Could Thomas Jefferson have ever heard Mozart's Symphony No. 40, KV. 550?

Could Thomas Jefferson have ever heard Mozart's Symphony No. 40, KV. 550?


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The third president of the United States was a lifelong admirer of W. A. Mozart. Or rather, of Mozart's music; he arranged to meet Mozart in Paris when he was Minister to France (August 1784-September 1789)-purportedly with the intention of commissioning a work in honor of his wife-but was so disenamored with the man's demeanor in person that he dropped these plans. Jefferson was still able to separate his appreciation of the music from the man: long after this unpleasant meeting, Jefferson would write of Mozart's "heavenly music".

I've been reading some of Jefferson's writing on music theory, and given his perspective and his love for Mozart's music, I think the Symphony No. 40, KV. 550 would be so astounding to him-particularly in its use of modulation-that he would have had to write about it if he'd heard it-but the contemporaneous naming conventions (or lack thereof) make it difficult to search online archives of his writing for such mention. I feel as if this gap could itself constitute circumstantial evidence he never read the music or heard the work performed.

But absence of evidence is not evidence for the absence, so I've been trying to research the question.

Exactly when the work was first performed anywhere is subject to great dispute; it's reasonably attested to have been composed in 1788, and had concert revisions in 1791, so one can probably assume it was first performed some time within that period. In fact, there's good reason to believe its first Vienna performance was in 1791, conducted by Antonio Salieri. (It's sometimes been asserted that Mozart never heard his symphony performed, but this appears to be aprocryphal.)

In any case, it seems that Jefferson almost certainly could not have heard the work performed in concert while he was in Europe. But could he have ever heard it in America?

As far as I can find, there were no standing symphony orchestras in the United States until the 1840's (long after Jefferson's death in 1826), but there were chamber orchestras and orchestras performing opera in the two decades bookending the 18th and 19th Centuries. (In 1803, with the Louisiana Purchase, the country acquired at least two orchestras already operating in New Orleans, including the opera Théâtre St. Philippe. But President Jefferson never visited New Orleans, or anywhere in the Louisiana Purchase as far as I can tell.)

I can find references to symphonic works being performed in America in the time period between Jefferson's inauguration and his death, but I haven't found any mentioning Mozart specifically until the 1830's, and none specifically mentioning this particular piece until 1850 (when it was performed in Boston).

Concerts in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Charleston in the 1840's-1860's each are claimed to be the first to perform the work in their respective cities. If that is true, since all four were after Jefferson's death, it seems unlikely that Jefferson ever heard this piece in symphonic form.

(But perhaps he heard it in the form of a reduced arrangement, maybe even played on one of his several keyboard instruments he kept at Monticello or at one of the chamber recitals he arranged at the White House or at Monticello.)

I'm curious if anyone else knows of any historical evidence one way or the other.


According to Stolba's Music in the Life of Thomas Jefferson, his music library contained no works by Mozart. If Jefferson ever heard Mozart's 40th, it may have been Alexander Reinagle that brought it to his attention.

Reinagle was a composer and impresario of musical theater and a personal friend of Mozart's as early as 1764. Drummond's Early German Music in Philadelphia says that Reinagle's group performed symphonic works in the 1780s, including compositions by Mozart. Cripe's Thomas Jefferson and Music says that Jefferson subscribed to a 1792-1793 concert series given by Reinagle's Philadelphia Company, and may have attended the entire series. The Company had a twenty-piece orchestra; nothing comparable could be found farther south. Krauss's Alexander Reinagle, His Family Background and Early Professional Career states that Mozart sonatas were among the works performed. The sample programs I saw didn't show any whole symphonies, though.

Reinagle also composed and published a piece called "The New President's or Jefferson's March". Later, he relocated to Baltimore. According to Cripe, Jefferson was also a patron of a Marine Band in Washington, DC with Italian enlistees as musicians. It played a piece called the "President's March" at Jefferson's inauguration in 1801.


