chapter  3
33 Pages

London 1848

Chopin in London
ByPeter Willis

Architecturally, the London which greeted Frederic Chopin in 1848 displayed evidence of the expansion of areas such as Mayfair, Piccadilly, and St James's, and including Regent Street and the Strand. Chopin's arrival in the capital on 20 April 1848, Maunday Thursday, had been heralded by Chorley in the Athenaeum. Music critics and journalists avidly recorded the comings and goings of foreign musicians, who had long been attracted to London's cultural life. In the London of 1848, Chopin had ample opportunity to indulge his enthusiasm, as the competition between Her Majesty's and Covent Garden gave rise to a flurry of activity. Chopin was alert to the rivalries between the two theatres, and the comings and goings of singers between Paris and London. Davison considers Chopin's concertos, studies, and mazurkas – those 'charming bagatelles' which have been made widely known in England by the eminent pianists 'who enthusiastically admire, and universally recommend them to their pupils'.