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St. Cecilia's Day ; " this most nearly approaches
my ideal of sublime music. With the exception of
Signora Tibaldi (alto), and Fraulein von Schatzel,
whom I heard in " Der Hausirer," and at the
Academy of Singing, all the best singers are away.
Fraulein von Schatzel pleased me best in the
Oratorio, but it may have been that I was in
a better mood that evening for listening. The
Oratorio, however, was not without a " but," which,
perhaps, will only be got rid of in Paris.

I have not called on Herr Lichtenstein yet, for he
is so busy with preparations for the Congress, that
even Professor Jarocki can scarcely get a word with
him, but he has kindly procured me a ticket of
admission. I was in such a capital place that I



* George Onslow, born in 1744, at Clermont-Ferrand, was
descended from a noble English family. He was a pupil of
Cramer and Dussek, and besides operas, of which " Der
Hausirer" was the favourite, he wrote a great deal of chamber
music, especially some excellent quartets.



BARON VON HUMBOLDT. 51

could see and hear everything, and was quite close
to the Crown Prince. Spontini, Zelter, and Felix
Mendelssohn Bartholdy were also there ; but I did
not speak to any of them, as I did not think it proper
to introduce myself. It is said that Prince Radziwill
will come to-day; I shall find out after breakfast if
this is really true.

At the Singing Academy I observed the handsome
Princess von Liegnitz, talking to a man in a kind of
livery, whose face I could not clearly see. I asked
my neighbour if he were a Royal valet de chambre,
and received for a reply, " Aye, that is His Excellency
Baron von Humboldt." You may imagine, my dear
ones, how thankful I was that I had only uttered
my question in a whisper ; but I assure you that the
chamberlain's uniform changes even the countenance,
or I could not have failed to recognise the great
traveller, who has ascended the mighty Chimborazo.
Yesterday he was present at the performance of
*' Der Hausirer," or, as the French call it, " Le
Colporteur." In the Royal box sat Prince Charles.

The day before yesterday we visited the Royal
library, which is very large, but does not contain
many musical works. I was much interested in
seeing an autograph letter of Kosciusko's, which his
biographer, Falkenstein, immediately copied, letter
by letter. When he saw that we were Poles, and
could, therefore, read the letter without' any trouble,
he begged Professor Jarocki to translate it into
German, while he wrote it down in his pocket book.



52 LIFE OF CHOPIN,

Falkenstein, an agreeable young man, is secretary to
the Dresden Library. I met, also, the editor of the
Berlin Musical Gazette ; we were introduced, and
exchanged a few words. To-morrow will see the
fulfilment of one of my most earnest wishes : " Der
Freischutz " is to be performed. I shall then be
able to compare our singers with the singers here.
To-day I am invited to the grand dinner at the drill
house. The number of caricatures increases.

Yours ever lovingly,

FREDERIC.



Berlin J Saturday, September zyth, 1828.

I am quite well, and have seen all that is- to be
seen. I shall soon be with you ao^ain. In a week,
from the day after to-morrow, we shall embrace.
Lounging about agrees with me capitally. Yesterday
" The Interrupted Sacrifice " was performed again,
and Fraulein von Schatzel omitted more than one
chromatic scale. I quite fancied myself in your
midst.* This ''your" reminds me of a Berlin
caricature. t A Napoleon grenadier stands as a
sentinel; he calls out, "qui vive," to a woman



-'^ A reference to the Warsaw lady singers, who often left
out or altered coloratures.

f In Polish "your" is " wasz," pronounced "wasch" or
"vache."



DINING WITH THE NATURALISTS. 53

passing. She is about to reply, " die Wascherin "
(the laundress), but wishing to express herself in a
more refined manner, she says, "la vache " (the
cow.) I count among the great events of my visit
here the second dinner with the naturalists, which
took place the day before the conclusion of the
Congress, and was really very lively and entertain-
ing. Several very fair convivial songs were sung, in
which all the company joined more or less heartily.
Zelter conducted, and a large golden cup, standing
on a red pedestal, in front of him, as a sign of his
exalted musical merits, appeared to give him much
satisfaction. The dishes were better that day than
usual, they say, "because the naturalists have been
principally occupied during their sittings with the
improvement of meats, sauces, soups, &c." They
make fun of these learned gentlemen in like manner
at the Konigstadt Theatre. In a play, in which
some beer is drunk, one asks, " Why is beer so good
now in Berlin ? " " Why, because the naturalists
are holding their conference," is the answer.