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Contents

Early life

Childhood

Fryderyk Chopin was born in Żelazowa Wola, 46 kilometres (29 miles) west of Warsaw, in what was then the Duchy of Warsaw, a Polish state established by Napoleon. The parish baptismal record, which is dated 23 April 1810, gives his birthday as 22 February 1810, and cites his given names in the Latin form Fridericus Franciscus (in Polish, he was Fryderyk Franciszek). [3] [4] [5] However, the composer and his family used the birthdate 1 March, [n 3] [4] which is now generally accepted as the correct date. [5]

His father, Nicolas Chopin, was a Frenchman from Lorraine who had emigrated to Poland in 1787 at the age of sixteen. [7] [8] He married Justyna Krzyżanowska, a poor relative of the Skarbeks, one of the families for whom he worked. [9] Chopin was baptised in the same church where his parents had married, in Brochów. His eighteen-year-old godfather, for whom he was named, was Fryderyk Skarbek, a pupil of Nicolas Chopin. [4] Chopin was the second child of Nicholas and Justyna and their only son he had an elder sister, Ludwika (1807–1855), and two younger sisters, Izabela (1811–1881) and Emilia (1812–1827). [10] Nicolas Chopin was devoted to his adopted homeland, and insisted on the use of the Polish language in the household. [4]

In October 1810, six months after Chopin's birth, the family moved to Warsaw, where his father acquired a post teaching French at the Warsaw Lyceum, then housed in the Saxon Palace. Chopin lived with his family in the Palace grounds. The father played the flute and violin [11] the mother played the piano and gave lessons to boys in the boarding house that the Chopins kept. [12] Chopin was of slight build, and even in early childhood was prone to illnesses. [11]

Chopin may have had some piano instruction from his mother, but his first professional music tutor, from 1816 to 1821, was the Czech pianist Wojciech Żywny. [13] His elder sister Ludwika also took lessons from Żywny, and occasionally played duets with her brother. [14] It quickly became apparent that he was a child prodigy. By the age of seven he had begun giving public concerts, and in 1817 he composed two polonaises, in G minor and B-flat major. [15] His next work, a polonaise in A-flat major of 1821, dedicated to Żywny, is his earliest surviving musical manuscript. [13]

In 1817 the Saxon Palace was requisitioned by Warsaw's Russian governor for military use, and the Warsaw Lyceum was reestablished in the Kazimierz Palace (today the rectorate of Warsaw University). Chopin and his family moved to a building, which still survives, adjacent to the Kazimierz Palace. During this period, he was sometimes invited to the Belweder Palace as playmate to the son of the ruler of Russian Poland, Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich of Russia he played the piano for Konstantin Pavlovich and composed a march for him. Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, in his dramatic eclogue, "Nasze Przebiegi" ("Our Discourses", 1818), attested to "little Chopin's" popularity. [16]

Education

From September 1823 to 1826, Chopin attended the Warsaw Lyceum, where he received organ lessons from the Czech musician Wilhelm Würfel during his first year. In the autumn of 1826 he began a three-year course under the Silesian composer Józef Elsner at the Warsaw Conservatory, studying music theory, figured bass, and composition. [17] [n 4] Throughout this period he continued to compose and to give recitals in concerts and salons in Warsaw. He was engaged by the inventors of the "aeolomelodicon" (a combination of piano and mechanical organ), and on this instrument, in May 1825 he performed his own improvisation and part of a concerto by Moscheles. The success of this concert led to an invitation to give a recital on a similar instrument (the "aeolopantaleon") before Tsar Alexander I, who was visiting Warsaw the Tsar presented him with a diamond ring. At a subsequent aeolopantaleon concert on 10 June 1825, Chopin performed his Rondo Op. 1. This was the first of his works to be commercially published and earned him his first mention in the foreign press, when the Leipzig Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung praised his "wealth of musical ideas". [18]

From 1824 until 1828 Chopin spent his vacations away from Warsaw, at a number of locales. [n 5] In 1824 and 1825, at Szafarnia, he was a guest of Dominik Dziewanowski, the father of a schoolmate. Here for the first time, he encountered Polish rural folk music. [20] His letters home from Szafarnia (to which he gave the title "The Szafarnia Courier"), written in a very modern and lively Polish, amused his family with their spoofing of the Warsaw newspapers and demonstrated the youngster's literary gift. [21]

