The pianist who became prime minister

TODAY is the birthdate of Ignacy Jan Paderewski, concert pianist, composer and the first prime minister of Poland (1919-20)

Paderewski was more than a great pianist; he was a mass-market wonder who inspired ad campaigns for shampoos, candy, soaps and party treats, even a windup toy of a little man frenetically pounding his little piano.

He is still remembered for his famous epigram about diligence: “If I don’t practice for one day, I know it; if I don’t practice for two days, the critics know it; if I don’t practice for three days, the audience knows it.”

Paderewski was a popular speaker who was renowned for his wit, and was often quoted. He was once introduced to a polo player with the words: “You are both leaders in your spheres, though the spheres are very different.” “Not so very different,” Paderewski replied. “You are a dear soul who plays polo, and I am a poor Pole who plays solo.”

In another incident, Paderewski once recalled, “I established a certain standard of behaviour, that, during my playing, there must be no talking. When they began to talk, I would stop. I would say, ‘I am sorry to interrupt your conversation. I deeply regret that I am obliged to disturb you, so I am going to stop for a while to allow you to continue talking.’ You can imagine the effect it had…”

Here’s a rare filmed live performance of the man in action


10 thoughts on “The pianist who became prime minister

  1. “Jan Paderewski, concert pianist, composer and the first prime minister of Poland (1919-20)”
    …and apparently one of the Great Guiding Lights of the ALP? 🙂


    • While this blog on music is here, just want to report on a great experience I had last Sunday. We had a visiting choir combining with a local one, along with a considerable orchestra, in a presentation of Mendelsohn’s Elijah.

      Having been brought up more on Handel of course, I have to confess I have never heard the majority of it before (to recognize at any rate.). Some 70 altogether in the choir, with some fine soloists. the baritone who did the Elijah solos was very powerful and stood out. the contralto aria “O rest in the Lord’, (just about the only bit I knew at all well) was beautifully sung by a rather slight lass with rather more of a Soprano voice than the deeper one, but none the less very fine. The choral work was just stunning.

      Good to catch up with this in my later years. My Mendelsohn knowledge is rather weak, but what I am familiar with, I do enjoy.


  2. Talking about dates and music.

    Slightly off topic but I keep dreaming about Rubik’s cubes. 5 of them gathered together. Also the numbers 111. I looked up the ol’ Rubik’s that I used to love playing with and they have a new version with Binary numbers on them. The Binary Clock Cube –

    Then, as happens with your trail of thoughts, I started wondering about the link between numbers and music and was reading this in Wikipedia.

    And as a finale (even though I don’t propose getting fixated with Numerology, but sometimes the patterns of life really do have it’s high and lows). One of my nieces happened to mention recently how for some strange reason she keeps noticing the time with multiples of 1 or even just 111 everywhere. That evening, my father out of the blue says, do you know that tomorrow is the 11th of the 11th and my operation is at 11:00am? Well, he survived it, but is still having a few troubles and yesterday hit a new low with having to call 000 for my sister (an allergic reaction) and someone making a great big scape on the corner of my new car whilst I was at hospital visiting dad (by that time I just didn’t care lol).

    Anyway, my scamble of thoughts. I’m just happy yesterday is finished.


      • Oh and I forgot, one of my fish died.

        Thanks Monica. A real test yesterday. Sis has had dental problems and overdosed on Nurofen (never listened to my warnings of not underestimating the effects of off the shelf medications) and then on top of that at the dental hospital they injected her with a drug that she told them she was allergic to. Double whammy. She’s ok now.

        It’s the peace after the storm today. Thanks for your prayers xo


      • Why do you reference the Christian Autosports Club of Australia, (CACA) Kate?
        ….did your fish get run over? 😯


      • My fish Penelope was victim to the law of survival of the fittest. She was always the meek one of the pair of guppies. Poor little thing.


      • Don’t be too sad, dear Katie.
        But don’t blame evolution; as a catholic, chances are she’d’ve been eaten on Friday anyway. 😉


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