Paderewski Pianist and Patriot Author:Antoni Gronowicz Ignacy Jan Paderewski was the most famous Polish pianist of the early twentieth century. Thousands flocked to his concerts to hear his romantic style of playing. But Paderewski was more than a pianist. During the years that his native Poland was controlled by Russia, Paderewski the patriot spoke out for the liberation of his country. When his dr... more »eam became a reality after World War I he dropped his musical career and devoted himself to Poland. After serving a single year as president, he worked raising funds and lobbying the world's leaders to keep Poland alive. Today Paderewski is remembered as a champion of his country who risked his life and fortune to resist political tyranny.
Paderewski felt the U.S. would help Poland become free. It was during this time that many came to know Paderewski more as a patriot than a pianist. Because of Paderewski's efforts to bring about freedom in Poland, he became Prime Minister. After resigning from Prime Minister of Poland, Paderewski returned to the piano for a short time before opening his own music school. While nearing the end of his life, the second World War broke out, but this time Paderewski failed to help his country. He realized that he would die before the end of WWII and still not witness a truly free Poland. Unfortunately, Paderewski was right, and on June 29, 1941, he died.
Paderewski was a man who sacrificed himself for Poland and her people not knowing if he, too, would have the chance reap the benefits of a free nation. This book was truly inspirational for me. I never realized how much difference one man could make. I was impressed by the fact that Paderewski kept on going despite the tragedies which constantly confronted him. Despite all the hardships he endured he never became bitter or disassociated himself from people. It was clear that Paderewski loved people. I was surprised when I found out he would buy tickets for those who could not afford them. Once, he even bought a piano for two girls who wanted to study the piano but did not own a piano. Paderewski believed that music belonged to the people. The truly impressive part was he lived by this philosophy and did not just talk about it. Paderewski made sure that music was accessible to all, not just the wealthy. I would be interested in doing more research during the time when he was Prime Minister. I would like to find out exactly what he did during his time in office and why he was forced by his own people to resign. Perhaps the part of the book that touched me the most was Paderewski's death. Even at death, Paderewski thought not of himself but of his country and how unhappy he was that he would not make it to see Poland liberated.
The tears started to run down my face after reading that right before his death, Paderewski went to the piano and played Poland's National Anthem. Since he could not witness Poland's freedom, at least he would die with her National Anthem ringing in his ears. I guess I took my freedom for granted until Ignacy Paderewski made me realize just how precious freedom really is. I thought this book was going to focus solely on the music of Paderewski, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it covered all aspects of his life. The description was great, and after I was done reading it I felt like I had known Paderewski my whole life. The book had a real nice flow about it which made if very enjoyable to read. My only complaint would be that I did not feel too challenged by the level of reading. I felt like the book might have been better suited for a younger audience. However, even though the level of reading was not what I expected, the detailed information and specific accounts of the life of Paderewski were present nonetheless. And I must note that this was the first book I have ever read that made me cry at the end.