COMPOSITIONS compositions

Witchcraft (words by S. Witwicki) incypit

Genre: Song

Opus/WN: [op. posth.]

Creation date: 1830 (?)

Acc. to Paderewski: XVII/18

Acc. to Turło: 146

Instruments: voice & piano


We do not know the exact composition date of the elegy ‘Czary’. We can only suppose that it was written towards the end of 1829 or in 1830. The words are by Stefan Witwicki, a friend of the Chopin family, who published this text in a collection entitled Piosnki sielskie [Rustic songs] – the same collection that also contains ‘Życzenie’ [A maiden’s wish], ‘Gdzie lubi’ [A fickle maid], ‘Wojak’ [Before the battle], ‘Hulanka’ [Drinking song] and a few more poems that Chopin improvised music to during social occasions or out of some inner need. In that way, his songs – like his mazurkas – serve from time to time like the pages of some intimate diary – a journal intime, such as were fashionable at that time.

‘Czary’ was not published until 1910. When compiling his posthumous edition of Chopin’s songs, in 1859, Julian Fontana left this one out, deeming it ‘unworthy of the Chopin name’, and it is hard not to concur. This is a barely eighteen-bar song, resembling a vaudeville ditty. It might have been hummed by the sentimental Albin, bewitched by Klara, in Aleksander Fredro’s Śluby panieńskie [Maiden vows]. And yet Witwicki’s longish text – seven stanzas, with a witty conclusion – was chosen by Chopin. The lyrical subject of his dumka declared: ‘she’s here when I’m awake or dreaming, no doubt it’s those witches scheming’.

Author: Mieczysław Tomaszewski
[Cykl audycji "Fryderyka Chopina Dzieła Wszystkie"]
Polish Radio, program II


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Witchcraft (words by S. Witwicki) [op. posth.]
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