Frederick Chopin, as a Man and Musician — Volume 2 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 526 pages of information about Frederick Chopin, as a Man and Musician — Volume 2.

“My intimacy with Chopin began after my marriage.  He often dined with us, was very fond of my husband, and after dinner we were not at home if any one else came, but remained at our two pianos (Erard had sent me one), playing together, and I used to amuse him by picking out of his music little bits that seemed like questions for him to answer on the other piano.  He lived very near us, so we very often passed mornings at his house, where he asked me to play with him all Weber’s duets.  This was delightful to me, the more so, as he complimented me on my reading and entering at first sight into the spirit of the music.  He made me acquainted with the beautiful duet of Moscheles, and was the first with whom I played Hummel’s splendid duet.  He was a great admirer of Weber.  We frequently had morning concerts with double quartet, and Chopin would very kindly turn the leaves for me.  He was particularly fond of doing so when I played Hummel’s Septet, and was so encouraging.  Even when playing to him his own music, he would approve some little thing not indicated and say, ’What a good idea of yours that is!’ My husband begged him to give me lessons; but he always refused, and did give them; for I studied so many things with him, among others his two concertos.  The one in E minor I once played accompanied by himself on a second piano.  We passed many pleasant evenings at Mr. and Madame Leo’s house, a very musical one.  Madame Moscheles was a niece of theirs.  Chopin was fond of going there, where he was quite a pet.  He always appeared to best advantage among his most intimate friends.  I was one who helped to christen the Berceuse.  You ask me in what years I knew Chopin, 1838 is the date of the manuscript in my collection which he gave me after I was married, and the last notes of that little jewel he wrote on the desk of the piano in our presence.  He said it would not be published because they would play it....Then he would show how they would play it, which was very funny.  It came out after his death, it is a kind of waltz-mazurka [the Valse, Op. 69, No.  I], Chopin’s intimate friend, Camille Pleyel, called it the story of a D flat, because that note comes in constantly.  One morning we took Paganini to hear Chopin, and he was enchanted; they seemed to understand each other so well.  When I knew him he was a sufferer and would only occasionally play in public, and then place his piano in the middle of Pleyel’s room whilst his admirers were around the piano.  His speciality was extreme delicacy, and his pianissimo extraordinary.  Every little note was like a bell, so clear.  His fingers seemed to be without any bones; but he would bring out certain effects by great elasticity.  He got very angry at being accused of not keeping time; calling his left hand his maitre de chapelle and allowing his right to wander about ad libitum.”


Madame Streicher’s (nee Friederike Muller) recollections of Chopin, based on extracts from her carefully-kept diary of the years 1839, 1840, and 1841. (Vol.  II., p.  I77.)

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Frederick Chopin, as a Man and Musician — Volume 2 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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