COMPOSITIONS compositions


A decade or so ago, there came to light a Chopin manuscript bearing the handwritten date 1827. It was a sketch for the song ‘Precz z moich oczu’. If the dating is correct, this would be Chopin’s earliest song.

We do not know what prompted Chopin to turn to this early Mickiewicz erotic or what his intentions were. Although one of the song’s manuscripts was found in the album of Elsner’s daughter, Emilia (Hoesick saw it for himself), that may represent a gesture of social courtesy. Of Chopin’s two songs to words by Mickiewicz, this is the weaker; it cannot compare to the second erotic, ‘Moja pieszczotka’. It would seem that Chopin had not yet matured into the direct expression of emotions of an erotic nature. In its first part, the song betrays a pseudo-Classical emphasis; in the second part, sentimentalism. Mickiewicz’s erotic can be read as either pure expression or existential message. Chopin chose the former. In that case, the sense appears in the text when Mickiewicz’s gradation is accentuated:

Precz z moich oczu posłucham od razu,
Precz z mego serca  – i serce posłucha,
Precz z mej pamięci – nie, tego rozkazu,
Moja i twoja pamięć nie posłucha.

(Out of my eyes I hearken at once,
Out of my heart  – and the heart pays heed,
Out of my memory – no, that’s an injunction
My memory and yours won’t obey.)

Chopin has the accent fall three times on the thrice-repeated ‘precz!’ But let us allow the composer the right to interpret the poet’s message as he sees fit. In an elegant, distinguished rendering, ‘Precz z moich oczu’ is one of the finest Polish lyrical songs.

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


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