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Life / Biography - general outline / The creative personality



The creative personality of Fryderyk Chopin


1.   Expressions and indications, traces and evidence.
2.   Appearance and style.
3.   Sensitivity and temperament.
4.   Musical Genius.
5.   Talents and skills other than musical.
6.   Acting talent.
7.   Sensitivity to fine arts.
8.   Mind.
9.   Imagination.
10. Feelings. Emotions.
11. Character.
12. Combating ill health.
13. Style of life.
14. Views on the world and people.
15. In the sphere of superior values.
16. In the eyes of his contemporaries.
17. In psychological perspective.
18. Dynamic unity of contradictions.

1. Expressions and indications, traces and evidence.

Chopin's personality is disclosed to us from innumerable sources of various kinds and varying origin. Two such sources, which complement each other, are the most prominent: Chopin's letters and Chopin's music. The reading of the letters brings the silhouette of their author to mind with pedantic detail. It creates a picture of Chopin as a person who walked around with his head in the clouds but also had his feet firmly fixed on the ground. Attentive listening to his music, so divergent at each and every stage of his life, allows us to identify various categories of expression that conveyed the composer's reaction to historical events and changes in the vicissitudes of his own fate. He ranked among the Romantic era artists who considered music to be a kind of language: it constituted - as he himself stated in the introductory parts of his Method for Piano - "an expression of thoughts, impressions and feelings"1 of their author.

All that Chopin himself expressed in words and sounds is followed by what was remembered and written down by the close and more distant witnesses to his life. Their records bring reports and opinions that are "surprised at each other" and contradict each other. Most often, however, they are only seemingly contradictory because they simply reflect the two differing sides of one coin. The most valuable moments and aspects of the personality of the author of ballades and nocturnes come from George Sand's diaries2, even more so from her letters3, from entries in Eugene Delacroix' Diary 4 and the first attempt at a synthesis made by Franz Liszt5.

The whole of the source knowledge about Chopin's personality has been amply supplemented by an unusually vast amount of evidence scattered in various epistolary, journalistic and monographic writings. There was not a single person - of those who had had the good luck to meet the author of the Sonata in b-minor - who did not feel obliged to convey their impressions and feelings to their contemporaries and to the future generations. Those witnesses included: Heinrich Heine and Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Ferdinand Hiller and Hector Berlioz, Honoré Balzac and Marquis Astolph de Custine, Wilhelm von Lenz and Solange Clésinger, Julian Fontana, Wojciech Grzymała and Cyprian Kamil Norwid. Their voices created a colourful portrait, marked by its distinctive character and verity.

2. Appearance and style.

One might start with quoting the facts. According to the personal description data entered in a passport issued to Chopin on 7 July 1837 in connection with his visit to London: his eyes were grey-blue, his hair, brows and beard were blond and his complexion - fair, his face was oval, which might have meant ‘harmoniously rounded'. His height was medium; it is not known whether in result of measurement or assessment it was defined at 1metre 70 centimetres.

In the memory of his pupils and friends, his image was subject to modulations stemming from the difference in time and moment of his life when somebody's memory made a record of his appearance. Wilhelm von Lenz remembers the first impression from the beginning of the eighteen forties: "A young man of medium height, slender, skinny, his face of matt paleness with very distinctive features and unusually exquisite manners. So far, I have never met such an elegant person in my life.6

Chopin's pupil, Zofia Rosengardt, saw her teacher in a similar but not identical light. She described her first impression - not without a hint of disappointment - in her diary: "I have always imagined him to be tall, slim, pale with black hair and a large collar; I saw a minute silhouette with such beautiful blond curls, and such noble features so full of expression but so pale, wan and thin that it seemed the smallest breath of wind would topple him over.7

In all known recorded reminiscences, Chopin appears as if in a nostalgic aura. About half a century after making his acquaintance, another of his pupils, Georges Mathias, remembered Chopin as follows: "I see Chopin resting his back against a chimney place mantelpiece. I see his face, delicate clear cut features, his not very big eyes sparkling, radiant and shimmering, his smile of unspeakable charm". In the conclusion one reads: "It does not seem that there has ever existed such harmony between the author and his work".8

A picture of Chopin during his "last but one" days was created in Black Flowers by Cyprian Kamil Norwid, the poet. In Chopin's outward appearance, he noticed and recorded the signs of the human being's passage rite into immortality: "In the shadow of the bed with curtains, resting on the pillows [...] he was very beautiful, as always displaying something finite and monumental even in the smallest everyday life movements".9

An especially spontaneous, lively and authentic description of Chopin was created by Franz Liszt to whom Chopin dedicated his Etudes op.10. Admittedly, it comes from a book published after his friend's death but it conveys a picture of Chopin as Liszt remembered him to be in the eighteen thirties, at the beginning of his years in Paris: "The look in his blue eyes was rather bright than dreamy, the smile was gentle and it never turned bitter, his complexion had some transparent delicacy, his wavy blond hair surrounded the face that was graced with a shapely nose. He was not very tall, his movements were quick and graceful, his voice had a slightly muffled quality, sometimes becoming very soft; the whole of the posture was marked by some innate sense of elegance and refinement."10

Everything that was retained in the memory of all those making notes of current impressions and remembering the past ones was also commemorated in visual records. The portraits drawn or painted by painters, and ladies engaging in painting, provide a precise supplement to the composer's silhouette created with words. Such portraits were painted throughout his whole life, starting from 1829 (1826?). They offer a variety of likenesses which differ from each other not only because of the passage of time: some of them seem closer than others to the inner truth hidden under the portrayed composer's appearance.

The pictures which intuitively seem to be the most authentic ones create a sequence: Ambroży Mieroszewski (1829), Eugene Delacroix (1830-40), Ary Scheffer (1847), Antoni Kolberg (1848) and Teofil Kwiatkowski (1843-49). Of special importance are the two portraits by Louis August Bisson in techniques of early photography (1847 and 1849); there is no doubt as to their authenticity but they only reflect the truth of the artist's "last days". Other portraits, drawn from time to time by Chopin's lady friends: Eliza Radziwiłł, Maria Wodzińska, George Sand and Paulina Viardot - create just a path by the road. The image of Chopin that they created unfortunately appears to be in a slightly sentimental vein.

