Chopin’s music is the aesthetic symbol of a personality nurtured on patriotism, pride and love; that it is better expressed by the piano is because of that instrument’s idiosyncrasies of evanescent tone, sensitive touch and wide range in dynamics. It was Chopin’s lyre, the “orchestra of his heart,” from it he extorted music the most intimate since Sappho. Among lyric moderns Heine closely resembles the Pole. Both sang because they suffered, sang ineffable and ironic melodies; both will endure because of their brave sincerity, their surpassing art. The musical, the psychical history of the nineteenth century would be incomplete without the name of Frederic Francois Chopin. Wagner externalized its dramatic soul; in Chopin the mad lyricism of the Time-spirit is made eloquent. Into his music modulated the poesy of his age; he is one of its heroes, a hero of whom Swinburne might have sung:
O strong-winged soul with prophetic
Lips hot with the blood-beats of song;
With tremor of heart-strings magnetic,
With thoughts as thunder in throng;
With consonant ardor of chords
That pierce men’s souls as with swords
And hale them hearing along.
PART II:—HIS MUSIC
VI. THE STUDIES:—TITANIC EXPERIMENTS
October 20, 1829, Frederic Chopin, aged twenty, wrote to his friend Titus Woyciechowski, from Warsaw: “I have composed a study in my own manner;” and November 14, the same year: “I have written some studies; in your presence I would play them well.”
Thus, quite simply and without booming of cannon or brazen proclamation by bell, did the great Polish composer announce an event of supreme interest and importance to the piano-playing world. Niecks thinks these studies were published in the summer of 1833, July or August, and were numbered op. 10. Another set of studies, op. 25, did not find a publisher until 1837, although some of them were composed at the same time as the previous work; a Polish musician who visited the French capital in 1834 heard Chopin play the studies contained in op. 25. The C minor study, op. 10, No. 12, commonly known as the Revolutionary, was born at Stuttgart, September, 1831, “while under the excitement caused by the news of the taking of Warsaw by the Russians, on September 8, 1831.” These dates are given so as to rout effectually any dilatory suspicion that Liszt influenced Chopin in the production of his masterpieces. Lina Ramann, in her exhaustive biography of Franz Liszt, openly declares that Nos. 9 and 12 of op. 10 and Nos. 11 and 12 of op. 25 reveal the influence of the Hungarian virtuoso. Figures prove the fallacy of her assertion. The influence was the other way, as Liszt’s three concert studies show—not to mention other compositions. When Chopin arrived in Paris his style had been formed, he was the creator of a new piano technique.
The three studies known as Trois Nouvelles Etudes, which appeared in 1840 in Moscheles and Fetis Method of Methods were published separately afterward. Their date of composition we do not know.