Franciszek Klukowski bookshop
One of the most important musical bookshops in Warsaw when Chopin was a youth there was that of the well-known and enterprising publisher Franciszek Klukowski, on the corner of ul. Długa and ul. Miodowa. Apart from the shop on ul. Długa, Klukowski had his own lithography and engraving workshop in Warsaw. He additionally had a rich and massive range of current music publications, thanks to his many business contacts with editors from Vienna, Leipzig, Bonn and St Petersburg.
The teenage Chopin definitely purchased a concerto by Friedrich Kalkbrenner from Klukowski and performed it in Szafarnia, as he wrote about it in an 1824 letter: ‘On the 15th of August of the c[urrent] y[ear], at a musical gathering in Szafarnia consisting of a dozen or so personages and half-personages, His Lordship Pichon put on a display. He played a concerto by Kalkbrenner’.
Klukowski also published the works of Aleksander Rembieliński, an accomplished pianist who died young (Chopin told Jan Białobłocki in 1825 that ‘[Rembieliński] plays the piano as I have never heard anyone play before’). In 1826, it was from Klukowski that Chopin was finally able to purchase for Białobłocki, for the price of 2 zlotys, Two Arias from the Opera Der Freischütz arranged for voice and guitar by J. Rywacki. In a letter dated 8 January 1827, Chopin seemingly thundered: ‘The only reason for me to write today is to defend myself from the suspicion or the accusation that might fall upon me on account of the money that remained with me. […] And here I bought you with it two arias from Der Freischütz, with which you ought to be pleased. True, they are written for a female voice (Kurpińska and Aszpergerowa sing them), but since I know, or at least I imagine, that whenever your leg (about which I know nothing) starts to ache you must sing in a high, thin voice, My Dear Life, they will be just right for you. Transpose the vocal notes an octave lower, and it will be a tenor voice just as you have, as far as I can remember. The two of them together cost 2 złotys’.
Klukowski did not restrict himself to sheet music, but also published books about music. Chopin had one of the textbooks he published, A Short Polish-German Study on Getting to Know Harmony or Thoroughbass as Simply as Possible (1823) by Karol Antoni Simon.