3. Sensitivity and temperament.

Witnesses' reports are on the whole unanimous: Chopin had a dynamic personality. His was the sphere governed by tension which also provided space for struggling. George Sand expressed it in a slightly hyperbolical conclusion: "... he was a sum of noble contradictions, seemingly irreconcilable, which only God himself could combine, and which had their own, unique logic".11

That tension manifested itself, first of all, between his inner and outer world. His exceptional, unique refinement together with impeccable upbringing and manners would not let him disclose much of what he resented or considered to be deeply private. Therefore, various situations occurred frequently, such as the one he mentioned in his letter from Vienna: "In the drawing room I pretend to be calm but on my return [to my rooms] I storm it all out on my piano."12 Or, another one, such as he revealed in a letter from Paris: "I am joyful on the outside [...] but inside something is murdering me..."13

However, the most vital tension built up in the sphere of his inner world. It grew between the impulses of unusual sensitivity, a fiery temperament and internalized ethical principles. It was mainly concerned with the sphere of eroticism.

According to extensive evidence Chopin was deeply sensitive to women's charm. If one was to believe George Sand, "his soul, tender and sensitive to all beauty, to each charm and each smile, was incredibly easily impressed", and "his heart was full of fire and tenderness to three beauties in the course of one evening"14 . As reported by Emilia Borzęcka-Hoffmann "almost every evening he was impressed by some beautiful eyes" (1900). Solange Clésinger remembered him to be "as tender and passionate as his music" (1895). Also H. Berlioz and W. von Lenz had a similar picture of him. True, there was a time when - according to Antoni Orłowski's view expressed in a letter to his parents in Poland - "Chopin charmed all French women and made all Frenchmen jealous"15 but there was not a shred of womanizing in it. In the opinion of Franz Liszt, Chopin was able to sublimate sensual impressions and transform them into the sphere of the ideal.

4. Musical Genius.

Chopin ranked among those very few about whom one can say that they were "born musicians."

For instance, in the opinion of F. Hiller, "no one ever touched the keys in such a way"16 which meant an absolute and unique pianistic perfection. In a view expounded by H. Heine, who summarized the notions of their contemporaries, Chopin outdistanced the most eminent pianists of the epoch17, and he was taught to play the piano only by Wojciech Żywny, a comparatively unknown Czech violinist who settled down to live in Warsaw.

Chopin studied the principles of composition with Józef Elsner with great intensity (6 lessons of counterpoint a week) but only for a few years and nowhere else besides. According to the evidence left by George Sand his creative process was an act of special spontaneity. As she vouched he "composed in one impulse of his thought. Her writings convey an admittedly over-poeticized picture of Chopin at work but her portrayal was based on everyday observation: "Chopin's creation was spontaneous and miraculous. He found it without seeking it, without foreseeing it. It came on his piano suddenly, complete, sublime, or it sang in his head during a walk, and he was impatient to play it to himself."18

The description continues disclosing the effort and agony that went into the finishing of a composition. But there is no doubt that the moment of the birth of a composition was accompanied not by calculation stemming from professional skills but by spontaneity which testified to a considerable role of the natural genius.

Towards the compositions created in such a way Chopin remained critical almost beyond measure. For he would not indulge in uncontrolled spontaneity. He also experienced a few bouts of crisis: "I do everything in my power to work, - he confessed in self-mockery to A. Franchomme, - but with little success and if it goes on, my compositions will not resemble the chirruping of a warbler nor even the sound of porcelain being broken."19 Each of such crises was overcome and Chopin emerged from them like a "born genius": still stronger and as if reborn.

5. Talents and skills other than musical.

Chopin possessed several talents of which two come to the fore: writing and acting

Chopin never wrote poetry; he did not leave any diaries like Hector Berlioz or critical essays like Robert Schumann or Claude Debussy, or a novel like Karol Szymanowski. He left only several hundred letters. They offer a picture of his everyday life. They were written in a simple, natural and pronouncedly individual language that was as far as possible from the usually emphatic and exalted utterances of the Romantic epoch. They are full of pertinent and precise detail, acute power of observation of the realities of the world and deep and often bitter reflection on life. That reflection appears from time to time only and as if en passant and frequently tinged with irony.

- About gossip: "It will pass, however, and our tongues will rot but will not destroy the soul" (to Julian Fontana, 8 August 1839).

- About excessive care:" They are going to suffocate me with their goodness and, out of politeness, I will not object" ( to Wojciech Grzymała, 1 October 1848).

- About linguistic ineptitude: "writing is a torture to me...there are so many things that the pen would not convey" (to W. Grzymała, 22 June 1849).

- About financial situation: "I am to give five lessons today; do you think I'm going to make a fortune? The carriage and white gloves cost more" (to Dominik Dziewanowski, mid January 1833).

- About weather: "The sky is beautiful like your soul, the earth is black like my heart" (to W. Grzymała, 3 December 1838).

- About health: "I was ... very ill: I got a cold despite warm weather of 18 degrees Centigrade, roses, oranges, palm trees and figs" (to J. Fontana, 3 December 1838).

- About the state of his spirit: "I feel like a violin string E attached to a peasant double bass" (to August Franchomme, 6 August 1848).

- A riposte: "Woyciechowski wrote to me and told me to compose an oratorio[...], and I wrote back asking him why he was setting up a sugar factory and not a Benedictine monastery or a Dominican nunnery" (to J. Fontana, 8 August 1839).

Chopin's letters aroused lively interest among other Polish writers due to their simplicity, elegance and individuality of style as well as the shrewdness and depth of thought. The Polish writers who expressed their admiration were Henryk Sienkiewicz, Maria Dąbrowska and Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz.

A special position among Chopin's writings is taken by his so-called Stuttgart "diary written at night" in answer to the fall of Warsaw in 1830 which disclosed an eruption of emotions full of expression. Its tone and meaning bore comparison with Adam Mickiewicz's Great Improvisation in "The Forefathers".

6. Acting talent.

It emerged from time to time causing astonishment. It was of a character genre and manifested itself at family and social gatherings. Chopin first took part in little comedy performances staged as non-professional projects in Warsaw. In Vienna and in Paris he made himself known as the author of the so-called polichinelles that is wordless imitations of mimicked characters. At Nohant he was one of the organizers and initiators of amateur puppet performances. Mentions and descriptions of his appearances as an "actor" appeared on the pages of many diaries and reminiscences of the time. Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz remembers Chopin as "one of the first pianists in Europe" who is also "joyful, witty and can impersonate anybody."20 F.Liszt was amazed at the ability to mimic the behaviour and the style of piano playing of pianists popular in Paris. George Sand recorded her memory of Chopin "suddenly turned into a phlegmatic Englishman, a bothersome old beggar, a ridiculous and sentimental English lady or a greedy Jew."21 Marceli Antoni Szulc included further characters and situations into his catalogue of Chopin's acting successes such as an imitation of an imaginary dialogue performed in a room next door.22

Chopin's contemporaries were convinced that his acting talent surpassed an amateur, non-professional level. In one of the novels of the time, H. Balzac portrayed a character "endowed with such talent of mimicry, imitating other people, that pianist Chopin possesses to a very high degree".23

7. Sensitivity to fine arts.

During his school years at the Warsaw Lycée, Chopin learned drawing from Zygmunt Vogel, a master of painting. However, several preserved sketches and caricatures done by Chopin do not testify to his talent in this sphere of art. But there is one interesting fact that every time he arrived at a metropolis during his European journeys, he always visited not only the local opera theatre but also an art gallery. After a visit to the Dresden Gallery he wrote down some very telling words:"If I lived here I would go there every week because there are some paintings at the sight of which I seem to hear music."24 No research has been undertaken as yet to analyze Chopin's obvious sensitivity to synaesthetic phenomena.

