Par 1 Vladimir de Pachmann, virtuoso and philosopher, the most picturesquely individual figure in the musical world today, reached Worcester yesterday afternoon by the 4.36 express, and a little later consented to talk of his summer, his musical loves and his plans for the winter and spring. He is looking well and so like his portraits that he was immediately recognised as he entered the lobby of the Bay State House and went to the desk to register. He did not go to the evening concert, pleading a headache as the excuse for spending the evening quietly at the hotel with his manager, Henry Wolfson [18??-1909], and Paul C. Fischer, who is with Steinway & Sons, and came on with him from New York.
Par 2 Vladimir de Pachmann has a confiding handshake. His hand may be almost said to smile as it meets the other palm, and the pressure it leaves behind it is something between a grip and a caress, but pleasanter than either.
Par 3 "Bless you, my child," it seemed to say to The Spy man, and then its owner sank into a chair with a look of mixed courage, patience and resignation on his face, and waited for the operation to begin. He began it himself by saying, "I fear I cannot speak English enough for you. I have forgotten it since I was here six years ago. But I will practice on you, and you shall see if I cannot speak it well," and he folded his hands together on his breast as if in prayer, and looked to the scribe to begin the catechism.
Par 4 "I am not very well", he continued dolefully, in response to the first question. "I am not strong. Ever since I crossed the water this last time my digestion has been weak. On shipboard bread and grapes were all the nourishment I could take, and for ten days after landing I felt the motion of the steamer. Better not say anything about that. Imagination? No, no. It was my brain which could not recover from the effects of the voyage. A sea trip is to me miserable, monstrous. It is for that reason I always cross in June or July. I speak English well, don't I?" and he smiled seraphically.
Par 5 The reporter assured him most truthfully that he did, and asked him where and how he had passed the summer.
Par 6 "In the Catskills, at a little place in the backwoods. Did I play? Not very much: it was too hot. All your America is very hot in summer, I think. But I had a Steinway grand, and how could I help play with such an instrument in the room. (He paused to run his fingers up and down an imaginery keyboard, his head on one side, his eyes half closed, in ecstatic reminiscence of those summer hours of practice in the backwoods.) Ah, the Steinway! What a piano! Write this down—it is divine; it is the finest in the world—I could not leave it. I can remember the pianos of 25 years ago; but what a development since. There was nothing so beautiful in touch, so beautiful in tone. Ach! that touch and tone. Mozart and Beethoven, could they hear their compositions performed on a modern piano, would not know them for theirs. The tears would flow from their eyes and run down their cheeks to hear them."
Par 7 "I hear you have fallen in love with Von Weber this summer," prodded the reporter.
Par 8 De Pachmann smiled, then instantaneously frowned. "Ah! ha!" he chuckled, "you have heard that? Von Weber is my first love. I love Chopin and Schumann, too; these three are my favorite composers, but Weber is a healthy composer—he is more healthy than either of the others. Ja! You wonder at my love for Weber because you don't know how I have worked him out this summer.
Par 9 "I must tell you something that I forgot to mention in New York. My father, who was a doctor of philosophy, was the intimate friend of Weber, and for two years they lived in the same house in Vienna. My father was an able amateur musician, and played the violin seven years under Haydn in Vienna. He was seven years younger than Weber. When he was 15 years old, Haydn died, and father was one of his pallbearers.
Par 10 "Father, of course, was an admirer of Haydn's music, but to me Haydn and Mozart are both children." Mr. De Pachmann waved his hands nonchalently in air, while an extremely tired look crept over his expressive face. "This generation seeks something grander and more serious. Now Weber is the healthiest music in the world, healthier than Schumann, much healthier than Chopin. Do you know, I was driven to Weber because playing Chopin so much injured my health: his later compositions, those written when he was ill and melancholy, made me low-spirited. Next to Weber, Schumann and Chopin, I place Beethoven, Schubert and Mendelssohn. Why do I prefer Weber? Ah, my friend, I have secrets" (and he expanded his chest and tapped it histrionically), "and when I have finished my American tour, I will develop them—they are very important, but could not bear to hear them now."
Par 11 "I am perfectly Russian," continued the foremost interpreter of Chopin, "but (mysteriously) do you know what country I prefer? It is this country. America is the most honorable, free country: its feelings are good. O, this wonderful, wonderful country! There is none to be compared with it. Put that down. I am not a true cosmopolitan, for I prefer this country. It is so sympathetic, honest, superior and advanced in nearly every respect. I have no home, for I am everywhere at home." Mr. de Pachmann rose and pointed gravely to the ceiling. "Wherever the creation is, there I am at home. I cannot disappear. I am beyond all material things. I am a virtuoso and a philosopher. For goodness sake don't say I am an agnostic. I am not. I am like Tolstoi [1828-1910]. I believe in the same things. But don't say that."
Par 12 With regard to his future, Mr. V. C. [sic] Pachmann said: "I shall give recitals everywhere in this country, except San Francisco [Pachmann did give a recital in San Francisco on 26 December 1899], but seldom with the orchestra, for I like to get the tone of the piano, its faintest color, and the effect is lost when I play with the orchestra. Beautiful, delicious, is the orchestra in itself: say that, that 'll please them. But no one instrument, not even the violin, can compare with the piano. I don't believe in mixing up the voice and the piano. God above, if he were playing the piano, could not make music out of such a combination."
Par 13 "My plans are not formed for the summer. I may stay here 100 years longer, goodness only knows! I can never tell what I am going to do, but unfortunately I fear I must go in the spring to play on the other side.
Par 14 "No," said de Pachmann, "I shall not go to the festival tonight. I have not been to a concert for years. Too many mediocre artists. When I hear poor artists perform, I can but think (he rose, and, turning his eyes upward, pointed solemnly in the direction of the sky) of the words of Jesus Christ: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
Par 15 And then out of the goodness of his heart, and because he would rather die than be disobliging or hurt any one's feelings, Mr. De Pachmann did what half an hour before he had made solemn oath to his manager he would never under any consideration do—he wrote his autograph and over it a little snatch from that Von Weber, who used to live in the same house with his father, and with whose genius he confesses to have fallen in love.