But it is time to go to bed, as we start off quite
earl}^ to-morrow. We shall spend two days at
Posen, on account of an invitation from the Arch-
bishop Wolicki. Oh, how much I shall have to tell
you, my dearests, and how glad I shall be to see
you again.

Your warmly affectionate

FREDERIC.



54 LIFE OF CHOPIN.

Professor Jarocki and Chopin had, as companions,
on their return from Berlin, two gentlemen, whose
wearisome talk about politics, in which Chopin never
took any interest, and still more their incessant smok-
ing, (almost unendurable to Chopin) made them very
disagreeable. When one of the gentlemen announced
that he should smoke till he went to sleep, and
would rather die than give up his pipe, Frederic and
the Professor went outside the diligence to enjoy the
fresh air.

At the little town of Ziillichau, finding they had
an hour to wait for horses, Professor Jarocki pro-
posed a walk through the place. This did not take
long, and as the horses were not ready when they
returned, the Professor sat down to a meal — the
post-house being also a restaurant — but Frederic, as
if drawn by a magnet, went into the next room, and
saw — oh, wonder of wonders! — a grand piano.
Professor Jarocki, who could see through the open
door, laughed to himself when his young friend
opened the instrument, which had a very unpromis-
ing exterior ; Chopin also looked at it with some
misgivings ; but when he had struck a few chords he
exclaimed, in joyful surprise, " Santa Csecilia, the
piano is in tune."

Only the impassioned musician knows what it is,
after sitting for several days in a diligence, suddenly,
and quite unexpectedly, to have an opportunity of
playing on a good instrument.

Regardless of his surroundings our artist began to



PLAYING AT A POST-HOUSE. 55

improvise con amove. Attracted by the music, one of
the travellers got up and stood behind the player's
chair. Chopin called out to Professor Jarocki, in
Polish, " Now we shall see whether my listener be a
connoisseur or not." Frederic began his Fantasia on
Polish Songs (op. 13) ; the traveller, a German,
stood like one petrified, captivated by this music, so
new and bewitching ; his eyes mechanically followed
every movement of the pianist's delicate hand ; he
had forgotten everything, even his beloved pipe,
which went out unheeded. The other travellers
stepped in softly, and at the same time the tall post-
master and his buxom wife appeared at the side
door with their two pretty daughters behind them.
Frederic, unmindful of his audience, and absorbed in
converse with his muse, had lost all thought of where
he was, and that he must soon be on his way.

More and more tender and graceful became his
playing ; the fairies seemed to be singing their moon-
light melodies ; everyone was listening in rapt
attention to the elegant arabesques sparkling from
his fingers, when a stentorian voice, which made the
windows rattle, called out, "The horses are ready,
gentlemen."

*' Confounded disturber," roared the postmaster,
while the triplet of ladies cast angry glances at the
postilion. Chopin sprang from his seat, but was
immediately surrounded by his audience, who ex-
claimed with one voice : " Go on, dear sir, finish
that glorious piece, which we should have heard all



56 LIFE OF CHOPIN.

through but for that tiresome man." ^' But," replied
Chopin, consulting his watch, " we have already been
here some hours, and are due in Posen shortly."

*' Stay and play, noble young artist," cried the
postmaster, " I will give you couriers' horses if you
will only remain a little longer."

" Do be persuaded," began the postmaster's wife,
almost threatening him with an embrace. What
could Frederic do but sit down again to the
instrument ?

When he paused the servant appeared with wine
and glasses ; the daughters of the host served the
artist first, then the other travellers, while the post-
master gave a cheer for the " darling Polyhymnias,"
as he expressed it, in which all united. One of the
company (probably the town cantor) went close up
to Chopin and said, in a voice trembling with
emotion, " Sir, I am an old and thoroughly trained
musician ; I, too, play the piano, and so know how
to appreciate your masterly performance ; if Mozart
had heard it he would have grasped your hand and
cried, ' Bravo.' An insignificant old man like myself
cannot dare to do so."

The women, in their gratitude, filled the pockets
of the carriage with the best eatables that the house
contained, not forgetting some good wine. The
postmaster exclaimed, with tears of joy, " As long as
I live I shall think, with enthusiasm, of Frederic
Chopin."

When, after playing one more Mazurka, Frederic



CARRIED TO HIS CARRIAGE. 57

prepared to go, his gigantic host seized him in his
arms, and carried him to the carriage.

The postilion, still sulky over his scolding, and
jealous because the pretty servant girl could not take
her eyes off the interesting virtuoso, whispered to
her, "Things often go very unfairly in the world.
The young gentleman is carried into the carriage by
the master himself; the like of us must climb
laboriously on to the box by ourselves, though we
are musical."

