Frederick Chopin, as a Man and Musician — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 995 pages of information about Frederick Chopin, as a Man and Musician — Complete.
mutual esteem and love.  Those of the master are full of fatherly affection and advice, those of the pupil full of filial devotion and reverence.  Allusions to and messages for Elsner are very frequent in Chopin’s letters.  He seems always anxious that his old master should know how he fared, especially hear of his success.  His sentiments regarding Elsner reveal themselves perhaps nowhere more strikingly than in an incidental remark which escapes him when writing to his friend Woyciechowski.  Speaking of a new acquaintance he has made, he says, “He is a great friend of Elsner’s, which in my estimation means much.”  No doubt Chopin looked up with more respect and thought himself more indebted to Elsner than to Zywny; but that he had a good opinion of both his masters is evident from his pithy reply to the Viennese gentleman who told him that people were astonished at his having learned all he knew at Warsaw:  “From Messrs. Zywny and Elsner even the greatest ass must learn something.”


Frederick enters the Warsaw lyceum.—­Various educational
influences.—­His father’s friends.—­Rise of romanticism in polish
literature.—­Frederick’s stay at Szafarnia during his first
school holidays.—­His talent for improvisation.—­His development
as A composer and pianist.—­His public performances.—­Publication
of op.  I.—­Early compositions.—­His pianoforte style.

Frederick, who up to the age of fifteen was taught at home along with his father’s boarders, became in 1824 a pupil of the Warsaw Lyceum, a kind of high-school, the curriculum of which comprised Latin, Greek, modern languages, mathematics, history, &c.  His education was so far advanced that he could at once enter the fourth class, and the liveliness of his parts, combined with application to work, enabled him to distinguish himself in the following years as a student and to carry off twice a prize.  Polish history and literature are said to have been his favourite studies.

Liszt relates that Chopin was placed at an early age in one of the first colleges of Warsaw, “thanks to the generous and intelligent protection which Prince Anton Radziwill always bestowed upon the arts and upon young men of talent.”  This statement, however, has met with a direct denial on the part of the Chopin family, and may, therefore, be considered as disposed of.  But even without such a denial the statement would appear suspicious to all but those unacquainted with Nicholas Chopin’s position.  Surely he must have been able to pay for his son’s schooling!  Moreover, one would think that, as a professor at the Lyceum, he might even have got

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