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Frederic Chopin

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His creation was spontaneous, miraculous. He found it without searching for it, without foreseeing it. It came to his piano suddenly, complete, sublime, or it sang in his head during a walk, and he would hasten to hear it again by, tossing it off on his instrument. But then would begin the most heartbreaking labor I have ever witnessed. It was a series of efforts, indecision, and impatience to recapture certain details of the theme he had heard: what had come to him all of a piece, he now over-analyzed in his desire to write it down, and his regret at not finding it again "neat," as he said, would throw him into a kind of despair. He would shut himself up in his room for days at a time, weeping, pacing, breaking his pens, repeating and changing a single measure a hundred times, writing it and effacing it with equal frequency, and beginning again the next day with a meticulous and desperate perseverance. He would spend six weeks on one page, only to end up writing it just as he had traced it in his first outpouring.
George Sand, Oeuvres autobiographiques, ed. Georges Lubin, 2 vols. (Paris, 1978); Vol. 2: Histoire de ma vie, p. 446. I (Jeffrey Kallberg) have modified somewhat the English translation printed in George Sand, Story of My Life: The Autobiography of George Sand, group translation ed. Thelma Jurgrau (Albany, 1991), p. 1109. The chapter on Chopin dates from August or September 1854.

Frederic Chopin

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