In 1827, soon after the death of Chopin's youngest sister Emilia, the family moved from the Warsaw University building, adjacent to the Kazimierz Palace, to lodgings just across the street from the university, in the south annex of the Krasiński Palace on Krakowskie Przedmieście, [n 6] where Chopin lived until he left Warsaw in 1830. [n 7] Here his parents continued running their boarding house for male students. Four boarders at his parents' apartments became Chopin's intimates: Tytus Woyciechowski, Jan Nepomucen Białobłocki, Jan Matuszyński, and Julian Fontana. The latter two would become part of his Paris milieu. [24]

Letters from Chopin to Woyciechowski in the period 1829–30 (when Chopin was about twenty) contain erotic references to dreams and to offered kisses and embraces. According to Adam Zamoyski, such expressions "were, and to some extent still are, common currency in Polish and carry no greater implication than the 'love ' " concluding letters today. "The spirit of the times, pervaded by the Romantic movement in art and literature, favoured extreme expression of feeling . Whilst the possibility cannot be ruled out entirely, it is unlikely that the two were ever lovers." [25] Chopin's biographer Alan Walker considers that, insofar as such expressions could be perceived as homosexual in nature, they would not denote more than a passing phase in Chopin's life. [26] The musicologist Jeffrey Kallberg notes that concepts of sexual practice and identity were very different in Chopin's time, so modern interpretation is problematic. [27]

Probably in early 1829 Chopin met the singer Konstancja Gładkowska and developed an intense affection for her, although it is not clear that he ever addressed her directly on the matter. In a letter to Woyciechowski of 3 October 1829 he refers to his "ideal, whom I have served faithfully for six months, though without ever saying a word to her about my feelings whom I dream of, who inspired the Adagio of my Concerto." [28] All of Chopin's biographers, following the lead of Frederick Niecks, [29] agree that this "ideal" was Gładkowska. After what was to be Chopin's farewell concert in Warsaw in October 1830, which included the concerto, played by the composer, and Gładkowska singing an aria by Gioachino Rossini, the two exchanged rings, and two weeks later she wrote in his album some affectionate lines bidding him farewell. [30] After Chopin left Warsaw they did not meet and apparently did not correspond. [31]

Chopin was friendly with members of Warsaw's young artistic and intellectual world, including Fontana, Józef Bohdan Zaleski and Stefan Witwicki. [24] Chopin's final Conservatory report (July 1829) read: "Chopin F., third-year student, exceptional talent, musical genius." [17] In 1829 the artist Ambroży Mieroszewski executed a set of portraits of Chopin family members, including the first known portrait of the composer. [n 8]

Career

Travel and domestic success

In September 1828 Chopin, while still a student, visited Berlin with a family friend, zoologist Feliks Jarocki, enjoying operas directed by Gaspare Spontini and attending concerts by Carl Friedrich Zelter, Felix Mendelssohn and other celebrities. On an 1829 return trip to Berlin, he was a guest of Prince Antoni Radziwiłł, governor of the Grand Duchy of Posen – himself an accomplished composer and aspiring cellist. For the prince and his pianist daughter Wanda, he composed his Introduction and Polonaise brillante in C major for cello and piano, Op. 3. [33]

Back in Warsaw that year, Chopin heard Niccolò Paganini play the violin, and composed a set of variations, Souvenir de Paganini. It may have been this experience that encouraged him to commence writing his first Études (1829–32), exploring the capacities of his own instrument. [34] After completing his studies at the Warsaw Conservatory, he made his debut in Vienna. He gave two piano concerts and received many favourable reviews – in addition to some commenting (in Chopin's own words) that he was "too delicate for those accustomed to the piano-bashing of local artists". In the first of these concerts, he premiered his Variations on Là ci darem la mano, Op. 2 (variations on a duet from Mozart's opera Don Giovanni) for piano and orchestra. [35] He returned to Warsaw in September 1829, [24] where he premiered his Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21 on 17 March 1830. [17]

