excerpt from 'Selected Correspondance of Fryderyck Chopin' pp. 32-33 (440 words)

excerpt from 'Selected Correspondance of Fryderyck Chopin' pp. 32-33 (440 words)

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Selected Correspondance of Fryderyck Chopin

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Then in one single day I made the acquaintance of Mayseder, Gyrowetz, Lachner, Kreutzer, Schuppanzigh, Merk and Levi-- in short, all the great musicians of Vienna; but that did not stop the orchestra from scowling at me during rehearsal, the main cause being that, having scarcely arrived, I had the nerve to play my own compositions. Well, I began the rehearsal with your [Titus Woyciechowski's] Variations which were to be preceded at the concert by the Krakowiak Rondo. They went well, but I had to begin the Rondo a couple of times and the orchestra got frightfully mixed up and blamed my bad writing. The cause of the confusion was that the rests were written differently above and below the stave, but it was agreed that only the top ones should count. It was partly my fault, but I had expected that they would understand. All the same this inaccuracy infuriated them, for these gentlemen are themselves virtuosi and composers. Anyhow they made such cutting remarks about me that I felt almost like falling ill in preparation for the evening's performance. However, Baron Demmar, the director, noticing this little prejudice on the orchestra's part (by the way, Wurfel insisted on conducting and they don't like him I don't know why) proposed that instead of the Rondo I should improvise. When he said that the orchestra opened their eyes very wide. I was so worked up that in despair I accepted, and who knows but what my bad temper and the risk I was running did not spur me on to a better performance in the evening. Anyway, the sight of the Viennese public did not put me out in the least, and as it is the custom for the orchestra to stay in their usual places [down below] instead of being on the stage, I sat down, pale, with a young man wearing rouge to turn over the pages (he boasted that he had done the same for Moscheles, Hummel, Herz, etc,, when they were in Vienna), in front of a superb instrument, perhaps the finest then in Vienna, made by Graff. Believe me, I played out of sheer desperation. The Variations produced such an effect that although they applauded after each one I had to come out and take another bow at the end. In between, Mlle Veltheim sang - she is Kammersangerin to the King of Saxony. At last the moment came for me to improvise. I don't know how it all happened, but it went so well that the orchestra began to clap and I was again called back to the stage. So ended my first concert.

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excerpt from 'Selected Correspondance of Fryderyck Chopin' pp. 32-33 (440 words)


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