Chopin's Manuscript | A Special Exhibition

May 23 - Jul 30 2023       ul. Okólnik 1
In September 1836, while in Dresden, Fryderyk Chopin proposed to Maria Wodzińska, whom he had met while still in Warsaw. The proposal was accepted on the condition that Fryderyk would take care of his health. It was also then that the composer entered into his fiancée's album the song Pierścień to words by Stefan Witwicki. In the same period, Maria drew a portrait of Chopin, which is today regarded as one of his most faithful representations. The couple kept in touch by letter, but over time the correspondence became less and less frequent, and, after two years, it stopped altogether. When Maria eventually married Józef Skarbek, Chopin, residing in Paris at the time, had already become acquainted with Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin (who famously wrote under the male pen name George Sand), with whom he soon became involved for a longer time. The words of the song Pierścień about unrealized engagement became in a sense a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Smutno niańki ci śpiewały,
A ja już kochałem,
A na lewy palec mały
Srebrny pierścień dałem.
Pobrali dziewczęta drudzy,
Ja wiernie kochałem,
Przyszedł młody chłopiec cudzy,
Choć ja pierścień dałem.
Your nannies sang sadly,
And I already loved
And for the left little finger
I gave you a silver ring.
Second girls were married,
I faithfully loved
A young unfamiliar boy came,
Although I gave the ring.

The presented manuscript of Pierścień (ENG: The Ring) is a draft autograph of the entire work, with a complete notation of the vocal part, two stanzas of the text and a fragmentary notation of the accompaniment. The manuscript belonged to Julian Fontana, Chopin's friend, who in 1859 posthumously published a collection of several of his songs, including Pierścień. The basis for the publication was this manuscript, considered by Fontana to be its first record chronologically and dated by him to 1841, which can be seen in the note made by him. Fontana had no idea about Chopin's entry in Maria Wodzińska's album of 1836, so using only this sketch and (possibly) a copy by Ludwika Jędrzejewicz, he independently reconstructed the missing elements of the work before publishing it. In 1864, Fontana donated (or sold) the manuscript to a person named Bixio, which was also recorded by him. Almost a hundred years later, in 1962, the autograph found its way to Alain Brieux's antique shop in Paris, where it was purchased by the Society of Fryderyk Chopin and brought to Poland.



Open 10:00-18:00. Closed Mon. May 23 2023 - Jul 30 2023
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