Poturzyn Poturzyn

In the summer of 1830 Fryderyk set off on the '40-mile route' to 'the State of Poturzyn'. Many hypotheses appear in biographical studies concerning the route 'in the direction of Hrubieszów'. Most of these suggest that the choice fell on the 'old historical route along the Vistula', through Piaseczno, Czersk, Góra, Ryczywół, Kozienice, Puławy, Końskowola, Lublin, Krasnystaw, Zamość and Komarów to Oszczów. [1] It seems highly probable that the route commenced on 12 July by stagecoach led through Krasnystaw, where there was a transfer to the 'extra-post' travelling through Hrubieszów to Poturzyn.

The Woyciechowskis possessed an expansive flatland estate, including Poturzyn (also enumerated in the source literature are Żabcze and Witków). In a splendid park with a small lake stood a manor house with hothouses, and with numerous farm buildings in the vicinity. This was certainly a very successful holiday, lasting around a week, later remembered as the 'Poturzyn adventures'- a relaxing sojourn in beautiful surroundings in the company of his best friend, with music ever-present. During this period, Fryderyk valued particularly highly Tytus's honest opinion with regard to his compositions, as he confessed in a letter dated 27 March 1830: 'Your single view after each concert would be worth to me more than all the praise of the critics, Elsners, Kurpińskis, Soliwas etc.' [2]

It is highly likely that Fryderyk took to Poturzyn the first edition, dedicated to his friend, of his Variations in B flat major, written on a theme from Mozart's Don Giovanni, namely 'La ci darem la mano, Varié pour le Piano-forte avec accompagnement d'Orchestre, dedię a Mr. Titus Woyciechowski par Frederic Chopin. Oeuvre 2.' [3]

We owe another addition to the map of Fryderyk's travels to the musicologist Benjamin Vogel. During his searches for pianos from Chopin's day, he came across the following inscription: 'Here also stood the brown Pleyel grand piano on which Fryderyk Chopin played on two visits to Stara Wieś from Poturzyn with his friend Tytus Woyciechowski'. [4] In his article, Vogel states that 'it was probably that piano which was the reason for those two visits to Stara Wieś'. [5]

Little remains from the times when Chopin stayed in Poturzyn. Tytus Woyciechowski's splendid manor house burned down, together with the sugar factory that he built, in the 1940s. Only the landscape has not undergone any fundamental changes; stretching all around are the same extensive fields on which beet is grown to this very day. There is also the park with its lakes, which at that time was certainly more impressive; today it is neglected, wild, overgrown, devoid of the necessary management of man. The remains of the farm buildings have survived, and of the sugar factory only the remnants of the foundations and parts of a red brick wall.

Near the old school, in the park, beneath a willow, stands a bas-relief by J. Bulewicz bearing the following inscription: 'In memory of Fryderyk Chopin, who stayed in Poturzyn at the home of his friend Tytus Woyciechowski in 1830, taking the local folk songs in his heart when, soon after, he left the country for ever'. Below this is the inscription: 'PKZ Zamość 1985'.

Poturzyn lies in the commune of Telatyn, in Tomaszów county, in the Lublin voivoideship, on the DW852, between Telatyn and Dołhobyczów.

Worth seeing in the area:

  • Woyciechowski family tomb in Oszczów, in Hrubieszów county, about 10 km from Poturzyn
  • baroque timber church with two-tower facade in Tomaszów Lubelski

[1] See T. Frączyk, Warszawa młodości Chopina, Z. Jeżewska, Chopin w kraju rozdzinnym.
[2] The correspondence of Fryderyk Chopin, ed. B. E. Sydow, 1 vol. (Warsaw, 1955), 114.
[3] H. F. Nowaczyk, 'Do Poturzyna z Wariacjami B-dur', 16.
[4] R. Aftanazy, Dzieje rezydencji na dawnych kresach Rzeczypospolitej, vi: Województwo bełskie. Ziemia Chełmska województwa ruskiego, 2nd edn (Wrocław, 1995), 178ff; see also R. Aftanazy, Materiały do dziejów rezydencji [Material for a history of residences], vi A (Warsaw, 1989), 234-236.
[5] B. Vogel, 'The Young Chopin's Domestic Pianos'.

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