Poturzyn, ruins of the sugar factory
Chopin’s journey to Chelmland was closely linked to his great friendship with Tytus Woyciechowski, who hailed from Poturzyn. Tytus, two years older than Fryderyk, attended the Warsaw Lyceum and boarded with the Chopins. For the young Chopin, he was a very special figure, in whom he placed enormous trust. From Chopin’s reminiscences, one infers that he spent with his older friend long hours in countless discussions, amusements and walks around the whole city. On completing his schooling at the Lyceum, Tytus studied on the law department of Warsaw University. Before long, due to his father’s premature death, he was forced to take over the duties connected with possession of an extensive estate in Chelmland, and he moved to the family home in Poturzyn. Tytus’s departure, in July 1828, gave rise to an intense exchange of letters between the two young men. Chopin wrote to Tytus very often, relating to him current events and anecdotes, and also confiding in him the secrets of his soul, his musical dilemmas and all his disparate moods. Due to the considerable distance that separated them, this was the only form of ‘conversation’ open to Chopin with his friend, whom he sorely missed in Warsaw: ‘Come for just a breather from your country labours to the bosom of friendship, Miss Sonntag [sic] will sing to you and you’ll gain new strength for your occupations. What a shame that, instead of a letter, I cannot send myself’ [Sydow, i, 129] rued Fryderyk in a letter to Tytus of 5 June 1830, since on that day only post was been taken from Warsaw ‘in the direction of Hrubieszów’, and he had to wait for the stagecoach several days more. Finally, in July 1830, he decided to take the ’40-mile road’ himself and set off for ‘the State of Poturzyn’. The Woyciechowskis possessed an expansive flatland estate, including Poturzyn, Żabcze and Witków. In a splendid park with a small lake stood a manor house with hothouses, and with numerous farm buildings in the vicinity. Unfortunately, practically no trace remains of them today. For Fryderyk, this was certainly a very successful holiday, lasting around a week, later remembered as the ‘Poturzyn adventures’—a relaxing sojourn in Poturzyn combined with visits to the surrounding area, including Stara Wieś, in the company of his best friend, with music ever-present. It is highly likely that Fryderyk took to Poturzyn the first edition, dedicated to his friend, of his Variations in B flat major, written on a theme from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, namely La ci darem la mano, Varié pour le Piano-forte avec accompagnement d’Orchestre, dedié a Mr. Titus Woyciechowski par Frederic Chopin. Oeuvre 2.
photo Ewa Sławińska-Dahlig