The secrets of the ancient archive

Study of the archive of Mikhail Kleofas Oginsky, which has recently been delivered to Belarus, promises sensations both to musicologists and historians
Study of the archive of Mikhail Kleofas Oginsky, which has recently been delivered to Belarus, promises sensations both to musicologists and historians.

Until recently six thousand pages of the archive of the outstanding person in European history and culture Mikhail Kleofas Oginsky were stored in Russian National Archive of ancient acts. In 1833 the son of Mikhail Kleofas, Ireniusz Oginsky delivered five chests of the archive of his famous father according to his testament to the Russian Empire. Until now the archive wasn’t studied. After skimming it presented the researchers the first surprise: having looked through the notes, a musicologist Svetlana Nemogay discovered three works of a world famous composer, which had never been published — a march (in arrangement of Oginsky’s daughters, Amelia and Emma, with an inscription “For our dear father”), a romance and a gallop. It is symbolical, that for the first time — it is true, more than in hundred years after its creation — this music sounded on the Belarusian land.

Seven notes of polonaise

Polonaise of Oginsky “Farewell with Motherland” — one of the most known in the world classical musical works. A different matter — not everybody remembers the author of this sad, captivating melody.
— There were absurd situations, when in the Soviet times the conductor of the concert announced: “Tchaikovsky. Polonaise “Farewell with Motherland”, — says the director of the museum of history of theatrical and musical culture Zinaida Kucher.

Oginsky considered music composition just a hobby. A writer and historian, Polish ambassador to England and Holland, the minister of finances, the senator of the Russian Empire, he expected to remain in the history owing to his political activity. But the history gave another order: the descendants remember the prince Oginsky as the author of waltzes, mazurkas, tens of wonderful polonaises. Hundreds of pilgrims from Belarus, Poland, East-country and Russia come in flocks to give a bow to the memory of Oginsky-composer to his mansion house Zalesye in Smorgon district of Grodno region, which is not yet restored, at the anniversary of his birth, on September 26...

— In 2006, to the 240th anniversary of Oginsky, Minsk Regional Drama Theatre staged a performance by the play of Vladimir Drozdov “Fantasia A-minor”, — says Zinaida Kucher. — We invited the actors to show the performance in Zalesye on September 26. To tell you the truth, the actors didn’t want to go: they were not attracted by the perspective to play in an unaccommodated, unrenewed room. But the museum’s employees managed to convince them. And how did they play! As if ancient walls of the mansion house gave them creative power!

At the times of Mikhail Kleofas Oginsky in his mansion gathered, by recollections of contemporaries, “all people standing in the society. Famous citizens of the Crown and Lithuania came to Zalesye, they cared about welfare of their country”. People say, that the walls of the ancient mansion house remember the sounds of ancient melodies. Here played the outstanding musicians of the end of the XVIIIth — beginning of the XIXth century: Iosiph Kozlovsky, a director of music of St. Petersburg imperial theatres, a famous Spanish violinist Eskudera, an Italian composer and a singer Giuseppe Poliani and, of course, the master of the mansion house. It is here where the polonaise “Farewell with Motherland” was written — shortly before Oginsky had to emigrate after suppression of the uprising by Tadeusz Kosciusko.

To renew graceful and exquisite atmosphere of Zalesye is an old dream of the employees of the museum of theatrical and musical culture: refined pictures and works of art, a well-groomed park, where fallow deers lived, the river with spring water, where trout splashed... Over a period of seven years the estate of Oginsky in Zalesye is a branch of the National Museum of history of theatrical and musical culture of the Republic of Belarus. In the nearest future the mansion house will be restored — a plan of restoration works is confirmed. A concept, worked out by the director of the museum, offers many interesting projects — restoration of princely greenhouses (Oginsky confirmed, that they could have considered great even for the palaces of Petersburg), of menageries (the prince had two of them — a covered and an open one), of stablings (it is planned to open a horse-sport school in the estate for local children, and to organize sleighing and riding in the carriage for the tourists). A music saloon and a theatrical hall shall be in the mansion house.

Riddles have to be solved

Close attention to the destiny of the mansion house of the National Commission of Belarus in the matters of UNESCO, owing to its active cooperation the archive of Oginsky was returned to Belarus, testifies on peculiar value of the historical monument “Zalesye” not only on the scale of our country, but also for All-European culture. Between the archivists of Belarus and Russia there are no agreement on the return of original archival documents, and the archive of a famous countryman returned to Belarus in microfilms and on compact-discs. But modern equipment, says Zinaida Kucher, allows reproducing the documents almost undistinguishable from the originals, wearing out paper and ink. Six thousand pages of the archive include not only notes, but, for example, a correspondence of the father of Mikhail Kleofas, Andrey Oginsky, with the last king of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Stanislav Avgust Poniatovsky. The letters of a diplomat Oginsky and august messages are ciphered. The biggest part of the archive is in French and Polish languages, it is necessary to translate it in modern Russian and Belarusian languages. Apart from this, there are more than 340 visiting cards in the archive, sorting them out, it would be possible to make a conclusion on surrounding of Mikhail Oginsky, on the famous people of his century, who visited Zalesye. And, probably, here the openings are also hiding.

Irina Trofilova
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