Maurycy Mochnacki’s home
On Wednesday 17 March 1830, ‘Mr Fryderyk Chopin had the honour of giving an Instrumental and Vocal Concert with the permission of the authorities’, according to the poster. The appearance of the young virtuoso, who was becoming increasingly better known to Warsaw audiences, created quite a stir, and everyone was waiting to see what would be said in the press and behind the scenes. ‘That evening, to the extent that those who were in the upper gallery and those who were standing in the orchestra were satisfied, those in the stalls complained that I played too quietly, and I would have liked to have been at Kopciuszek’s’, Chopin informed Tytus Woyciechowski, ‘in order to hear the debates that must have taken place concerning my person. That is why Mochnacki, after praising me to the skies in the Kurier Polski [Polish courier], and particularly the Adagio, in the end counsels more energy’.
Maurycy Mochnacki was born in 1803 and lived in Warsaw from 1819. He graduated from the Warsaw Lyceum and studied law at Warsaw University. He did not, however, complete his studies, as he was expelled on the order of Grand Duke Constantine after clashing with a police officer on the street. The patriotic Mochnacki was editor of the Gazeta Polska [Polish gazette] and Kurier Polski. He was also an accomplished pianist, although in the 1860s Julian Fontana was annoyed when Mochnacki responded to a certain memorable poem by Bohdan Zaleski by ‘tinkling a little on the piano, like thousands of others’.
‘Exceptionally talented, passionate and energetic,’ enumerated Hoesick, ‘of exhilarating eloquence, and a stylist of the kind not seen in Poland since the days of Skarga, Mochnacki exerted enormous influence on his immediate circle, which counted Chopin among its number. What drew him to Fryderyk was a passionate infatuation with music that went hand in hand with consummate musicianship and virtuosic talent. Considered one of the best pianists in the city […], Mochnacki played works by Mozart, Beethoven and Weber with incomparable mastery. The best evidence that he managed to keep his playing at an expert level is that nobody was surprised when he set out on an artistic journey around Europe. He lived on ul. Długa, in the immediate vicinity of where Lelewel lived on ul. Freta. He frequently entertained friends and colleagues in the evenings, and Chopin being one of them, they never went without music. The author of Polska, [dzieje] i rzeczy jej... [Poland, her history and affairs…], he could sometimes be seen working late into the night from his window’.
Since 1916, Mochnacki’s erstwhile place of residence has had a commemorative plaque.