In September 1828, Feliks Jarocki, Professor of Zoology at Warsaw University and a neighbour of the Chopins, left for a ‘nature researchers’ conference in Berlin. He suggested to the Chopins that he take their talented son with him, so that he, Fryderyk, could make contacts in German musical circles. Chopin announced his departure to Tytus Woyciechowski in a letter dated 9 September: ‘I am traveling to Berlin today. [...] The cause of all this, however, is monkeys from all the cabinets of Europe’.
The road to Berlin took them through Poznań, on 11 September, but they only stopped for a couple of hours, probably delivering a parcel from Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz in Warsaw to Abp Teofil Wolicki, as Henryk Nowaczyk suggests. Niemcewicz and Wolicki corresponded through trusted intermediaries, as anything sent through the post was liable to be intercepted by Novosiltsov’s secret police. Wolicki wanted the weary travellers to stay for dinner, but the imminent departure of the coach for Berlin (Nowaczyk has established that they only had two hours) prevented them from staying in Poznań any longer.
Chopin and Jarocki stopped in Poznań again on 30 September, on their way back from Berlin (they probably stayed at the ‘Hotel Saski’ [Saxon hotel] on ul. Wrocławska). They took Abp Wolicki up on his previous invitation and paid him a visit at his palace the day after they arrived. Chopin and Jarocki left for Warsaw on 3 October. It is worth adding that Chopin was not exactly a stranger to Wolicki. The archbishop’s mother was a Wiesiołowska. As such, she was related to Stefan Wiesiołowski of Strzyżew, the husband of Chopin’s godmother, Anna Skarbek.
The concert Chopin gave in the Poznań palace of Prince Radziwiłł (a former Jesuit college) has often been described but raises many questions. The event was purportedly captured and preserved in a famous 1887 painting by Henryk Siemiradzki. Some scholars, however, have pointed out that the Radziwiłłs were not in Poznań at the time and so the scene depicted in the painting could not have taken place.
In 1910, a plaque commemorating Chopin’s stay in Poznań was unveiled in the courtyard of the Poznań Society for the Friends of Learning (ul. Seweryna Mielżyńskiego 27/29). A second plaque was unveiled at the entrance to the former Jesuit College (Plac Kolegiacki 17) on 16 October 1960. The inscription reads: ‘Fryderyk Chopin played in this building in 1828’.
There is a monument to the composer sculpted by Marcin Rożek in a small park at the rear of the college. It was originally unveiled in Stanisław Moniuszko Park, at the intersection of ul. Chopina, ul. Libelta and al. Niepodleglości in 1923. After the war, it was moved to Fryderyk Chopin Park, which was laid out on the site of the former Jesuit gardens. The monument was seriously damaged in 1997 and has been replaced by a copy. The original is in the White Hall of the local government building.
The Museum of Musical Instruments (ul. Przy Starym Rynku 45) is in possession of the piano on which Chopin played at the Radziwiłł residence in Antonin, the composer’s death mask, a cast of his hand and a linden-wood bust of him by Wacław Szymanowski.