Episode 92: Chopin's Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

Polish Songs Op. 74, No. 18 'Czary'

rc-bewitched-200Bewitched. The idea has been around as long as love itself. Potions, incantations, magic spells…

It seems Chopin — and Polish poet Stefan Witwicki — knew the sleepless nights of the enchanted and the love-stricken. In 1830, Chopin set Witwicki’s poem on the subject in a song called Czary or "Witchcraft":

It must be witchcraft
It must truly be magic
I see her image always before me
Her gentle voice is everywhere. Surely, this is witchcraft!

Chopin’s song has a folk-like feel. It’s strophic. There are repeated elements. There’s talk of nature, love and magic. The piano provides levity and the voice, anxiety.

But Witwicki’s tale and Chopin’s setting take an unusual turn. Rather than suffer another sleepless night, the poor smitten one declares:

I have a cunning plan!
I’ll gather herbs by moonlight to make a potion;
I’ll cast my own spell upon her
And she will become my wife!

- Jennifer Foster

Radio Chopin Episode 92: Chopin's Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered



Polish Songs Op. 74, No 18 'Czary'




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