Chopin's successes as a composer and performer opened the door to western Europe for him, and on 2 November 1830, he set out, in the words of Zdzisław Jachimecki, "into the wide world, with no very clearly defined aim, forever." [36] With Woyciechowski, he headed for Austria again, intending to go on to Italy. Later that month, in Warsaw, the November 1830 Uprising broke out, and Woyciechowski returned to Poland to enlist. Chopin, now alone in Vienna, was nostalgic for his homeland, and wrote to a friend, "I curse the moment of my departure." [37] When in September 1831 he learned, while travelling from Vienna to Paris, that the uprising had been crushed, he expressed his anguish in the pages of his private journal: "Oh God! . You are there, and yet you do not take vengeance!". [38] Jachimecki ascribes to these events the composer's maturing "into an inspired national bard who intuited the past, present and future of his native Poland." [36]

Paris

When he left Warsaw in late 1830, Chopin had intended to go to Italy, but violent unrest there made that a dangerous destination. His next choice was Paris difficulties obtaining a visa from Russian authorities resulted in him getting transit permission from the French. In later years he would quote the passport's endorsement "Passeport en passant par Paris à Londres" ("In transit to London via Paris"), joking that he was in the city "only in passing." [39] Chopin arrived in Paris in late September 1831 he would never return to Poland, [40] thus becoming one of many expatriates of the Polish Great Emigration. In France, he used the French versions of his given names, and after receiving French citizenship in 1835, he travelled on a French passport. [n 9] However, Chopin remained close to his fellow Poles in exile as friends and confidants and he never felt fully comfortable speaking French. Chopin's biographer Adam Zamoyski writes that he never considered himself to be French, despite his father's French origins, and always saw himself as a Pole. [42]

In Paris, Chopin encountered artists and other distinguished figures and found many opportunities to exercise his talents and achieve celebrity. During his years in Paris, he was to become acquainted with, among many others, Hector Berlioz, Franz Liszt, Ferdinand Hiller, Heinrich Heine, Eugène Delacroix, Alfred de Vigny [43] and Friedrich Kalkbrenner, who introduced him to the piano manufacturer Camille Pleyel. [44] This was the beginning of a long and close association between the composer and Pleyel's instruments. [45] Chopin was also acquainted with the poet Adam Mickiewicz, principal of the Polish Literary Society, some of whose verses he set as songs. [42] He also was more than once guest of Marquis Astolphe de Custine, one of his fervent admirers, playing his works in Custine's salon. [46]

Two Polish friends in Paris were also to play important roles in Chopin's life there. His fellow student at the Warsaw Conservatory, Julian Fontana, had originally tried unsuccessfully to establish himself in England Fontana was to become, in the words of the music historian Jim Samson, Chopin's "general factotum and copyist". [47] Albert Grzymała, who in Paris became a wealthy financier and society figure, often acted as Chopin's adviser and, in Zamoyski's words, "gradually began to fill the role of elder brother in [his] life." [48]

On 7 December 1831, Chopin received the first major endorsement from an outstanding contemporary when Robert Schumann, reviewing the Op. 2 Variations in the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung (his first published article on music), declared: "Hats off, gentlemen! A genius." [49] On 25 February 1832 Chopin gave a debut Paris concert in the "salons de MM Pleyel" at 9 rue Cadet, which drew universal admiration. The critic François-Joseph Fétis wrote in the Revue et gazette musicale: "Here is a young man who . taking no model, has found, if not a complete renewal of piano music, . an abundance of original ideas of a kind to be found nowhere else . " [50] After this concert, Chopin realised that his essentially intimate keyboard technique was not optimal for large concert spaces. Later that year he was introduced to the wealthy Rothschild banking family, whose patronage also opened doors for him to other private salons (social gatherings of the aristocracy and artistic and literary elite). [51] By the end of 1832 Chopin had established himself among the Parisian musical elite and had earned the respect of his peers such as Hiller, Liszt, and Berlioz. He no longer depended financially upon his father, and in the winter of 1832, he began earning a handsome income from publishing his works and teaching piano to affluent students from all over Europe. 2001 This freed him from the strains of public concert-giving, which he disliked. [51]