Long years afterwards Chopin would recall this
episode with pleasure. It was like a good omen to
him at the commencement of his artistic career.
He often related how, like the old minstrels who
went from town to town with their harps and
received good cheer as their honorarium, he had
played at Ziillichau for cakes, fruit, and good wine ;
and assured his most intimate friends that the
highest praise lavished on him by the press had
never given him more pleasure than the naive
homage of the German who, in his eagerness to
hear, let his pipe go out.

At Posen our travellers visited, by invitation, the
Archbishop Wolicki, and paid their respects to
Prince A. Radziwill. They both met with the
kindest reception from the Prince, who knew how
to esteem such a learned man as Jarocki, but, being
a musician to the backbone, he was better able to
appreciate the eminent talents of Chopin ; he re-
garded him as a kindred spirit, whose superiority he



58 LIFE OF CHOPIN.

gladly recognized. Most of the day was devoted
to music ; the sonatas of Mozart, Beethoven, and
Hummel were performed by Chopin and the band-
master, Klinghor. But Frederic called forth most
admiration by his incomparable improvisation.

As soon as they had left Posen, Frederic's ardent
yearning to see his family impelled him to his
father's house, and his love of art summoned him
back to his studies. The last miles seemed endless,
and, yielding to his pressing request, the Professor
decided to take post horses at Lowicz.

On October 6th Frederic reached at "length his
much desired goal. His eyes, sparkling with
pleasure, rested on the towers of Warsaw, the
nimble horses flew along the street, the coach
stopped at the door, there were loud cries of joy,
and the dear returning one was in the loving arms of
his parents and sisters.




CHAPTER V.

JOURNEY TO VIENNA, PRAGUE, TEPLITZ,
DRESDEN. CHOPIN'S PERFORMANCE AT TWO
CONCERTS IN VIENNA.

ipREDERIC studied with indefatigable zeal from
'^^ one year's end to another ; neither father nor
teacher had ever been obliged to incite him to dili-
gence, for even as a mere boy he had always shown
a great desire for knowledge. But when the time
approached for him to pass his final musical ex-
amination before a small critical circle, he worked
almost beyond his strength. His anxious father,
therefore, resolved to send him on another journey,
having made the happy discovery that his Frederic
had learned a great deal in Berlin.*



* In the summer of 1827, Chopin stayed for several weeks at
his godmother's house, from whence he took a trip to Dantzig,
to see the old trading city which used to belong to Poland.
He wished also to make the acquaintance of the Superinten-
dent Linde, brother of the Principal of the Warsaw Lyceum, at
whose residence Frederic had already met the sisters of these
gentlemen.



60 LIFE OF CHOPIN.

This time (July, 1829) our artist was to go to
Vienna with some young friends, and he was highly
delighted at the prospect, although his father and
all his friends urged him to appear publicly as a
pianist in that musical city.

With the innate modesty which never left him
even after his greatest triumphs, he exclaimed,
*' Here I have been leniently judged by kind-hearted
compatriots ; but what am I to expect in a city
which can boast of having heard a Haydn, a
Mozart, and a Beethoven ? "

A few months before this journey Frederic had
become acquainted with Hummel, who had stayed
some time in Warsaw, and given concerts there.
Hummel* had acquired, by his very successful tour,
the reputation of being the greatest living pianist.
Chopin was acquainted with his compositions, and
thought very highly of them. He greatly admired
his classical style of playing, formed on the best
models ; yet, exacting as the young artist was
towards himself, he could say, without vanity, that,
in technical execution, he was not very inferior to
the older master.

Frederic's chief desire was to become acquainted
with the beautiful, musical Vienna, to hear all he
could that was new to him, and, if possible, to have
intercourse with the masters of his art. He never



* J. N. Hummel, born in Pressburg, November 14th, 1782 ;
died in Weimar, October 17th, 1837.



FIRST LETTER FROM VIENNA. 6l

dreamt that the latter, dazzled by his extraordinary
genius, would be the very people who would press
him to appear in public.

With a heart full of hope for himself and fervent
blessings for his family, Chopin, in company with
his friends Celinski, Hube, and Franz Maciejowski
(the last named a nephew of the famous investigator
of Slavonic law), left his beloved Warsaw.

After visiting Cracow, the old capital of the Piasts
and the Jagellons and Ojcow, the so-called Polish
Switzerland, the travellers arrived on July 31st at
Vienna.

