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cottage, their composers were men who could neither
read nor write, and whose names will always remain

Poetical perception and sensibility to the beauties
of nature are evidently innate in the Polish cha-
racter; they are susceptibilities which neither prosaic

best of his ability; but the less-educated, even when they
delight in a work of art, seldom inquire who created it. For
example, many people are not aware that Henry Carey was
the author and composer of " God Save the King."

f Julian Klaczko, a contributor to the Revue des Deux



work, the cares of daily life, nor even the burden
of more than a century of national suffering have
had power to blunt.

In his childhood Chopin had imbedded these
folk-songs in his memory, and, impressed by their
peculiar beauty, he frequently interwove some
especial favorite into his own compositions. He
first gave the national dance tune a truly beautiful
and perfect form by adorning it with interesting
harmonies and poetical arabesques.



















^HE year 1825 found Frederic's social and artistic
^ circle continually increasing in numbers and
influence, and the fame of his extraordinary musical
talents spreading far and wide. He excited universal
interest, and it is a proof of his popularity that the
only strikingly successful concerts were those in
which he took part. His marvellous playing at
two grand concerts, given for charitable objects,
in the hall of the Conservatoire, on May 27th, and
June loth, 1825, awakened unbounded approbation.
As the best pianist in the capital, Chopin was
summoned to play before the Emperor, Alexander I.,
who, during his stay in Warsaw, was desirous of
hearing the newly-invented Aelomelodicon.* The
instrument was placed in the Protestant Church, for
the sake of heightening the tone by its being heard

''• Brunner and Hoffman were the inventors.



under the enormous dome of that building. In
token of his admiration of the wonderful perform-
ance of the talented youth, then little more than a
boy, the Emperor presented him with a valuable
diamond ring.

The same year saw the publication of Chopin's
first printed work, the Rondo dedicated to Madame
von Linde. Neither this nor the following " Rondo
a la Masur," op. 5, also published in Warsaw, made
him famous abroad, but in his own city he was
already regarded as a popular and rapidly ripening
artist. Looking at their son merely as a dis-
tinguised dilettante, his parents had not made music
his chief study, but when they saw that Frederic
was by nature designed for a great musician, they
removed all obstacles, and left him to the undis-
turbed enjoyment of his piano and his poetic dreams.

Everywhere he was warmly welcomed : in the
drawing-rooms of the aristocracy, by his comrades at
the Conservatoire, or the Lyceum, of which he was
considered the highest ornament, and where he formed
some life-long friendships. Among these friends we
may mention Titus Woyciechowski, to whom he
dedicated his " Variations, op. 2 ; " Alexander Rem-
bielinski ; * Wilhelm von Kolberg; Johann Matus-
zynski, Stanislas Kozmian, now President of the
Scientific Society at Posen ; Eustachius Marylski ;

* Alexander Rembielinski, an excellent pianist, who died



Dominicus Magnuszewski and Stephan Witwicki,
both poets of talent ; Celinski ; Hube, and Julius

Frederic excited no jealousy among his fellow
students at the Conservatoire, for his talents as
pianist and composer were so pre-eminent that they
all bowed before him as their master. Kind and
affable by disposition he had also an innate grace,
while, from his education and refined surroundings,
he possessed, even in early youth, the tact of a
grown-up person. These qualities won the esteem
and affection of all who knew him, and no one
was offended by his practical jokes, mimicries, or

The activity of the young artist was intense, and
although his excessive exertions appeared to him
but slight, they undoubtedly injured his delicate

''^Julius Fontana, pianist and composer, was born in Warsaw,
in 1810, and educated with Chopin at the Conservatoire, under
Eisner. In 1830 he entered the army and soon became a
lieutenant of artillery. After the insurrection he emigrated to
France ; some years later settled in America, but in 1850
returned to Paris, where he died in 1870. He was an almost
daily guest of Chopin's, and knew exactly what compositions
were published at that time ; the facts that he gives in the
preface to his edition of Chopin's works are, therefore, trust-
worthy. Besides many smaller compositions, (Walzes, Studies,
Caprices, Fantasias) which he wrote and published in Paris,
he published "Polish National Melodies" (London); "Com-
ments on Polish Orthography" (Leipsic, 1866) ; and "Popular
Astronomy" (Posen, 1869.)


