Frederick Chopin, as a Man and Musician — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 812 pages of information about Frederick Chopin, as a Man and Musician Complete.
Heller answered that it would be a good speculation, for although the work would probably not sell well at first, it was sure to pay in the long run.  Thereupon Schlesinger confided to Heller what Chopin had told him—­namely, that the “Carnaval” was not music at all.  The contemplation of this indifference and more than indifference of a great artist to the creations of one of his most distinguished contemporaries is saddening, especially if we remember how devoted Schumann was to Chopin, how he admired him, loved him, upheld him, and idolised him.  Had it not been for Schumann’s enthusiastic praise and valiant defence Chopin’s fame would have risen and spread, more slowly in Germany.

“Of virtuoso music of any kind I never saw anything on his desk, nor do I think anybody else ever did,” says Mikuli..  This, although true in the main, is somewhat too strongly stated.  Kalkbrenner, whose “noisy virtuosities [virtuosites tapageuses] and decorative expressivities [expressivites decoratives]” Chopin regarded with antipathy, and Thalberg, whose shallow elegancies and brilliancies he despised, were no doubt altogether banished from his desk; this, however, seems not to have been the case with Liszt, who occasionally made his appearance there.  Thus Madame Dubois studied under Chopin Liszt’s transcription of Rossini’s “Tarantella” and of the Septet from Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor.”  But the compositions of Liszt that had Chopin’s approval were very limited in number.  Chopin, who viewed making concessions to bad taste at the cost of true art and for the sake of success with the greatest indignation, found his former friend often guilty of this sin.  In 1840 Liszt’s transcription of Beethoven’s “Adelaide” was published in a supplement to the Gazette musicale.  M. Mathias happened to come to Chopin on the day when the latter had received the number of the journal which contained the piece in question, and found his master furious, outre, on account of certain cadenzas which he considered out of place and out of keeping.

We have seen in one of the earlier chapters how little Chopin approved of Berlioz’s matter and manner; some of the ultra-romanticist’s antipodes did not fare much better.  As for Halevy, Chopin had no great opinion of him; Meyerbeer’s music he heartily disliked; and, although not insensible to Auber’s French esprit and liveliness, he did not prize this master’s works very highly.  Indeed, at the Italian opera-house he found more that was to his taste than at the French opera-houses.  Bellini’s music had a particular charm for Chopin, and he was also an admirer of Rossini.

The above notes exemplify and show the truth of Liszt’s remark:—­

In the great models and the master-works of art Chopin sought only what corresponded with his nature.  What resembled it pleased him; what differed from it hardly received justice from him.

CHAPTER XXVI.

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