Ministers,Bogdan ZDROJEVSKI, Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage,Waldemar DĄBROWSKI, Former Minister of Culture, Polish Commissioner of the Year Chopin 2010Messieurs les Ambassadeurs,Commissioners General,Ladies and Gentlemen Presidents and Directors,Ladies and Gentlemen,Dear Friends,«BACH is an astronomer who discovers the most wonderful stars.BEETHOVEN is measured by the universe. I am only trying to express the soul and lust of man».

In a few simple and correct words, CHOPIN defines what makes the singularity so moving of his music and his voice: that of an intimate dialogue of the soul with itself, of the composer with his instrument, most often this instrument of interior and interiority that is the piano, but also that of a communion of souls, with the listeners and, more generally, with the nations and peoples of a united Europe.
Because if CHOPIN occupies this special place in the heart of each of us, it is because this unsurpassed poet of the piano, inspired virtuoso and brilliant improviser, knows how to entrust to his instrument his feelings both intimate and universal, which is the very image of a confident dialogue. Everyone who has had the chance to learn the piano – and the courage to persevere! – have tried to make them the enchanting melodies of his Waltzes, his Ballads, his Studies and Preludes, and of course of these Polonaise and
Mazurkas in which he was particularly able to crystallize the soul of Polish music. Many great writers have sought to compete in writing with this musical dialogue. I will quote the sublime lines of Marcel PROUST: these sentences, with their long, sinuous and disproportionate necks, so free, so flexible, so tactile, which begin by seeking and trying their place outside and far from the direction of their departure, far from the point where one could have hoped that they would reach their touch, and which are not played in this gap of fantasy
that to return more deliberately – from a more premeditated return, with more precision, as on a crystal that would resonate to the point of screaming – hit you in the heart”…

His work naturally invites to the dialogue of the arts because it is based on the intimate dialogue of a dual cultural belonging, to France and Poland whose CHOPIN transcribes and transmits emotional codes, but which he also knows how to melt into a single soul.

His very life intertwines the melodies of these two memoirs. The young man, having trained in Poland where he was born near Warsaw, a Polish mother and a Lorraine father, left his beloved country at the time of the Revolution of 1830, at the age of 21. He first won VIENNA, then PARIS, where he spent the rest of his short life, as he died there, as you know, in 1849. He now rests in the cemetery of Père-Lachaise, while his heart is preserved in the church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw. Symbol of this double belonging which gave him this superior fertility.

Throughout his life, this sensitive heart remained divided between his passion for a country of adoption where he rubs shoulders with the greatest artists, and the nostalgia of his dear native Poland, whose rhythms, melodies and harmonies never cease to resonate in him as long echoes of exile, and inform his thought and writing.

His love with George SAND, in Majorca, in Nohant, in Paris, acquired the prestige of the myth and nourished our common imagination, French and Polish. They are one of a natural weave between two friendly cultures.
A living symbol of the Franco-Polish friendship, through our joint projects and exchanges, whose outlines and important milestones were outlined at this morning’s Summit, this year CHOPIN 2010 also draws, a European space for sharing and communion in the universal language of music. As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, it makes us feel the profound unity of our sensibilities and, beyond that, of our values. Europe exists because pioneering geniuses, often artists, knew how to give it a face before its institutional creation, and, in the case of CHOPIN, in a century when nationalist fever did not cease to grow.

This event would not have been possible either, without interlacing and without dialogue, without close cooperation between our two countries and between their respective Commissioners General (former Minister Waldemar DĄBROWSKI and Alain DUAULT)I warmly thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs, without a lack of support, without the very great mobilization of associations. In particular, I wish to greet
the decisive commitment of the Polish Historical and Literary Society, of which the composer was a member, and of its President Casimir Pierre ZALESKI, that of the Polish Library of Paris, directed by Anita DUBOIS, and, finally, the Chopin Society in Paris and its President Antoine PASKIEWICZ, as well as the active participation of the Nohant Romantic Festival and the International Meetings Frédéric Chopin chaired by Alain DUAULT and whose artistic co-director Yves HENRY, pianist, composer and teacher at
Conservatoire de Paris, will make us the pleasure of playing a few pieces of this Master both elegant and familiar.

Thanks to this dialogue, our heart will beat all this year with the heady rhythms of the music of CHOPIN, between France and Poland. The «MAD DAY» organized by the tireless René MARTIN «Autour de CHOPIN» will go from NANTES to WARSAW, and the magnificent exhibition «L'Atelier de CHOPIN», presented by the Cité de la Musique de la Villette in collaboration with the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), may be lucky enough to travel to Warsaw, which would, of course, be a great symbol. Fully aware of the stakes of this event, the Ministry of Culture and Communication
supports this exhibition and is strongly committed to the success of this year through several projects: I want to talk in particular about the development of the auditorium of the sheepfold, in the Domaine George SAND in Nohant, realized by the Center of National Monuments .
Thanks to these numerous events, this year CHOPIN will be an opportunity to make Chopin’s work better known to a very large audience, especially the youngest, who are the listeners of tomorrow.

The music of CHOPIN is very lively today: very present on the record as in the concert halls – in particular at the PLEYEL hall which will give it a large place in its programming this year – it is sometimes used in songs or even «samplee» by rappers, in a perpetual intertwining between tradition and the most contemporary modernity, and between scholarly culture and popular culture.
But the transmission of this heritage will also be fostered by a work conducted in partnership with the Ministry of National Education, in order to prepare and prolong durably the effect of this musical discovery, to put in some way a highlight.

Emblem of this shared culture, the music of CHOPIN, of which this Year of celebration will decline all possible forms, invites us to combine even more closely the cultures and sensitivities of our two countries and to transcend cultural differences and boundaries. CHOPIN shows us that there is an intimate place where souls converse, a bit like the left hand and the right hand of the pianist, and that this place is the deepest. Of this full understanding of souls between French and Poles, among all Europeans, which he
engraved and fixed forever in his scores, his musical work is in a way a prelude. It is only natural that our two countries should pay him the great tribute he deserves in 2010.