Chopin’s artistic achievements, however, were not unanimously received with such enthusiastic approval. A writer in the less friendly La France musicale goes even so far as to stultify himself by ridiculing, a propos of the A flat Impromptu, the composer’s style. This jackanapes—who belongs to that numerous class of critics whose smartness of verbiage combined with obtuseness of judgment is so well-known to the serious musical reader and so thoroughly despised by him—ignores the spiritual contents of the work under discussion altogether, and condemns without hesitation every means of expression which in the slightest degree deviates from the time-honoured standards. We are told that Chopin’s mode of procedure in composing is this. He goes in quest of an idea, writes, writes, modulates through all the twenty-four keys, and, if the idea fails to come, does without it and concludes the little piece very nicely (tres-bien). And now, gentle reader, ponder on this momentous and immeasurably sad fact: of such a nature was, is, and ever will be the great mass of criticism.
Chopin’s visits to Nohant in 1837 and 1838.—His
decides to go with Madame sand and her children to Majorca.—
Madame Sand’s account of this matter and what others thought
about it.—Chopin and his fellow—travellers meet at Perpignan in
the beginning of November, 1838, and proceed by port-Vendres and
Barcelona to Palma.—Their life and experiences in the town, at
the villa son-vent, and at the monastery of Valdemosa, as
described in Chopin’s and George Sand’s letters, and the latter’s
“Ma vie” And “Un Hiver A Majorque.”—The preludes.—Return to
France by Barcelona and Marseilles in the end of February, 1839.