constitution. Frederic's parents having been advised
by the physicians to send their youngest daughter,
Emily, to Bad Reinerz, in Silesia, they thought it
well to let him accompany her that he might try the
whey cure. Accordingly, at the beginning of the
holidays of 1826, the mother, Louise, Emily, and
Frederic went to the then much frequented spring.
During their visit a poor widow, who had vainly
been seeking help from the healing stream, died,
leaving two young children, under the care of a
faithful nurse, but without sufficient means for the
funeral and the journey home. Hearing of their
need, Chopin made the noblest use of his talents.
He arranged a concert for the benefit of the poor
children, and had the satisfaction of obtaining a
good sum. By his masterly playing he won the
admiration of the connoisseurs ; by his benevolence,
the esteem of all generous minds. He became the
object of the most courteous attention. A few
days after the concert Frederic and his family left
Reinerz, and spent the rest of the summer at the
village of Strzyzewo, part of the estate of his god-
mother, Madame von Wiesiolowska, sister to Count

Prince Anton Radziwill, a wealthy nobleman,
related to the Prussian Royal family, and .Governor
of the Duchy of Posen, had his summer residence
in the neighbouring village, Antonin. A passionate
lover of music, a keen connoisseur, and a thoroughly
trained composer, he had obtained celebrity by his


music to the first part of Goethe's Faust, which, by
Royal command, was for several years performed
annually in his honour at the Berlin Academy for
Singing. He had a very agreeable tenor voice,
and also played the violoncello well. His house,
in Posen, was the rendezvous for the best artists,
and quartet parties for the performance of classical
music were held in his salons nearly every week, the
Prince himself playing the violoncello.

Frederic having availed himself of an invitation
to Antonin, the Prince took a great fancy to him,
and was charmed with his playing. In May, 1829,
when he went to Warsaw as representative of the
Prussian court, at the coronation of the Emperor
Nicholas, he visited Frederic at his father's house,
and was very pressing in inviting him to his estab-
lishment at Posen. There was no further personal
intercourse between this magnate and our artist,
yet writers, ignorant of the facts, have represented
the Prince as Chopin's benefactor, and as having
supplied the means for his education. Franz Liszt
was the first to promulgate this error in his book,
entitled " Francois Chopin," written in French,
shortly after the master's death, in which he says,
" supplementing the limited means of the family,
the Prince bestowed on Frederic the inestimable
gift of a good and complete education. Through a
friend, M. Antoine Korzuchowski, the Prince, whose
own elevated mind enabled him to understand the
requirements of an artistic career, always paid his


educational expenses. From this time until the
death of Chopin, M. Korzuchowski held the closest
relations of friendship with him." In this statement
there is not a word of truth, yet it has been repeated
not only by foreign, but, what is less pardonable, even
by Polish authors.

We are fully aware that in the portions of the
work relating to Chopin's youth, manners, com-
positions, and to the Polish national music, Liszt
received much help from a Polish emigrant, Franz
Grzymala. He had been a deputy at the Diet,
and was an able author and journalist ; he died
in Paris in 1871, the day after the capitulation.
Not haying made Chopin's acquaintance until his
residence in Paris, it does not appear, from what
he told Liszt, that he could have possessed any
accurate information about his early life. Julius
Fontana, who had known Chopin from childhood,
entered a protest against Liszt's assertion, so also
did the parents of the great artist, who were sadly
pained to read that Prince Radziwill had entirely
provided for Frederic's education. Professor at
three large academies in Warsaw, and proprietor
of a flourishing pension, surely Nicholas Chopin
would have found means for the education of his
dearly loved and only son.

An equally untrue . report has been spread to the
effect that Chopin travelled to Italy at the expense
of Prince Radziwill. In reality the expenses of
the journey were defrayed by the receipts of three


numerously attended concerts given in Warsaw.
The first time he asked his father for money was
when he had determined on going to Paris, after a
sojourn of eighteen months in the beautiful Austrian
capital. In his charming, child-like manner, he
lamented that he should be the cause of additional
expenditure to his parents, to whom he had, he
thought, already cost quite enough. His father
sent him the money, and an affectionate letter, ex-
pressing his willingness to supply him with means,
until he procured some regular mode of subsistence
in Paris.

