20th Anniversary of the Foundation of the National Fryderyk Chopin Institute - February 3rd 2001 - Happy Birthday!
Happy Birthday National Fryderyk Chopin Institute !
The National Fryderyk Chopin Institute is dedicated to preserving the legacy of Chopin and the values associated with him. The rich and multi-faceted activities of the NIFC over two decades includes, among other activities sixteen editions of the "Chopin and his Europe Festival, thanks to which Warsaw has been visited by dozens of outstanding artists such as Martha Argerich, Maria João Pires, the late Frans Brüggen, Daniil Trifonov, Alexander Melnikov, Fabio Biondi and countless others of distinguished international reputation. You will find many detailed reviews of these festivals on this blog.
The Museum of Fryderyk Chopin's Birthplace at Żelazowa Wola and the surrounding historical park, after successful revitalization, is one of the most magnificent tourist attractions in Poland.
Originally ordered from Broadwood by Georges Wildes of Manchester. Rosewood veneered, pie-crust model. Straight-strung, composite frame with six metal stress bars. English single repetition action with over dampers. Keyboard compass of 6½ octaves; two pedals, and dampers. According to company archives, twice repaired in 1855.
My account of Chopin's Birthday Concert at Żelazowa Wola on March 1st 2018
Since 2010, the NIFC has been responsible for the organization of the Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition.
In 2018, the Institute expanded the competition portfolio to include another important event - the International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition Chopin on Period Instruments.
National Fryderyk Chopin Official Website : https://nifc.pl/en//
|Winter at the Chopin Museum in Warsaw|
As an irresistible piece of nostalgia and a small gesture of celebration, I would like to share with you my first experience of the Chopin Museum in 1992, taken from my book A Country in the Moon : Travels in Search of the Heart of Poland
After descending from the bridge I became lost in the labyrinth of
socialist concrete that led to the elegant
The museum is devoted to Chopin, one of the greatest of composers,
comparable only to those he most revered,
Mozart and Bach. ‘You are to play Mozart in my memory’ were his last
I climbed the
marble staircase to the first floor, the walls decorated with Pompeian
frescoes. Here a letter from Hector Berlioz (whose music he loathed) addressing
him affectionately as ‘Chopinetto mio’,
there a letter from Georges Sand (Aurore Dudevant) declaring her love - ‘On vous adore’. This first overtly
feminist writer and one of the most notorious and talented women in
Small cards informed me this was the saucer
belonging to the white china cup with painted scene and gilded rim from which
Chopin drank chocolate during his visits to his cultured Polish patrons the
Prince and Princess Czartoryski at the Hôtel
On a satin cushion lay an inscribed pocket watch given him by the famous
Italian soprano Angelica Catalani following a recital given by the child
prodigy at the age of 10. Displayed under glass were the letters tied with a
velvet ribbon that flowed from his blighted love affair with the beautiful
sixteen year-old Maria Wodzińska whom he met in
fourth Ballade in F-minor was playing as I moved along the cases containing
plaster casts of his hands, his death mask and bunches of faded violets cast
aside as if in grief. The accumulated emotion of many years of familiarity with
his music affected me deeply. I recalled the glittering career of Uncle Eddie
who had studied with the great French pianist Alfred Cortot in Paris and the
Polish pedagogue Theodor Leschetisky in
Each year the Kościół Świętego Krzyża (
After I had laid my single red rose I walked to the
monumental brick Cytadela (Citadel)
on Żoliborz Hill, built by the Tsarist authorities after the November Uprising
of 1830 against the Russians. I wanted to immerse myself in the historical
source of so much of Chopin's anguished music. Tsar Nicholas I exacted a
terrible revenge for being dethroned as King of Poland. The sledges and columns
of prisoners soon began to leave for
‘The suburbs in ruins - burnt down - Jaś - Wiluś no doubt died on the ramparts - I see that Marcel has been imprisoned - Oh God, have You not had enough of Moscow's crimes – or – or – You are a Moscovite yourself! …..sometimes I only groan and express my pain on the piano - I am in despair……’.
An undocumented tradition states that he wrote the ‘Revolutionary’ Study in C-minor and the
final tempestuous Prelude in D-minor while in
It was snowing heavily and -6C as I laboured up the
Żoliborz Hill through the neoclassical ‘Execution Gate’ near the site of the gallows that had stood
under a broad chestnut tree. A forest of crosses on the wooded slopes marks the
place where thousands suffered a miserable death, particularly following the
subsequent January Uprising of 1863. After this hopeless gesture tens of thousands
of young people were marched to their deaths in
The approach to
the museum in winter is across a bleak, open area with snow-covered cannons,
broken bricks and striped sentry boxes. A black wagon used for collecting
It was against this historical background I was to listen to a Chopin recital given by the Russian pianist Grigory Sokolov. Electricity was in the air. The audience was the customary group of elderly Central Europeans with the ravages of high culture etched into their faces together along with the ubiquitous Japanese music students. The instrument was placed near the serliana under a blazing chandelier. Sokolov emerged from the artist's door and walked to the piano. He was most unprepossessing in appearance - a bearish Russian figure with rather muscular hands.
Within a few seconds of the impassioned
opening bars of the C-minor Polonaise I knew I was in the presence of true
greatness, playing of profound spiritual intensity and technical achievement.
The cantabile love melody that forms the centrepiece of the work was intensely
lyrical. The passionate, patriotic nature of Chopin, the revolutionary fervour
carried one away. We passed through a programme of brooding extremes, from a
group of mazurkas haunted by rural nostalgia to the the tragic nobility of the
symphonic F-sharp minor Polonaise with its brutal, repetitive, military central
section which linked me directly to the Citadel, a military snare drum
approaching, passing and retreating. He
received a standing ovation and spectacular bunches of flowers (a charming
tradition of all concerts in
 Fryderyk Chopin : A Diary in Images Mieczysław
Tomaszewski trans. Rosemary Hunt (