Chopin seldom performed publicly in Paris. In later years he generally gave a single annual concert at the Salle Pleyel, a venue that seated three hundred. He played more frequently at salons but preferred playing at his own Paris apartment for small groups of friends. The musicologist Arthur Hedley has observed that "As a pianist Chopin was unique in acquiring a reputation of the highest order on the basis of a minimum of public appearances – few more than thirty in the course of his lifetime." [51] The list of musicians who took part in some of his concerts indicates the richness of Parisian artistic life during this period. Examples include a concert on 23 March 1833, in which Chopin, Liszt, and Hiller performed (on pianos) a concerto by J.S. Bach for three keyboards and, on 3 March 1838, a concert in which Chopin, his pupil Adolphe Gutmann, Charles-Valentin Alkan, and Alkan's teacher Joseph Zimmermann performed Alkan's arrangement, for eight hands, of two movements from Beethoven's 7th symphony. [52] Chopin was also involved in the composition of Liszt's Hexameron he wrote the sixth (and final) variation on Bellini's theme. Chopin's music soon found success with publishers, and in 1833 he contracted with Maurice Schlesinger, who arranged for it to be published not only in France but, through his family connections, also in Germany and England. [53] [n 10]

In the spring of 1834, Chopin attended the Lower Rhenish Music Festival in Aix-la-Chapelle with Hiller, and it was there that Chopin met Felix Mendelssohn. After the festival, the three visited Düsseldorf, where Mendelssohn had been appointed musical director. They spent what Mendelssohn described as "a very agreeable day", playing and discussing music at his piano, and met Friedrich Wilhelm Schadow, director of the Academy of Art, and some of his eminent pupils such as Lessing, Bendemann, Hildebrandt and Sohn. [55] In 1835 Chopin went to Carlsbad, where he spent time with his parents it was the last time he would see them. On his way back to Paris, he met old friends from Warsaw, the Wodzińskis. He had made the acquaintance of their daughter Maria in Poland five years earlier when she was eleven. This meeting prompted him to stay for two weeks in Dresden, when he had previously intended to return to Paris via Leipzig. [56] The sixteen-year-old girl's portrait of the composer has been considered, along with Delacroix's, as among the best likenesses of Chopin. [57] In October he finally reached Leipzig, where he met Schumann, Clara Wieck and Mendelssohn, who organised for him a performance of his own oratorio St. Paul, and who considered him "a perfect musician". [58] In July 1836 Chopin travelled to Marienbad and Dresden to be with the Wodziński family, and in September he proposed to Maria, whose mother Countess Wodzińska approved in principle. Chopin went on to Leipzig, where he presented Schumann with his G minor Ballade. [59] At the end of 1836, he sent Maria an album in which his sister Ludwika had inscribed seven of his songs, and his 1835 Nocturne in C-sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 1. [60] The anodyne thanks he received from Maria proved to be the last letter he was to have from her. [61] Chopin placed the letters he had received from Maria and her mother into a large envelope, wrote on it the words "My sorrow" ("Moja bieda"), and to the end of his life retained in a desk drawer this keepsake of the second love of his life. [60] [n 11]

Franz Liszt

Although it is not known exactly when Chopin first met Franz Liszt after arriving in Paris, on 12 December 1831 he mentioned in a letter to his friend Woyciechowski that "I have met Rossini, Cherubini, Baillot, etc. – also Kalkbrenner. You would not believe how curious I was about Herz, Liszt, Hiller, etc." [62] Liszt was in attendance at Chopin's Parisian debut on 26 February 1832 at the Salle Pleyel, which led him to remark: "The most vigorous applause seemed not to suffice to our enthusiasm in the presence of this talented musician, who revealed a new phase of poetic sentiment combined with such happy innovation in the form of his art." [63]

