After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own. Music always seems to me to produce that effect. It creates for one a past of which one has been ignorant, and fills one with a sense of sorrows that had been hidden from one's tears. I can fancy a man who had led a perfectly commonplace life, hearing by chance some curious piece of music, and suddenly discovering that his soul, without his being conscious of it, had passed through terrible experiences, and known fearful joys, or wild romantic loves, or great renunciations.
— Oscar Wilde, "The Critic as Artist"
Wilde did not play the piano; he is speaking here through the dialogic character of Gilbert. As it happens, Wilde's brother, Willie, did have some ability as a pianist, and was particularly fond of Chopin. The composer Ethel Smyth reports, in her riveting memoir Impressions That Remained, that Willie not only played the Chopin Études but devised new endings for them. What these might have sounded like is anyone's guess. Even stranger is the fact that Willie proposed marriage to Smyth—immediately after she had become violently seasick during a voyage across the Irish Channel. Smyth entertained the notion for a few weeks, then turned him down. It was for the best: Smyth was a lesbian, Willie was an alcoholic.