Among his favourite painters he named: Fra Angelico, Raphael, Jean-August Ingres and Ary Scheffer. His closest friend was Eugène Delacroix. George Sand recorded a conversation the two artists held on the subject of the function of colour and chiaroscuro - light and shadow - in both arts.

Chopin disclosed his exceptional sensitivity to colour while describing his first impressions of Majorca in a letter: "The sky is like turquoise, the sea like lapis lazuli, the hills like emeralds, the air like in heaven."25

8. Mind.

The nature of Chopin's mind is usually defined as of "enlightenment" type. It is shaped by two influences: the turn of mind of his father Mikołaj, who was an enlightened and reasonable representative of that formation, and the atmosphere and structure of education provided by the Warsaw Lycée under Rector Samuel Bogumił Linde, a Polish Encyclopaedist, a scientist of European standing.

Chopin happened to chance upon and be a witness to the moment of the changing of the cultural guard: his secondary school years coincided with the beginning of a dispute between the Enlightenment classicists and a dynamic group of Polish Romantic movement representatives. During his studies at the Warsaw University Main School he lived in the sphere of influence as much of Ludwik Osiński as Kazimierz Brodziński, as much of Józef Elsner as Karol Kurpinski.

The Enlightenment kind of thinking took root in the deeper layers of Chopin's intellectual make-up because it was experienced earlier. The letters he wrote during his travels astonish one with the matter-of-fact, and precise seeing of the world. His descriptions of Berlin, Vienna, London or Paris amaze because of his detachment from the events and his sober opinions. "Paris is everything you want - you can have a good time, be bored, laugh, cry, do everything you may like and nobody will even glance at you because there are thousands of others doing exactly the same as you and each does it in their own way. And I do not know if there is a place in which there are more pianists than in Paris, and more fools and virtuosos than here."26

Such matter-of-fact and free from illusion approach to the conditions of everyday existence also marks Chopin's letters to his publishers. In his constant battles with them, he drew strength from his high self-esteem and the importance of his music and he did happen to be uncompromising at times. Also his detachment towards himself left a mark in his letters through his sense of humour and self-irony: "Three doctors, the most eminent on the whole island: the first sniffed at what I had coughed up, the second tapped at the place I coughed it up from, the third poked about and listened while I coughed. The first said I was dead, the second - that I was dying, and the third that I was about to die [...] thanks to Providence, today I am my old good self."27


At first Chopin's imagination was an equal partner to his mind: a Romantic imagination juxtaposed with an Enlightenment turn of mind. With time, his imagination was becoming more and more of a main force defining the creative realization. It made the course of the creative development more dynamic. It was the imagination that was responsible for rondos and variations giving way to ballades and scherzos and it made the early dictate of the brillant style disappear in order to open the space for the dynamic structure of both great sonatas. About the first of them, Robert Schumann - despite all his great admiration for Chopin's art - said "This is not music anymore."28 Chopin's imagination surpassed the limits of Schumann's vision.

Chopin's creative path indicates early on how his creative work was at first determined by achieving independence and subsequently not just taking advantage of this, but gaining control of it as well. The stage of maturity and then of masterly brilliance and fulfilment brought balance to both tendencies: that of keeping to the principles of the idiom rooted in classical art and giving in to Romantic fascinations and emotions.

There were several times that Chopin did experience moments when his imagination seemed to carry him away, obliterating the boundaries of consciousness. One such moment - caused by a sudden romance infatuation - almost resulted in his being run over by horses. The second one affected Chopin in Vienna where he spent Christmas eve night in St Stephen's Cathedral: "Behind me a tomb, under me a tomb. Only above me there was no tomb to be found. A gloomy harmony ran around in my head."29 The next moment came on a night in Stuttgart when the news reached him of Warsaw's fall. His imagination ran wild with him, almost to the limit; he found peace and relief on the pages of his Diary only after writing down whole sequences of macabre and surrealist phrases brought about by his anxiety about the fate of his beloved: " A corpse is not any worse than me. A corpse also does not have a lover!... Has a corpse got calves?..."30

The most extreme instance of imagination escaping the control of the mind befell Chopin within the walls of the monastery in Valldemosa. George Sand remembered it as follows:"He could not subdue his restless imagination. Even when he was well, the monastery seemed full of apparitions and ghosts."31 Some echo of the Valldemosa events reappeared during one of his concerts in Scotland, during the performance of Sonata in B flat minor: " I was about to start playing the march - Chopin confided to Solange Clésinger - when I suddenly saw ... the cursed apparitions emerging from a half opened piano, the ones that appeared to me in the monastery on one dreary evening."32

It may well be, that Ballade in F major (in its final version) and Scherzo in C sharp minor have their genesis in those moments when the composer's imagination endeavoured to attain full independence.

10. Feelings. Emotions.

While reading Chopin's letters and listening carefully to his music, one realizes that both sources reveal some four kinds of emotional bonds that make themselves felt in them, and are also confirmed on the pages of diaries and in the reminiscences of his contemporaries, the witnesses to the times: with family, his loves, friends and patriotic. They were all rather strong, deep and lasting. But Chopin's character would not let him disclose them too easily. George Sand complained of it:"Nothing has ever been disclosed of his inner life because only his works are an imprecise and hazy reflection of all that goes on inside him, for he never puts the torments and worries of his soul into words."33 F. Liszt voiced a similar sentiment: "Even the closest friends have not been granted access to his soul."34

They were both slightly mistaken: his letters to Polish friends confirm that in all vital moments of his existence Chopin revealed his most intimate thoughts openly, verging on honest confession: "In the meantime, where has my art disappeared? What have I wasted my heart on?"35

Plenty of evidence indicates that Chopin's emotional base was created of family feelings. They might have really been "Chopin's second religion" - as Eleonora Ziemięcka said. "His cradle was surrounded with such love and cordiality - she proved her point - that those natural bonds grew to dimensions unknown to ordinary people."36 F. Liszt's opinion expressed the same idea in different words:"The environment in which Chopin came to this world and then grew up, as if in a safe and cosy nest, was imbued with the atmosphere of harmony, peace and diligence, and such examples of simplicity, piety and gentleness have always been dearest and sweetest to him."37

Among people Chopin showed his family feelings to, a special place was invariably occupied by his mother, Justyna. His sister Ludwika, was the closest to him of his sisters and with time she became his confidante with whom he was able to talk openly.

