursts, which are seldom
merely physical.

The weakness of his playing on its technical side lies in a tendency to
smudginess of execution. Paderewski cannot lay claim to the absolute
clearness of Busoni; nor has he the magical fingers of a Godowsky. But I
am not at all sure that the defects of his technique are not an
expression of his merits as a tone poet. It is inconceivable that a
player of Paderewski's fiery and nervous temperament should be a perfect
mechanician. Moreover, his lapses from technical rectitude are never
lapses from the higher technique of the piano. No pianist so well
understands how to produce beautiful tone; no pianist has such a variety
of touch; and none such a grasp of the art of pedalling and phrasing.
The Paderewski tone is a thing by itself. Above all, he is a master of
rhythm. The wonderful, subtle _nuances_ of _tempo rubato_ which
distinguish his playing are the expression of a genuine, musical nature.
Sometimes this extraordinary grasp of rhythm may lead him to attempt
effects which were not, perhaps, within his composer's intentions, but
they are musical effects and not merely capricious. In brief, Paderewski
appeals to lovers of music, not because he is the most wonderful player
of his instrument that has ever existed, but because he is a genuine
tone-poet, a man of exceptional nature and rare temperament.

Perhaps he has summed himself and his aims as well as any one else could
sum them up. "If I were asked," said the great pianist to an
interviewer, "to name the chief qualification of a great pianist, apart
from technical excellence, I should answer in a word, genius. That is
the spark which fires every heart, that is the voice which all men stop
to hear! Lacking genius, your pianist is simply a player--an artist,
perhaps--whose work is politely listened to or admired in moderation as
a musical _tour de force_. He leaves his hearers cold, nor is the appeal
which he makes through the medium of his art, a universal one. And here
let me say, referring to the celebrated 'paradox' of Diderot, that I am
firmly of the belief that the pianist, in order to produce the finest
and most delicate effects must feel what he is playing, identify himself
absolutely with his work, be in sympathy with the composition in its
entirety, as well as with its every shade of expression. Only so shall
he speak to that immense audience which ever depends on perfect art.
Yet--and here is a paradox indeed--he must put his own personality
resolutely, triumphantly into his interpretation of the composer's



It will be remembered that Paderewski began his musical career with the
aim of being a composer, and through all the stress of his life as a
virtuoso he has never lost sight of that aim. Indeed, he has more than
once expressed the intention of retiring gradually from the concert
platform in order that he may devote all his time to composition. The
work he has already done is not to be passed over lightly as a pianist's
music. Paderewski has certainly more originality than Rubinstein, and as
he is now only in his forty-seventh year there is every possibility that
he will make a name for himself as composer. It has already been related
that Paderewski was by way of being a prodigy composer. At the early age
of seven he wrote a set of Polish dances, but none of his compositions
was published until he was twenty-two years of age. These early works,
numbering some forty pieces, include Mazardas, Polonaises, Krakowiaks,
and other Polish dances, a Caprice, an Intermezzo, a Sarabande, an
Elegy, and many Mélodies, all of them surcharged with national spirit.
It is facile criticism to trace the influence of Chopin in these
pianoforte pieces of Paderewski's, and it is too often forgotten that
many of the characteristics of the great composer's music were drawn
from Polish music. Paderewski himself once remarked on this point: "The
moment you try to be national, every one cries out that you are
imitating Chopin, whereas the truth is that Chopin adopted all the most
marked characteristics of our national music so completely that it is
impossible not to resemble him in externals, though your methods and
ideas may be absolutely your own."


