Why is the Bach Leipzig Festival important for Poland and Chopin?
Quite apart from the Bach being a composer Chopin admired above all others save Mozart, it is instructive to remember other aspects of Bach's life were closely associated with Poland at the time. He always wished to be associated with court circles despite the small extent of some of these princely states.
Bach was appointed Royal Polish and Electoral Saxon Court Composer in 1736. The Elector Frederick Augustus II / Augustus III King of Poland was a great patron of the arts, a devout Catholic and music-lover. Bach dedicated the Kyrie and Gloria of the B minor Mass to him.
This year is the
200th anniversary of the birth of Stanisław Moniuszko (1819-1872), the greatest
operatic composer in nineteenth century Poland. There are musical celebrations
throughout country and the resuscitation of his long forgotten works in
performance. The seemingly impossible dream of the independence of the country
as a sovereign nation and accession to the European Union means that
at last what one might term the 'Cultural Iron Curtain' has been split apart to
reveal formerly unknown artistic treasures of
this valiant nation to the wider European continent. In no domain has this been more obvious than in
music, but also in art, architecture, theatre and literature. The Polish
language does present a difficult barrier in a way that English, French and Italian do
not in the West. This remark does not assume a forest of undiscovered composers
of genius, but certainly many of enormous talent and significant musical
gifts to augment the European musical canon. The princi…