Chopin, Frederic François


He was the greatest genius of the piano who has ever lived, one of the most lovable, interesting and romantic figures in the history of music, and a great lyric composer, who was aptly called by Robert Schumann, "The boldest and proudest poetic spirit of the age." His life was brief, but full of incident and replete with energy and his service to the art of music cannot be too highly estimated. Chopin was a composer for the piano and for the piano alone, and his style is suited to no other instrument. In this he is unique. He was not only a great composer for the piano, but he made most important modifications in that instrument, and realized its possibilities as no one else ever did. He did for the piano what Paganini did for the violin and what Schubert did for song. He stands absolutely alone, and cannot be classified with any other composer.

His music is tinctured through and through with his personality. In it there is an echo of what he felt, loved and suffered. His compositions have been well-called his memoirs and his autobiography. No other poet, for Chopin was as much a poet as he was a musician, has like him embodied in art the romance of the land and the people of Poland, and no other has like him embodied in art the romance of his own life. James Huneker has written of him: "Never so long as the piano remains the piano will Chopin be forgotten. He is as Rubinstein, said, its soul."

Perhaps no musical genius ever lived over whom there has been so much controversy, and about whom so many erroneous statements have been made. " Since 1888," says one biographer, " Much has been written: of Chopin and much surmised." His biographers disagree as to dates and important incidents in the life of the; composer, and as Chopin wrote few letters and was most reticent even to those nearest and dearest to him, many events said to have transpired in his life cannot be verified. The date of his birth is, to begin with, a matter of dispute. Some authorities declare it took place in 1809, others are equally  positive it was 1810. The latter date is inscribed upon the composer's tombstone at Pere le Chaise cemetery in Paris, but Prof. Frederick Niecks, whose biography of Chopin is generally conceded to be the best and most authoritative, favors the year 1809 as being the year of the composer's birth. Authorities also differ as to the circumstances of his family, some saying that they were far from comfortable in his early youth and that Chopin was educated by a Polish prince who befriended him for many years, others that his parents were in easy circumstances and that his father gave him a good education, until he was well along in manhood, and supplied him quite liberally with money.

The most widely-discussed event in his life was his affair with George Sand and a literature has grown out of the controversies regarding their friendship and the woman's influence upon the career of the composer. Various constructions have been put upon their relations, but all the biographers agree as to the disastrous results of this friendship, the severing of which undoubtedly hastened Chopin's death, and very few regard Sand's participation in it as wholly blameless. Half a dozen versions have been given of the scenes which attended Chopin's death, and, to cap the climax of inaccuracies, a false date was placed upon his tombstone. The sadness of the composer's life and his melancholy disposition have been dwelt upon by every biographer, perhaps to an undue extent. That Chopin was of a melancholy nature and that he let his pensive outlook upon life color his music through and through, there is no doubt, for he was a Pole, and his countrymen even dance to music written in a minor key and take all their pleasures sadly. Besides, he was harassed all his life long by illhealth, and he took deeply to heart little troubles and ills and was bruised by trifling vexations and irritations that would not have affected a healthier person. He himself said that his life was an episode without a beginning and with a sad end. But he was not always melancholy and his music is not all sad. It is a mixture of gayety and sadness, for his days were not all gray days and when he was happy he was deliriously so.

