National Edition of the Complete Works of Fryderyk Chopin
Krystyna Niemotko

In 2010 the 200th year anniversary of the birth of Frederick Chopin will take place.  He was one of the most famous composers of the romantic music period.  At this time in Warsaw The 16th Frederick Chopin International Piano Competition will occur.  This is one of the most important contests in piano, for a single composer.

For many years pianists have pondered the best way to perform the works of Frederick Chopin.  Until now the Warsaw-based PWM, Polish edition of the complete works of the great Polish composer was used.  This was edited by Ignacy Jan Paderewski as Fryderyk Chopin’s Complete Works, whilst the “hands-on” editorial work was done by Ludwik Bronarski and Józef Turczyński.  There were also used editions like Cortot, Mikuli/Schirmer, Peters, Vienna Urtext and many others.   These works contained many errors in reading the composer’s writing in his first edition from the 19th century.
Professor Jan Ekier, a Polish pianist, composer and pedagogue undertook the enormous task of tracing original scores of Chopin, with his team of devoted musicians.  This new edition has been called National Edition of the Complete Works of Fryderyk Chopin.  The endeavour was based on hand-written copies corrected by the composer, first editions and also “teaching copies” used by Chopin for his pedagogical work, in which we
may find his original fingering. 
The “National Edition” is a practical one, designed to serve researchers, but first of all, performers.  They can find some useful remarks about the execution of ornaments, advice on pedalling or fingering.  The “National Edition” reflects the path of Chopin and the history of his output.  The whole lot has been divided into two groups of work series, namely A: Works Published During Chopin’s Lifetime and B: Works Published Posthumously, clearly indicating which works Chopin intended for print, and ones he chose not to publish.  The text prepared by the “National Edition” is recommended by the current 2008 Rules of the Frederic Chopin International Piano Competition.
From 1962-1978 I worked on the National Edition of the Complete Works of Fryderyk Chopin as a Secretary.  It was interesting but very hard work.  I would read for hours noting all the minute differences in each of the first editions: German, French and English.  In 1995 I received great accolades from the Editor-in-Chief of the National Edition of the Complete Works of Fryderyk Chopin and a gift of the finalised edition of Nocturnes by Chopin with a personalised thank you from Professor Jan Ekier for my contribution in preparing the new edition.


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