_From a bust by Mr. Emil Fuchs, reproduced by the kind permission of the

Of the smaller compositions of Paderewski the most famous is, of course,
the Minuet, which has nothing in it of Polish colour, but is a charming
and skilful essay in the old style. A writer in a German periodical has
told an amusing, if apocryphal story of this Minuet. "When Paderewski
was a professor at the Warsaw Conservatoire, he was a frequent visitor
at my house, and one evening I remarked that no living composer could be
compared with Mozart. Paderewski's only reply was a shrug of the
shoulders, but the next day he came back, and, sitting down at the
piano, said, 'I should like to play you a little piece of Mozart's which
you perhaps do not know.' He then played the Minuet. I was enchanted
with it and cried, 'Now you will yourself acknowledge that nobody of our
time could furnish us with a composition like that.' 'Well,' answered
Paderewski, 'this Minuet is mine.'" The worthy German writer could have
had but a superficial knowledge of Mozart's style of harmony. But the
Minuet is certainly a charming little piece. Hardly less remarkable in
its daintiness is the "Chant du Voyageur," number 3 of Opus 8, and the
Thème Varié, Opus 11 is very skilful in its harmonic treatment of a
naïve, eighteenth century tune. The Variations and Fugue and Humoresques
à l'antique enable one to understand how Paderewski can play Scarlatti,
Couperin, and Rameau with such intimate sympathy. These works may be
said to represent one side of his talent, perhaps not the most original.
In direct contrast with them are his fiery Polish dances--his
Cracovienne and Polonaises. In his later compositions he has given up
his imitations of the antique and has been gradually finding his own
utterance in the idiom of national music. In his early life, however, he
composed a short sonata for violin and piano, which, as far as I know,
has not been performed in England; but, of course, the pianoforte sonata
in A minor, Op. 17, which was written when he was twenty-eight years of
age, is the most important contribution in a more or less "classical"
style which has come from his pen. It served to introduce Paderewski as
a composer to an English audience on the occasion of his first recitals
at St. James's Hall in 1890. "In point of form this Concerto," wrote Mr.
C. A. Barry in his analytical notes, "which is far more a matter of
evolution than a stringing together of tunes, closely follows the
traditionally classical lines, and is strikingly free from irrelevant
and episodical passages, except such as immediately grow out of the
subject-matter. In spirit it is strongly pervaded by the
characteristics of Polish national music, with its proud, chivalrous and
dreamy accents." Much of the music is of a virtuoso character, but the
Romanza, an Andante, is a little gem of inspiration, and the finale is
full of vivacity and spirit. Paderewski himself makes a very effective
composition of this Concerto.

A considerable period elapsed between the composition of the Concerto
(in 1888) and that of the Polish Fantasia, which was first performed at
the Norwich Festival of 1893. It was actually written in the summer in
that year. In this work national feeling is very strongly marked. This
betrays itself in the treatment, and in the themes, which although the
composer's own, are distinctly Polish in character. The work is full of
colour, picturesqueness and romance, and in general it has the air of a
Rhapsody. In the slow movement there is a power of combining themes
which Paderewski had not previously shown, and the orchestra is handled
with much skill both in the matter of instrumentation and in its
combination with the piano. The Fantasia, which was afterwards repeated
at a Philharmonic concert, placed the composer on a higher plane than
anything he had hitherto done.

That Paderewski did not mean to confine himself to compositions for the
piano and orchestra was soon proved by rumours of an opera on which he
was engaged. Nothing of importance came from his pen until "Manru" was
produced at Dresden on May 29, 1901, but the pianoforte score had been
finished as long ago as 1895. As Paderewski had not hitherto composed
anything of moment for the voice--his four songs, Op. 7, and the late
set of six which Mr. Edward Lloyd sang to the composer's accompaniment
are fanciful but of no great importance--there was much anticipation as
to the result of his new departure. It should be said that at one time
the composer was in negotiation with the late Sir Augustus Harris for
the production of the opera at Covent Garden, but he could not see his
way to accept the suggested alterations which the impresario thought
necessary. As a matter of fact most of these alterations were made when
the work was performed at Dresden. It was generally admitted, and the
criticism was upheld when "Manru" was mounted in New York in 1902, that
the opera suffers from its libretto.