Frederic Frangois Chopin was born at Zelazowawola, Poland (sometimes spelled Zela Zowa Wola), a village belonging to the Countess Skarbek, near Warsaw. His father, Nicholas Chopin, was a French refugee, the natural son of a Polish nobleman who accompanied King Stanislaus to France, taking there the name of Chopin. Nicholas Chopin was born in Nancy, Lorraine, in 1770, and went to Warsaw at the time of the political disturbances, in 1787. He there became a bookkeeper in a tobacco factory, was afterwards tutor to the son of a Polish nobleman, and took part in the revolution under Kosciusko, fighting for Poland. He finally settled in Zelazowawola and became tutor to the son of the Countess Skarbek, later being professor of French in the Warsaw Lyceum, and finally setting up a private school of his own, which was patronized by the wealthiest families in Warsaw. He also taught French at the School of Artillery and Engineering, and at the Military Elementary School. Nicholas Chopin appears to have been a man of refinement and education, to whom the composer was indebted for many of his lovable traits of character and for much of the aristocratic bearing that always distinguished him. It was while he was in the service of the Countess Skarbek, that Nicholas Chopin met and married, in 1806, Justina Kryzanowska, a Polish woman of poor but noble family, who was possessed of all the womanly virtues. She bore her husband four children, three girls and the boy, Frederic. Frederic grew up in an atmosphere of love and refinement, petted and made much of by his sisters, and tenderly cared for and loved by his parents. He was always delicate and, from his earliest years, his health gave his family much concern. Auber,  in later years, remarked that Chopin was dying all his life. But in spite of his physical weakness he was, at least in his youth, full of animal spirits and has been described as a mischievous lad, fond of playing pranks on his sisters and companions, and also of a particularly gentle and affectionate disposition. He was naturally bright and quick to learn and a favorite with all his teachers. Some writers have pictured his youth as almost povertystricken, but this is disclaimed by those who have looked into the subject, among others, Professor Niecks, who declares that Chopin's childhood was passed in comfort if not in affluence, as befitted the son of a professor enjoying a comfortable income. In all his life Chopin never underwent such privations as fell to the lot of Mozart, Schubert and other musical geniuses. His fondness for music early asserted itself and his parents wisely let him have his way in this respect. He showed such proficiency that his father procured for him the best instruction possible in the town, and sent him to study with Adalbert Zywny, a Bohemian musician "of the old school, who thoroughly grounded him in the rudiments of music. At nine years of age, Chopin played in public at a concert, and from then on was made much of by the Polish nobility, who looked upon him, if not as a second Mozart, at least as an exceptionally talented boy, worthy of being encouraged. After this he frequently appeared at the houses of the nobility in Warsaw. When he was ten, Chopin composed his first piece of music, a march, which he dedicated to the Russian Grand Duke Constantine, who had it scored for the military band. At twelve he finished his studies with Zywny and entered the Lyceum, where his father was a professor, and there he was taught Latin, French, mathematics and other branches. His father then sent him to the Warsaw Conservatory, where he studied harmony and counterpoint with Joseph Eisner, a rigid disciplinarian, who recognized Chopin's genius and gave him the help and  encouragement he needed. Through him the young musician learned to study and to love Bach, playing the compositions of that master with wonderful precision, and profiting so much by the instruction he received that he carried off several prizes while at the Conservatory. Eisner in those days encouraged Chopin to write an opera, not realizing that his talents lay in an entirely different direction. Chopin, in later years, declared that he could have done nothing without Eisner's instruction and encouragement, and was fond of remarking that the veriest idiot could not help but learn something from such men as Zywny and Eisner. In Warsaw, Chopin appeared in public twice, and when he was fifteen wrote, with his sister, a one-act comedy, which was produced by a juvenile company. He found his greatest delight in playing and composing and was happiest when he was studying the works of the great masters, preferably Mozart and Bach. He used to spend half the night practicing and trying out his compositions on the piano which he had in his bedroom.

After finishing his studies at Warsaw, Chopin's t father decided it would be well for his son to see a bit of the world, and therefore, in 1828, he was sent with a friend of the family to Berlin. There he met Mendelssohn, Spontini and Zelter, among other musicians. His letters, some of which are preserved in Karasowski's book, The Life and Letters of Chopin, give interesting glimpses of the life he led in the German capital, the music he heard and the people whom he met. He   next visited Vienna, where he was induced to give a concert in 1829, at which he improvised and made a great impression upon the musical critics and the nobility. From Vienna he journeyed to Prague and then on to Dresden and to Posen, where he was entertained by Prince Radziwill, a patron of the arts and a warm friend of the Chopin family, then he returned to Warsaw, but for only a short time. Chopin had grown restless and wished to see more of the world. He set out again from Warsaw in 1830 and was never to return. It is related that just before his departure, Eisner, his old teacher, and the pupils of the Conservatory sang a cantata, composed for the occasion, and presented him with a silver cup filled with Polish earth, which was destined to be sprinkled upon the coffin of the composer eighteen years later as he was laid to rest in a Paris cemetery.

