Frederick Chopin, as a Man and Musician — Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 478 pages of information about Frederick Chopin, as a Man and Musician — Volume 1.
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

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Frederick Chopin, as a Man and Musician — Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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