Almost Everybody Laughs About It


In the fall of 1830, composer Frédéric Chopin left his home in Poland for a visit to Italy. When he was in Vienna he heard news of an uprising in Warsaw resisting the subservience of the Kingdom of Poland to Russia and opposing the presence of the Russian Tsar on the Polish throne. He also found that something of a musical revolution had occurred in Vienna. On January 26, 1831, Chopin wrote to a friend in Warsaw.

In all senses, the obstacles in my way are much greater now. It’s not just that an ongoing series of bad pianoforte concerts has ruined that kind of music by repelling the public, but on top of that, the events in Warsaw have changed my situation, possibly as much to my disadvantage as being in Paris might have been to my advantage.

All the same, I hope that it can be brought about somehow so that my first concerto can be performed during Carnival….

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As for your quartet, Joseph Czerny has guaranteed that it will be ready by St. Joseph’s Day. He says that he couldn’t handle it earlier because he has been publishing Schubert’s works, many of which are still waiting for the press. That will probably hold up the publication of your second manuscript. Czerny seems not to be one of the rich publishers here and so can’t lavish money on works that can’t be played at Sperl’s or Zum Römischen Kaiser.

Here they call waltzes works! And Strauss and Lanner, who play them for dancing, are known as Kapellmeisters. Not everybody thinks like that, in fact, almost everybody laughs about it, but only waltzes get printed….

Hasslinger is now publishing Hummel’s last mass. He subsists entirely on Hummel, and yet the last things, for which he had to pay him a lot, are not selling well. That’s why he’s keeping back all manuscripts and printing only Strauss.

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