CHOPIN 2010
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  August  
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Ojców
1 August 1829. Vienna. Chopin writes to his family: "Smoothly, happily, healthily, and almost comfortably we reached Vienna yesterday. From Kraków we had travelled on a Separatwagen [a stage coach hired for private use], which was better than if we had been riding in our own carriage. The beautiful areas of Galicia stretching out as far as Bielsko, and further on to Upper Silesia and Moravia made the journey the more pleasant as the rain, falling only sometimes in the night, freed us from the vile dust on the road. Before I move on to describing Vienna, let me give you an account of what happened in Ojców. On Sunday after dinner, having hired a four-wheel Kraków carriage for 4 Thalers, we paraded in it in a most exquisite manner. Having left the city and the beautiful surroundings of Kraków, we told our coachman to head directly towards Ojców, thinking that was where Mr Indyk, the farmer at whose place everybody stays the night, lives […]. Unfortunately, however, Mr Indyk lives a mile away from Ojców, and our coachman, unaware the route, drove into the Prądnik, a river, or a transparent stream, and we could not find a way out, with rocks piling on our right and our left. Around 9 in the evening, stranded and clueless, we were found by two people, who, taking pity on us, agreed to lead us to Mr Indyk. We had to walk half a mile by foot, in dew, maneuvering among numerous rocks and sharp stones. At times we had to go over the stream using log crossings, and all that in the dark of the night. Finally, after a lot of struggling, poking and complaining, we found our way to Mr Indyk. He was not expecting visitors at such a late hour. He gave us a room under a rock, in a house specially built for guests. […] So, each of my friends is undressing, drying himself close to the fire kindled by good Mrs Indyk in the fireplace. Only me, sitting in the corner, wet up to my knees, I’m pondering whether to undress myself and dry, or not. At that point I see Mrs Indyk going to the nearby chamber to pick up some sheets; with a sudden air of hope, I follow her and see scores of woolen Kraków caps on the table. The caps are double, similar to nightcaps. Desperate, I buy one for a zloty, tear it in two, take off my shoes, wrap my feet up, and having put a tight knot, I thus save myself from catching the inevitable cold. Having moved closer to the fire, I had a sip of wine and shared a nice laugh with my good chaps, while Mrs Indyk made us makeshift beds on the floor, where we had an excellent night’s sleep." Later on in the letter, Chopin describes Ojców, Pieskowa Skała, and the Black and Royal grottos, where Polish king Władysław I the Elbow-high once sought refuge. He concludes: "if not for anything else, it was worth getting wet for the genuine beauty of Ojców".
More information:
  • Ojców formerly (old postcards) – OJCOWSKI PARK NARODOWY
  • Ojców national ParkPOLAND.GOV.PL

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Nohant II
August 1, 1841. Chopin’s second summer and autumn stay in Nohant (18 June to 4 November). The holiday will bear fruit in the form of seven new opuses (43–49). The first one is Tarantela in A-flat major Op. 43. On August 1, George Sand writes to Paul Léon Gaubert: "Maurice and I spend eight hours a day drawing and painting together [...], while Chopin is doing his thing, getting angry at the piano. When the stallion does not abide by his orders, he delivers a powerful blow with his fist to it so that the poor instrument groans onac! [...] He thinks that he idles the time if he is not bending under the load of work."

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