Text Box: PIANIST autographs


Price: $750.00



One page autographed letter signed by the legendary pianist and pupil of Frederic Chopin on  his initialed mourning stationary to his friend the dramatist Edmond Cottinet regarding his play, “Vercingétorix” a decade before it was first performed, Paris,  October 30, 1882.

Mathias writes in part:

I finished Vercingetorix, and your annoyance has transported me to the region of the water, the powerful, the great; I am penetrated with a sublime gravity completely free from influence or affection, the author is great in spirit and heart, and the work is new and original. It's very old and also very revealing, and you have to redo all the parts of the lyre…….

Mathias (1826-1910) was a bona fide wunderkind.  He began his study at the Paris Conservatoire in 1838.  His chief instructor was Friedrich Kalkbrenner, but he also studied with August Barbereau, François Bazin, Fromental Halevy and Augustin Savard.  According to Mathias himself in an article abut Chopin printed in Etude Magazine in September, 1912, he did not meet Chopin until he was 14 in 1840.  At the time he played a Kalkbrenner piece for the Master and was accepted.  Interestingly, Chopin at first gave him some pieces by Moscheles to work on.  The slightly older Clara Schumann met him whilst in Paris shortly thereafter and wrote to her father, “Yesterday I visited a Mr. Mathias, whose son is a second Liszt (twelve years old, I believe) in terms of genius.  You should hear this child, an immense talent, a pupil of Chopin…...”  Depending upon who one reads, he spent a varying number of years with the composer, however, most determine it was five years.  Chopin described him as having a “good head” to George Sand.  Mathias taught at the Conservatoire from 1862 to his retirement in 1893.  A familiar figure on the concert stage in Paris and throughout Europe, he was highly regarded for his precise and delicate performances in similar fashion to his teacher.  Interestingly, as a personal favor, he performed as Jenny Lind’s accompanist in a concert in Paris and also was the first pianist in the premiere of Rossini’s “Petite Messe Solennelle” in a soiree at the composer’s apartment with Rossini turning the pages for him and prompting the singers at the same time. 

As a teacher, he taught numerous important pianists and composers of the next generation: Teresa Carreño, Paul Dukas, Camille Erlanger, James Huneker, Henri O’Kelli, Isidor Philipp, Raoul Pugno, Alfonson Reynando, Erik Satie, Ernest Schelling and Jose Tregó are some of the best known.

Mathias who was also a composer including a large number of solo piano works and two concertos is one of the best links to Chopin, the teacher and man.  He wrote significantly about his time with the master, describing him down to his black buttons on his frock coat.  He also discussed his method of teaching and musical personality which is well documented.  Both Mathias and Karol Mikuli are the best known of Chopin’s pianist pupils. (With perhaps the addition of Pauline Viardot who was more of a family friend.)

We have not seen a Mathias letter offered in some time, the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris has a large holding in their archives.

Edmond Cottinet (1824—1895) was a French dramatist, poet and inventor of the concept of a Summer Camp for underprivileged children. The nationalistic “Vercingétorix” his final play, apparently had a long history.  Mathias must have been a close friend to be shown a copy of the work literally a decade before it was first performed in Paris at the Odeon Theatre in Feburary, 1893.  Vercingétorix was a mythical Gallic chieftain who is a character in the “Asterix” comic series and a lyre figures into his story.



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