As a mark of friendship and respect for the dis-
tinguished composer of the music to Faust, Frederic
dedicated to him his Trio, for pianoforte and violon-
cello, op. 8, composed in Warsaw between 1827 ^-^^
1829 ; so that in point of fact Chopin, not the
Prince, was the donor. It is only fair to Liszt to
say that he is less to blame for the circulation of
the error we have pointed out, than Grzymala and
those who blindly believed and promulgated a state-
ment so utterly false.



1827 Chopin passed his final examination
before leaving the Lyceum, not, however, with
such brilliant success as on former occasions, when
every promotion to a higher class had been accom-
panied by a special reward. This is accounted for
by his having, during the last year, devoted his
chief energies to music, a goodly pile of composi-
tions, finished or sketched in outline, being found in
his study. Eisner, who was the keenest observer
and most competent judge of Frederic's artistic
progress, and creative power, exhorted his parents
to let their son have his own way, and to do all they
could to encourage his lofty flights of fancy.

The question now was how to give the young
composer better opportunities for hearing and study-
ing than his native city afforded. Although first-
rate artists occasionally gave concerts in Warsaw,
Frederic could only satisfy his ardent desire of
hearing the sublime works of the classic masters,


in the larger European centres of life and intelli-
gence. His parents, therefore, resolved to send
their beloved son to Vienna or Berlin, if only for
a few weeks, at the very first favourable opportunity.
One soon offered. In 1828, Professor Jarocki, having
been invited by Alexander von Humboldt to the
Naturalists' Congress, at Berlin, Nicholas Chopin
was only too happy to confide his son to the care
of one of his best friends, while the Professor was
equally pleased to have the company of an amiable
and talented young man like Chopin.

Thus he left his native land for the first time
to visit a large foreign city, where he hoped to learn
a great deal. Unconscious of his own artistic great-
ness he had no wish to appear in Berlin as a pianist
or composer. An opportunity was offered him of
meeting Spontini, Zelter, and the youthful though
famous Felix Mendelssohn, but he did not venture
to present himself before these celebrated masters.
The physiognomies of the German savants seemed
odd to the young Pole, the French blood stirred in
his veins, and he could not refrain from caricaturing
these worthy but somewhat strange-looking gentle-

• He was enraptured with the oratorio of Handel's,
which he heard at the Academy of Singing : never
had he received so deep an impression from church
music. The performance of Der Freischiltz, with
which bewitching opera he had already become ac-
quainted in Warsaw, likewise gave him indescribable


delight, while he was much interested in com-
paring the opera in that city with the Royal opera
in Berlin.

Since he left Warsaw the only time he touched
the piano was at a little village on his way back,
when he played at the request of the post master
and his travelling companions.

We will now let our artist speak for himself, only
making such alterations as the necessities of trans-
lation require.

To Titus Woyciechowsky.

Warsaw, September gth, 1828.
Dearest Titus,

You cannot think how I have been longing
for news of you and your mother, nor imagine my
joy when I received your letter. I was then at
Strzyzewo, where I spent the whole summer, but
could not reply immediately because I was so busy
preparing to return to Warsaw. Now I am writing
like a lunatic, for I really do not know what I am
about. I am actually starting for Berlin to-day !
There is to be a philosophical congress at Berlin —
after the model of those held in Switzerland and
Bavaria — to which the King has requested the
University to invite the most celebrated European
naturalists. The president is to be the renowned
Alexander von Humboldt. Professor Jarocki has
received an invitation as a zoologist, and ex-student
and doctor of the Berlin University. Something


magnificent is anticipated, and it is reported that
Spontini will give a performance of his " Cortez."

Jarocki's friend and teacher, Lichtenstein, officiates
as secretary to the Congress : he is a member of the
Academy of Singing, and is on a friendly footing
with the director, Herr Zelter. I learn from a good
authority in Berlin that I shall have an opportunity,
through Lichtenstein, of becoming acquainted with
all the best musicians in the Prussian capital, except
Spontini, with whom he is not on good terms.