The two became friends, and for many years lived close to each other in Paris, Chopin at 38 Rue de la Chaussée-d'Antin, and Liszt at the Hôtel de France on the Rue Laffitte, a few blocks away. [64] They performed together on seven occasions between 1833 and 1841. The first, on 2 April 1833, was at a benefit concert organised by Hector Berlioz for his bankrupt Shakespearean actress wife Harriet Smithson, during which they played George Onslow's Sonata in F minor for piano duet. Later joint appearances included a benefit concert for the Benevolent Association of Polish Ladies in Paris. Their last appearance together in public was for a charity concert conducted for the Beethoven Monument in Bonn, held at the Salle Pleyel and the Paris Conservatory on 25 and 26 April 1841. [63]

Although the two displayed great respect and admiration for each other, their friendship was uneasy and had some qualities of a love-hate relationship. Harold C. Schonberg believes that Chopin displayed a "tinge of jealousy and spite" towards Liszt's virtuosity on the piano, [64] and others have also argued that he had become enchanted with Liszt's theatricality, showmanship and success. [65] Liszt was the dedicatee of Chopin's Op. 10 Études, and his performance of them prompted the composer to write to Hiller, "I should like to rob him of the way he plays my studies." [66] However, Chopin expressed annoyance in 1843 when Liszt performed one of his nocturnes with the addition of numerous intricate embellishments, at which Chopin remarked that he should play the music as written or not play it at all, forcing an apology. Most biographers of Chopin state that after this the two had little to do with each other, although in his letters dated as late as 1848 he still referred to him as "my friend Liszt". [64] Some commentators point to events in the two men's romantic lives which led to a rift between them there are claims that Liszt had displayed jealousy of his mistress Marie d'Agoult's obsession with Chopin, while others believe that Chopin had become concerned about Liszt's growing relationship with George Sand. [63]

George Sand

In 1836, at a party hosted by Marie d'Agoult, Chopin met the French author George Sand (born [Amantine] Aurore [Lucile] Dupin). Short (under five feet, or 152 cm), dark, big-eyed and a cigar smoker, [67] she initially repelled Chopin, who remarked, "What an unattractive person la Sand is. Is she really a woman?" [68] However, by early 1837 Maria Wodzińska's mother had made it clear to Chopin in correspondence that a marriage with her daughter was unlikely to proceed. [69] It is thought that she was influenced by his poor health and possibly also by rumours about his associations with women such as d'Agoult and Sand. [70] Chopin finally placed the letters from Maria and her mother in a package on which he wrote, in Polish, "My tragedy". [71] Sand, in a letter to Grzymała of June 1838, admitted strong feelings for the composer and debated whether to abandon a current affair in order to begin a relationship with Chopin she asked Grzymała to assess Chopin's relationship with Maria Wodzińska, without realising that the affair, at least from Maria's side, was over. [72]

In June 1837 Chopin visited London incognito in the company of the piano manufacturer Camille Pleyel, where he played at a musical soirée at the house of English piano maker James Broadwood. [73] On his return to Paris his association with Sand began in earnest, and by the end of June 1838 they had become lovers. [74] Sand, who was six years older than the composer and had had a series of lovers, wrote at this time: "I must say I was confused and amazed at the effect this little creature had on me . I have still not recovered from my astonishment, and if I were a proud person I should be feeling humiliated at having been carried away . " [75] The two spent a miserable winter on Majorca (8 November 1838 to 13 February 1839), where, together with Sand's two children, they had journeyed in the hope of improving Chopin's health and that of Sand's 15-year-old son Maurice, and also to escape the threats of Sand's former lover Félicien Mallefille. [76] After discovering that the couple were not married, the deeply traditional Catholic people of Majorca became inhospitable, [77] making accommodation difficult to find. This compelled the group to take lodgings in a former Carthusian monastery in Valldemossa, which gave little shelter from the cold winter weather. [74]

