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The Warsaw Voice » From the News Editor » October 29, 2010
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From the Editor-in-Chief
October 29, 2010   
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The Chopin Competition is like a presidential election: held every five years, it electrifies people. There are differences, as presidential elections are held separately in each country while the Chopin Competition has a global dimension. Candidates come from all over the world; the judges represent the international music community, while the renown of the prize winners also has a global dimension.

The Chopin Competition is also like the Olympics, though these are held every four years. It fuels sports-like emotions among the public, while the laurels on the victor’s head make him or her a demigod.

This year’s competition, held for the 16th time, was special because we are marking 200 years since the composer’s birth. The global fascination with Frederic Chopin, which continues on a high note without faltering, received a new impetus. The maestro of musical romanticism, which is probably the secret behind his undying popularity, is a trademark of Poland and the Year of Chopin can only strengthen this association.

The uniformed enthusiasts of Wagner and their intellectual mentors did not dare hold the Chopin Competition during their occupation of Poland, even though it already had a long tradition at the time. Amid the sea of Warsaw’s ruins, we had to wait for the competition’s return until 1949.

Since its reincarnation, the competition has luckily remained outside the political realm. No government and no political force tried to appropriate Chopin for themselves. His music is one of those values that remain the property of all. One special confirmation of this is the love of his music that has burst forth like a flame in Asia, especially in Japan and China. The triumphs of young Asian pianists in the competition added to Chopin’s popularity in that part of the world, and today no one is surprised with the huge number of students in Asian piano classes.

Above all, Chopin remains touchingly Polish. The Year of Chopin has yielded numerous memoirs and testimonies from his time that confirm his patriotism, which was present in both his music and his life.
Poland becomes nobler thanks to Chopin. He is its stamp of quality. Just as there is no Germany without Bach and no Russia without Tchaikovsky, there is no Poland without Chopin. But there is also no truly united Europe without Chopin.

Today, when logos have such a huge value in almost every area of public life, not just in culture but in politics and the economy as well, one has to be fortunate indeed to be able to embellish one’s image with such genius. Poland is that fortunate.
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