PRINCESS CZARTORYSKA'S HARP TREASURES
Phasma-Music 001                                                                                                          

Anna Sikorzak-Olek – Preface to recording

    The Past of the Future was the guiding motto for Princess Izabela Czartoryska when she created a museum of national memorabilia at the end of the 18th century when Poland lost its independence. Among the thousands of exhibits is a collection of carefully copied, framed and preserved harp music. It shows that, following the example of the Parisian salons, the harp was also a highly popular instrument in Poland. Two Poles contributed to the development of the harp: Prince Michał Kazimierz Ogiński (1728-1800) - hetman, poet, composer and harpist, and his friend Karol Groll (1770-1852) - engraver, constructor, entrepreneur and distinguished scholar of Warsaw. They constructed the world's first harp with a double-action pedal system. Karol Groll patented this invention in London in 1807 and immediately following this he sold it to the French piano and harp builder, Sebastian Erard, who is still considered to be the father of the modern harp. 
    The Czartoryski Library includes works for the pre-Erard harp and for the harp invented in the 19th century. This treasure, a collection of almost 200 titles hidden for over 100 years in Cracow, is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for concerts. 
    I have chosen several works arranged in order from the simplest, anonymous composers to works by virtuoso harpists, such as J.B.Cardon, F.Pollini and John Thomas. 
The mazurka, entitled "L'Esperance" for solo harp, which John Thomas dedicated to Princess Anna Czartoryska in Paris, is a beautiful work related to Poland. It has shades of Chopin in it and the title "Hope" is an expression of the composer's sympathy for Polish efforts to regain independence. 
This disc is my tribute to the generations of Polish patriots who did not lose hope and my gratitude to them for their efforts in retaining the treasures of Polish culture from the past for the future. 
    I wish to extend my sincere thanks to Mr Andrzej Konstanty Kulka, who kindly agreed to accompany me in this work.  (continue...)