Chopin went to Vienna from Warsaw, but his former successes had by this time been forgotten (" there were no newspaper articles or press agents to keep him before the public," says one biographer), and he was so discouraged and disheartened by the cold reception he received and the fact that the music publishers would have none of his music, that he thought seriously of going to Italy and friends even gave him letters of introduction which he was fated never to use. In Vienna he played at two concerts, but his reception was not warranted to encourage him, so he wrote to his father for the necessary funds, and started for Paris, stopping off at Munich, where he made his first and last appearance before a German audience. In 1831, Chopin reached the French capital, at a time when opera was in its glory, when literature as well as art was at full flower and also at a time of revolution. In Paris, Chopin's artistic career may be said to have begun, and there he spent his happiest as well as his most miserable days. One of the first things he did was to seek out Kalkbrenner, who was then the most famous pianist in Paris. He found fault with Chopin's playing and would consent to become his teacher only on condition that Chopin would remain with him three years. The young musician hesitated, feeling that this was too long a time to give to his studies and finally wrote to Eisner, who urged him not to become a pupil of Kalkbrenner's lest he destroy his individuality, in which Eisner, at least, had the greatest faith. Chopin gave his first concert, in Paris, in 1832, but it was a failure financially, although many of the prominent musicians, including Mendelssohn, were present and praised him. The following May he gave his second concert, but it was not successful, and as Chopin was deplorably in need of money, he grew greatly discouraged. In letters to friends he confessed that he was deeply dejected, because he felt himself to be a burden to his father. He talked about emigrating to America and was prevented from so doing only by a chance meeting with Prince Radziwill who took him to the house of the wealthy Rothschilds in Paris, where his playing captivated his auditors, and secured for him several paying pupils. From that time on it was to be plain sailing so far as recognition of his talents was concerned. Pupils flocked 10 him, among them many noble ladies and gentlemen; he was besieged with offers from managers of concerts and invitations without number found their way to him from his wealthy patrons. He was heard much in public and at private houses. In jhort, Chopin was the vogue, and threatened to dislodge even Liszt, who was then the idol of Parisian society. He took part that year with Hiller and Liszt in a performance of Bach's concerto for three harpsichords, played on piano, and his appearances were frequent and successful. He was gradually winning his way with his compositions and by 1835 was teaching, making many friends, and enjoying life in his quiet way. During the summer of 1835 he visited his parents, who were staying at Carlsbad, and then went to Dresden and to Leipsic with Hiller, where he renewed his acquaintance with Mendelssohn, and through him met Robert Schumann, and Clara Wieck, who was later to become Schumann's wife. Schumann was the first of the Germans to estimate Chopin at his true worth. He called attention to the compositions of the Pole, and to their excellence in the since oft-quoted words: "Hats off, gentlemen; a genius." In that year Chopin made the acquaintance of John, usually known as " Russian " Field, whose invention, the nocturne, Chopin so elaborated and improved upon as to make his own. Field disliked Chopin and belittled his talents. In later years the latter was often asked if he had been a pupil of Field, because of their similarity of style.

On his return to Paris, the composer became the center of an artistic circle, which included Cherubini, Bellini, Berlioz, Meyerbeer, Liszt, who became one of the most ardent and loyal of his admirers, and in later years his devoted friend; the painter, Delacroix; Heine, the poet; Balzac and others. The following year (1837) Chopin visited Marienbad and went to London   where he stayed incognito and neither received nor paid visits because of the condition of his health, which was gradually growing worse. There the first symptoms of the disease, which finally carried him off, asserted themselves. He played at the house of James Broadwood, in London, but appeared nowhere else, and it is probable that his visit to London was for the purpose of seeking a physician's advice. Chopin's public appearances were now becoming fewer and fewer. He loved the intimacy of the private salon; among the friends he was fond of but disliked playing in public, saying the audiences " stifled and suffocated " him, and that he could never do his best under those conditions.