I shall be much pleased to meet the Prussian
Prince Radziwill, who is a friend of Spontini. I only
intend spending a fortnight with Jarocki, but this
will give me an opportunity of, at any rate, hearing
a good opera once, and so having an idea of a perfect
performance, which is worth a good deal of trouble.

At Strzyzewo I arranged my last Rondo in C
major, for two pianos.*

To-day I tried it with Ernemann, at Bucholtz's,t
and it came out pretty well. We intend to play it
some day at the " Ressource."

As to new compositions I have nothing besides
the still unfinished Trio (G minor) which I began
after your departure. The first Allegro I have
already tried with accompaniments.

* It appears as op, 73, in Fontana's collection of the
posthumous works.

f Ernemann was a music master, and Bucholtz a pianoforte
maker, in Warsaw.


It seems to me that this Trio will meet the same
fate as the Sonata and Variations. Both are already
in Vienna ; the former I have dedicated to Eisner, as
his pupil ; to the latter I have — perhaps somewhat
presumptuously — affixed your name. I acted on the
impulse of affection, and I am sure you will not mis-
construe my motives. Skarbek has not yet returned,
Jedrzejewicz will remain some time longer in
Paris.* He was there introduced to the pianist
Sowinski,t who wrote to me to say that he should
like to make my acquaintance, by correspondence,
before he comes to Warsaw. As he is assistant
editor of Fetis's Revue Musicale, he would be glad
to be informed about musical affairs in Poland, or
to receive biographies of the foremost Polish com-
posers and artists — matters in which I have not the
least intention of being mixed up, so I shall reply to
him from Berlin that what he wants is not at all in
my line, and that I do not feel competent to write
for a Paris journal, requiring able and matured

At the end of this month I shall leave Berlin, a
five days' journey by diligence !

Everything here is just the same as ever ; the
excellent Zywny is the heart and soul of all our

* Professor Jedrzejewicz, Chopin's brother-in-law, born 1803,
died in Warsaw, 1853.

t A composer, pianist, and litUraUur, who is still living in F


I must conclude, for my luggage is already packed
and sent to the diligence.

I kiss your mother's feet and hands. My parents
and sisters send kind regards and sincerest wishes
for the improvement of her health.

Take pity on me, and write soon, however briefly.
I shall value a single line.



Berlin f Tuesday,^


AND Sisters,
We arrived safely in this great city about 3
o'clock on Sunday afternoon, and went direct from
the post to the hotel " Zum Kronprinz," where we
are now. It is a good and comfortable house. The
day we arrived Professor Jarocki took me to Herr
Lichtenstein's, where I met Alex, von Humboldt.
He is not above the middle height, and his features
cannot be called handsome, but the prominent, broad
brow, and the deep penetrating glance reveal the
searching intellect of the scholar, who is as great a
philanthropist as he is a traveller. He speaks
French like his mother tongue ; even you would
have said so, dear Father.

''■ September i6th, 1828.


Herr Lichtenstein promised to introduce me to
the first musicians here ; and regretted that we had
not arrived a few days sooner to have heard his
daughter perform at a matinee, last Sunday, with
orchestral accompaniments.

I, for my part, felt but little disappointment, but,
whether rightly or wrongly, I know not, for I have
neither seen nor heard the young lady. The day we
arrived there was a performance of " The Interrupted
Sacrifice," * but our visit to Herr Lichtenstein pre-
vented me from being present.

Yesterday the savants had a grand dinner ; Herr
von Humboldt did not occupy the chair, but a very
different looking person, whose name I cannot at
this moment recall. However, as he is, no doubt,
some celebrity, I have written his name under my
portrait of him. (I could not refrain from making
some caricatures, which I have already classified.)
The dinner lasted so long that there was not time
for me to hear Birnbach, the much-praised violinist
of nine years. To-day I shall dine alone, having
made my excuses to Professor Jarocki, who readily
perceived that, to a musician, the performance of
such a work as Spontini's '' Ferdinand Cortez,"
must be more interesting than an interminable

* Peter von Winter, born at Mannheim, in 1755, died at
Munich, 1825, was a popular and rather over-rated composer.
This opera made a great sensation.


dinner among philosophers. Now I am quite alone,
and enjoying a chat with you, my dear ones.

