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Once upon a time in Poland

14 November 2019

Mr Andrzej Kanthak, Ambassador of Poland in South Africa, started the celebrations with, “Once upon a time…” and explained how the celebration of Poland's regained independence came about.

Photo: Ambassador Kanthak pictured with musicians Joanna Maklakiewicz and Marek Bugajski (photo by Grazyna Koornhof)

For many years Polish people lived in a country that didn’t exist but Poland remained in their hearts. After its erasure, Poland returned to the map of the world on November 11, 1918 after enduring 123 years of occupation and November 11 became a state holiday in 1937. This holiday was lost after the Second World War and again officially restored in 1989 after the collapse of communism.

Ambassador Kanthak celebrated the anniversary of Poland’s regained independence with a concert of 19th century classical Polish music  by Frederik Chopin and Stanislaw Moniusko performed by Joanna Maklakiewicz on grandpiano and Marek Bugajski on violin.

The year 2019 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Stanislaw Moniuszko, and it is celebrated as the Year of Moniuszko in Poland, Belarus and Lithuania.

The concert  included the works of Frédéric Chopin and Stanislaw Moniuszko, who are widely regarded as the best Polish composers of all time. Chopin’s music was the genesis of a new and very fruitful national movement that, despite political oppression which sought to exterminate Polish patriotism, developed with great vigour. A typical representative of this movement, thoroughly romantic in spirit, was Stanisław Moniuszko (1819-1872). He was the first composer to develop the Polish art-song, originated by Chopin, and left more than three hundred of them, more than any other Polish composer. He was also the first to compose a distinctly Polish opera, different from anything previously written.

The "…happily ever after” is Poland’s reappearance on the map of Europe




February/March 2020


















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