By Niecks, Frederick
Frederick Nieck’s exceptional biography of the recognized Polish composer Frédéric François Chopin.
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Extra info for Frederick Chopin
Whatever changes the national character of the Poles has undergone in the course of time, certain traits of it have remained unaltered, and among these stands forth predominantly their chivalry. Polish bravery is so universally recognised and admired that it is unnecessary to enlarge upon it. For who has not heard at least of the victorious battle of Czotzim, of the delivery of Vienna, of the no less glorious defeats of Maciejowice and Ostrolenka, and of the brilliant deeds of Napoleon's Polish Legion?
Hill, under the title Frederick Chopin: "His Life, Letters, and Work," and published by William Reeves, London, in 1879). This was the first serious attempt at a biography of Chopin. The author reproduced in the book what had been brought to light in Polish magazines and other publications regarding Chopin's life by various countrymen of the composer, among whom he himself was not the least notable. But the most valuable ingredients are, no doubt, the Chopin letters which the author obtained from the composer's relatives, with whom he was acquainted.
A vivid picture of the Polish character is to be found in Mickiewicz's epic poem, Pan Tadeusz, from which the above quotations are taken. ] He handles his pencil lovingly; proclaiming with just pride the virtues of his countrymen, and revealing with a kindly smile their weaknesses. In this truest, perhaps, of all the portraits that have ever been drawn of the Poles, we see the gallantry and devotion, the generosity and hospitality, the grace and liveliness in social intercourse, but also the excitability and changefulness, the quickly inflamed enthusiasm and sudden depression, the restlessness and turbulence, the love of outward show and of the pleasures of society, the pompous pride, boastfulness, and other little vanities, in short, all the qualities, good and bad, that distinguish his countrymen.