The following is a faithful transcription of the
letters Chopin wrote from that city : —

Vienna, August 1st, 1829.

My dearly loved Parents
AND Sisters,

We arrived here yesterday well and in good spirits,
and I may say without fatigue, and so without dis-
comfort. We took a private carriage at Cracow, in
which we were very comfortable. We were able to
enjoy to perfection the picturesque scenery of Galicia,
Upper Silesia, and Moravia, for the clouds had been
amiable enough to lay the dust with a slight shower.

But before I speak of Vienna I must tell you
about our journey to Ojcow. On Sunday afternoon
we hired a four-horse country waggon, such as they
use at Cracow, which cost us four thalers. We



62 LIFE OF CHOPIN.

dashed merrily and swiftly along to Ojcow, intend-
ing to put up at Herr Indyk's house, which all
tourists praise, and where Fraulein Tanska* stayed.
But, as ill-luck would have it, Herr Indyk lived a
full mile outside the town ; our coachman did not
know the way, and drove us into a little brook, as
clear and silvery as those in the fairy tales. Right
and left were walls of rock, and we did not find our
way out of the labyrinth till nearly g o'clock, when
two passing peasants good .naturedly conducted us
to Herr Indyk's. Wearied and wet through, we at
length reached the wished for house, and were very
kindly received. Although not expecting visitors at
so late an hour, Herr Indyk made no trouble about
giving us a room in the little house, built on purpose
for tourists. Sister Isabellat Fraulein Tanska had
been in it only a little while before.

My companions changed their clothes and gathered
round the stove, in which our host had, meanwhile,
lighted a fire. Wet above the knees, I crouched in
a corner, considering what I had best do. Seeing
the mistress go into the next room for linen for our
beds, I instinctively followed her, and finding on the
table a pile of woollen Cracow caps (they are double
woven), I bought one, tore it in half, wrapped my



'^ Clementine Tanska, a famous Polish authoress for the
young.

■j- Chopin's second sister; she and her husband, M. Barcinski,
are still living in Warsaw.



CHARMED WITH CRACOW. 63

feet in it, sat before the fire and drank a small glass
of red wine. I thus escaped a severe cold. We
laughed and talked a little while over our adventure,
then went to bed and slept soundly.



Frederic, who had a sharp eye and a keen ear for
all around him, goes on to describe the neighbour-
hood of Ojcow, the strangely-formed sand rocks, the
black grotto, and the King's grotto, in which tra-
dition says, that King Lokietek* took refuge from
his enemies, at the end of the 13th century. Frederic
was very enthusiastic over everything he saw, but
Cracow and the neighbourhood appear to have had a
special charm for him. He gives an account, also,
of the Vienna picture gallery, to which he had at
first only paid a flying visit. We give, unabridged,
the following letters to his family : —

Vienna, August 8th, 1829.
I am well and in good spirits. Why, I do not
know, but the people here are astonished at me, and
I wonder at them for finding anything to wonder at
in me. I am indebted to good Eisner's letter of
recommendation for my exceedingly friendly recep-
tion by Herr Haslinger. He did not know how to



* A nickname given to this prince on account of his ex-
traordinary small stature, in spite of which he was one of the
most able rulers. A thorough exploration of the King's Grotto
has recently been made by archaeologists, and the bones of pre-
historic animals discovered.



64 LIFE OF CHOPIN.

make me sufficiently welcome ; he showed me all
the musical novelties he had, made his son play to
me, and apologized for not introducing his wife, whp
had just gone out. In spite of all his politeness he
has not yet printed my compositions. I did not ask
him about them, but he said, when showing me one
of his finest editions, that my Variations were to
appear, next week, in the same style, in Odeon,
This I certainly had not expected,* He strongly
advised me to play in public, although it is
summer, and, therefore, not a favourable time for
concerts.

The artists and lovers of music, who know that I
am here, consider that Vienna would lose a great
deal if I left without giving a concert. I do not
know what to make of it all; Schuppanzigh, to
whom I have letters of recommendation, informs me
that although his quartet parties are over, he will
try to get a gathering before I leave. I have only
been once to Herr Hussarzewski ; he was quite
enthusiastic about my playing, and invited me to,
dinner. Several Viennese gentlemen were present,
and all, without exception, as if. by previous concert,
recommended me to perform in public.

Stein offered to send me one of his instruments,
and begged me to play on it at my concert ; Graff,
whose pianos I prefer, has made the same proposal.



^' Chopin had sent Haslinger for publication, the Variations
on " La ci darem la mano," op. 2 ; and the Sonata, op. 4.