His feelings of love evolved but they were characterised by Petrarchian idealism right from the start. Fascination was accompanied by reserve; devotion and fidelity were the highest values. The feelings were subject to sublimation, poetic transformation and ennobling idealization. It is quite possible, that such feelings left their trace on the music composed at the time. Some reflection of Chopin's feelings for his first love, Konstancja Gładkowska, can be detected in the music of the Piano Concerto in F-minor: "because, perhaps unfortunately, I have already found my ideal that I have served faithfully for nearly half a year, never exchanging a word but just dreaming about, to whom I have offered, as a keepsake, the Adagio of my Concerto."38

A visible trace of his feelings for Maria Wodzińska, to whom Chopin proposed and with whom he hoped to set up a family, is visible in the nostalgic Waltz A flat major written in Dresden in 1835, "pour Mlle Marie". It does not testify to any deeper emotional commitment: Chopin left it among his unpublished works.

A whole gamut of emotions from fascination through passion to friendly love, streaked with jealousy impossible to overcome, accompanies the relationship with George Sand. The constant tension and its dramatic course must have undoubtedly left their trace on Chopin's creative work. It mainly concerns the years when he attained full maturity and artistry. In the sphere of the emotional aura of that relationship, the absolute majority of Chopin's masterpieces came into existence in the years 1838 - 46.

One more instance of the emotion of love experienced by Chopin can be mentioned, although still only as a sheer conjecture: the short-lived relationship, later strengthened by friendly tenderness, with Delfina Potocka. If it existed at all, it must have probably been in 1832 - 35, between Paris and a villa on the Lake d'Enghien. The letters turned out to be an apocryphal work but there is ample evidence that the beautiful and talented lady, "spoilt by Paris", introduced Chopin to emotions and sensations in the sphere of amore profana.

Chopin's letters provide exceptionally ample evidence to the depth and course of his feelings of friendship. Here appears a sequence of five names: Jan Białobłocki, Tytus Wojciechowski, Jan Matuszyński, Julian Fontana and Wojciech Grzymała. Changes in the relations between friends were only imposed by circumstances beyond their control. J. Białobłocki and J.Matuszyński died. T. Woyciechowski went to live at his family estate in Poturzyn, Poland. J. Fontana left for America and W. Grzymała was the only one to stay. Towards all of them Chopin was open, cordial and sincere. He wrote to J. Fontana from Majorca: "You will find my answer to your truthful and candid letter in the second polonaise [C flat minor op. 40]. It is not my fault that I am like a mushroom that is poisonous [...]. I know that I have never been of any use to anybody - nor of much use to myself."39

Chopin's patriotic feelings surfaced suddenly as a reaction to the outbreak of the uprising in Warsaw in 1830 which he experienced from a distance as he was visiting Vienna at the time. "You are going to war, return a colonel. Fare thee well. Why can't I at least be a drummer boy!"40 All his Warsaw colleagues and friends took part in the uprising and Chopin, following the wishes of his parents, stayed in Vienna. That fact became a trauma and stayed in his subconsciousness, determining the strength and violence of subsequent reactions to events in his country. They were the strongest at the fall of the uprising and again when new hopes were raised that came into existence in the atmosphere of the Spring of Nations. "It won't come without horrors, but at the end of it all, there must be a great, a magnificent Poland; a true Poland."41 Chopin awaited Poland's resurgence year after year.

11. Character.

The most concise description of the complex and multi-faceted nature of Chopin's character was given by Solange Clésinger in her late reminiscence: "A person of great integrity, honesty, disinterestedness, generosity, total devotion."42 Undoubtedly, she expressed her own feelings but she was an eyewitness to Chopin's life for many years.

Each of the qualities enumerated above is confirmed by evidence. In other people's opinion he was considered to be a man of spotless reputation (T. Kwiatkowski). His generousness towards his fellow- countrymen suffering adversities was remembered by H. Berlioz in his posthumous tribute: "He did not leave any wealth: the unfortunate Poles, who were so often brought to his door by life in exile, knew what that fortune was spent on."43 His diligence, concentration on his work, also came to be admired. George Sand was under the impression that "he felt he was idle when he did not take it upon himself to carry the burden of hard work."44 An exacting person towards the others, he was, first of all very demanding of himself and his work. He left a considerable number of his compositions among inedita - for he did not think them fit to be published.

Two more features of his character were noticed and defined precisely: his straightforwardness and aristocratic nature. F. Liszt believed that Chopin "consistently avoided the winding paths of life" and in respect of his attitude "he was treated like a prince."45

12. Combating ill health.

This topic is discussed in medical circles from time to time because - according to some specialists - the diagnosis of his illness and cause of death are still an open question.

Over thirty doctors took care of Chopin - some of them eminent. Indications are that, from the time he was nine years old, Chopin fought tuberculosis that at times stayed latent in remission and then reappeared in acute form. According to Jean B. Cruveilhier, MD, Chopin lived with that illness for thirty years. But there are also several other, different interpretations. George Sand hinted in her memoirs: "He was considered consumptive.[P.M.] Gaubert, MD examined him and swore that it was not the case."46

Chopin's own attitude towards his illness, the detachment he treated it with - was admired. Sometimes, however, as a result of personal range of experience, the situation was falsely assessed. H. Berlioz was carried away by emphasis when he stated that Chopin" was dying all his life". Also Juliusz Żuławski tried to base his film, La note Bleu, on a false interpretation of Chopin's health. For in Chopin's life there were times not affected by illness, as for instance that phase when he experienced especially passionate and intense feeling of love (in the summer of 1838). But there were also periods when his state of health demanded no less than proper nursing care. The alternating times of good health and recurrences of symptoms of the illness shaped the character of the passing years of his life.

He never gave in to pessimistic moods. However, he did confess:" Sometimes I would give a few years of my life for a few hours in the sun." But he added:"I have outlived so many people, stronger and younger than I, that I think I am immortal."47

13. Style of life.

Chopin's style of life lent a special character to all three main spheres of his activities: as a pianist, a teacher and a composer.

His was a high-class style, distinguished and elegant, determined by the world in which he happened to live but also natural to him as he was a well-mannered, refined man: "I have entered the highest society and find myself among ambassadors, dukes and ministers and I do not know how that can be for I have not tried to work my way up." The subsequent phrases in his letter to somebody in his home country testify to his not forgetting to keep his distance: "That is what I need most now because it is from there that good taste is supposed to come; your talent is immediately greater if you play in the English or Austrian Embassy, and your playing is immediately better when you are a protégé of Duchess Vaudemont."48 That is why entering the world of the Paris salons and high life he could remain true to himself for he was immune to their influence.