On his return to Paris from London, Chopin met George Sand (Mme. Aurore Dudevant), then at the height of her fame and the leading literary woman in Paris, who shared with Victor Hugo the honor of preeminence in French letters. She was a woman who challenged the attention of the world, as much by the irregularities of her private life as by her literary genius. She dominated Chopin's life after they became friends, and her influence upon his career was most marked. The story of this attachment has been told by Taine, Henry Janes, W. H. Hadow, James Huneker and numerous others and has been touched upon in all the biographies of the composer and the writer. Chopin seems to have had other love affairs, it being said of him that he was in the habit of falling in and out of love all the time. In his early days in Warsaw the composer had met and loved Constantia Gladkowska, or Gladowska, a pupil of the Warsaw Conservatory, but he is said never to have let her know of his affection, although she inspired him to write the adagio of the concerto in F minor and the yalse in D flat. She sang at one of his concerts in Warsaw and later went on the operatic stage. Later she married and Chopin appears to have dropped her from his mind. His second affair of the heart took place in 1836, when he visited Dresden and there met Marie Wpdzinski, whose brothers had been pupils at his father's school in Warsaw. Marie is said by Karasowski to have reciprocated Chopin's love and desired to marry him, but was debarred from doing so by her parents, who wished her to wed a man richer in the world's goods. The following year she married the son of Chopin's godfather, the man for whom Chopin had been named, Count Frederic Skarbek, and after a time she vanished into obscurity. George Sand was the third and last of Chopin's love affairs. She has been variously described. Professor Niecks pictured her as a female Don Juan, and as a pen painter of fallen and defiled natures. Hadden calls her a cormorant, even while admitting that she nursed and cared for Chopin in his illness as his mother might; while on the other hand, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, George Eliot and W. H. Hadow, (apparently her only apologist among the opposite sex), called her good and great and described her affection for Chopin as maternal and nothing more. Mme. Sand had had many lovers before Chopin came into her life; Alfred de Musset, Delacroix the painter, Jules Sandeau, (in conjunction with whom she had written her first book, Rose et Blanche), Franz Liszt and others, and on account of most of these "affairs," after their termination, sooner or later found their way into her novels. Chopin was destined, if the gossips of the time were to be believed, to go the way of all the rest. According to Liszt and Mme. Sand herself, the meeting took place at the apartment of Chopin, through Liszt, who brought the novelist to call. Chopin is said to have disliked her at first and even wrote to his parents of meeting the great novelist and of not being attracted to her. Sand was unconventional, eccentric in dress and brusque in manner. She was fond of smoking cigars and had none of the social graces, preferring to lapse into absolute silence if not particularly interested in the person who was talking to her. She was many years older than Chopin, a divorced woman with two children, a son and daughter. She overcome all of Chopin's prejudices, however, as she had those of others, and there is every reason to believe that he grew to love her as he never loved anyone else. Shortly after the meeting, about 1837, Chopin being in feeble health, visited the novelist at her country home at Nohant, where she was in the habit of passing several months each year. Here she nursed and cared for him until he grew better. Bronchitis having developed the following year, Mme. Sand arranged for him to accompany her and her son and daughter to the island of Majorca in Spain to pass the winter. Sand is said to have decided upon the trip, " Chopin dreading to leave Paris, as every change was a terrible event in his life." Mme. Sand gives an account of the sojourn in her little book, A Winter in Majorca, which has been translated into English. For a time life ran smoothly enough and Chopin apparently showed signs of improvement, but after the wet season had set in his health grew worse, he suffered from hemorrhages, and the climate and the strange people fretted him continually. The natives drove " that consumptive person," as they called him, from the villa, which the party had rented and they were obliged to take up their abode in a disused Carthusian monastery on the outskirts of the town. Here the discomforts were so many that life became unbearable. Chopin made a "detestable invalid," said Sand; but here he wrote some of his most beautiful compositions, among others the preludes, which Rubinstein called "the very pearls of Chopin's work," in which is to be found such a combination of sweetness and strength, that Robert Schumann described them as "canons buried in flowers." The party finally left the island, making short stops at Barcelona and at Genoa, and then returning to Paris. For several years the friendship between the two continued, Chopin passing a part of every summer at Nohant with Mme. Sand and her family, and the winters in Paris with her. He was prosperous and happy, was teaching music and his compositions were beginning to meet with the appreciation that they deserved. In 1846, the rupture of the friendship, which Professor Niecks calls the catastrophe of Chopin's life, occurred and he was never the same afterward. No one appears to have been taken into the confidence of either as to the cause, although many conjectures were made. By some, Chopin is said to have displeased Sand by receiving her daughter and the husband she had married against her mother's wishes. Others declare Sand was tired of playing nurse to an irritable invalid, and that she gave that as an excuse to rid herself of Chopin. Still others see in Sand's book, Lucrezia Floriani, published that year, and in which she is said to have caricatured Chopin in the role of Prince Karol, the cause of the severence of the friendship. But whatever the cause, it was final. They met but once afterward, and then Chopin coldly repulsed Sand's attempts at a reconciliation. While the novelist has been criticized for her heartless treatment of Chopin, all are agreed that by the care and affection that she brought him at a time when he was sadly in need of both, she probably prolonged his life for several years. His was a nature that was dependent upon sympathy and affection, and for a time at least as a member of Mme. Sand's household, he received both. The novelist denied that the separation had come about through her, and she likewise denied that she had had the composer in mind when she described the character of Prince Karol in her book. The sympathies of mutual friends were wholly with the composer, however, because it was not Sand's first offense at "making copy" out of her love affairs, when she was through with the victim.

