Souvenirs and facts connected with the person of Fryderyk Chopin, including portraits of the composer and of people close to him, the places he stayed, autographs, documents and other objects, have always aroused interest, and not only among academics, scholars and devotees of his music. And they attract particular interest today, as we prepare for the 200th anniversary celebrations of the composer’s birth. At present, access to most of these objects, which are under the care of the Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw, is greatly reduced, due to the advanced renovation work in Ostrogski Castle, the seat of the composer’s museum, and the ongoing conservation work, digitalisation, etc. aimed at preparing the collection to be presented and made available to the public in 2010. In an attempt to meet the expectations of all interested parties, both private individuals and institutions working to prepare their own celebrations in 2010, we hereby present the Chopin Kaleidoscope, intended to fill at least some of the gaps caused by the museum’s temporary closure.
The main task of the Chopin Kaleidoscope is to present and make more widely available digital copies of ‘treasures’ of Polish culture and heritage-above all souvenirs connected with the person of Fryderyk Chopin. The material used in the preparation of the kaleidoscope comes (in most cases) from the Fryderyk Chopin Museum’s own collection, occasionally enhanced with the most interesting objects from other collections. The digital replica of each object is accompanied by a verbal commentary (in Polish and English), including a physical description, the historical context, a transcription (in the case of correspondence), interesting facts and the current location of the original.
The Chopin Kaleidoscope has been prepared in such a way that the objects selected by the user may be printed out in a quality enabling them to be displayed. The material comprising this resource is supplemented by indices (of persons and places), making it easier to move around this virtual collection, as well as tracks of works by Chopin recorded on historical instruments, from the Fryderyk Chopin Institute’s own collection, and a bibliography. The authors have made every effort to ensure that the commentaries accompanying the objects reflect the current state of research. We hope that our selection will prove helpful to you in your preparations for Chopin Year.
Marita Albán-Juárez (Places)
Magdalena Jamro┐y, Teresa Lewandowska (People)
Mariusz Wrona (Documents)
John Comber (English translation)