The plot was borrowed from a Polish Romance, Kraszewski's "The Cabin
behind the Wood," by the librettist, Dr. Alfred Nossig and sets forth
how Manru, a gypsy, has won the love of a Galician maiden, Ulana, and
has married her in the gypsy fashion. On her return to her native place,
seeking her mother's forgiveness and help, she is received with
contumely and a mother's curse. Her kind friends prepare her for the
inconstancy of Manru by citing instances of the general fickleness in
love of all gypsies, and Ulana, in order to keep Manru's love, seeks the
help of Urok, a dwarf and magician who has the reputation of being a
sorcerer. By the aid of a magic draught she keeps Manru to her side for
a time, but the gypsy blood will out and, fascinated by a girl of his
own race, he rejoins his tribe. This is not to the liking of the gypsy
chief, Oros, who is in love with the same woman, Asa, and Manru's
rehabitation is opposed. Matters then become too complicated for opera,
and that is the weakness of the libretto. Oros finding his authority has
no weight with the tribe breaks his staff and Manru is proclaimed chief
in his stead. Ulana, in despair at the loss of her husband, hurls
herself over a precipice, and Oros coming secretly on Manru and his new
love Asa suddenly attacks his rival and throws him into the abyss. A
strain of symbolism runs though the story. Thus Manru is not merely
fickle, but is torn this way and that by his love for Ulana and his
racial passion for music. You may, if you choose, look on Ulana as the
embodiment of human love and Asa as representing the spiritual love of
the artist.

Dr. Schuch conducted the first performance at Dresden. Herr Anthes was
the Manru; Herr Scheidmantel was the Urok; Fraulein Krull the Urana and
Frau Kramma the Asa. The reception of the work was cordial but it does
not seem to have been enthusiastic. Some of the critics were reminded of
Bizet; others noted a strong likeness to Wagner; and through all the
note of Polish music was detected. As the work has never been performed
on the English stage it is not easy to say how it would shape as an
opera. The vocal score has not been published. A concert performance of
some of the chief scenes was given, however, at the Crystal Palace, on
December 13, 1902, Signor Randegger conducted and Fraulein Krull came
from Germany to sing the soprano music. Mr. John Coates sang the music
of Manru. The excerpts consisted of a duet from Act II. with Ulana's
cradle song; the prelude and incidental music from Act III. with Manru's
long soliloquy "Luft, luft! Ich ersticke," and a gypsy march; the love
duet of Manru and Ulana from Act II., and the ballet music from Act I.
As the programme also contained the Concerto and the Polish Fantasia we
were able to form some opinion of Paderewski as a serious composer.

"The connection of the music of 'Manru' with these concertos," I wrote
at the time in the _Daily News_, "must have struck the dullest ears....
So far the music has a style of its own. But it struck me that in the
vocal selection from 'Manru' the folk-song element did not mix well with
sundry Wagnerisms of which Paderewski has made use. Thus in the scene
from Act II., Manru, who is watching Ulana nursing her child, hesitates
between expressing himself in the mode of a Slavonic folk-song and in
the style of Siegfried's forging outbursts. The orchestra has no
hesitation at all, but plumps for Wagner. Paderewski is most
interesting to me when he forgets all he knows of Wagner. The folk
cradle-song of Ulana, for instance, is more genuine music than Manru's
long monologue 'Luft! luft!' from Act III. which is full of Wagnerian
mannerisms, culled from Hans Sachs' monologues and elsewhere. Again, the
ambitious love duet from Act II. does not make its mark. Paderewski has
not yet the strength of technique for a love duet conceived more or less
on the lines of the 'Tristan' love duet. The vocal parts have not
striking enough intervals. The writing for the voices and orchestra is
too close, and, in general the part writing does not move with
sufficient freedom. The concert room performance of selections from
operas is a great test of their absolute musical qualities, a test which
very few works can stand in part, and none altogether. For that reason
one cannot come to any very definite opinion of the 'Manru' music. The
rushing of the strings up and down the chromatic scale, the free use of
muted horns, of gong and cymbals struck with a drumstick, sound
theatrical in a concert room, but they might pass as effective in the
opera-house. And I should think Paderewski has musically caught the
atmosphere of the story. Certainly he has in the orchestral description
of Manru's dream, in which the memories of his love jostle with his
gypsy desire to wander free and untrammelled. The Gypsy March, with
which the scene ends, is also striking. In fact, all the music which has
a folk-song character is successful; and perhaps on the opera-stage the
second-hand Wagnerisms would not be so noticeable."

