excerpt from 'My Musical Life' pp. 24-6 (315 words)

excerpt from 'My Musical Life' pp. 24-6 (315 words)

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My Musical Life

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At each concert some bright particular star appeared as a soloist. I remember a fair-haired girl fragile and apparently with no physique to commend attention on a grand pianoforte in a large room. She came in a light blue muslin dress; sat down hurriedly, and tossed her curls back, looking straight up at the ceiling, whilst her fingers ran quickly in a slight prelude over the keys; then she plunged into a polonaise or something of the kind; it might have been one of poor CHOPIN'S; it probably was, for he was about that time the rage, and quite in the last stage, dying of consumption in London and Scotch drawing-rooms, catching fresh colds every night, faultlessly attired in the miserable dress clothes and exposed shirt-front of the period. General attention had not then been called to his music, but about that time it was beginning to be fashionable in London, which in such matters tardily followed Paris, where CHOPIN had long been adored. I have since been told that MDLLE. CLAUSS afterwards SZAVARDY CLAUSS was cold and mechanical. I only heard her that once, and that was at Willis's Rooms, in, I believe, 1849. We did not think her cold then. From the moment she sat down until she sprang up with that same little flustered, uneasy manner which I noticed on her entrance, our eyes were riveted upon her, and we followed every bar and inflexion of the rapid execution. She seemed to play her piece through as I have sometimes heard RUBINSTEIN without taking breath, and we were forced to hold ours: as the artists sometimes say of a picture, "It is painted with one brush" so MDLLE. CLAUSS, never relaxed her mood or her grip; she held her composer and her audience absolutely fast until she had done with both; then she seemed to push both away like one eager to escape.

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excerpt from 'My Musical Life' pp. 24-6 (315 words)


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