After the quarrel, Chopin's health grew rapidly worse, and although he continued to give lessons and appear occasionally in public, his friends all realized that the end was not far off. He grew more and more irritable and had frequent quarrels with those whom he loved the best  the most serious one of all with Liszt, which was never made up.

In 1847 his last composition was published, the sonata for piano and cello in G minor and his last concert in Paris took place, when he played with Alard and Franchomme, the cellist, in 1848. In that year the revolution drove him along with others from the French capital and he went to England. The condition of the composer's health was at this time most pitiable. He was suffering not only bodily pain, but was in the deepest dejection of spirit. Those last days in London, while he was in the throes of consumption, were a torture to him. The climate irritated his complaint and the people wearied him by their unremitting attentions and the hospitality they fairly forced upon him, when he longed only for rest and quiet. He was dragged about to receptions and musicales and asked to play, when he was often so weak that he had to be carried into the concert-room. He was presented to the Queen, appeared at many of the fashionable houses in London, Manchester and Edinburgh, and stayed for a time at the castle of friends in Scotland, giving concerts in several English and Scotch cities. The last concert he ever gave was in aid of the Polish refugees in London. He was in the last stages of decline when he left that city early in October, 1849, for Paris. He was now no longer able to teach, and as he had never saved any money in his days of plenty, was sadly in need of funds. Friends railed to his aid and his " good Scots ladies," who had so wearied him with their attentions, saw to it that his last days were made comfortable. A Miss Sterling, whose family he had visited in Scotland and who was one of his pupils, sent him a large gift of money, more than enough for his needs. It was she who bought all of the composer's belongings, including his piano, at a public auction after his death. These were burned along with many of his letters during the sacking of Warsaw, in 1863, when the soldiers made a bonfire of the collection.

