The Leslie Flint Educational Trust

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Frédéric Chopin séance

Recorded: July 7th 1955



Frédéric Chopin talks with Rose Creet in this edited vintage recording.

The topics discussed include contemporary books about his life,
and others who have played his music
- including Anton Rubinstein and Arthur Rubinstein.

Chopin also mentions his friendship with Felix Mendelssohn.

This is edited recording is introduced by Gwen Vaughan.
 
 
 PLAY                                                                     VOLUME


Read the full transcript below, as you listen...




Present: Leslie Flint, Rose Creet
Communicator: Frédéric Chopin


Gwen Vaughan: This tape recording is not a complete full length recording of the original séance.

Part of this séance was personal to Mrs. Creet and only the general and interesting remarks

made by Frédéric Chopin have been re-recorded for replay to the public.


Flint: This sitting was recorded on the 7th of July 1955 - private appointment for Rose Creet. Medium Leslie Flint.




Chopin:
Good afternoon.


Creet:
Good afternoon. Uh, Frédéric? Is it you?


Chopin:
Hello. I do not know if you can hear.


Creet:
I can hear, yes.


Chopin:
Good.


Creet:
I can hear now. I rung up about a wonderful book of yours that's come out in Warsaw.


Chopin:
A book?


Creet:
A book.


Chopin:
My life again.


Creet:
Yes.


Chopin:
The different lives I have led, uh?


Creet:
Oh, I don't know about that. There are some photographs and things in there; full of pictures.

Chopin:
Well it should be very interesting. Let us hope it is accurate. But how can anyone write a person's life when they did not know the person and were not with the person all the time. They get a few facts together and then they string in with it a lot of things which are not true.


Creet:
Yes, I know, but I realise that. I don't worry about what I read, I...


Chopin:
I was difficult and temperamental.


Creet:
Yes.


Chopin:
Ah, but... for me there is only one thing really that matter very seriously and that was my music.


Creet:
Uh, what?


Chopin:
My music was the only thing that really mattered to me.


Creet:
Yes.


Chopin:
I had moments, fleeting moments, of happiness.


Creet:
Yes.


Chopin:
And some of my best music was composed then. But I sometimes think perhaps my best was composed when I was most unhappy. But it was past remembrances that...


Creet:
Why were you so unhappy, Frédéric?


Chopin:
Oh because I knew that I could but not be...


Creet:
Do what?


Chopin:
I could not be (how you say)...Mmm...I could not live a normal life. I could not find happiness. I knew that I could not live very long.


Creet:
You knew that?


Chopin:
Oh, I knew but I would not say. I always knew that my health would not make it possible for me to have a long life. I was always feverishly writing - composing, you know.

Creet:
Yes...

Chopin:
I had so much I wanted to do and so little time in which to do it. And there were many distractions and although I give the concert it was chiefly because I need the money.


Creet:
Yes. Oh dear...


Chopin:
And then often I didn't receive what I work for, you know.


Creet:
No.


Chopin:
One has to have a patron.


Creet:
You didn't have one did...Oh yes, you had many, in Paris.


Chopin:
Oui but, uh...


Creet:
You had Rothschild and you had Radziwiłł.


Chopin:
Yes I know but, uh, I say one have to have a patron because it helped to sell one's music and helped to make possible, you know...future, but, um...


Creet:
Anyhow, that's all over, Frédéric.


Chopin:
Uh, it is all over. I don't worry about it unless...


Creet:
You're happier now.


Chopin:
I talk about it because I know you are interested.


Creet:
What? Yes. It doesn't make you sad or anything, does it?


Chopin:
No. Why should it make me sad? That is finish.


Creet:
Well tell me about you now...


Chopin:
It is part of my life...


Creet:
Yes.


Chopin:
...Important. Oh, different. There is no need to concern now about anything. I have complete and perfect control and I have everything that one could wish for. And I am, in my own way, master of my own self and, um, I have my own salon, how you say, but you...no. I have big...um...place...


Creet:
You have?


Chopin:
...and many musicians gather and we discuss music and oh, we compose and we play over compositions one to the other; make comment, take advice sometimes too from each other.


Creet:
Yes.


Chopin:
Not so that it would interfere [with] one's own personal effort, but uh, we do get new ideas. And we go together sometimes in groups to visit various places and listen to music composed on different spheres. It's a great revelation. For each sphere has its own music according to its own condition and what would be right in one sphere would not be right in another, for it would not be correct: it would not sound right. But it is interesting, nevertheless.