The opera had previously been performed at the Metropolitan Opera House
in New York, on February 15, 1902. It had not been adequately rehearsed
although the principal singers--M. Bandrowsky (Manru), Mme. Sembrich
(Ulana), Miss Fritzi Scheff (Asa), Mr. David Bispham (Urok) and Herr
Muhlmann (Oros)--seem to have done their work well enough. Opinions as
to the merits of the opera were divided. The libretto was blamed for its
weaknesses, and Paderewski's Wagnerisms were duly impaled. After a third
performance, Mr. H. T. Finck was of opinion that "Manru" gained by being
heard repeatedly "While some of its melodies are so catchy that they can
be remembered at once, the orchestra score grows more and more
beautiful, and what is particularly odd is that the reminiscences of
other composers become less noticeable." The composer himself had a good
deal to say to an interviewer of the _New York Herald_ on this question
of reminiscences in his opera.

"In music absolute originality does not exist. It is the temperament of
the composer that makes his work. In method one cannot help but follow
those who have gone before. When a great genius like Wagner introduces a
method that will give better expression to an idea it is not only not a
sin to follow it, but it is a duty to follow it. In employing such a
method it concerns not so much the idea as its treatment in a musical
way. A piece of music must be built like a house or a church. You would
not accuse an architect of being a copyist if he put windows in a house,
would you? And yet he is merely doing what others have done. Likewise
when you read the works of the great poets, you would not accuse
Browning or Longfellow of plagiarism if they used the same style of
verse as some one else? Their thoughts you would consider and not so
much their method. Music, you see, is different from poetry. It appeals
to the ears. A sound, or a combination of sounds in a work that only
have to do with the method, may remind one of some other music, and the
whole is set down as not original. Let us look at the prelude to the
third Act in 'Manru.' That has been criticised. There is one run, a
little run, that reminds one of 'Die Walküre.' I knew it. I tried to
avoid it, but could not. Others heard it and they talk of the suggestion
from 'Die Walküre.' Yet the first theme is not the same. The second
theme is not the same, the orchestration is not the same. I defy any one
to show that anything except this one little run is borrowed. Yet for
this detail of method the prelude is condemned. If I were to make an
analysis, I could show a likeness in method among the greatest of
composers. For instance, look at Schumann's Concerto in A minor. The
first theme is taken almost wholly in method from Mendelssohn. And
Wagner, in his first period and even well into the second period, is not
entirely original. One may easily find the influence of Weber and then
of Meyerbeer. Beethoven was not free from the influence of other
masters, for, in his works, we often find the suggestion of Mozart. And
witness also the first concerto of Chopin. Is it not suggestive very
strongly of Hummel? And 'Carmen.' Can we not find here an enormous
influence exerted by Gounod? And it not only reminds you of Gounod, but
some of the themes, as sung, are taken wholly from Spanish music. The
'Habanero' is not even Bizet's, but in all the scores that are published
is shown to be taken from a composer who was alive when the opera was

The composer made out a good case, but he forgot that, as Weingartner
once pointed out, the most subtle form of musical imitation is that of
mood and style, and not necessarily of themes. However, "Manru" contains
sufficient originality to make the musical world look forward with
interest to the production of the new opera on which Paderewski has been
engaged. I had hoped that it would have been possible to round off this
estimate of the pianist as composer by a consideration of a symphony at
which he has been working. It was to have been performed at one of the
concerts of the London Symphony Orchestra this season, but it was not
ready in time. This work together with the new opera, will enable the
musical world to come to a definite conclusion as to the place
Paderewski will occupy as a composer.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Ignaz Jan Paderewski" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.