The fact that Chopin was Polish and spent the first half of his life in Poland, experiencing directly the music and dance from the village is indisociable with his own musical creations

The composer’s mother family backgroup was the Kuyavia region, that was one of the main Chopin’s leverages, together with the region of Mazovia in which he was born and with which its inhabitants’ character he felt identified and that, unsurprisingly, gives name to the mazurka music style. But during his years in Poland he travelled through most of the regions, where he payed attention to the popular music and dance manifestation. Their deep impression on this young fellow where well catched on his letters to his family, in example on the so-called Kuryerze Szafarskim, the Szafarnia courier, written during his holidays on the countryside. On these letters the composer explained his direct participation in several occasions. We took one little excerps from the very advisable CD-book The Sources of Chopin’s Music – Folk Music from the Archive of Polish Radio (Polskie Radio, 2013):

The leaps, the waltz, and the obertas began, but in order to encourage the farmhands, who where standing quitely and only jigging in place, I went to dance the first waltz with Miss Tekla  and at the end with Mrs. Dziewanowska. Later on, everybody became so merry that they turned about the courtyard until they dropped. […] I begin to accompany on the bass […] sawing away on the one-string, monochord […] dusty, old basetla.  […] 

Background and program

The musical program proposed by the Polish group Janusz Prusinowski Kompania and the Spanish pianist Miguel Ituarte explores and shows the relationships between rural traditional Polish music and the artistic expression of Chopin.

After a first meeting in Madrid in May 2015, Ituarte and Prusinowski´s team explores their mutual repertoires and decide to carry out the project. Thus, in a joint session they identified an initial common repertoire that was complemented by an artist residency in July 2016.

The program was presented on stage for the first time in Autum of 2016 at the Real Coliseo Carlos III in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, on the series Great performers, organized by the Community of Madrid.

"Are the kujawiak, the mazurkas, the oberek, polonaises and songs, ubiquitous in the work of Fryderyk Chopin, deeply rooted in the authentic rural music, or are they only distant echoes of those primitive melodies? A violinist village and a famous pianist, do they belong to two completely different dialects or do they speak the same musical words? We try to answer these questions with music. This concert is an exceptional experience. When a pianist and a rural band perform together, they apply laws of music and dance that are valid for both the music of the Polish countryside and to the work of Chopin. The mysterious rubato becomes a clear method of dialogue with the dancers, the sounds of mazurka find its sources in traditional folk songs. What is unique in the music of Chopin and in traditional rural music is, thanks to their mutual context, more visible; what unites them is worthy of the term "Polish Music"."

Janusz Prusinowski


We also quote Grzegorz Michalski, initiator and first director of National Fryderyk Chopin Institute (http://en.chopin.nifc.pl/chopin/persons/detail/id/4) and his words related to the concept that guides this project:


"I think the most important is the unbelievable skills shown by Fryderyk Chopin to register and transform his way the specific features of the music from the Polish countryside, despised by his contemporaries. The irregularities in the rhythm and intonation, barely noticeable, the peculiarities of the musical scale, the obsessive repetition of the motifs, all of them were eliminated in artistic adaptations because they were considered too simplistic, lacking of good taste and difficult to write down on the score. Nevertheless, those features were the most important for Chopin. And he was right! He was ahead almost one hundred years of his time in understanding the rural music. (…) We can feel privileged because we listen the music from Mazovia, Kujawy, Kurpie and Podlasie the way Chopin loved.”

Grzegorz Michalski

  1. Suite of village mazurkas from regions of Rawa y Radom
  2. Mazurka in F Major, Op. 68, No 3 (Fryderyk Chopin) and suwak from Bednarz brothers (Lublin region)
  3. Bębenek kołacze (sang mazurka from Radom region)
  4. Mazurka in G minor, Op. 24, No. 1 (Chopin) + “Chłopolek” – (song from Oskar Kolberg's notations)
  5. Mazurka in C major, Opus 24 n. 2 (Chopin)
  6. Jechał cić ja + Kujawiak “Koziołek" + kujawiak from Oskar Kolberg's publications, with melodies from Kujawy region
  7. Mazurka in A minor, Opus 17 n. 4 (Chopin)
  8. Kujawiak “Chłopolek” + kujawiak “Jaworowe Kółka” (melodies from Kujawy region)
  9. Polonese in F-sharp minor, Opus 44 (Chopin) + “Triana” (Isaac Albéniz)
  10. Zawierucha + Dobrzelin + Serce (melodies from Łowicz region)
  11. Mazurca in F minor, Opus 63 n. 2
  12. Chmiel (wedding song from Lublin region)
  13. Berceuse (Chopin) and Lullaby from Radom region
  14. “Mazurek pod ścianą” (from Rawa region) + Mazurka in C major, Opus 56 n. 2 (Chopin) + Mazurka by Kazimierz Meto (Rawa region) + Mazurk in D major, Opus 33 n. 2 (Chopin)