Preludia - Unofficial website for Rafal Blechacz


Aug 15, 2010

Blechacz quotes in media of France and NY - about Szafarnia and Żelazowa Wola

Japanese (France) posted an article "On the trail of Chopin, the landscape of memory", introducing those places in connection with Chopin in Poland and France (May 12, 2010) (see some beautiful pictures.)

(At about two thirds from the top):
The article describes Chopin in Szafarnia where he spent two summers in 1824 and 1825 (he was 14 or 15 years old).  He sent letters to his family in the name of the editor of the “Courier Szafarnia”, calling himself “Mr. Pichon”.  One of the articles that he compiled reads;
“Mr. Pichon had a great trouble with the cousins he encountered at Szafarnia where they crowd upon. They bit as much as possible but thankfully they spared his nose which otherwise would become even greater."
(Note: "Cousin" in French has two meanings: cousin and mosquito.)

On August 29, 1824, he met a "Catalani (singer) of village" when passing in Nieszawa and was charmed by the mazurka that she interpreted for him (with three coins!). Encountered with rural weddings and dances, Chopin was deeply permeated into popular music, fertile ground for future mazurkas.  In this remote area they want to perpetuate the small museum in Szafarnia, converted into a music school. The pianist Rafał Blechacz, last winner of the Warsaw Chopin Competition (2005) who is from the region, remembers having played when he was nine years old "a suite by Bach, a piece of Mozart, two sonatines by Scarlatti and even a sonatine of my composition. I was very impressed by playing in those places where my parents told me that Chopin had spent summers during his childhood."

Another quote from, an article of Polish community titled, "One Composer, Many Emotions Among Polish Immigrants", celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of their great composer (June 28, 2010).

.....Born in Żelazowa Wola, a tiny village west of Warsaw, he returned to the Polish countryside throughout his childhood. There, he encountered peasants playing folk music and dancing traditional Polish dances–mazurkas and polonaises. These memories inspired many of his later pieces. “He put Poland in his music,” says Janusz Sporek, a musician and the Chopin event organizer.

“Chopin’s music may be universal, but I feel very lucky to have had access to those places where Chopin used to go to, like Żelazowa Wola where he was born and various places in Warsaw where his music was created,” said Rafał Blechacz, one of the most famous Polish contemporary pianists who played at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York earlier this year. “Definitely various dancing rhythms which are present in mazurkas and polonaises, we Poles can understand easier.”

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