On 3 December 1838, Chopin complained about his bad health and the incompetence of the doctors in Majorca, commenting: "Three doctors have visited me . The first said I was dead the second said I was dying and the third said I was about to die." [78] He also had problems having his Pleyel piano sent to him, having to rely in the meantime on a piano made in Palma by Juan Bauza. [79] [n 12] The Pleyel piano finally arrived from Paris in December, just shortly before Chopin and Sand left the island. Chopin wrote to Pleyel in January 1839: "I am sending you my Preludes [(Op. 28)]. I finished them on your little piano, which arrived in the best possible condition in spite of the sea, the bad weather and the Palma customs." [74] Chopin was also able to undertake work while in Majorca on his Ballade No. 2, Op. 38 on two Polonaises, Op. 40 and on the Scherzo No. 3, Op. 39. [80]

Although this period had been productive, the bad weather had such a detrimental effect on Chopin's health that Sand determined to leave the island. To avoid further customs duties, Sand sold the piano to a local French couple, the Canuts. [80] [n 13] The group travelled first to Barcelona, then to Marseilles, where they stayed for a few months while Chopin convalesced. [82] While in Marseilles Chopin made a rare appearance at the organ during a requiem mass for the tenor Adolphe Nourrit on 24 April 1839, playing a transcription of Franz Schubert's lied Die Gestirne (D. 444). [83] [84] [n 14] In May 1839 they headed to Sand's estate at Nohant for the summer, where they spent most of the following summers until 1846. In autumn they returned to Paris, where Chopin's apartment at 5 rue Tronchet was close to Sand's rented accommodation on the rue Pigalle. He frequently visited Sand in the evenings, but both retained some independence. [86] (In 1842 he and Sand moved to the Square d'Orléans, living in adjacent buildings.) [87]

On 26 July 1840 Chopin and Sand were present at the dress rehearsal of Berlioz's Grande symphonie funèbre et triomphale, composed to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the July Revolution. Chopin was reportedly unimpressed with the composition. [86] During the summers at Nohant, particularly in the years 1839–43, Chopin found quiet, productive days during which he composed many works, including his Polonaise in A-flat major, Op. 53. Among the visitors to Nohant were Delacroix and the mezzo-soprano Pauline Viardot, whom Chopin had advised on piano technique and composition. [88] Delacroix gives an account of staying at Nohant in a letter of 7 June 1842:

The hosts could not be more pleasant in entertaining me. When we are not all together at dinner, lunch, playing billiards, or walking, each of us stays in his room, reading or lounging around on a couch. Sometimes, through the window which opens on the garden, a gust of music wafts up from Chopin at work. All this mingles with the songs of nightingales and the fragrance of roses. [89]

Decline

From 1842 onwards Chopin showed signs of serious illness. After a solo recital in Paris on 21 February 1842, he wrote to Grzymała: "I have to lie in bed all day long, my mouth and tonsils are aching so much." [90] He was forced by illness to decline a written invitation from Alkan to participate in a repeat performance of the Beethoven 7th Symphony arrangement at Érard's on 1 March 1843. [91] Late in 1844, Charles Hallé visited Chopin and found him "hardly able to move, bent like a half-opened penknife and evidently in great pain", although his spirits returned when he started to play the piano for his visitor. [92] Chopin's health continued to deteriorate, particularly from this time onwards. Modern research suggests that apart from any other illnesses, he may also have suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy. [93]

Chopin's output as a composer throughout this period declined in quantity year by year. Whereas in 1841 he had written a dozen works, only six were written in 1842 and six shorter pieces in 1843. In 1844 he wrote only the Op. 58 sonata. 1845 saw the completion of three mazurkas (Op. 59). Although these works were more refined than many of his earlier compositions, Zamoyski concludes that "his powers of concentration were failing and his inspiration was beset by anguish, both emotional and intellectual." [94] Chopin's relations with Sand were soured in 1846 by problems involving her daughter Solange and Solange's fiancé, the young fortune-hunting sculptor Auguste Clésinger. [95] The composer frequently took Solange's side in quarrels with her mother he also faced jealousy from Sand's son Maurice. [96] Moreover, Chopin was indifferent to Sand's radical political pursuits, including her enthusiasm for the February Revolution of 1848. [97]

