The personal life of Chopin was singularly interesting. His long and intimate connection with George Sand; the circumstances under which it was formed; the blissful idyl of the lovers in the isle of Majorca; the awakening from the dream, and the separation—these and other striking circumstances growing out of a close association with what was best in Parisian art and life, invest the career of the man, aside from his art, with more than common charm to the mind of the reader. Having touched on these phases of Chopin’s life at some length in a previous volume of this series, we must reluctantly pass them by.
In closing this imperfect review of the Polish composer, it is enough to say that the present generation has more than sustained the judgment of his own as to the unique and wonderful beauty of his compositions. Hardly any concert programme is considered complete without one or more numbers selected from his works; and though there are but few pianists, even in a day when Chopin as a stylist has been a study, who can do his subtile and wonderful fancies justice, there is no composer for the piano-forte who so fascinates the musical mind.
Thalberg one of the Greatest of Executants.—Bather a Man of Remarkable Talents than of Genius.—Moscheles’s Description of him.—The Illegitimate Son of an Austrian Prince.—Early Introduction to Musical Society in London and Vienna.—Beginning of his Career as a Virtuoso.—The Brilliancy of his Career.—Is appointed Court Pianist to the Emperor of Austria.—His Marriage.—Visits to America.—Thalborg’s Artistic Idiosyncrasy.—Robert Schumann on his Playing.—His Appearance and Manner.—Characterization by George William Curtis.—Thalberg’s Style and Worth as an Artist.—His Pianoforte Method, and Place as a Composer for the Piano.—Gott-schalk’s Birth and Early Years.—He is sent to Paris for Instruction.—Successful Debut and Public Concerts in Paris and Tour through the French Cities.—Friendship with Berlioz.—Concert Tour to Spain.—Romantic Experiences.—Berlioz on Gottschalk.—Reception of Gottschalk in America.—Criticism of his Style.—Remarkable Success of his Concerts.—His Visit to the West Indies, Mexico, and Central America.—Protracted Absence.—Gottschalk on Life in the Tropics.—Return to the United States.—Three Brilliant Musical Years.—Departure for South America.—Triumphant Procession through the Spanish-American Cities.—Death at Rio Janeiro.—Notes on Gottschalk as Man and Artist.