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Music from Poland

posted Aug 9, 2016, 1:56 PM by Steven Vaughan   [ updated Aug 9, 2016, 1:56 PM ]
As our World Youth Day pilgrims continue exploring religious and historical sites of Poland, they’re also in places where great music has been composed.

They flew into Warsaw, where Frédéric Chopin grew up. This virtuoso pianist of the romantic era wrote primarily for piano, including waltzes, nocturnes and polonaises, a dance of Polish origin. (Polonaise is French for “Polish”.) Do you remember Barry Manilow’s “Could It Be Magic”? It’s based on Chopin’s “Prelude in C minor”!

Ignacy Paderewski was also a pianist and composer who graduated from the Warsaw Conservatorium. A favorite of concert audiences around the globe, he met with President Woodrow Wilson in 1918 to obtain the explicit inclusion of independent Poland as point 13 in Wilson's peace terms called the Fourteen Points.

After visiting Czestochowa, they traveled to Kraków, where Krzysztof Penderecki graduated from the Academy of Music. Famous for his choral work St. Luke Passion, many films feature his music, such as The Exorcist and The Shining. From there they visited Auschwitz, the German concentration camp where millions lost their lives, including Saints Maximilian Kolbe and Edith Stein. In many of these camps, prisoners who were musicians were forced to play during the work day; occasionally at the gas chambers; and for the entertainment of German personnel. At one point, Auschwitz had six orchestras and a brass band of over 120 musicians!