Nationalism in Poland in the 19th Century (Part 6)

When we look at the times of Fryderyk Chopin, we see Europe tired of war, but not giving up fighting, rebelling against its enemies and craving for peace. Characteristic features of the musical culture of the nineteenth century are ‘national styles’. They result from an increased sense of national identity of Germans, French, Italians, Poles, Hungarians, Czechs and Russians. A very strong impact on the growth of national self-awareness had a threat of national sovereignty, independence and a desire to defend oneself. A national identity makes us feel as a part of community with the same language, history, traditions and customs.

Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Słowacki, Zygmunt Krasińki and Fryderyk Chopin expressed their national identity using different means of poetry, prose and music. What inspired them was love for their country. Patriotism and love for Poland are very easy to notice in Chopin’s music. The composer expresses them by using folk melodies such as Mazurka, Kujawiak, Oberek, Polonaise and Polish Christmas Carols. Chopin’s compositions tell stories about the history of Poland and express composer’s longing for return home.

1. D. Gwizdalanka, Historia muzyki. cz. 2 (Kraków 2006)
2. A. Hedley, Chopin (London 1957)
3. Z. Jachimecki, ‘Chopin, Fryderyk Franciszek’, Polski słownik biograficzny (Kraków 1937)
4. Z. Jezewska, Chopin (Warsaw 1985)
5. M. Kowalska, ABC Historii Muzyki (Kraków 2001)
6. W. Mathews, A Popular History of the Art of Music, (Ebook 2010)
7. J. Siepmann, Chopin: The Reluctant Romantic (London 1995)
8. A. Zamoyski, Chopin (Warsaw 1985)

Fryderyk Chopin Institute, Chopin Works, (
Association of Fryderyk's Sympathiser Chopin, Tradition, (

F. Chopin, 2 Scherza, Nocturnes and Mazurkas, Dina Yoffe (NIFC), NIFCCD 012
F. Chopin, Ballades and Nocturnes, Nelson Goerner (NIFC), NIFCCD 003
F. Chopin, Mazurkas, Fou Ts’ong (NIFC), NIFCCD 001
F. Chopin, Polonaises, Mazurkas and Nocturnes, Janusz Olejniczak (NIFC), NIFCCD 011

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