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.

An earlier practiser of the tempo rubato than the lady mentioned by Quanz (see Vol.  II., p. 101 of this work) was Girolamo Frescobaldi, who speaks of this manner of musical rendering in the preface to Il primo libra di Capricci fatti sopra diversi sogetti et Arie in partitura (1624).  An extract from this preface is to be found in A. G. Ritter’s Zur Geschichte des Orgelspiels, Vol.  I., p. 34.  F. X. Haberl remarks in the preface to his collection of pieces by Frescobaldi (Leipzig:  Breitkopf and Hartel):  “A chief trait of Frescobaldi’s genius is the so-called tempo rubato, an absolute freedom in the employment of a quicker and slower tempo.”


Caroline Hartmann.

(Vol.  II., p.  I7I.)

On page 175 of this volume I made an allusion to Spohr in connection with Chopin’s pupil Caroline Hartmann.  To save the curious reader trouble, I had better point out that the information is to be found in Spohr’s autobiography under date Munster, near Colmar, March 26, 1816 (German edition, pp. 245- 250; English edition, pp. 229-232).  Jacques Hartmann, the father of Caroline, was a cotton manufacturer and an enthusiastic lover of music.  He had an orchestra consisting of his family and employes.  Spohr calls the father a bassoon-virtuoso; what he says of the daughter will be seen in the following sentences:  “His sister and his daughter play the pianoforte.  The latter, a child eight years old, is the star of the amateur orchestra.  She plays with a dexterity and exactness that are worthy of admiration.  I was still more astonished at her fine ear, with which (away from the piano) she recognises the intervals of the most intricate and full dissonant chords which one strikes, and names the notes of which they consist in their sequence.  If the child is well guided, she is sure to become one day an excellent artist.”


Madame Peruzzi.

(Vol.  II., p. 177.)

The reader will be as grateful as I am for the following interesting communications of Madame Peruzzi (nee Elise Eustaphieve, whose father was Russian Consul-General to the United States of America) about her intercourse with Chopin.

“I first met Chopin at the house of the American banker, Samuel Welles, in Paris, where I, like every one present, was enchanted listening to his mazurkas, waltzes, nocturnes, &c., which he played on a wretched square piano.  I lived as dame en chambre (a very convenient custom for ladies alone), at a pension, or rather a regular boarding-school, with rooms to let for ladies.  The lady of the house was acquainted with many of the musical people, and I had a splendid American grand piano which was placed in the large drawing-room of the establishment, so that I felt quite at home, and there received Chopin, Liszt, and Herz (Miss Herz, his sister, gave lessons in the school), and often played four-hand pieces with them.

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