Devoted to Oginski

Belarusians celebrate 250th anniversary of birth of composer Michal Kleofas Oginski this year, supported by UNESCO

Belarusians celebrate 250th anniversary of birth of composer Michal Kleofas Oginski this year, supported by UNESCO

The musician’s mansion in Zalesie has been restored while diplomat and collector Piotr Kravchenko has donated four late 18th-early 19th century original manuscripts, bought at auction. He presented these at Minsk’s House of Friendship, with support from the Polish Embassy.

Mr. Kravchenko’s interest in Oginski stems partly from him having been born in Molodechno; the famous family owned much of city in the past. Jointly with his friend Grigory Soroka, the Director of Molodechno’s Oginski Musical College, and with sculptor Valerian Yanushkevich and other enthusiasts, Mr. Kravchenko has helped promote familiarity with our famous countryman. A memorial plaque has been unveiled in Florence (where Michal Kleofas spent his last days), in Belarusian and Italian.

Speaking at a celebratory reception, hosted by the House of Friendship, the Charge d’Affaires of Poland to Belarus, Michal Chabros, said, “Michal Kleofas Oginski lived in hard times, when his Motherland — the Rzecz Pospolita — disappeared from the map of Europe. However, his Farewell to Homeland polonaise has endured through the centuries. In 2005, I was surprised to hear it in Kyrgyz Osh — performed by a local accordion player, in the city square.”

Bass baritone Vladimir Alexandrovich’s singing of an Oginski piece in Belarusian impressed guests at the reception. Born in Molodechno, the musician now works for Florence’s Comunale Theatre. His talent is one of many ‘exported’ around the world from Belarus. Sooner or later, however, all return to their homeland.

By Victor Andreev
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