I didn't know Chopin performed less than 30 concertos in his whole life but from what I've read, I got an impression he performed more. Did You mean on great concertos for wide or famous audience? I don't want to opose You but I would just like to know how do You mean. Well, I am a bit confused by that information and I would like to know about it
From what I've understood (maybe I didn't understand well) in the book I just read, Chopin traveled a lot while he lived in Poland and performed a lot of concertos in a whole country. On those travelings, he listened the music which was coming to him from a country. He listened the melodies people singed. He was seing beautifull parts of Poland. In the end, all those pictures and hearings made him compose the music like mazurkas, for instance. I read in some of his letters he was sometimes very busy by preparing himself for performing.
When he was 7 years old, he already composed his first work and performed concertos. When he was 10 years old, he got a present from singer Catalani, as a sign of respect and admiration towards his musical talent. In those times, when he was practically I child, there was also written a newspapers article about him which claimed that the genious Chopin performs the hardest figures with unusual easiness and taste and that many musicians were impressed with the pieces he composed then. From that, I concluded he was able to play hard pieces already then and that he performed a lot, since he got such praises.
Interesting is one letter I found in that book I've read. He wrote he had performed on some concerto where his playing was silent, because of the type of the piano. After that, he had second concerto where he played on a different piano which was making a sounds that were more loud. On first concerto people weren't really amazed because they didn't like the silence of Chopin's sound. On second concerto people were really amazed. What I find interesting here is that Chopin wrote in that letter that he liked the sound of his playing on first concerto more.
I guess that can prove he didn't really care about showing off. But still, Chopin's performances were great and people truly admired to him, respected him and he always earned a place in people's heart.
I believe that even those works of Chopin that may seem to be virtuoso weren't composed without a reason that came up from Chopin's heart. I may be wrong but let's take Revolutionary Etude for example. As You may know, it's the 12th piece of opus 10. Chopin composed it while he was in Stuttgart. There, he was being told about the fall of Warsaw. That must have been really painfull for him. I believe he felt a deep sadness and grief, inner chaos, big tension and anger towards that merciless fate that happened to Warsaw, where his family and friends were. I see the right hand as his crying, painfull screams and I see the anger and inner chaos in the left hand. I don't know how to describe this better, since my English is bad.
Liszt's music was just focused on virtuoso. In that book, the author said that in the Liszt's eyes the Chopin's music was a discovery of new parts of music. Liszt believed Chopin music requires new technical methods and reveals new types of musical issues. He was amazed by Chopin's music. I also read he closed himself for a couple of weeks to learn Chopin's etudes opus 10 and that he performed them better than Chopin.
Liszt was a truly great performer but I also read something interesting that again proves the greatness of Chopin's music. Seems that Liszt said he would need to spend 4 years of his life to compose a work such as Chopin's Etude in E - major.
What I want to say is that, even when Chopin's music is fast and when we hear some rush in it, it has a soul. His music always comes from his heart and it is always a pure expression of his feelings. I guess he didn't care about performing and taking people's breathe away like Liszt did. I guess he was more interested in that beauty of the music, which he formed so honestly and faithfully in his music. That makes a greatest artists.
That's how I see it. That's how I understood the book I read these days. I just wanted to share that with You since I think it would be also usefull for this topic. Maybe I understood something wrong? If I did, please say and correct me.