As death approached Chopin was not alone. His sister and her family had come from Poland to be with him, his friend and pupil, Gutmann, Solange, the daughter of George Sand, and the Countess Delphine Potocka, to whom he had dedicated one of the loveliest of his waltzes, were near him in his last hours. George Sand called to see him, but was denied admission, his friends fearing the excitement of seeing her might add to his distress. As the end approached, Chopin received the sacraments and, according to Liszt, the Countess Potocka sang at his deathbed the famous canticle to the Virgin, which had once saved the life of Stradella. Professor Niecks declares it was a psalm by Marcello, while Franchomme insisted it was an air from one of Bellini's operas, of which the composer was especially fond. Chopin expired in the arms of his pupil, Gutmann, Oct. 17, 1849, "dying," said Liszt "as he had lived loving."

He was buried from the Church of the Madeleine, in Paris, with pomp and ceremony. Mozart's requiem was sung at his funeral by Lablache, the famous tenor, and after his body had been assigned to the grave, the cup of Polish earth which had been given him so many years before was sprinkled upon the casket. He was laid to rest, at his own request, between the graves of Cherubini and Bellini at Pere le Chaise. His heart was taken back to Warsaw, where it is preserved in the Church of the Holy Cross. His tomb in Paris is marked by a monument, raised by popular subscription, and designed by George Sand's son-in-law, M. Clesinger. Chopin's mother and two of his sisters survived him many years. The woman to whom Chopin was indebted for much of his happiness and who was responsible for a great deal of his misery has summed up his worth as a composer thus:

"His genius has never been surpassed in the depth and fulness of sentiment and emotion. He has made an instrument speak the language of the infinite. He preserved an individuality even more powerful than that of Sebastian Bach, more exquisite than that of Beethoven, more dramatic than that of Weber... He combines the three and is himself. Mozart alone is superior, because Mozart had the calm of health and consequently the fulness of life."

No music is better known to both musician and amateur, than Chopin's music, and yet it baffles analysis. He was not governed by the ordinary conventions of harmony and counterpoint and yet his works have beauty and finish, are fanciful, tender, imaginative to the border of the fantastic, and abound in poetry and sentiment. Chopin is essentially a musician of the moderns, and no compositions except the sonatas of Beethoven, can equal in interest his etudes, nocturnes, impromptus, mazurkas and polonaises. In his own sphere of music he is quite as original, revolutionary and epoch-making as Wagner himself, although it is only in recent years that Chopin has been placed where he belongs, in the front rank of composers, side by side with Bach, Beethoven and Wagner. He was a musician of sound training, who gave of the .best that was in him to the work that he did in the field that he had chosen, and he was content to leave the larger forms of composition to other hands. Chopin loved the Polish melodies, and was much influenced by them. The popular music of his country is founded on dance forms and dance rhythms, as one writer had pointed out, and more than a quarter of Chopin's compositions are made up of dance forms. Into his music he often introduced these national airs, which are of a wild, plaintive character, and which have led people to describe hs music as a mingling of the gay and the sad, the tender and the debonair. Chopin revived the old Polish dance, the Polonaise, which is the court dance of his countrymen, and gave in it a glowng picture of Poland, her past glory and her long-hopedfor regeneration. His music is sometimes morbidly intense and passionate, full of pain and desolation, "with a taint of the tomb about it," at other times vivacious and gay. In short, his whole emotional life is mirrored in his music. He wrote a good deal of his music in clusters, which included nocturnes, concert studies, mazurkas, polonaises, waltzes, sonatas, ballades, fantasies, Polish songs and variations on Polish airs, rondos, trios, scherzos, and many other works, all of which as one writer has expressed it "are for stronger hands than his."

During the composer's life his published works were sixty-eight in number, four being without opus numbers. After his death, ten more works were added that had no opus numbers, including seventeen Polish songs, six mazurkas and several other pieces, making in all nearly one hundred compositions.   The earliest work of which there is any mention is the march, before referred to, which he composed when he was ten and dedicated to the Grand Duke Constantine. The next was a rondo for piano, written in 1825, when the composer was sixteen. In 1828 was published his B Flat Minor sonata, called by Liszt, his greatest work, and in which occurs the funeral march which has since become one of the most popular of his compositions. In 1830 appeared his famous variations for the piano with orchestral accompaniment, and among his earlier works were two concertos and the berceuse, a cradle song of wonderful beauty, called by Dumas, the younger, " muted music."

