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.
not mention Beethoven at all.  Gutmann’s statements concerning his master’s teaching contain some positive evidence with regard to the Beethoven question.  What he said was this:  Chopin held that dementi’s Gradus ad Parnassum, Bach’s pianoforte fugues, and Hummel’s compositions were the key to pianoforte-playing, and he considered a training in these composers a fit preparation for his own works.  He was particularly fond of Hummel and his style.  Beethoven he seemed to like less.  He appreciated such pieces as the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata (C sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2).  Schubert was a favourite with him.  This, then, is what I learned from Gutmann.  In parenthesis, as it were, I may ask:  Is it not strange that no pupil, with the exception of Mikuli, mentions the name of Mozart, the composer whom Chopin is said to have so much admired?  Thanks to Madame Dubois, who at my request had the kindness to make out a list of the works she remembers having studied under Chopin, we shall be able to form a pretty distinct idea of the master’s course of instruction, which, to be sure, would be modified according to the capacities of his pupils and the objects they had in view.  Well, Madame Dubois says that Chopin made her begin with the second book of Clementi’s Preludes et Exercices, and that she also studied under him the same composer’s Gradus ad Parnassum and Bach’s forty-eight preludes and fugues.  Of his high opinion of the teaching qualities of Bach’s compositions we may form an idea from the recommendation to her at their last meeting--already mentioned in an earlier chapter—­to practise them constantly, “ce sera votre meilleur moyen de progresser” (this will be your best means to make progress).  The pieces she studied under him included the following ones:  Of Hummel, the Rondo brillant sur un theme russe (Op. 98), La Bella capricciosa, the Sonata in F sharp minor (Op. 81), the Concertos in A minor and B minor, and the Septet; of Field, several concertos (the one in E flat among others) and several nocturnes ("Field” she says, “lui etait tres sympathique"); of Beethoven, the concertos and several sonatas (the Moonlight, Op. 27, No. 2; the one with the Funeral March, Op. 26; and the Appassionata, Op. 57); of Weber, the Sonatas in C and A flat major (Chopin made his pupils play these two works with extreme care); of Schubert, the Landler and all the waltzes and some of the duets (the marches, polonaises, and the Divertissement hongrois, which last piece he admired sans reserve); of Mendelssohn, only the G minor Concerto and the Songs without Words; of Liszt, no more than La Tarantelle de Rossini and the Septet from Lucia ("mais ce genre de musique ne lui allait pas,” says my informant); and of Schumann, nothing.

Madame Streicher’s interesting reminiscences, given in Appendix III., form a supplement to this chapter.

CHAPTER XXIX.

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