Episode 156: A Visit to the Chopin Museum

Mazurka in A-flat Major, Op. 17, No. 3

rc-museum-200Today, a visit to the Chopin Museum. NOT the fashion-forward massive architectural landmark that just opened in Warsaw – but the small, one-room treasure trove in the Bibliotheque Polonaise – that’s right, the “Polish Library” in the fourth arrondissement in Paris.

It’s somehow fitting for the composer that preferred the intimate salon over the vast concert hall. At the Salon Chopin Museum, it’s the human scale – and human side of Chopin that impresses. Personal mementoes. Letters. Manuscripts. His favorite easy chair. His death mask….and even a casting of his left hand, both the work of renowned sculptor Auguste Clesinger.

Any other year, you have to plan your trip to this tiny Chopin museum with its equally tiny opening hours very carefully – it’s normally open one day a week – on Thursday afternoons. But for the Chopin Bicentennial, you now have your pick of Tuesday through Friday afternoons – after 2 pm, s’il vous plait – and Saturday mornings too.

And through the end of the Chopin Bicentennial, there’s a special exhibit called “Chopin and his Contemporaries” - where “we evoke the atmosphere of a musical salon in Paris from the 1830’s and 40’s. The arrival of a young generation of musicians: Chopin, Franchomme, Liszt, Kalkbrenner, Berlioz and others, who propulsed romanticisim into music.” Right down to the meticulously restored 1845 piano. 25 francs – no waiting. Oh, and no pictures either….it is, the tour guide explains, “not politic.” - Benjamin K. Roe


Radio Chopin Episode 156: A Visit to the Chopin Museum

Mazurka in A-flat Major, Op. 17, No. 3