Thank you, Scotland!
Chopin the Ungrateful
A tribute to Jane Stirling
To entitle a project “Chopin the Ungrateful” may seem provocative. And so it is. This project is indeed intended to inflame emotions as well as to bring to life those facts related to Frédéric Chopin’s life (1810 - 1849) that literature appears to have so wrongfully dismissed - the contribution which Jane W. Stirling (1804 - 1859) - Chopin’s aristocratic Scottish tutee - made to help him in the ultimate years of his life, as well as after his death, to preserve his legacy, which we have been so lucky to enjoy in the last two hundred years. Alas, Chopinologists may have been too interested in the often romantic relationships this unquestionable musical genius maintained with his female admirers. Consequently, they might have shown too little interest in those who successfully evaded the limelight and truly provided help for Chopin when he really needed it.
Such was the case with Jane W. Stirling who, for instance, helped to organise and financed the famous transportation of Chopin’s heart from Paris to Warsaw, performed by Ludwika Jêdrzejewiczowa - Chopin’s sister. It was Jane W. Stirling who purchased many Chopin-related artefacts and handed them over to his family, including his piano, exhibited now in the Frédéric Chopin Museum in Warsaw. And it was she who maintained and took care of the memory of Chopin after his death. Perhaps symbolically, many of the women who had been part of Chopin’s life attended his burial. Jane W. Stirling did not. She was mourning.
It is simply too bad that these facts have fallen into oblivion.
The project structure. The project
currently consists of two parts: Part 1 of the project - a live event
- will take the audience on a journey to those places that Jane W.
Stirling took Chopin to. It is a combination of narration by Marek
Kucharski, illustrated with photographic and video material, readings of
Chopin's letters, and music of Chopin's works performed live by Anna Dêbowska
and concluded with a short recital of Anna playing selected pieces that are
about to appear on her new album, which is Part 2 of the project. The CD
is, in fact, an audio-recorded musical expression of the gratitude we all
have for the woman that saved the bulk of Chopin's legacy.
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leaflet in English