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Letters to Chopin

Discussion in 'Useful resources' started by Terez, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    Does anyone know where I might be able to find letters that were written TO Chopin? I've got the ones he wrote, but I see references to letters that he received in biographies, but can't find a source for them anywhere! :cry:
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I was under the impression that Chopin's sister burned all the letters he received. Or maybe just the letters from Sand.
     
  3. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    Yes, I thought I had read something to that effect (and also that George Sand destroyed most of his letters to her?), but I've been guzzling biographies and commentary books lately. But I have definitely seen reference to a few letters TO Chopin, so maybe a few were somehow saved. I'll have to look into it some more.

    I haven't read the letters since high school, and I've only ever read Liszt and Huneker before now. It's been fun getting back into the subject, after having gotten my brain into academic mode for a couple of years (more so than with my first stint at school, as I've mostly been taking upperclassman courses this time around).
     
  4. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I think I have read every biography on Chopin ever written, and have the Chopin Letters sitting on my nightstand right now. Except, I haven't read it in awhile either. (I dust it off now and then when I'm cleaning) I don't really have time to do any reading lately. :(
     
  5. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    I have been avoiding it because I knew it would suck me in. Well, since I went back to school, anyway - before then the resources weren't really available to me. But wow, there are a lot of biographies written on Chopin. And then there's all the books that are less biographical than the others, but still illuminating.

    But I'm on Christmas break, so I have time. I will be wanting to get back to the library to get more books soon. I wish I had Questia. :cry:
     
  6. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Since you are devouring Chopin-related books, I just went through my bookshelf and pulled out a book that I think you would enjoy. It's titled, "The Parisian Worlds of Frederic Chopin" by William G. Atwood. It's filled with so much information about all the places where Chopin lived, the restaurants, theaters, salons he frequented, and all the people in his life when he lived in Paris. Very interesting book, I hope you can get your hands on a copy.
     
  7. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    It is on my list of things to get from the library tomorrow. :D I seriously don't know how I'm going to carry all these books out - I have a list of 30 to check out, not counting the ones I have now that I need to check out again. There are some that I need that the library doesn't have, also, like the book George Sand wrote about their time in Majorca. The closest library that has it is over 100 miles away. :cry:

    LOL Nevermind, I just saw a review of it:

    Her autobiography was more helpful than that—and that reads sort of like a combination between a philosophy book and a gossip column. Good reading, though. She was clearly one of the most intelligent members of the Paris circle, such as it was.
     
  8. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I think I’d like that gossip column book of hers!

    But what I was thinking about last night is not a book written by Sand or a book about Chopin. Around ten years ago I was like you and was reading all I could find on Chopin. At the same time I wanted to learn more about the time period itself and also know a little more about the people whose names kept appearing in the books about Chopin and Sand. So I read a couple books by Balzac, Hugo and someone else that I can’t remember. The Balzac novel was Cousin Bette (good) and the Hugo novel was The Hunchback of Notre Dame. ( Actually, I think I gave up halfway through ‘Hunchback’ and watched the movie, instead. :lol:) To me it was interesting to read them because their writing styles showed the current trends in those days and in a round-about-way helped me understand Chopin a little more since he was hanging around with these guys. I also read only one Sand novel – the one she wrote when her relationship with Chopin was going sour – titled, Lucrezia Floriani. The writing style of these authors is not easy to read, for me anyway. They are very ‘wordy’ and hard to follow. And Sand sometimes breaks in the middle of a paragraph in her novel which is written in third person and suddenly talks to the ‘dear reader’ in first person. I’m not crazy about that, but still it’s interesting and sheds light on 19th century life, which again in a way helps to know Chopin better. :D (which is all that matters! :lol: )
     
  9. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    Yes, I was debating on whether or not to read Lucrezia Floriani, since she claims that Karol was not based on Chopin at all. I got access to her autobiography through the school online library, which requires a login, but I copied the relevant chapters (only the last two, out of MANY) for my reading convenience, and you can read them here. She starts off in the first of the two chapters talking about other things, but she gets to Chopin soon enough, and only leaves him for brief periods in those two chapters. I have been reading in the biographies that she has been shown to have lied quite a bit in her autobiography, by the reemergence of some letters that she probably believed to be destroyed.
     
  10. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    First, look at the Letters of Liszt in the "Publications" section of this site. There is one specifically adressed to Chopin, one co-written by Liszt and Chopin and several with mentions of Chopin.

    That led me to think that you may be able to find similar letters in collections of letters by other people that Chopin may have had contact with during this time -- Composers, musicians, authors, artists, etc.

    (You might even be able to get a book deal out of it if no one else has collected such correspondances.)
     
