Apartment of Dominik Magnuszewski
‘In the meantime, Moriolka is waiting for me, then I go to Celiński’s for dinner. I promised to be at Magnuszewski’s later, and I won’t have time to come before 4 and finish writing the rest to you down to the bottom of this sheet, the emptiness of which pains and troubles me, but which I can do nothing about”, a busy Chopin wrote to Tytus Woyciechowski in September 1830.
Dominik Magnuszewski, who is mentioned in this letter, was a friend of the two young men from their days at the Warsaw Lyceum and the Chopins’ boarding house. He was already an up-and-coming poet and playwright.
Magnuszewski was raised by his grandfather, Dominik Borakowski, a judge who was well known and respected in the capital. Magnuszewski and his siblings lived with him in a townhouse on Krakowskie Przedmieście, occupying, according to Ferdynand Hoesick, ‘a small room with one window and a small courtyard. It was here, at this window, that he wrote his first works while still a student on the Faculty of Law and Public Administration at the University. It was here that he often spent many a sublime moment with Konstanty Gaszyński, Zygmunt Krasiński and Fryderyk Chopin’.
Kazimierz Władysław Wóycicki, who married Magnuszewski’s sister, looked back on these moments years later: ‘Chopin, a frequent guest at the Borakowski residence, sat down at the piano once it started to get dark and played for a long time. Everyone went quiet. The old man in the adjoining room listened attentively, and the young poet next to him relished the wonderful melody that flowed from Fryderyk’s fingers. And he never played anything unknown. He most often improvised wonderful fantasias on songs from the folk repertoire’.
Magnuszewski served as a lieutenant in the Grenadier Guards during the November Uprising and took refuge in Galicia after the failure of that bid for independence. He died of tuberculosis in 1845.