appreciated and admired his sweetness, elegance, and
exquisiteness, has been remarked by Liszt, an eye
and ear-witness and an excellent judge. But his
testimony is not needed to convince one of the fact.
A subtle poet, be he ever so national, has thoughts
and corresponding language beyond the ken of the vulgar,
who are to be found in all ranks, high and low.
Chopin, imbued as he was with the national spirit,
did nevertheless not manifest it in a popularly intelligible
form, for in passing through his mind it underwent
a process of idealisation and individualisation.
It has been repeatedly said that the national predominates
over the universal in Chopin’s music; it is
a still less disputable truth that the individual
predominates therein over the national. There
are artist-natures whose tendency is to expand and
to absorb; others again whose tendency is to contract
and to exclude. Chopin is one of the most typical
instances of the latter; hence, no wonder that he
was not at once fully understood by his countrymen.
The great success which Chopin’s subsequent
concerts in Warsaw obtained does not invalidate E.
Wolff’s statement, which indeed is confirmed
by the composer’s own remarks on the taste of
the public and its reception of his compositions.
Moreover, we shall see that those pieces pleased most
in which, as in the Fantasia and Krakowiak, the national
raw material was merely more or less artistically
dressed up, but not yet digested and assimilated; if
the Fantasia left the audience cold at the first concert,
this was no doubt owing to the inadequacy of the performance.
No sooner was the first concert over than, with his
head still full of it, Chopin set about making preparations
for a second, which took place within a week after
the first. The programme was as follows:—
1. Symphony by Nowakowski.
2. Allegro from the Concerto in F minor, composed
and played by Chopin.
3. Air Varie by De Beriot, played by Bielawski.
4. Adagio and Rondo from the Concerto in F minor,
composed and played by Chopin.
1. Rondo Krakowiak, composed and played by Chopin.
2. Aria from “Elena e Malvina” by
Soliva, sung by Madame Meier.
3. Improvisation on national airs.
This time the audience, which Chopin describes as
having been more numerous than at any other concert,
was satisfied. There was no end to the applause,
and when he came forward to bow his acknowledgments
there were calls of “Give another concert!”
The Krakowiak produced an immense effect, and was
followed by four volleys of applause. His improvisation
on the Polish national air “W miescie dziwne
obyczaje” pleased only the people in the dress-circle,
although he did not improvise in the way he had intended
to do, which would not have been suitable for the audience