As the composer's illness progressed, Sand had become less of a lover and more of a nurse to Chopin, whom she called her "third child". In letters to third parties she vented her impatience, referring to him as a "child," a "little angel", a "poor angel", a "sufferer", and a "beloved little corpse." [98] [99] In 1847 Sand published her novel Lucrezia Floriani, whose main characters – a rich actress and a prince in weak health – could be interpreted as Sand and Chopin. In Chopin's presence, Sand read the manuscript aloud to Delacroix, who was both shocked and mystified by its implications, writing that "Madame Sand was perfectly at ease and Chopin could hardly stop making admiring comments". [100] [101] That year their relationship ended following an angry correspondence which, in Sand's words, made "a strange conclusion to nine years of exclusive friendship". [102] Grzymała, who had followed their romance from the beginning, commented, "If [Chopin] had not had the misfortune of meeting G.S. [George Sand], who poisoned his whole being, he would have lived to be Cherubini's age." Chopin would die two years later at thirty-nine the composer Luigi Cherubini had died in Paris in 1842 at the age of eighty-one. [103]

Tour of Great Britain

Chopin's public popularity as a virtuoso began to wane, as did the number of his pupils, and this, together with the political strife and instability of the time, caused him to struggle financially. [104] In February 1848, with the cellist Auguste Franchomme, he gave his last Paris concert, which included three movements of the Cello Sonata Op. 65. [98]

In April, during the 1848 Revolution in Paris, he left for London, where he performed at several concerts and numerous receptions in great houses. [98] This tour was suggested to him by his Scottish pupil Jane Stirling and her elder sister. Stirling also made all the logistical arrangements and provided much of the necessary funding. [102]

In London, Chopin took lodgings at Dover Street, where the firm of Broadwood provided him with a grand piano. At his first engagement, on 15 May at Stafford House, the audience included Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The Prince, who was himself a talented musician, moved close to the keyboard to view Chopin's technique. Broadwood also arranged concerts for him among those attending were the author William Makepeace Thackeray and the singer Jenny Lind. Chopin was also sought after for piano lessons, for which he charged the high fee of one guinea per hour, and for private recitals for which the fee was 20 guineas. At a concert on 7 July he shared the platform with Viardot, who sang arrangements of some of his mazurkas to Spanish texts. [105] On 28 August he played at a concert in Manchester's Gentlemen's Concert Hall, sharing the stage with Marietta Alboni and Lorenzo Salvi. [106]

In late summer he was invited by Jane Stirling to visit Scotland, where he stayed at Calder House near Edinburgh and at Johnstone Castle in Renfrewshire, both owned by members of Stirling's family. [107] She clearly had a notion of going beyond mere friendship, and Chopin was obliged to make it clear to her that this could not be so. He wrote at this time to Grzymała: "My Scottish ladies are kind, but such bores", and responding to a rumour about his involvement, answered that he was "closer to the grave than the nuptial bed". [108] He gave a public concert in Glasgow on 27 September, [109] and another in Edinburgh at the Hopetoun Rooms on Queen Street (now Erskine House) on 4 October. [110] In late October 1848, while staying at 10 Warriston Crescent in Edinburgh with the Polish physician Adam Łyszczyński, he wrote out his last will and testament – "a kind of disposition to be made of my stuff in the future, if I should drop dead somewhere", he wrote to Grzymała. [98]

Chopin made his last public appearance on a concert platform at London's Guildhall on 16 November 1848, when, in a final patriotic gesture, he played for the benefit of Polish refugees. This gesture proved to be a mistake, as most of the participants were more interested in the dancing and refreshments than in Chopin's piano artistry, which drained him. [111] By this time he was very seriously ill, weighing under 99 pounds (less than 45 kg), and his doctors were aware that his sickness was at a terminal stage. [112]

At the end of November Chopin returned to Paris. He passed the winter in unremitting illness, but gave occasional lessons and was visited by friends, including Delacroix and Franchomme. Occasionally he played, or accompanied the singing of Delfina Potocka, for his friends. During the summer of 1849, his friends found him an apartment in Chaillot, out of the centre of the city, for which the rent was secretly subsidised by an admirer, Princess Obreskoff. He was visited here by Jenny Lind in June 1849. [113]


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