Vienna musical life.—Karnthnerthor theatre.—Sabine Heinefetter.- -Concerts: Hesse, Thalberg, Dohler, Hummel, Aloys Schmitt, Charles Czerny, Slavik, Merk, Bocklet, Abbe Stabler, Kiesewetter, Kandler.—The publishers Haslinger, Diabelli, Mechetti, and Joseph Czerny.—Lanner and Strauss.—Chopin plays at A concert of Madame Garzia-Vestris and gives one himself.—His studies and compositions of that time.—His state of body and mind.— Preparations for and postponement of his departure.—Shortness of money.—His melancholy.—Two excursions.—Leaves for Munich.—His concert at Munich.—His stay at Stuttgart.—Proceeds to Paris.
The allusions to music and musicians lead us naturally to inquire further after Chopin’s musical experiences in Vienna.
January 26, 1831.—If I had not made [he writes] the exceedingly interesting acquaintance of the most talented artists of this place, such as Slavik, Merk, Bocklet, and so forth [this “so forth” is tantalising], I should be very little satisfied with my stay here. The Opera indeed is good: Wild and Miss Heinefetter fascinate the Viennese; only it is a pity that Duport brings forward so few new operas, and thinks more of his pocket than of art.
What Chopin says here and elsewhere about Duport’s stinginess tallies with the contemporary newspaper accounts. No sooner had the new manager taken possession of his post than he began to economise in such a manner that he drove away men like Conradin Kreutzer, Weigl, and Mayseder. During the earlier part of his sojourn in Vienna Chopin remarked that excepting Heinefetter and Wild, the singers were not so excellent as he had expected to find them at the Imperial Opera. Afterwards he seems to have somewhat extended his sympathies, for he writes in July, 1831:—
Rossini’s “Siege of Corinth” was lately very well performed here, and I am glad that I had the opportunity of hearing this opera. Miss Heinefetter and Messrs. Wild, Binder, and Forti, in short, all the good singers in Vienna, appeared in this opera and did their best.
Chopin’s most considerable criticism of this time is one on Miss Heinefetter in a letter written on December 25, 1830; it may serve as a pendant to his criticism on Miss Sontag which I quoted in a preceding chapter.