"I never see Chopin at all. He is up to his ears in the aristocratic swamp," Stephen Heller informed Robert Schumann. "He is elegant to the highest degree [...]. He prefers exalted salons to lofty mountaintops [...] but he composes - which is simply incomprehensible - in total contrast, that is, very beautifully and deeply."49

Since the forties, Chopin's particular lifestyle became fixed: he composed in Nohant in summer and autumn, and spent winter and spring in Paris, dividing his days into parts: the time he gave to his pupils and evenings spent at the opera, at the theatre and, as before, in salons.

According to George Sand: "He had about twenty or thirty salons that he had to charm himself in person."50 That was also the very world from which his beautiful and titled lady students of music came, the same world that one could meet at Chopin's own concerts at the Pleyel Concert Room (1841, 1842, 1848); its participants were defined by F. Liszt in his famous review as "the elite of blood, talent, beauty and fortune."51

At the same time, during social and friendly meetings, the course of private life events took place. The most faithful friends included E. Delacroix and P. Viardot as well as the Czartoryski family, the inhabitants of Hôtel Lambert. Emilia Borzęcka made a note that during one of the evenings "on the Isle" there was nobody to play music for dancing, so "Chopin sat down at the piano. He played all evening and the young people danced merrily." He was one of those people about whom it could be said that they were ‘game for anything".

F. Liszt was able to confirm S.Heller's statement that truly " the salons have not left a trace on Chopin's spirit." 52

14. Views on the world and people.

Demanding and critical of himself, he was also critical of the others, especially when important things came into play. His concentrating on his own music and piano did not mean that he was indifferent to phenomena outside his sphere of interest.

In Vienna he held discussions with Johann Malfatti on the subject of the essence of a composer's vocation ("it is in vain that he is trying to convince me that each artist is a cosmopolite," 20 January 1831). In his letters from Paris, he criticized severely a conventional arrangement of national songs done by Wojciech Sowiński ("If I could ever imagine charlatanism or nonsense in art, it has never been more perfect than now" (25 December 1831). A few years later, he would also criticize the ineptitude of the piano versions of folk songs written by Oskar Kolberg ("good intentions but the mind a little narrow," 28 March 1846). He did this being aware that national music demanded much more from a composer. He felt that he himself was quite close to finding a worthy solution to the problem. ("You know how much I wanted to be able to feel, and have partly come to feel our national music...," 25 December 1831).

While assessing people he formulated sober, clear-headed opinions, he did not make any allowances. At times he could even be cruel. "Decent but such an oaf" - he said about Józef Nowakowski, a colleague of Józef Elsner. "An unbearable sow that is rooting around, looking for truffles among roses" - about his own assistant when she abused trust placed in her (24 December 1841).

When a pupil did not display full effort, good will and talent, the reaction from the maestro was a lesson whose character was defined by its name: "leçons orageuses" (stormy lessons).

15. In the sphere of superior values.

The kind of Chopin's personality was responsible for the fact that despite their superior character those values were practically invisible due to the very discreet way he expressed his feelings. He felt aversion towards ostentation or demonstration of emotions and deepest convictions. He never betrayed them, not even once, in any title of his compositions, a programme added to his music or a dedication. One has to hear those values in his music oneself, find them in his letters and see in them in facts of his life. Three of those superior values come to the fore: home, home country and faith.

The family home provided support and was a point of permanent reference to Chopin who was all alone in the wide world. An interpretation that makes the "trauma of parting" a dominant feature of the structure of Chopin's personality certainly goes too far.53 It was a noticeable fact that outside his home (and home country) he felt "a stranger"54, which was confirmed by F. Liszt. In Vienna he confessed that he felt "orphaned" (1830), in Paris he stressed his contact with Poles: " we are all fellow countrymen" (1831). The constant correspondence between him and his family at home which carried detailed information and mutual description of situations and events made an impression of co-participation. "I always feel I am with one foot at home with you."55 Love and respect for his family home pervade both volumes of letters.

Once in his life he tried to set up a home of his own. Plans to marry M. Wodzińska were abandoned leaving a trace, a bundle of letters on which he wrote "my misery." The relationship with George Sand gave Chopin a kind of a refuge. Sharing life with a great writer and her children was to create a substitute for his own home. Admittedly, quite early on a feeling crept into Chopin's mind that "it was something else that he dreamt of."56 Yet the subsequent parting was painful to him. Losing George Sand meant losing home.

Words such as the "country" or "Poland" rarely appeared on the pages of his letters. But when they did, they meant and stood for the dearest and highest values, always in a nostalgic or heroic context: "This evening I played at my place and hummed the songs from somewhere on the River Vistula (15 April 1847). "I can still remember how they sing in Poland" (30 October 1848). "God knows how it will all go so that Poland can come into existence again..." (4 April 1848).

None of all those people who came into contact with Chopin's music ever doubted that Poland was present in it despite that lack of defined titles, programmes or dedications. Astounding, indeed, was the explicit interpretation by various artists. Not only was it obvious to Norwid: "There was Poland in it."57 In an independent but similar way did Lenz express his impressions: "He gave Poland, he composed Poland" ["Er gab Polen, er komponierte Polen"].58 According to Liszt," Chopin appeared among us anointed with everything most holy that Poland has got."59 Heine believed that "Poland gave him a knightly sprit and a feeling for suffering in her history."60 Hyperbolic interpretation of Schumann seems to surpass all the others in its clear-cut nature: "Chopin's works are cannons hidden in flowers."61

The greatest discretion surrounded the third of Chopin's superior values: faith. Following one-sided and groundless interpretations by some biographers (especially F. Hoesick), an opinion became established about Chopin's indifference concerning matters of faith, and even about his atheism. Facts point to the opposite.

Faith in God and respect for religious tradition Chopin acquired at home, mainly thanks to and from his mother to whom he was deeply attached. By means of emotional reasoning he internalized his faith. It had its place in a strictly private sphere. But always, when it came to the fore, there was no doubt that it existed. " For a week now I have not written anything, neither for people nor for God"- he disclosed to T. Woyciechowski.62 When he wrote dates in his letters he never forgot to put in names of important current holidays: Christmas or Corpus Christi.

But the most convincing evidence comes - paradoxically - from George Sand herself. While remembering in her Histoire de ma vie the years of her relationship with Chopin she fully did him justice as a great artist but could not refrain from formulating a single but vital charge. It concerned his "closing up in Catholic dogmas". And she added, not without affection: "He used to say to me: I suppose, nay, I am sure that she loves God."63

16. In the eyes of his contemporaries.

The unique structure of Chopin's creative personality was interpreted by his contemporaries first of all through his music. On the basis of opinions scattered in reviews, diaries, reminiscences and letters one can draw up an individual and permanent set of features that constitute the characteristics of that personality's essence.

