which make an individual style—the absolutely
new being, generally speaking, insignificant compared
with the acquired and evolved. The opinion that
individuality is a spontaneous generation is an error
of the same kind as that imagination has nothing to
do with memory. Ex nihilo nihil fit. Individuality
should rather be regarded as a feminine organisation
which conceives and brings forth; or, better still,
as a growing thing which feeds on what is germane to
it, a thing with self-acting suctorial organs that
operate whenever they come in contact with suitable
food. A nucleus is of course necessary for the
development of an individuality, and this nucleus is
the physical and intellectual constitution of the
individual. Let us note in passing that the development
of the individuality of an artistic style presupposes
the development of the individuality of the man’s
character. But not only natural dispositions,
also acquired dexterities affect the development of
the individuality of an artistic style. Beethoven
is orchestral even in his pianoforte works. Weber
rarely ceases to be operatic. Spohr cannot help
betraying the violinist, nor Schubert the song-composer.
The more Schumann got under his command the orchestral
forces, the more he impressed on them the style which
he had formed previously by many years of playing
and writing for the pianoforte. Bach would have
been another Bach if he had not been an organist.
Clementi was and remained all his life a pianist.
Like Clementi, so was also Chopin under the dominion
of his instrument. How the character of the man
expressed itself in the style of the artist will become
evident when we examine Chopin’s masterpieces.
Then will also be discussed the influence on his style
of the Polish national music.
Paris in 1831.—Life in the streets.—Romanticism
and liberalism.- -Romanticism in literature.—Chief
literary publications of the time.—The
pictorial arts.—Music and
of the galaxy of singers then
performing at the various opera-houses.
Chopin’S sensations on plunging, after his long
stay in the stagnant pool of Vienna, into the boiling
sea of Paris might have been easily imagined, even
if he had not left us a record of them. What
newcomer from a place less populous and inhabited by
a less vivacious race could help wondering at and
being entertained by the vastness, variety, and bustle
that surrounded him there?