  11. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    Yeah, I just read the story of what happened to Chopin's letters that he had saved. His sister was apparently entrusted with them, but for some reason couldn't get them through customs when crossing the Polish border. Which seems highly odd. In any case, she entrusted them with someone else, to distribute to the people they were from (Chopin apparently bundled them separately, and labeled them). Also, he supposedly made a copy of them which he sent to his father before distributing them, and this biographer frustrates me by not making any mention of what happened to that copy (though I assume it is lost). In any case, George Sand destroyed the letters, both written and received, or more likely her son Maurice destroyed the ones concerning Chopin after her death. That includes letters to and from other people that seem to have been purged of mentions of Chopin. Very few of her letters survive that mention him, and a few have only surfaced relatively recently.

    It's going to be a serious pain, tracking these down. :cry:

    The letter from Chopin, Liszt, and Auguste Franchomme, to Ferdinand Hiller, is included in the Chopin letters, though the bits not written by Chopin are not included, barring the places where they write in brief tandem.

    I didn't make it to the library today, but I should make it tomorrow.
     
  12. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I never heard that before about Chopin making copies of his letters and then giving them to his father. Very interesting...

    That Maurice! :x
     
  13. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    No, no...after Chopin died, his sister took his letters with her back to Poland, but then she couldn't get them through the border so she entrusted them to someone else to distribute, and THAT person made copies of them and sent the copy to his father, before distributing them. Other people kept or published their letters after his death (or after their deaths) but Sand or Maurice destroyed most of her Chopin letters. The ones that do survive are VERY juicy! Mostly because she contradicts things she said publicly, in those letters...

    Also, I found the letters! There's a book compiled by Arthur Hedley, called 'Selected Correspondence of Fryderyk Chopin'. I had always overlooked this book, because it says 'selected', while 'Chopin's Letters', which I have, is ostensibly complete. But it only has letters written by Chopin. The Hedley book has letters to AND from, and it is 'selected' because Hedley removed several very short letters that he was quite sure would be of interest to nobody. The book is quite a bit bigger than the mass-marketed version with only the letters Chopin wrote.

    Indeed, I don't like him! It's not Chopin's fault he was a little bit deranged. That's what it takes to make good music. :cry:
     
  14. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Oh, okay - got it. Thanks for clearing that up.

    Did you get to look at that book yet? I think I'll go over to Amazon.com after this and order a copy.
     
  15. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    Yes I did! It is everything I hoped it would be, and more, as it contains some of the important letters between other people that mention him. Also, the story about Ludwika and the letters comes from Chopin, the reluctant romantic by Jeremy Siepmann. It's a good book!
     
  16. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    Okay, now I have gotten to reading some things and had to post again. I just read through the 'Chopin' section of The Great Piano Virtuosos of Our Time from Personal Acquaintance, a pamphlet published by Wilhelm von Lenz, a student of Chopin's. His way of writing is VERY strange. He is the source of the story about Myerbeer and the mazurka, and Chopin going ballistic about it. He alternates between a strange vanity (he often emphasizes how Liszt, Chopin, etc. just LOVED the way he played), and a matter-of-fact humility (such as his relation of the fact that he was forbidden by Chopin to play the 2nd Scherzo, as it was too difficult for him, and von Lenz concedes that Chopin was right). Anyway, I like this quote:

    And this one:

    :shock: :lol:

    But this is my favorite:

     
  17. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    As his wife? Oh, brother....That Lenz fellow does sound rather strange. But I'm just not sure that FC said those exact words on the last quote.

    Thanks Terez - keep posting these juicy tidbits! :D
     
  18. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    He is! He said many other strange things about Chopin being a woman, or writing like one, or something. This is cute too, from the Myerbeer incident:

    LOL. I wonder if WVL had a crush. I will have to get the original German version to see exactly what he said.

    Yes, it's definitely in his words, rather than Chopin's (and of course they have been translated from Chopin's French to WVL's German to the English version I have), but other things from Chopin indicate that von Lenz was probably truthful in relaying the gist of Chopin's words.

    You know I will. :D Last night I finished the Siepmann biography, and the 'Correspondence' book, with all the extra letters—for those wondering, I'd suggesting having both a copy of the Hedley 'Selected Correspondence', and the Voynich 'Letters', simply because the former abridges letters, and the latter omits any letters not written by Chopin himself.
     
  19. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yuck - it does sound like a crush.


    I know - I've seen references to this many times, but well....you know.

    (wish I had time to read....)
     
  20. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    Sometimes it seems like everyone in Paris had the hots for Chopin, though that's partly because everyone is so amazingly flowery in their descriptions of his playing (which Chopin seemed to hate from some people, and love from others...or maybe it depended on his mood).

    This is another interesting bit from Lenz:

    And of course, Gutmann was one of the people that actually was at the death of Chopin.
     

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