The word that dominated the judgements and opinions in the history of reception of Chopin's music was - right from the start - the word "originality", together with its many synonyms: rarity, individuality, exclusivity, novelty, exceptionality and distinctiveness. It was first used by Maurycy Mochnacki in his review of Concerto in F minor for Piano and Orchestra.64 François Joseph Fétis expressed his amazement in the following words: "There is soul in these melodies, there is fantasy in these passages, and there is originality everywhere."65 The opinion formulated by F. Liszt read: "He knows how to give new forms to new ideas."66

The word "originality" was followed by other terms denoting characteristic features that emphasized the attribute of uniqueness.

Sense of freedom, refusal to imitate, his particular ‘spiritual independence'. "I will not be a copy of Kalkbrenner"67, Chopin declared on meeting the music of the time in the West. R. Schumann called him "the most audacious poetic spirit of our time."68

Truth of expression. A complete lack of hollow pathos and empty emphatic stress, absence of all insincerity. That quality was noticed by Mendelssohn (1834) and considered by Beethoven's pupil, Anton Schindler, to be the prime characteristic feature of Chopin (1840).

Poetic mood, evident in the kind of sound. Generally noticed. Meant refusal of all things banal, trivial and prosaic.

Perfection of the métier. This will become the main quality in the opinion of the 20th c. Neo-classicists but already Chopin's contemporaries were bewildered at a complete lack (from the time he reached maturity) of poor compositions. The manuscripts of over 60 compositions imperfectly finished were to be fed to fire.

Solidarity with the fate of his home country. In everything Chopin wrote, the echo of events concerning Poland could be heard. It was Berlioz's sentiment, expressed hyperbolically in the obituary that with his music Chopin "sang about the suffering of his distant home country, his beloved Poland, that was always so close to victory and was always defeated."69 In the opinion of Lenz, Chopin even was "the only political pianist of his time."70

Music is the shape of love. This metaphor by C.K. Norwid, the author of Prometheidion, was the result of the poet's listening to Chopin's music. It was confirmed in the opinions of their other contemporaries. The reviewers of Chopin's concerts wrote: "He wants to speak to the heart, not to attract the eye. He wants to love, not to conquer."71 "He touches upon the most intimate chords in the heart."72 In the opinion of Astolph de Custine "Art comprehended in such a way can integrate people who are separated by the realities of life." "People love and understand each other - he maintained - through Chopin."73

17. In psychological perspective.

A study on the subject of the personality of the Sonata in B flat minor's composer brought renown to Stanisław Przybyszewski, the author of the concept of "naked soul."74 The text, however, went down mainly as a part of the history of Expressionist and Modernist literature.

Scientific analyses made from the point of view of structurally oriented psychology first began to appear in the twenties of the 20th century. They revealed the complexity of the substance of the research problem and diversity of opinions as well as a rather spectacular disparity between the picture of Chopin's creative personality formed in the minds of the listeners to his music and a whole set of clinical classifications.

As a result of comparative testing of Chopin's psyche against theoretical typological systems Chopin appears as:

- a type determined by the so-called "mother complex" (P.Germain 1928),

- a type with schizothymic tendencies such as autism, hypersensitivity, persona (Edouard Ganche 1935),

- a type with psychostenic tendencies such as an inclination to vacillation, doubt and perfectionism (Pierre Janet),

- an asthenic and schizoidal type according to Ernst Kretschmer typology (Stefania Łobaczewska 1947),

- an introvert type in Carl Gustav Jung's classification (Stefania Łobaczewska 1947),

- a type with introvertive tendencies of the "Moi abadonné" character (Leopold Szondi),

- a type determined by "oral fixation" (Albin Michel 1950),

- an affective type according to M. [?] Weber classification (Alphons Silberman 1963),

- a type determined by a specific set of complexes (Jean-Charles Gille-MMaissani 1978) and

- a pure leptosomic (asthenic) type after both parents; at the same time also a classic schizoid (Czesław Sielużycki 1983).75

In each of the above analyses and definitions Chopin was seen from a different point of view, first of all, on account of a diversified examination perspective adopted for research. The differences in results however, were mainly determined by the rich diversity and some particular combination of contradictory features of the very subject of research.

18. Dynamic unity of contradictions.

Among many texts that go into the making of the history of the reception of Chopin's music one can find some attempts to define the essence and character of that music in a very special way: by means of a two-fold structure of oxymoron. Both components "are surprised at each other" but create a unity despite being contradictory to each other.

For H. Heine Chopin's music was "painful bliss"; for F. Liszt it was "bitter happiness"; for H. Balzac it was "expression of pain in Raphaelan perfection"; for James Huneker it was "heroism of defeat" and "a smile through tears"; for Frederic Nietzsche "a combination of the southern passion with the seriousness of the North; for Alfred Einstein it was "bitter joy".

Also Chopin's art of pianistic interpretation was characterized as one that, in a paradoxical way, combined extremes and contradictions. F. Hiller remembered that Chopin "was able to integrate some strictly rhythmic playing with freedom in such an unusual way that his melodies always seemed to be creations of improvisation." In the opinion of F. Liszt, Chopin's "expression was of the highest rank but it was controlled". H.Berlioz maintained that "there is passion in this music but it is self-reserved".

In all these instances mentioned here, the idea is that there is a unity of opposites but not of a static nature, only a dynamic one. Both basic elements of that unity do not eliminate each other. They create a close union but they maintain their own identity. There is tension and movement between them, a kind of "internal swaying".

Maybe this is the reason why Fryderyk Chopin's music keeps coming to us as music always pulsating with life? As "winged piano keys", as "piano woken up to life".

