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Thursday, October 4, 2012


Let us always think of these men who knew each other well as a family.

Liszt was a great pianist.

Berlioz was a famous composer for the orchestra.

Meyerbeer was best known as an operatic composer.

Heine was a great poet whose verses were set to music by many song composers.

Berlioz was the only one of the group who was born in France.

During his boyhood Chopin played much in public, journeying to some of the great cities of Europe, among them Vienna, Berlin, and Munich.

Therefore, when he played in Paris it was as an artist. Here, as at home, he charmed everyone by the beauty of his music and the loveliness of his touch.

He possessed the true piano hand. It was somewhat narrow. The fingers were long and tapering. It seemed at once strong and vigorous, yet delicate and sensitive.

Indeed, Chopin's music is of just these qualities. It is strong in its nobility, delicate in its sentiment.

One would think that to arrive in Paris and to be welcomed by the great ones would make everything easy.

But it was not so for Chopin. Only a few people were present at his first concert and for quite a while he had no pupils.

Indeed, it was all so discouraging that he made up his mind to return to his beloved Poland.

His friend, Franz Liszt, begged him not to go. Others, too, urged him to stay in Paris. One friend, who met him in the street as he was about to leave, advised him as did the others to stay in Paris.

But no, he was going home.

"But," said this friend, "first come with me to visit a true lover of music."

So Chopin went with him to the house of Baron Rothschild. Here he played, so charming the company with his music that ever so many of them begged him for the privilege of lessons.

And so, all in a moment, his troubles blew away, as troubles often do. Here is a picture of Chopin playing in the home of a prince.

Do you wonder what kind of a man the little Polish boy became after he found success in Paris?

One person said about him:

"Chopin talks little, and rarely about music. But when he does speak of music one must listen to him."

Another said:

"He is reserved and quiet, especially among strangers, but among his friends he is witty and full of sly humor."

But his thoughts were not for words, they did not weave the pretty phrases of idle talk. They were busy making nocturnes, waltzes, mazurkas, impromptus and many other kinds of music that we shall learn to love as we hear them.

Music was Chopin's true speech. The world soon learned to love what he said in it. And it always will love it.

See how beautifully he wrote his music.

There was neither telephone nor telegraph in those days. Yet it did not take long for another composer, Robert Schumann, who lived far away, in Germany, to learn that a genius by the name of Chopin lived in Paris.

The post carried to Schumann a copy of Chopin's first printed music. This was a theme taken from Mozart's Opera Don Juan, which Chopin arranged with variations for the piano.

When Schumann played it to his friends everyone exclaimed: "How beautiful it is!"

Then someone said:

"Chopin—I never heard the name. Who can he be?"

So we see that his thoughts printed as music flew like winged messengers to carry news of him to others in distant places. And people not merely asked: "Who can he be?" but they found out who he was, and kept passing the news on and on until finally it has reached us!

Part 3 tomorrow!

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