Norwid - Chopin. Korespondencja serc i sztuk
Norwid - Chopin. Correspondence of Hearts and Arts
Relationships between Cyprian Norwid and Fryderyk Chopin are one of the most interesting pages in nineteenth-century Polish and European literatures. The historic meeting of the two great Romantic artists, who are part both of Polish national culture and of the world's ideological and artistic heritage, has already been studied and described many times and in many aspects, especially in Polish literary studies and musicology as well as in philosophical thought.
A musical order permeates the whole of Norwid's oeuvre, which is meaningfully demonstrated by the anthology compiled by Władysław Stróżewski (Cyprian Norwid o muzyce [Cyprian Norwid on music]). This order was expressed in a mature and especially noble way in Norwid's poem Fortepian Szopena [Chopin's Piano]. In its incomparable evocations this work absorbed the whole depth of Norwid's genius and consolidated a perfect combination - unique and the only one in Polish (or perhaps even world) literature - of the musical and the literary, the picture and sense, the visionary and the logical, or perhaps even some kind of the incomprehensible superlogical, thus becoming an equal literary companion to Chopin's music.
It is difficult to find out what ultimately provided the main impetus for the creation of Norwid's masterpiece. It might have been the faithful memory of the "last days" of Chopin, which the poet remembered since he took more or less part in them. Perhaps the memory of the heart shaken by the brutal noises coming from his native Warsaw: the clatter and moans of Chopin souvenirs being smashed over the capital's road cobbles. That was how the Russian authorities took revenge on Warsaw in retaliation for the de facto failed assassination attempt of 19 September 1863 on the tsar's viceroy of the Kingdom of Poland: by vandalizing the house of Chopin's sister and destroying the Chopin memorabilia kept there. Moreover, we must not fail to mention an even more tragic situation at the close of 1944: German troops are blowing up and burning the remnants of blood-bathed Warsaw - in one of the pillars of the St. Cross Church there is the urn with Chopin's heart, which had been smuggled by his sister to his native Poland as he had wished. The church is about to share the fate of the whole capital. Its remnants will be blown up by the meticulous Wehrmacht soldiers, to be turned into dust and rubble. And at that moment an unknown German officer sends a secret warning about this to the people who tried to save national treasures from Warsaw while it was being demolished. Chopin's heart was saved.
That very Heart! Despite the horrific destruction of the national substance, the majority of Norwid's manuscripts collected in Warsaw were also miraculously saved, including the masterpiece "Chopin's Piano".
It is said that in order to love we have to listen; in order to understand - we have to hear and hear someone out… Not everyone is heard by everyone. Some have gained the grace of participating in the world of universal human culture, others are still waiting. Let us hope that - as Norwid put it - this is active waiting, in which "the word is a testament to the act" (Norwid's words from the poem Promethidion. Epilogue).