n.d. i) October 1839

Soiree

Paris: Auguste Leo’s Residence

Programme

Piano MusicMr. Chopin 
Piano MusicMr. Moscheles 
Principal Instrumentalists: Messrs. Chopin, Moscheles

———————————

Moscheles: ‘We are living here in the fullest enjoyment of our freedom and independence, and at Leo’s, where I love to make music, I first met his friend Chopin, who had just returned from the country. His appearance is completely identified with his music—they are both delicate and sentimental (schwärmerisch). He played to me in compliance with my request, and I now for the first time understand his music, and all the raptures of the lady world become intelligible. The ad libitum playing, which in the hands of other interpreters of his music degenerates into a constant uncertainty of rhythm, is with him an element of exquisite originality; the hard inartistic modulations, so like those of a dilettante—which I never can manage when playing Chopin’s music—cease to shock me, for he glides over them almost imperceptibly with his elfish fingers. His soft playing being a mere breath, he requires no powerful forte to produce the desired contrasts; the consequence is that one never misses the orchestral effects that the German school demands of a pianoforte-player, but is carried away as by some singer who troubles himself very little about the accompaniment, and follows his own impulses. Enough; he is perfectly unique in the world of pianoforte-players. He professes a great attachment for my music, and at all events knows it perfectly. He played me some of his Studies, and his latest work, Preludes; I played in return several things of my own…. Chopin was lively, cheerful, nay, extremely funny in his imitations of Pixis, Liszt, and a humpbacked pianoforte connoisseur’.