Musicians from Poland: Find out more about Chopin!

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We’re on a treasure hunt! That’s a POSZUKIWANIE SKARBÓW in Polish.

We’re using Baron Grindwal’s map to learn more about POLSKA – or Poland as we call it in the UK.

Baron Grindwal was a riddler – and so to explore POLSKA, we’re going to have to solve some of his riddles.

You’ll find all kinds of music in Poland – from pop music to rock to classical. Music in Polish is MUZYKA.

There are huge music festivals too, like the Open’er Festival in GDYNIA where you’ll find all the big popular stars, Warsaw Autumn for contemporary classical music and the Wratislavia Cantans International Festival in WROCLAW for classical vocal music.

In this episode, we will find out about POLISH MUSIC. We are searching for a famous Polish KOMPOZYTOR – that’s a composer. So let’s hear the first riddle.

Riddle 1: “From Poland fair to Paris bound, in history books his work resounds.”

Well Poland has a very rich history but if it’s music, we’re thinking about music and composers. Perhaps it’s IGNACY JAN PADEREWSKI

As well as being a famous composer, PADEREWSKI was a prime minister of Poland. In that role he helped Poland to regain its independence in 1918. So he’s certainly someone who’ll be remembered in the history books for a long time to come.

But the riddle mentions Paris. Paderewski may have visited, but it’s not a place he’s associated with.

So let’s see our next riddle. Riddle 2: “A pianist will hold the key, with folklore woven musically.”

A pianist – PIANISTA – so we’re looking for pianos. WOJCHIECH KILAR is a composer who wrote music for many famous films – including one called “The Pianist” which won many Oscars. So we’ve certainly got a piano, just like the riddle says!

And Kilar took inspiration from Polish history and used folk music from the Tatra Mountains as themes in his work.

But KILAR came many years after the Baron and his map.

Time for one more riddle.  Riddle 3: “Treasure close at hand you’ll see, a figure rests beneath a tree.”

Well, there are many trees in Poland – including huge forests with bears and wolves. And in Warsaw there’s a famous statue of a composer called FRYDERYK CHOPIN. And look – he’s seated under a willow tree!

Chopin was one of the most famous composers and pianists of all time. In fact, he rarely wrote for any other instrument. So if it’s pianos we want – this could be the man!

Born in Żelazowa Wola near Warsaw in 1810, Chopin spent a lot of time in Paris, composing and performing, and also teaching others to play. His beautiful piano compositions are loved throughout the world to this day.

So we’ve definitely found someone who’s made history!

Chopin took inspiration from Polish folk songs, including creating 59 Mazurkas – MAZURKI and 17 Polonaises – POLONEZY – which he based on traditional Polish national dances.

Chopin’s music made them famous across the globe! The International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw attracts the best pianists from all over the world every five years!

Click here to learn more Polish!

Related Polish words and phrases:

MUZYKA – music
MUZYK – musician
FORTEPIAN – the grand piano
PIANISTA – the pianist
KOMPOZYTOR – a composer
KONCERTY – concerts

More to click…

Click to find out more about Wojciech Kilar

Click to find out more about Jan Paderewski

Click to find out more about Chopin

Click to find out more about Paderewski playing his own music in a very old film

Click to find out more about the beautiful Mazurkas written by Chopin, inspired by the classic Polish dance called the Mazurka

Click to find out more about the dramatic film music of Wojciech Kilar

Click to find out more about some real traditional music from Poland

Click to find out more about a Polish traditional dance called POLONEZ, composed by Wojciech Kilar

Explore more of Poland with Baron Grindwal!

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Learn Polish with support from the Polish Cultural Institute London.


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