Creet:
Oh, that must be very interesting.


Chopin:
It is very extraordinary how one cannot...one's own music, for instance, cannot be heard even in certain spheres for it is beyond the comprehension of the people inhabiting that condition. It is either above them, beyond them completely - I don't know how to explain this...

For instance, certain of the music which I wanted to write on Earth which I was not able to do, one of the reasons why I used to become so impatient with myself was because my mind, within my mind, I could hear sounds which the normal ear could not hear and I tried to bring things out in the piano, but it was impossible. That is sometimes why my music is, perhaps, too difficult for many people. Not only did I feel and think differently as...more different to any other musician...there are no...none of my work or very little of my work is comparable to any other musician.


Creet:
It isn't.


Chopin:
It is completely different as, in its...in its...um...?


Creet:
In its form and in every way.


Chopin:
Oui. That it...it is quite a different technique in execution which no-one, as far as I know, before had ever tried. It is completely unique. Although I say it myself, it is without any pride, you know...


Creet:
Yes and you brought out...


Flint:
[Clears throat]


Creet:
...the use of the pedals. You were the one, weren't you?


Chopin:
Well I used the pedals perhaps more than anyone previously. I realised the importance of pedals. The pedals, of course, on the early pianos were not quite the same as they are in your piano today. And I had my own piano altered... um...ah, how do I explain these things to you? I don't know, um...also, you know, it is very important when you play my music to get the correct tone; to have the piano open.

[sound of traffic outside]


Creet:
Yes.


Chopin:
That does not perhaps seem feasible to you.


Creet:
Oh yes, you mean right open: the top open.


Chopin:
Yes. So.


Creet:
Yes.


Chopin:
You know, pianos as you know vary the tone.

Creet:
Yes.

Chopin:
It is very difficult sometimes even for great pianists on your side, who were very experienced and good exponents, to get the correct tone on the piano. That it why if a musician is very...uh...um...I can't find words for this.


Creet:
It all depends, I think, mostly on how they play with their fingers and the difference. Now I'll tell you something: this Arthur Rubinstein who is supposed to be a wonderful pianist. He is, but I've heard him playing your Scherzos and the one in B flat; I don't know what he does to it. He seems to use the pedal the whole time, it's all jumbled up and it's much too fast. It's like a tornado. I don't like it at all.


Chopin:
Perhaps that is his impression of my work, how it should be played. But I agree it is not correct.


Creet:
Yes, Frédéric, but your work has to be very, very clear, hasn't it?


Chopin:
Every note should be clear.


Creet:
And that's where the...


Chopin:
And it's not good to run the notes one into the other. Every note is individual.


Creet:
Well I think that's...his pedalling is wrong there.


Chopin:
Could be his pedalling. Perhaps it is a bad recording. I don't know. I am not so interested in Rubinstein although I know he was, what you say, a very great exponent; at least he was considered a great exponent of my work and he was a good friend to me.


Creet:
Who?


Chopin:
But...uh...in as much that he try and did certain things for me.


Creet:
Who was that, Frédéric?


Chopin:
I am talking about since I pass over.


Creet:

Oh yes?


Chopin:
Since I pass over here, his interest and love for my music. He execute it, you know, quite well, sometimes. Especially in his earlier years.


Creet:
Are you talking about...whom are you talking?


Chopin:
Rubinstein.


Creet:
Ah, not that Rubinstein. That was Anton you mean?


Chopin:
So, so.


Creet:
Oh yes. Oh yes he was a wonderful pianist, wasn't he?


Chopin:
Oui.


Creet:
Supposed to be.


Chopin:
You don't know, uh?


Creet:
I've never heard him.


Chopin:

Long time ago.


Creet:
Yes. This is Arthur.


Chopin:
I don't mean him.


Creet:
No.



Chopin:
Anyway, um, what shall we talk about?


Creet:
You've got so much to tell me, I'm sure. I'm just listening with my ears wide open...
Do you see anything of Liszt there Frédéric?


Chopin:
We are good friends.


Creet:
You are?

Chopin:
But he is no longer a member of the Church.


Creet:
No. [Laughs]


Chopin:
And in consequence his music is much better.


Creet:
Yes.


Chopin:
It is not so mournful.


Creet:
Very dramatic and full of...


Chopin:
He was a very wonderful person. He still is a wonderful person...


Creet:
Is he?


