The Foundation for the National Edition of the Works of Fryderyk Chopin was established in 1998, by Professor Jan Ekier. Professor Ekier has conceived the general idea of the National Edition and is the author of the Editions fundamentals, such as the research methodology, classification of works into series and volumes, chronological list and numbering of Chopins works, and the evaluation of the sources. The National Edition is an urtext, i.e. a source-based, critical edition of Chopins complete works, prepared with the use of up-to-date scientific methodology. The Foundations objective is to complete and promote the National Edition of Fryderyk Chopins Complete Works.
Main areas of the Foundations activity include:
- research for the National Edition and preparation of volumes for publication
- organisation of concerts, lectures, piano courses and other events to promote the National Edition
- fundraising for the National Edition
- cooperation with institutions or individuals who sponsor National Edition or participate in Foundation projects
The National Edition is the first source-critical edition of Chopins complete works based on the entire body of available sources. The sources have been analysed with the use of up-to-date scientific methodology.
The objective of the National Edition is to present Chopins output in its authentic form. Three basic characteristics distinguish the National Edition from other editions of Chopins works. It is:
- a source edition based on sources originated from the composer, mainly autographs, copies of autographs and first editions with the composers corrections, and pupils copies with Chopins annotations. In cases when original sources were lacking, the closest possible materials were used. The collection of source materials was a very laborious task, which took years of effort. The editors have now at their disposal originals or photocopies of practically all-possible source materials.
- a critical edition. The sources have been thoroughly analysed to verify their authenticity and examine their relations. Only an extensive analysis of the variety of materials, not just reconstruction of one or a few sources, can uncover the composers musical intentions. The characteristics of sources, the links and discrepancies between them as well as the reasons for particular editorial decisions have been discussed in the Source Commentaries.
- a practical edition. Beside Chopins fingering, it includes, in different typeface, the fingering used in contemporary concert practice. The Performance Commentaries explain the elements of the score that might be unclear to a contemporary performer. The Performance Commentary appended to each volume includes: the realisation of ornaments, comments on pedal markings (the original markings sometimes are inadequate, due to the difference in sound between pianos used in Chopins times and modern pianos), suggestions as to the "harmonic legato" (a performance technique often used by Chopin and now forgotten).
We owe Chopin a debt. His music allowed us to survive the worst moments, and in the periods of hope extols Polish culture all over the world. We owe the author to publish his work in the form he intended to. This is the goal of the National Edition: to pay off a Nations debt to Chopin.