Wersja polska | Polish version

The Frederick Chopin Museum
at the
Frederick Chopin Society in Warsaw

    The Museum collection, whose inventories contain at present 4813 items (including 81 loans), includes complete autographs, fragments, sketches (all told 129 inventory items) and copies (whole or fragments), made by members of the composer's family and circle (Marcelina Czartoryska [?], Mikolaj Chopin, Julian Fontana, Auguste Franchomme, Ludwika Jedrzejowiczowa and Thomas Tellefsen) of the following works by Chopin: Berceuse D-flat Major op. 57, Impromptu A-flat Major op. 29, F-sharp Major op. 36 and C-sharp minor op. 66, Mazurkas: F minor op. 7 no. 3, G Major op. 50 no. 1, A minor op. 67 no. 4, F minor op. 68 no. 4 (and a reconstruction of an essay carried out by A. Franchomme in 1852), Nocturnes C minor, no opus, C minor and F-sharp minor op. 48 no. 1 and 2, the songs: Precz z moich oczu, op. 74 no. 6 to words by Adam Mickiewicz (first version from 1827), Wojak op. 74 no. 10 and Pierscien op. 74 no. 14 to words by Stefan Witwicki, Polonaises in D minor, B-flat Major and F minor op. 71 no. 1, 2 and 3, Sonatas B-flat minor op. 35, B minor op. 58 and G minor op. 65, Trio G minor op. 8, Grande Valse Brillante E-flat Major op. 18 from 1833, a donation made by the National Polish Bank in Warsaw (17 VI 1993), Valse F minor op. 70 no. 2 and Variation B-flat Major op. 2 on the theme La ci darem la mano from the opera Don Giovanni by W. A. Mozart. These autographs and copies constitute extremely valuable source material for researchers and publishers of works by Chopin and are studied in the Museum by scientists and scholars from Poland and abroad.

    Sketch of Chopin's song Precz z moich oczu (Disappear from my sight) op 74 no. 6

    Sketch of Chopin's song Wojak (The Soldier) op. 74 no. 10

    Sketch of Chopin's song Dawny Polak
    (An ancient Polishman)

    Furthermore, the Chopin Museum possesses sketches unused by the composer, such as figurations, counterpoint studies, fragments harmonised in chords, fragments of the song Dawny polak (sic !) chodzil w portkach and a Rumanian song from Walachia Dÿna Vallach, as well as a refrain from the Mazurka by Dabrowski, harmonised by Chopin in the B-flat Major key, and a humorous dedication "from one ignoramus to another", written possibly for Konstanty Mlokosiewicz, Lieutenant of the Hussars , and dated: "Carlsbad 2., Sept. 1835".

    Apart from manuscripts of the Polish composer, the Museum collection contains French first editions which in the past belonged to his sister Ludwika (three volumes, 45 opera), Napoleon Orda (one volume, 11 opera), Maria Wodzinska (one volume with op. 24 ) and Pierre Zimmermann (one volume - op. 65).

    The first three volumes contain handwritten annotations and corrections made in ordinary pencil - according to family tradition - by Chopin, while in the three volumes belonging to Orda, Wodzinska and Zimmermann, Chopin wrote dedications in ink: 1) "Napoleonowi Ordzie / FF. Chopin", 2) "à Mlle Maria Wodzynska [!] / F Chopin", 3) "A son ami Zimmermann / F. Chopin/ Paris 17 febr. [18]48".

    An important place amongst the music manuscripts is held by the forty page-long autograph of the Piano Quartet in G minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (KV 478) and autographs of works by nineteenth-century composers: Jozef Elsner, Jozef Jawurek, Franz Liszt, Jozef Wieniawski and Sigismund Thalberg. We also come across works (manuscripts and prints) by Carlos Chavez, Oskar Esplá, Bohuslav Martinu, Zygmunt Noskowski, Andrzej Panufnik, Florent Schmitt and Aleksander Tansman dedicated to Chopin as well as compositions by Benjamin Godard, Alfred Quidant, and Moritz Rosenthal dedicated to Ignacy Jan Paderewski.

    Page 1 and 4 of Donizetti's letter
    to Chopin, Paris, 29 April [1840]

    Frederike Streicher's letter to Karol Mikuli, Vienna, 28 November 1864

    A large part of the Museum collection is made up of correspondence, which includes:
  1. the composer's letters (86 items) addressed to his family, acquaintances, friends and pupils (S. Clèsinger, J. Dessauer, J. Fontana, W. Grzymala, A. Gutmann, J. Ch. Kessler, M. Oborski, C. Pleyel, M. de Rozières, G. Sand and her son Maurice, A. Schindler, K. Szulczewski and S. Witwicki) as well as publishers: Brandus, Fétis and M. Schlesinger in Paris, Wessel in London and P. Mechetti in Vienna
  2. letters written to Chopin by amongst others G. Donizetti, J. Elsner, and J. P. Pixis (28 items)
  3. letters e.g. from Klementyna Hoffmanowa, neé Tanska, to Izabela and Ludwika Chopin, Paul Gaubert, Adelaïde Kemble and Paulina Viardot to George Sand, G. Sand to Marie de Rozières and Friederike Streicher, neé Müller, and Thomas Tellefsen to Karol Mikuli, which pertain to Chopin and possess great value for biographers of this Polish composer
  4. Additionally, the Museum collected letters by composers, singers, pianists, painters, poets, and publishers from the nineteenth and twentieth century (H. Berlioz, C. Czerny, J. N. Hummel, F. Liszt, G. Meyerbeer, L. Osinski, A. M. Panseron, Z. Rabcewicz, G. A. Rossini, M. Dudevant-Sand, K. Szymanowski, K. Ujejski, H. Wieniawski, S. Witwicki, W. Zelenski) and letters by many different persons such as members of the family of Chopin's sister Ludwika and M. Wodzinska or those connected with the Chopin tradition (for example L. Ciechomska, L. Ciszewska, T. Orpiszewska, W. Rulikowski, A. Towianski, Maria and Michal Wodzinski).