PRESSED BY FRIENDS TO PERFORM. 65

Wiirfel * says that if you have composed anything
new, and want it to create a sensation, you must,
by all means, play it yourself. Herr Blahetka, a
journalist, whom I met at Haslinger's, also advised
me to give a concert. My Variations have been
much praised by those who have heard them.

I have also made the acquaintance of Count
Gallenberg, who is manager of a theatre, where
I have heard some second-rate concerts. Haslinger
thinks that the Viennese should hear me play my
own compositions. Everybody assures me that the
newspapers will be sure to give me a flattering
notice. Wiirfel is of opinion that, as my compositions
are to appear now, it would be advisable for me to
give a concert, otherwise I should have to come
again, but that the present would be the best time,
as the Viennese are longing for something new. He
calls it unpardonable in a young musician to neglect
such an opportunity ; I ought to appear in the two-
fold capacity of pianist and composer, and must not
think too modestly of myself. He wishes me to play
the Variations first, then the Rondo Cracovienne,
and, in conclusion, to improvise.

I do not know yet how it will all be arranged.
Stein is very kind and amiable, but I should prefer



^' Wilhelm Wiirfel, born in Bohemia, was, for some years,
pianoforte teacher at the Warsaw Conservatoire. In 1826, he
became conductor at the Karthner Thor Theatre, in Vienna,
where he died in 1832.

E



66 LIFE OF CHOPIN.

to use one of Graff's instruments. Haslinger,
Blahetka and Wiirfel approve my choice.

Wherever I show myself, I am besieged with
requests to play. I have no lack of acquaintances
in the musical world, and Haslinger is going to
introduce me to Charles Czerny. Up till now I
have heard three operas, " La Dame Blanche,"
*' Cenerentola," and Meyerbeer's " Crociato." Or-
chestra and chorus were excellent. To-day ''Joseph
in Egypt " is to be performed. I have twice listened,
with admiration, to Mayseder's solos at the Academy
of Music.

Vienna is handsome, lively, and pleases me ex-
ceedingly. They are trying to persuade me to spend
the winter here. Wiirfel has just come in to take
me to Haslinger's.

P.S. — I have made up my mind. Blahetka thinks
I shall make a fitrore, for, as he puts it, I am " an
artist of the first rank and worthy to be placed beside
Moscheles, Herz, and Kalkbrenner." Wiirfel is
really very kind, and has introduced me to Count
Gallenberg; the bandmaster, Seyfried, and others
of his influential acquaintances, and those who are
interested in music. He declares I shall not leave
Vienna till I have given a concert. Count Gallenberg
is very pleased with this, as I shall play at his
theatre, and — as my principal object now is to win
laurels — without payment. The journalists stare at
me already ; the members of the orchestra salute
me quite obsequiously when I walk in, arm in arm,



ARRANGEMENTS FOR A CONCERT. 67

with the director of the Italian opera (which is
now closed.)

Wiirfel has taken no end of trouble on my behalf,
and will be present at the rehearsal. He was very
kind to me at Warsaw, and I am particularly glad
that he has such a pleasant recollection of Eisner.
People here are surprised that Kessler, Ernemann,
and Czapeck should live in Warsaw with me there
too, but I tell them that I give no lessons and only
play from love of art. I have decided on Graff's
instrument, but I do not want to offend Stein, so I
shall thank him with such an expression of obliga-
tion that he cannot but forgive me.

I hope for God's gracious help. Do not be anxious,
my dearest ones.

Your fondly loving

FREDERIC.



Vienna, Wednesday, August 12th, 1829.

You know of my intention, my beloved ones, from
my last letter. Yesterday (Tuesday) at 7 o'clock
in the evening, I appeared before a Viennese public
for the first time, at the Imperial Opera House.
Here, an evening concert in the theatre is called a
musical academy. As I played gratuitously. Count
Gallenberg expedited the arrangements for my
appearance.



68 LIFE OF CHOPIN.

The following was the programme :

Overture, by Beethoven

My Variations,

Song, by Fraulein Veltheim.*

My Cracovienne.

A Ballet, in conclusion.

The orchestra accompanied so badly at the re-
hearsal that I was obliged to substitute a *' Free
Fantasia " for the Rondo.

Directly I appeared I was greeted with cries of
'' Bravo," and, after each variation, the audience
shouted this welcome word so lustily -that I could
not hear the tutti of the orchestra, I had such a
hearty recall, that I was obliged to come forward
twice to bow my acknowledgments. I must confess
that I was not quite satisfied myself with the free


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