In 1835, Liszt represented the amazing type of the virtuoso, whilst Chopin, for me, was the personification of poetry. The former played in pursuit of effect […] Chopin, by contrast, did not appear to be aware of the audience, but rather to be following an internal voice’
Where [John] Field smiles, Chopin makes a grinning grimace; where Field sighs, Chopin groans; where Field shrugs his shoulders, Chopin arches his back like a cat, where Field puts some seasoning into the food, Chopin empties a handful of cayenne pepper… In short, if one holds Field’s charming romances before a distorting, concave mirror, so […]
Gustave Flaubert, pessimist and master of cadenced lyric prose, urged young writers to lead ascetic lives that in their art they might be violent. Chopin’s violence was psychic, a travailing and groaning of the spirit; the bright roughness of adventure was missing from his quotidian existence. The tragedy was within.