    The Chopin Museum also houses various types of manuscript documents connected with members of the Chopin family, with Solange Clésinger (writing about the composer's death), Johann Baptist Cramer, Jozef Elsner and his wife Karolina, Wladyslaw Laskowicz (writing about the visit paid by Chopin to Adam Mickiewicz in the last months of 1834), Karol Mikuli (whose note discusses polyphonic composition technique as regards the canon), General Girolamo Ramorino (containing an invitation to a soirée, attended by a French poetess Marceline Desbordes-Valmore). The Museum collection includes autographs - signatures by Daniel Auber, Izabela Barcinska, Jules Benedict, Luigi Cherubini, Justyna and Mikolaj Chopin, Charles Gavard, Jacques Fromental Halévy, Ludwika Jedrzejewiczowa, Fanny Persiani, Giovanni-Battista Rubini, and Antoni Tamburini and signatures of the participants and jury members of International Frederick Chopin Piano Competitions, on their photographs and caricatures.

    A valuable manuscript of printed and typed material deals with the activities of the Frederick Chopin Institute from 1934 to 1939; the same holds true for a commemorative book inaugurated in 1895 for visitors to Zelazowa Wola which includes the signature of Antoni Jedrzejewicz, Chopin's nephew.

    Two pages from the Visitors' Book of Chopin's birthplace in Zelazowa Wola which includes the signature of Chopin's nephew Antoni Jedrzejewicz, 1899

    An important part of the collection is composed of iconography which includes portraits, views of localities where Chopin lived and which he visited as well as posters of the Chopin exhibition, festivals and competitions. The first group comprises: portraits of Frederick Chopin made between 1826-1994 in various media (oil, engravings, water colours, drawings, photographs, sculptures, medals); portraits the composer's family, friends and acquaintances; caricatures and photographs of the participants and members of International Frederick Chopin Piano Competitions.

    Two pencil portraits of Chopin by Eliza Radziwill, 1829

    Portraits of Chopin include two particularly noteworthy drawings by Eliza Radziwillowna from 1829, several portraits in oil and water colour by Chopin's friend Teofil Kwiatkowski, including the valuable canvas entitled Last Moments of Chopin, which depicts, apart from Chopin, his sister Ludwika, his pupil Marcelina Czartoryska, his friends Wojciech Grzymala and Father Aleksander Jelowicki, as well as the author of the painting.

    Of special interest in the Museum collection is the study of Professor Jozef Zurawlew, creator of the International Chopin Competition, and his archive, which was offered to the Frederick Chopin Society by Anna Zurawlew, his wife, in 1984.

    The studio of the pianist J. Zurawlew, the founder of the International Chopin Piano Competitions

    The Museum collection would not be so extensive and precious were it not for the donations and loans from the National Museum in Warsaw (which offered for example Chopin's last piano), Artur Rubinstein, Marek Keller, Pierre Charpentier, Stefan Czarnecki, Roman Sanguszko and Karol Smolski from Paris, Julian Godlewski from Zurich, Arthur Hedley from London, Karol Liszniewski from Cincinnati, Christian Zabriskie from New York, Bohdan Marconi, Zygmunt Mycielski from Warsaw, the family of Karol Mikuli from Gorlice and Krakow, Jerzy Kniolek from Kobylka near Warsaw, Aurora Lauth-Sand from Nohant, George Smeets-Sand from Gargillesse, Henryk Boguslawski from Rome, the above mentioned National Polish Bank, the "Polmos" Enterprise from Siedlce, Galerie Proutè from Paris and the Ministry of Culture and Arts with whose help the Museum collections were systematically enlarged over the years.

    The Library, Recording, and Photographic collections are of enormous significance to scholars researching the life and works of Frederick Chopin and for people spreading knowledge about this Polish composer. The photographs were especially helpful in, for example, the issuing of such publications as Rekopisy utworow Chopina. Katalog (Manuscripts of Chopin's Works. Catalogue), prepared by Krystyna Kobylanska (Krakow 1977, TIFC and PWM), Katalog dziel Fryderyka Chopina (A Catalogue of the Works of Fryderyk Chopin) by Jozef Chominski and Teresa Dalila Turlo (Krakow 1990, TIFC and PWM), the Facsimile Edition of the Autographs of Polonaise F minor [Op. 71 no. 3], Mazurka F minor Op. 7 no. 3, Grande Valse brillante E flat Major Op. 18, Impromptu A flat Major Op. 29, Berceuse D flat Major Op. 57, Mazurka F minor [op. 68 no. 4], and Chopin's letter (to his family from Szafarnia, to Wojciech Grzymala from Hamilton in Scotland, to Ludwika Jedrzejewiczowa from Paris). This edition uses original autographs kept in the Chopin Museum of the Chopin Society in Warsaw, and has commentaries by Zofia Chechlinska, Teresa Czerwinska, Wojciech Nowik and Hanna Wroblewska-Straus. It is published by the Chopin Society in Warsaw and by Romega Press (1999-2000). Another edition of this kind is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Quartet in g-moll für Klavier, Violone, Viola and Violoncello KV 478, faksimile nach dem Autograph im Museum der Chopin-Gesellschaft Warschau mit einer Einführung von Faye Ferguson (Salzburg 1991, TiFC and Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum Salzburg).