Mykolas Kleopas Oginskis

François-Xavier Fabre. Michał Kleofas Ogiński. Early 19th century. Lithuanian National Museum of Art

What music did Vilnius city dwellers listen to in the 18th century? Maybe a piece composed by Mykolas Kleopas Oginskis.

The famous European composer Mykolas Kleopas Oginskis (Michał Ogiński), who lived in Vilnius, composed mazurkas, waltzes, marches and polonaises. It was fashionable for the nobility to make music in those days; however, he was particularly talented and it was obvious, though he said: “I have never had neither the time nor the desire to seek recognition at the expense of musical compositions…”

Oginskis travelled a lot and his music reflected the trends. He communicated with music greats like Franz Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and he learned to play the violin from the Italian virtuoso Giovanni Battista Viotti. However, like his Enlightenment contemporaries, the nobleman Oginskis was not only a composer. He was also a politician, diplomat and member of the Parliament of the Commonwealth. It is thought that he composed the famous polonaise Farewell to My Homeland upon leaving Lithuania.

Take a seat on the bench in Konstantinas Sirvydas Square, push the button and the sounds of music will take you back to the 18th century. You will also find out more about the composer from reading the text on the bench.

K. Sirvydo skveras
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