CHOPIN’S POLAND CHOPIN’S POLAND

Kalisz Kalisz

'Fryderyk Chopin had the opportunity to observe the progress in the rebuilding of Kalisz, as he stopped here in passing six times (counting only documented visits): at the end of July and in the middle of September 1826 (journey to Duszniki), in the first week of September 1829 (return from his trip to Vienna), 21-22 October and 7 November 1829 (journey to Strzyżewo and Antonin); he also stayed there from the evening of 3 November to 5 November 1830 (stopover before leaving the country, never to return).' Thus may we list as briefly as possible, in a single breath-after Henryk F. Nowaczyk[1]-all the composer's stays in this town.

On at least two occasions, Fryderyk spent more time in Kalisz than the minimum required for rest during a journey. It is certain that, returning in merry company from Vienna, Chopin visited with his friends Doctor Adam Bogumił Helbich. Among the friends accompanying Chopin on that journey were Ignacy Maciejowski and Alfons Brandt. And it was with the physician's family of the latter that Doctor Helbich was closely linked. The young men arrived in Kalisz on 2 September 1829 and went straight to Helbich's home in the hope of putting up there. However, their planned stopover did not last long, as their host happened to be on his way to a wedding in Żychlin. They would certainly not have been upset at the doctor that, instead of a rest from their tiring journey, he proposed them new attractions-leaving with him for the wedding.

Another episode in Kalisz occurred at the beginning of November 1829, when Fryderyk stopped over there when returning from Antonin: 'On the way back I was in Kalisz at a soiree with Mrs Łączyńska and Miss Biernacka. She pulled me up to dance, I had to dance a mazur, and that with an even lovelier maid than she, or at least equally as beautiful. [...] I was in Kalisz only one day', he wrote in a letter to Tytus Woyciechowski in Poturzyn.[2]

Kalisz lies on the River Prosna, on the Kalisz Uplands. It is one of the oldest towns in Poland and the second largest town in the Greater Poland region and voivodeship, after Poznań.


[1] H. F. Nowaczyk, 'Podróż Ludwiki Chopinówny do wód Szlązkich w 1826 roku', 31.
[2] KCh, i, 113.