This book by Frederick Niecks, a German music writer settled in Great Britain, was published for the first time in London in 1888. In its subsequent editions (1890, 1902) the author introduced a number of additions. It was also translated into German (Leipzig 1890). It is an extensive two-volume monograph of Chopin that remains of fundamental importance to the Chopin literature to this day.
Niecks's monograph has never been translated into Polish before, and so it has been used solely by scholars specialising in Chopin, without reaching a wider Polish readership.
The translation is supplemented by footnotes wherever Niecks's statements are no longer valid in the light of current knowledge. As a result, the reader also receives also information about the current state of knowledge about Chopin.
This work differs, in a surprising way and in a positive sense, from other writings about the composer from that time. It is a very thorough book, based on a wide source base. The author meticulously collected all possible information from Chopin's former pupils and from others who had direct contact with the composer. This information includes issues related to Chopin's teaching methods, his attitude towards performance problems, his own works, works by other composers, problems of composition, etc. It is the only source that conveys to us a such broad range of thoroughly documented and comprehensive information about the composer. Although some of Niecks's interpretations are already out of date, most of them are still current and surprisingly contemporary.
(from the review by Professor Zofia Chechlińska)
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