Reicha taught him. He met his idol Spontini in 1830, and stayed friends for life. He met Liszt the same year, the start of a close friendship and copious correspondence. Paganini, Meyerbeer (despite his criticism of Meyerbeer’s music) and the loyal Legouvé all gave or lent him money to buy time to compose. He met Mendelssohn, Wagner and Schumann on a concert tour. Chopin, Hiller, Vigny and Dumas were among his friends in Paris (but Courbet’s singing grated). His friendship with Hugo started with a fan letter. Balzac lent him his fur coat before a journey to Russia involving a freezing four-day sleigh-ride.