Chopin's nocturnes are more generally admired than any of his works, and with them his name is indissolubly linked. From John Field, the inventor of the form, he undoubtedly obtained some of his ideas, but Chopin's nocturnes are far more beautiful and more elaborate, with a mysterious poetic beauty all their own. The polonaise and the mazurka, the principal Polish dances, became in Chopin's hands, expressions of the national spirit and character of the country which he loved, and these two forms are the most characteristically Polish of any of his works. Huneker calls the mazurkas the dances of the soul, and next to the nocturnes they are the best known of Chopin's works. The framework of the form the composer appropriated from the national dance. The preludes, most of which were written during the composer's sojourn on the island of Majorca, have won for him more praise, perhaps, than any of his works, and all musicians are of the one opinion, that had Chopin written nothing else he still would have been entitled to rank as a genius. To the waltz, which had been raised from the level of a common dance tune by Weber and Schubert, Chopin gave the dignity of an art-form, and in all his works the composer kept away from the ordinary and the hackneyed, giving forth compositions only of beauty, originality, grace and nobility, expressions of his inner life.

As a pianist Chopin was noted for an exquisite grace, a delicate touch and a wonderful depth of sentiment and expression. He had no fiery brilliancy or powerfulness of touch, because his physical condition debarred him from every bodily exertion. He was never a virtuoso in the ordinary sense, and was seriously restricted always by a lack of strength, yet at times he electrified his hearers by the volume of sound his feeble fingers could evoke from the instrument. He was a student of Bach and when practicing for his recitals, he played, said his friends, not Chopin, but Bach over and over and over again.

He never played his compositions twice alike and his execution was said to be the despair and the delight of his hearers. His playing was distinguished by many embellishments and refinements, and he discarded the rigidity of the hand in favor of absolute elasticity.

Chopin had several pupils, but none of them ever attained to any great degree of prominence as performers. The career of Filtsch, the brightest and most promising of all, was cut short by death, when he was thirteen. Of him, Liszt once remarked that when Filtsch made his debut he would retire, because he could never compete with the lad. Chopin's other pupils were Gutmann, Lysberg, Mikuli, Telefsen, George Mathias, and Princess Radziwill, who became under his instruction, an expert pianist, and often appeared in recitals with Liszt and other musicians. His English pupils were Lindsey Sloper and Brinley Richards. Chopin started a method for the piano, but he never lived to finish it.

Chopin has been compared by some writers to Heine, the German poet. James Huneker compares him with Edgar Allen Poe, because " both were morbid, neurotic wraiths of genius," who were "foredoomed to unhappiness and supped their fill of misery." Henry F. Chorley described him as "pale, thin and profoundly melancholy" in appearance and said his touch had in it all the delicacy of a woman's. According to Nieck's biography, Chopin was slender of build, not above medium height, with delicately formed hands, long silky hair, intelligent brown eyes, and a curved aquiline nose, while the melancholy aspect of his face was often relieved by a swe t and gracious smile. He was a man of refined sensibilities and detested vulgarity in every form. He liked fine clothes, was immaculate about his personal appearance, was fond of flowers and loved to have his apartments dainty and furnished in a tasteful and artistic manner. He was devotedly attached to his family, was an ardent patriot always, and while he loved Paris and his friends there, Poland and her wrongs were never long out of his mind. He worked hard at his compositions, laboring long and painstaking over them and literally burning away his slight frame for his art. He was good hearted and liberal and was always assisting his needy countrymen, making many gifts to his friends and often giving lessons free. Poetic distinction, exquisite refinement and a noble bearing are the characteristics apparent in all the portraits of Chopin. Charles K. Salaman in speaking of the composer as "great and lovable in disposition, an inspired composer and an enchanting pianist," only echoed what was said by all who knew him, for his great genius was equaled only by his lovable, unselfish disposition, his remarkable modesty of speech and bearing, and his gentle and gracious manner.