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Tadeusz Kościuszko – Artist. An album and a concert in tribute to the hero


Thanks to an exceptional publication issued by PWM Edition, launched on 18 October 2017 during a grand concert at the President’s Palace in Warsaw, we learn of an unfamiliar side to this Polish national hero. The event was organised as part of Kościuszko Year.


This autumn, PWM Edition is issuing an exceptional publication for the bicentenary of the death of Tadeusz Kościuszko. It will present a less familiar aspect of the talents of this Polish national hero: his artistic output. ‘Kościuszko entered the general awareness first and foremost as a leading figure in the military domain and in the fight for Polish independence. Few people realise that he also produced exceptional output in the field of art. This year, as we remember Tadeusz Kościuszko, we want to introduce his musical and artistic output to a wider audience and thereby pay tribute to one of the greatest of Poles’, declares Dr Daniel Cichy, director and editor-in-chief of PWM Edition.


The publication comprises three components. The first is a richly illustrated book containing accessible scholarly essays by the art historian Dr Paweł Ignaczak and the musicologist Adam T. Kukla. The texts are complemented by the other two elements: twelve reproductions of drawings by Kościuszko and a collection of sheet music, containing musical compositions attributed to Kościuszko himself alongside works by other composers, Józef Elsner, Franciszek Lessel and Kazimierz Nowakiewicz, forming an ideal musical background to the epoch. ‘The album – in Polish with an English translation – is presented in an elegant, stylish slipcase. We trust that our publication, as thus conceived, will represent a worthy tribute to this hero of two continents: Europe and North America’, adds Dr Cichy.


This exceptional publication will be launched on 18 October during a grand concert organised by the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland in association with PWM Edition. The music will be provided by the Orchestra of the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music conducted by Marcin Nałęcz-Niesiołowski, together with the pianist Łukasz Krupiński and the actor Paweł Królikowski. We will hear two polonaises and a waltz for piano attributed to Tadeusz Kościuszko, as well as Karol Kurpiński’s fugue on the theme of the Polish national anthem. There will also be works for larger forces: Ignacy Feliks Dobrzyński’s Sextet in E flat major, Op. 39 for strings, Karol Kurpiński’s ‘Elegia na śmierć Tadeusza Kościuszki’ [Elegy on the death of Tadeusz Kościuszko], with words by Kantorbery Tymowski, for reciting voice and orchestra, and Fryderyk Chopin’s Fantasy on Polish Airs, Op. 13 for piano and orchestra.


The choice of repertoire was not made by chance. As the album’s principal editor, Adam T. Kukla, also responsible for the album’s conception, says: ‘The selection of compositions was informed by themes used repeatedly during the early nineteenth century for a variety of works and a musical synonym of Tadeusz Kościuszko: the “Kościuszko Polonaise”. During the concert, we will hear three works attributed to our hero. They include the above-mentioned dance, which will also be heard in other works: the Sextet in E flat major, Op. 39 and the “Elegy on the Death of Tadeusz Kościuszko”. The “Dąbrowski Mazurka”, although not yet functioning as the national anthem at the beginning of the nineteenth century, was one of the most important patriotic songs of that period. Its melody was just as popular as that of the “Kościuszko Polonaise”. Consequently, we included the “Dąbrowski Mazurka” in the repertoire, but in an unusual and little-known form: a fugue by Karol Kurpiński. The last work is Fryderyk Chopin’s Fantasy on Polish Airs, Op. 13, which refers in its music to the “Elegy”. Perhaps the young composer wished to express in this way his recognition of the heroic deeds of the commander of the national insurrection.’



Honorary Patron of this publication is the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda.

The edition was funded by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and published in association with the Kosciuszko Foundation.

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