The Chopin Institute presents a CD containing a selection of Chopin’s letters from different periods in his life: from the first letters written in Szafarnia (1824) to the last letter, addressed to Tytus Woyciechowski (1849). The letters are read by Zbigniew Zamachowski. The publication is enriched with drawings by the outstanding illustrator Józef Wilkoń. The introduction was written by Ernest Bryll.
Chopin wrote such beautiful letters. In that day and age, when the most beautiful letters in Polish epistolography were being written, Fryderyk was among the best. In my opinion, he is the equal of Słowacki, Krasiński, Norwid. […]
These Chopin letters, from the early ones written in 1824 from Szafarnia to the one sent shortly before his death, are so full of sayings, metaphors and expressions. They evoke images, create the impression that what the letter relates is tangible. The Polish language had to be flexible, efficient, not in order to create beautiful yet empty expressions, but to precisely render the meaning of the words, and so the thoughts. That is crucial, because in order to produce a fine description of the changing world around us, so that the reader feels every vibration, one should not only see it. So words to describe many different animal colours, to define a variety of instruments and facial expressions, existed and lived. And someone who had an extraordinary talent for sending himself in his letters to others – and Chopin was just such a person – knew that the word was only the material, from which originality, motion and meaning had to be sparked into life.
The letters from Fryderyk’s early youth are almost like fun. His Lordship Fryderyk Franciszek Mikołaj Jakub Chopin creates the ‘Szafarnia Courier’ for his family. In the ‘Domestic News’ section, we read that: ‘I have drunk seven cups of acorn coffee and one may anticipate that I will soon have drunk eight’. In the ‘Foreign News’, meanwhile, there is a description of the old harvest festival, familiar to no one today. The ceremony on the Obrowo estate is described with zest, like the most brilliant short story. So we see the whole parade, led by girls with extravagant wreaths on their heads. We can almost hear the music, because the ways of singing are described, as well as the words of the ditties. We even learn of the story behind their composition. And that description of making music on a rather tatty violin and cello, when Chopin is playing like crazy to a country dance! Well, folks, utter mastery! Who knows nowadays how a Dobrzyń air sounds when ‘cut’ on the fiddle by some rustic Freddie? Everything is so beautiful and true, and so ‘to be seen and heard’ that I won’t even dare to comment. […]