Mieczysław Tomaszewski

English translation: Magda Mierowska

1 Fryderyk Chopin, Method for Piano, ed. J.-J. Eigeldinger, transl. Z. Skowron, Kraków 1995.

2 George Sand, Histoire de ma vie, Paris 1854-1855.

3 Ibid., Correspondence, vol.1-12, ed. G. Lubin, Paris 1964-1976.

4 Eugène Delacroix, Journals, vol.1-3, Paris 1893-1896.

5 F ranz Liszt, Chopin, Paris 1852.

6 Wilhelm von Lenz, Die grossen Pianoforte-Virtuosen unserer Zeit aud persönlicher Bekanntschaft, Berlin 1872

7 Władysław Hordyński, Zofia Rosengardt-Zaleska, uczennica Chopina i jej pamietnik (1843)(Zofia Rosengardt-Zaleska, a pupil of Chopin and her diary), „Roczniki Biblioteczne" BJ (Jagiellonian Library Annuals), 1966

8 Georges Mathias to I. Phillip, 12 Feb. 1897.

9 Cyprian Kamil Norwid Czarne kwiaty i Białe kwiaty, „Czas" (monthly supplement) 1856-1857

10 F. Liszt, op.cit.

11 G. Sand, Histoire de ma vie, op.cit.

12 Chopin to Jan Matuszyński, 26 Dec.1830

13 Chopin to Tytus Woyciechowski, 25 Dec. 1831

14 G. Sand, Histoire de ma vie, op.cit.

15 Antoni Orłowski in a letter to family, Paris, 29 Nov. 1832

16 Ferdynand Hiller, Briefe an Unbennante, Köln, 1877.

17 Heinrich Heine, Űber die französische Bühne. Zehnter Brief, 1837.

18 G.Sand, Histoire de ma vie, op.cit.

19 F. Chopin to A. Franchomme, Nohant 8 July 1846

20 Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, Pamietniki (Diaries), entry on 12 June 1836

21 George Sand, Histoire de ma vie, op.cit.

22 Marceli Antoni Szulc, Fryderyk Chopin i utwory jego muzyczne (Fryderyk Chopin and his musical works), Poznań 1873

23 Honoré de Balzac, in his novel Un home d'affaires.

24 Chopin to family, Dresden 14 November 1830.

25 Chopin to J. Fontana, Palma 15 November 1838

26 Chopin to Tytus Woyciechowski, Paris 12 December 1831.

27 Chopin to J. Fontana, Palma 3 December 1838

28 Robert Schumann, in his review of Sonata B flat minor, "Neue Zeitschrift für Musik" 1841

29 Chopin to Jan Matuszyński, Vienna 25 December 1830.

30 Chopin, in his private Diary , Stuttgart September 1831

31 George Sand, Historie de ma vie, op.cit.

32 Chopin to Solange Clésinger, 9 September 1848

33 George Sand, Histoire de ma vie, op.cit.

34 F. Liszt, op.cit.

35 Chopin to W.Grzymała, Edinburgh 30 October 1848.

36 Eleonora Ziemięcka, "Wspomnienie "[Reminiscence], Illustrated New Year Gazette for Polish Women, 1862

37 F. Liszt, op.cit.

38 Chopin to T. Woyciechowski, Warsaw, 3 October 1829.

39 Chopin to J. Fontana, Marseilles, 7 March 1839.

40 Chopin to J. Matuszyński, Vienna, 1 January 1831

41 Chopin to J. Fontana, Paris, 4 April 1848.

42 J.-J. Eigeldinger, Solange Clésinger's Reminiscences about Chopin (1895), „Rocznik Chopinowski"(The Chopin Annual) 12,1980

43 Hector Berlioz, Mort de Chopin (Death of Chopin) "Journal des Debates" 27 Oct.1849.

44 G. Sand to Pauline Viardot, Nohant, summer 1845.

45 F. Liszt, op.cit

46 George Sand, Histoire de ma vie, op.cit.

47 Chopin to his family, Paris 24 December 1845.

48 Chopin to Dominik Dziewanowski, Paris January 1833

49 Stephen Heller to Robert Schumann, 4 January 1840

50 George Sand, Histoire de ma vie, op. cit.

51 Franz Liszt, "Revue et Gazette Musicale" (Musical Review and Gazette) Paris, 2 February, 1841.

52 F. Liszt, op.cit

53 Maria Janion, Maria Żmigrodzka, Fryderyk Chopin among the existential heroes of the Polish Romantic Movement, ("The Chopin Annual" ) 19, 1987.

54 F. Liszt, op.cit.

55 Chopin to his family, Nohant, 18 July 1845.

56 Chopin to Julian Fontana, Nohant, 10 August 1841.

57 Cyprian K. Norwid, The Piano of Chopin, 1856

58 W. von Lenz, op.cit.

59 F. Liszt, op.cit.

60 Heinrich Heine, Űber die französische Bühne [On the French Stage]. Zehnter Brief, 1838

61 Robert Schumman, Kritische Umschau [Critical Review], „Neue Rundschau für Musik, 2 April 1836.

62 Chopin to Tytus Woyciechowski, Warsaw, 27 December 1828.

63 G. Sand , Histoire de ma vie, op.cit.

64 Maurycy Mochnacki, Kurier Polski" (Polish Courier) 18 March 1830

65 François Joseph Fétis, „Revue Musicale", Paris 3 March 1832.

66 F.Liszt, „Revue et Gazette Musicale", Paris 2 May 1841.

67 Chopin to J. Elsner, Paris 14 December 1833.

68 R. Schumann, Fantasien, Kapricen usw. Für Pianoforte, :Nür Music", 1839.

69 Hector Berlioz, Mort de Chopin, op.cit.

70 Wilhelm von Lenz, op.cit.

71 Leon Escudier, „La France Musicale", 27 February 1842.

72 Maurice Bourges, "Revue et Gazette Musicale", 27 February 1842.

73  Astolph de Custine to Chopin, Paris 18 March 1837.

74 Stanisław Przybyszewski, Zur Psychologie des Individuums, 1. Chopin und Nitzsche, 1892.

75 See: Edouard Ganche, Les souffrances de Chopin, Paris 1935; Stefania Łobaczewska, F. Chopin w świetle nauki o typach ludzkich , (F. Chopin in the light of knowledge on human types) 1947; Albin Michel, Chopin et le sein maternel, "Psyche" 1950, No.4; Czesław Sielużycki, O zdrowiu Chopina. Prawdy, domniemania, legendy, (On Chopin's health. Truths, conjectures, legends, "The Chopin Annual" 15, Warsaw 1983.



