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Works by Chopin. Facsimile Edition edited by Zofia Chechlińska is an international academic publishing project realised over several years, the aim of which is to publish all the available manuscripts of works by Fryderyk Chopin in facsimile form, with commentaries by Chopin scholars.

The project is the first of its kind on such a grand scale anywhere in the world. Participating in the venture are representatives from countries: Poland, France, the UK, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, USA and Japan. The project's partners are libraries where Chopin manuscripts are held, universities, music publishers and Chopin societies.

This special edition is the first edition of the complete set of Chopin's music manuscripts and the most outstanding graphic reproduction of the original texts hitherto produced. The six-language source commentary is the most up-to-date knowledge relating to the manuscripts and their history.

The complete edition will provide unprecedented access to faithful copies of all the originals of Chopin's music manuscripts scattered around the world, furnished with an up-to-date scholarly commentary in six languages: Polish, English, French, German, Spanish and Japanese.

The aims of this edition are to preserve and disseminate the Fryderyk Chopin legacy in Poland and across the world by reproducing and safeguarding the contents of his manuscripts, to make the original Chopin texts accessible for research purposes, to enable performance practice to approach as near as possible the composer's intentions, and to verify knowledge regarding sources and disseminate this knowledge via the source commentaries.

To obtain further information and to order the first volumes in the series, we invite you to visit our internet store or please contact:

Narodowy Instytut Fryderyka Chopina
ul. Tamka 43
00-355 Warszawa
Poland
tel: (+48 22) 44 16 100
fax: (+48 22) 44 16 113
email: nifc@nifc.pl


It is well that The Fryderyk Chopin Institute is commencing the publication of the Facsimile Edition of Works by Chopin. Well that the semi-autograph score of the F minor Concerto appears in such a beautiful and technically faithful form as one of the first items in this edition. It would be hard to overestimate the benefits and joys afforded by its perusal. Every admirer of the music of Chopin will perceive in it some essential qualities, depending upon his or her interests.

Chopinologists will encounter above all a great amount of musical information, thanks not only to the size of the manuscript, but also to a host of elements connected with its notation. They will be faced with the eternal question of the relationship between invention and convention in the work of art - in our case between the invention of a twenty-year-old creative genius and the contemporary convention of musical thinking: thinking in terms of intersecting styles, of the sound of the pianoforte of those times, of mannerisms in instrumentation, the practices of music publishers, the taste of the receivers of music and all the related imponderables. That great expert in editing, Konrad Górski, asserts in his pivotal work: 'One may state in advance that the one-off elaboration of an autograph is sure to be imprecise. Sometimes one notices something only on the third reading.' [1] With a faithful replica immediately to hand of the notation of this work, of crucial significance to the Chopin oeuvre, the researcher will find quicker and more accurate answers to questions which had hitherto remained unresolved, will clear up many misunderstandings, and will raise many new issues.

Pianists and pedagogues will notice in the piano part written in Chopin's hand thecontinual perfectioning of the composer's creation, his exceptional feel for the instrument, a chiselling of every detail of performance in the text, the innovativeness of fingering and pedalisation, and will decipher in the living material of the music the sense of many interpretational indications.

Music lovers will be able to penetrate that particular connection, defiant of verbal definition, between musical signs and their effect. They will see, for example, how well Chopin's terming of his own notational script as 'manuscript flies' or 'a web' [2] corresponds to the subtlety of their musical message.

Collectors,  with such an exquisite volume in their hands, might perhaps understand better than anyone else the seemingly curious words with which Chopin defined his attitude to his own autographs. Every composer of music, in submitting for print his or her manuscript - that material form of immaterial inspiration - bids it farewell, save for the episode of proof-reading, for ever. Yet Chopin is reluctant to part with it in spirit. Several years after the publication of the F minor Concerto he sent a parcel of his compositions for copying to his friend and copyist Julian Fontana, who was then to set in motion the process of their publication. Towards the end of the letter the composer exhorts his friend: 'I ask you for God's sake to respect my manuscript and not crumple it or soil or tear it (everything that you cannot do, but I write because I do so love the tedious things I write )'. [3]

Jan Ekier, Warszawa  2005


[1] Konrad Górski Sztuka edytorska [The Art of Editing] (Warsaw, 1956), 81-82. Prof. Górski describes here autographs of literary works. For the more complex musical script, threefold analysis is still insufficient.
[2] From a letter to Julian Fontana dated 18 Oct. 1841, KCh, ii, 44.
[3] Ibid. (emphasis by J. Ekier). A play on words in Polish involving the similarity between ‘nudy' [tedious things] and ‘nuty' [notes].
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