There is a rumour that the great Paginini is
coming here. I only hope it is true. Prince
Radziwill is expected on the 20th of this month.
It will be a great pleasure to me if he comes. I
have, as yet, seen nothing but the Zoological
Cabinet, but I know the city pretty well, for I
wandered among the beautiful streets and bridges
for two whole days. You shall have a verbal
description of these, as, also, of the large and
decidedly beautiful castle. The chief impression
Berlin makes upon me is that of a straggling city
which could, T think, contain double its present
large population. We wanted to have stayed in
the French street, but I am very glad we did not,
for it is as broad as our Lezno,* and needs ten
times as many people as are in it to take off its
desolate appearance.

To-day will be my first experience of the music of
Berlin. Do not think me one-sided, dearest Papa,
for saying that I would much rather have spent the
morning at Schlesinger's than in labouring through
the thirteen rooms of the Zoological Museum, but
I came here for the sake of my musical education,
and Schlesinger's library, containing, as it does, the
most important musical works of every age and

'^ A long wide street in Warsaw.


coantry, is, of course, of more interest to me than
any other collection. I console myself with the
thought that I shall not miss Schlesinger's, and that
a young man ought to see all he can, as there is
something to be learnt everywhere. This morning
I went to Kisting's pianoforte manufactory, at the
end of the long Frederic Street, but as there was
not a single instrument completed, I had m-y long
walk in vain. Fortunately for me there is a good
grand piano in our hotel, which I play on every day,
both to my own and the landlord's gratification.

The Prussian diligences are most uncomfortable,
so the journey was less agreeable than I had
anticipated ; however, I reached the capital of the
Hohenzollerns in good health and spirits. Our
travelling companions w^ere a German lawyer, living
at Posen, who tried to distinguish himself by making
coarse jokes ; and a very fat farmer, with a smatter-
ing of politeness acquired by travelling.

At the last stage before Frankfort-on-the-Oder,
a German Sappho entered the diligence and poured
forth a torrent of ridiculous, egotistica.1 complaints.
Quite unwittingly, the good lady amused me im-
mensely, for it was as good as a comedy, when she
began to argue with the lawyer, who, instead of
laughing at her, seriously controverted everything
she said.

The suburbs of Berlin, on the side by which we
approached are not pretty, but the scrupulous clean-
liness and order which everywhere prevail are very

"a real savant." 49

pleasing to the eye. To-morrow I shall visit the
suburbs on the other side.

The Congress will commence its sittings the day-
after to-morrow, and Herr Lichtenstein has promised
me a ticket. In the evening Alex, von Humboldt
will receive the members at his house : Professor
Jarocki offered to procure me an invitation, but I
thanked him and said I should gain little, if any,
intellectual advantage from such a gathering, for
which I was not learned enough; besides the pro-
fessional gentlemen might cast questioning glances
at a layman like me, and ask, " Is Saul then among
the prophets ? " I fancied, even at the dinner, that my
neighbour, Professor Lehmann, a celebrated botanist
from Hamburg, looked at m^e rather curiously. I
was astonished at the strength of his small fist ; he
broke with ease the large piece of white bread, to
divide which I was fain to use both hands and a knife.
He leaned over the table to talk to Professor Jarocki,
and in the excitement of the conversation mistook his
own plate and began to drum upon mine. A real
savant, was he not ? with the great ungainly nose,
too. All this time I was on thorns, and as soon as he
had finished with my plate, I wiped off the marks of
his fingers with my serviette as fast as possible.

Marylski cannot have an atom of taste if he thinks
the Berlin ladies dress well ; their clothes are hand-
some, no doubt, but alas for the beautiful stuffs cut
up for such puppets ! Your ever fondly loving,




Berlin, September 20th, 1828.

I am well and happy, dear Parents and Sisters.
As if on purpose to honour me, a fresh piece is
brought out at the theatre every day. First I heard
an oratorio at the Academy of Singing ; then at
the Opera, " Ferdinand Cortez," " II Matrimonio
Segreto," and Onslow's* " Der Hausirer." I greatly
enjoyed all these performances, but I must confess
that I was quite carried away by Handel's " Ode on

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