Stanisław Przybyszewski, Zur Psychologie des Indywiduum, I. Chopin und Nietzsche, (On the Psychology of the Individual, I. Chopin and Nietzsche), Berlin 1892

Eduard Ganche, Souffrances de F. Chopin. Essai de médicine et de psychologie, (Suffering of F.Chopin. Essays on medicine and psychology) Paris 1935

Zofia Lissa, W sprawie rasy F. Chopina, (About F. Chopin's race) „Wiadomości Literackie"(Literary News) 1938, No. 39

Ludwik Bronarski, Chopin et la litérature, ( Chopin and literature) in: Études sur Chopin,(Essays on Chopin) 1, Lausanne 1944

L. Bronarski, Les dédicaces de Chopin, (The dedications of Chopin) in: Études sur Chopin, (Essays on Chopin) 2, Lausanne 1946

Stefania Łobaczewska, F. Chopin w świetle nauki o typach ludzkich, (F. Chopin in the light of knowledge on human types), „Ruch Muzyczny" (Musical Movement), 1947, Nos. 9-16

Vladimir Jankélévitch, Chopin e la morte, (Chopin and death) "Rassegna musicale" 1949, No. 4

Sousanne Chainaye, L'ésprit et la gaieté de Chopin, (The wit and cheerfulness of Chopin) "Images Musicales" 7 October 1949

Albin Michel, Chopin et le sein maternel, (Chopin and the maternal breast) "Psyche" 1950, No. 44

S. and D. Chainaye, De quoi vivat Chopin? (What did Chopin live on?) Paris 1951

Stefan Szuman, Dowcip i ironia Chopina (Chopin's wit and irony) "Muzyka" (Music) 1951, No.2

Janina Siwkowska, Chopin - aktorem, (Chopin as an actor), " Teatr" (Theatre) 1953, No. 24

Hermann Keller, Chopins Stil und Persönlichkeit (Chopin's style and personality) "Musica" 1960, No.3 Antal Molnar, Die Persönlichkeit Chopins (The personality of Chopin) in: Z. Lissa (ed), The Book of IMCongress, Warsaw 1963

Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, Styl literacki listów Chopina (The literary style of Chopin's letters), in: Z.Lissa (ed), The Book of IMCongress, Warsaw 1963 Bernard Gavoty, Ombres et contrastes de l'homme (...) in: Chopin, Paris 1965

Mateusz Gliński, Religiosità di Chopin, (Religiousness of Chopin) "Osservatore Romano" 1966, Nos 181-235.

Jerzy Smotter, Spór o „listy" Chopina do Delfiny Potockiej (Dispute over Chopin's ‘letters' to Delfina Potocka), 1967, enlarged ed. 1976

M.Langfus, Le musicien devant la mort (The musician face to face with death), in: "Chopin" Paris 1970

Czesław Sielużycki, Lekarze Chopina (1823-1849), (Chopin's doctors 1823-1849), „Archiwum Historii Medycyny"(Archives of History of Medicine), 1976, No.3

Stefan Jarociński, Kilka uwag w przedmiocie zaangażowania ideowego Chopina ( A few observations on Chopin's ideological commitment), „Pagine" 4, 1980

Wojciech Nowik, „Spór ‘delfiński' w latach ostatnich" (The ‘Delphinian' dispute in recent years), „Rocznik Chopinowski" (The Chopin Annual) 12, 1980

Jean-Jacques Eigeldinger, Wspomnienia Solange Clésinger o Chopinie (Solange Clésinger Memories of Chopin), "Rocznik Chopinowski" (The Chopin Annual) 12, 1980

Cz. Sielużycki, O zdrowiu Chopina. Prawdy, domniemania, legendy. (About Chopin's health. The truth, conjectures, legends) "Rocznik Chopinowski" (The Chopin Annual), 15, 1983

Camille Bourniquel, Portrait intellectual de Chopin épistolier, (The intellectual portrait of Chopin, the letter writer), in: D. Pistone (ed), Sur le traces de F. Chopin, (On the traces of Chopin), Paris 1984

Bohdan Pociej, Chopin a filozofia romantyzmu, (Chopin and the philosophy of the Romantic Movement),"Rocznik Chopinowski" (The Chopin Annual), 19, 1987 (1990)

Maria Janion, Maria Żmigrodzka, F.Chopin wśród bohaterów egzystencji polskiego romantyzmu, (F. Chopin among the existential heroes of the Polish Romantic Movement), "Rocznik Chopinowski" (The Chopin Annual), 19, 1987 (1990)

Mieczysław Tomaszewski, Chopin zaangażowany, (Chopin's commitment), „Rocznik Chopinowski"(The Chopin Annual)

Mieczysław Tomaszewski, Struktura osobowości, (The structure of personality) ibid. Chopin. Człowiek, dzieło, rezonans,(Chopin. The Man, His Work and Its Resonance), Poznań 1998, Kraków 2005

Ryszard Przybylski, Styl arystokraty ducha, (The style of an aristocrat of spirit), "Zeszyty Literackie" (Literary Notebooks), 1990, no.12

R. Przybylski, Cień jaskółki. Esej o myślach Chopina. (The shadow of a swallow. Essay on Chopin's thoughts), Kraków 1995

John Samson, Edukacja muzyczna Chopina, (Chopin's musical education), "Rocznik Chopinowski"(The Chopin Annual), 22/23, 1998

J.-J. Eigeldinger, Wizerunek Chopina w pismach Wilhelma Lenza, (Picture of Chopin in Wilhelm Lenz's writings),"Rocznik Chopinowski" (The Chopin Annual), 22/23, 1998

Irena Poniatowska, "Metaphysique de la confusion" czyli Chopin w ujęciu Jankélévitcha, (Metaphysics of confusion, or Chopin as presented by Jankélévitch, in: M. Janicka-Słysz and others (ed.), Muzyka w kontekście kultury (Music in the Context of Culture), Kraków 2001

M. Tomaszewski, Chopin w kręgu wartości, (Chopin in the sphere of values), in: A. Szklener (ed.) Chopin - w poszukiwaniu wspólnego języka (Chopin - in search of common language), Warszawa 2002

Eero Tarasti, Body and transcendence in Chopin, in: Sign of Music. A Guide to Musical Semiotics, Berlin-New York 2002

M. Tomaszewski, "Od tygodnia nicem nie napisał - ani dla ludzi ani dla Boga". (I haven't written anything for a week - neither for people, nor for God) Fryderyka Chopina stosunek do spraw wiary (Fryderyk Chopin's attitude towards the matters of faith), in: T. Jeż (ed.), Complexes effectum musicologiae... Kraków 2003

Claudia Colombati, Conscience esthétice-musicale et genèse créative dans la pensée de Fryderyk Chopin (Aesthetic and musical consciousness and creative genesis in the thinking of Fryderyk Chopin), in: I. Poniatowska (ed.) Chopin and his Work in the Context of Culture, vol.2, Kraków 2003

J.-J. Eigeldinger, Chopin vu par Czerny (Chopin as seen by Czerny) in: Sz. Paczkowski (ed.) Muzyka wobec tradycji. Idee, dzieło, recepcja.(Music vs Tradition. Ideas, the Work of Art and Reception), Warszawa 2004

Joachim Draheim, F. Chopin in the eyes of R. Schumann, F. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and Heinrich Heine, in: A. Szklener (ed.) Analytical Perspectives... Warszawa 2004

M. Tomaszewski, Paradoksy i znaki zapytania (Paradoxes and questions), in: J. Sabak (ed.) Znani i nieznani (The Famous and the Unknown Ones), Warszawa 2008




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