Chopin:
...but his music has grown. It is not so confined as it used to be. At least I used to think it was confined, you know. Perhaps I was prejudiced. I don't think so. I don't know. But Mendelssohn is a very great friend also of mine.


Creet:
Mmm?


Chopin:
Mendelssohn.


Creet:
Oh yes.


Chopin:
He is a very great friend of mine.


Creet:
Ah, he used to come to me a lot, you know, at one time.


Chopin:
I am not surprised. He make path...the way for me, how you say?


Creet:
Yes, he did.


Chopin:
I sent him, although I was with you in a sense. I had been in contact with you for many, many years. But uh, well, he was more able to make the contact in the first instance. It was he who opened the door for me.


Creet:
Yes.


Chopin:
If you go through your notes: you'll find that it is so.


[Break in the recording]



Creet:
...in many of the books that I've read they say that you were the complete master. Nobody...nobody was able to touch you in compositions or in execution.


Chopin:
I was the master but the piano was never the mistress.


Creet:
Well, I get so excited when I read all those bits. [Laughs]


Chopin:
I know...but I'm going to make of you an excellent pianist...


Creet:
I...oh, Frédéric, I...


Chopin:
...and you are going to execute my work and what is more important, you're going to execute my new works.


Creet:
I am?


Chopin:
When you come here.


Creet:
Oh, when I come there.


Chopin:
Oui. Oh, what you think? You're going to do it on your side?


Creet:
Oh...


Chopin:
No my child, it is not possible.


Creet:
No.


Chopin:
But uh, many things are possible...


Creet:
I'm afraid...


Chopin:
Even now you say to yourself, 'ah, I am finished' you know. But I say to you, 'no, it is not so. You are only just beginning'.


Creet:
I expect you'll be very strict with me, won't you?


Chopin:
No, I'm not strict because nothing can be obtained of worthwhile if there is too much strictness. One must use always kindness and sympathy. After all, it is your great passion and your desire to be able to play music - my music - and if I could not achieve it by love then any other way would be hopeless. These children who are taught so strict and made to do things; they may become good technicians but they have no soul, for it must come from within. Without it there can be no progress.


Creet:
That is exactly as you were when you were on the Earth with your pupils.


Chopin:
I know. Always one must be kind and if the inclination and love and desire for it is not there, then I would not bother with them.


Creet:
That's right. Yes, that's right.


Chopin:
Many a pupil I would turn away and say to the parent, 'No, I would not have you waste your money, as much as I may need it. You take your child. Let him become a painter or something but not a musician. His heart is not in it.'


Creet:
Yes, that's quite right....Mmm.


Chopin:

'Mmm' ? Why you say 'Mmm' like that?


Creet:
Oh, I love getting these proofs, Frédéric.


Chopin:
They are the proofs, I suppose, in a way. They are proofs. That's why I'm so anxious, you know, that you not let this medium go away, you know, and not to know nothing about us...me...you know.


Creet:
No, he doesn't...uh...


Chopin:
He is ignorant, thank God.


Creet:
What?


Flint:
[Laughs]


Creet:
He's what?


Chopin:
Ignorant.


Creet:
Yes. He doesn't know anything about you, really.


Chopin:
How nice it is sometimes to get someone who is so ignorant.


Creet:
[Laughing] Yes, but he's very sweet, you know.


Chopin:
Of course he's very sweet but then, I don't want him to know nothing about music, especially my music.


Creet:
No. He doesn't. He doesn't know anything at all.


Chopin:
And when he go to Majorca that will be a little revelation for him...


Creet:
It will be.


Chopin:
...and I think he will come back with greater enthusiasm and interest in our little group sitting, you know, our little work here together.


Creet:
Oh...


Chopin:
It's something I can't talk about. It is something that I hope and must...will happen in its own way. I only wished you were going with him to share it. But next year I hope you have special opportunities. But, uh, huh, all these things, they will come. But we must go step by step. It is like building up a great symphony. Every little bit, you know, is important and every part help to create the whole. But you come and speak to me again when? Tuesday, Monday is it you come? Monday?


Creet:
Eh? Monday.


Chopin:
Good.


Creet:
Will you come?


Chopin:
So. Of course, I would not desert you. If I could not come it would not be my fault.


Creet:
Yes.


Chopin:
But I shall come. I must go. Au revoir.


Creet:
Alright. Thank you very much.


RECORDING ENDS

 

This transcript was created by a good friend of the Leslie Flint Educational Trust, Mr Simon Lovelock.


Grateful thanks also go to Joëlle Cerfoglia