World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Michał Kleofas Ogiński

Article Id: WHEBN0002142590
Reproduction Date:

Title: Michał Kleofas Ogiński  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Poles, Featured articles in other languages, List of historical national anthems, List of Polish people, Paymasters
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Michał Kleofas Ogiński

Michał Kleofas Ogiński
Michał Kleofas Ogiński

Michał Kleofas Ogiński (Lithuanian: Mykolas Kleopas Oginskis; Belarusian: Міхал Клеафас Агінскі; 25 September 1765 – 15 October 1833)[1] was a Polish composer,[2][3][4] diplomat and politician,[5][6][7] Lithuanian Grand Treasurer, and a senator of the Russian Empire.[8]


  • Life 1
  • Chronology 2
  • Works 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Ogiński was born in Guzów, Żyrardów County (near Warsaw)[1] in the Polish Kingdom (part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth). His father Andrius was Lithuanian nobleman and governor of Trakai, in Lithuania; his mother, Paula Paulina Szembek (1740–1797), was a daughter of the Polish magnate Marek Szembek, whose ancestors were Austrians, and Yadviga Rudnicka, who was of polonised Lithuanian descent (the family name's root is of Lithuanian origin and the suffix indicates polonisation of her family name).

Taught at home, young Ogiński excelled especially at music and foreign languages. He studied under Józef Kozłowski, and later took violin lessons from Giovanni Battista Viotti and Pierre Baillot.[1]

Ogiński served as an adviser to King Stanisław August Poniatowski and supported him during the Great Sejm of 1788–1792.[9] After 1790, he was dispatched to The Hague as a diplomatic representative of Poland in the Netherlands[10][11] and was Polish agent in Constantinople and Paris.[8] In 1793, he was nominated to the office of the Treasurer in Lithuania.[8][9]

During the Kościuszko Uprising in 1794, Ogiński commanded his own unit.[12] After the insurrection was suppressed, he emigrated to France, where he sought Napoleon's support for the Polish cause.[9] At that time he saw the creation of the Duchy of Warsaw by the Emperor as a stepping stone to eventual full independence for Poland, and dedicated his only opera, Zelis et Valcour, to Napoleon.[13] In 1810, Ogiński withdrew from political activity in exile[8] and, disappointed with Napoleon,[14] returned to Vilna. Adam Jerzy Czartoryski introduced him to Tsar Alexander I, who made Ogiński a Russian Senator. Ogiński tried in vain to convince the Tsar to rebuild the Polish State. He moved abroad in 1815 and died in 1833 in Florence.[9]

As a composer, he is best known for his polonaise Pożegnanie Ojczyzny (Farewell to the Homeland),[2] written in 1794 on the occasion of his emigration to western Europe after the failure of the Kościuszko Uprising.[12][15] This piece, with its unreservedly melancholic melodies and fantasia-like passages, can be considered one of the earliest examples of Romanticism in music, preempting Chopin by approximately a quarter-century. His polonaises influenced an entire generation of Polish composers, including Maria Szymanowska, Franciszek Lessel, and Ignacy Feliks Dobrzyński.


Ogiński coat-of-arms
  • 1786 – Polish Sejm deputy.
  • 1789 – Sword-bearer of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
  • 1790/1791 – Envoy Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Netherlands.
  • 1791 – Returned to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to decide a point of his family lands since Russia had occupied some of them.
  • 1793 – Deputy to the Hrodna Sejm.
  • 1793–94 – Deputy Treasurer in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
  • 1794 – Participant in the Kościuszko Uprising.

When the Russians occupied Vilnius, he moved to Warsaw. The Russians outlawed him and seized all his lands. Thereafter he lived in exile successively in Vienna, Venice and Paris.

  • 1802 – Thanks to the good offices of Duke Czartoryski, Oginski returned to Lithuania.

He swore allegiance to Tsar Alexander I of Russia and settled in Zalesie village, Ashmyany region, in present-day Belarus. At the new place of living Oginski built a new palace, an English-style park, a greenhouse, a zoopark and collected a lot of books for his library.

  • 1807 – Oginski met Napoleon in Italy.
  • 1810 – Oginski moved to St. Petersburg, Russia. There he met the Russian Emperor, who gave Oginski the rank of Senator and Privy Councilor. Also he was conferred decorations upon St Vladimir and Alexander Nevski.
  • May 1811 – Oginski introduced to the Emperor Alexander I of Russia his project of restoring independence of his fatherland. But the Emperor refused.
  • 1823 – Oginski moved to Florence, Italy where lived till the death.


Oginski was fond of Italian and French opera, played violin, clavichord and balalaika. He started composing marches and military songs in 1790s and became popular among the rebels in 1794.

He composed some 20 polonaises,[1] various piano pieces, mazurkas, marches, romances and waltzes. In 1794 he wrote a polonaise Farewell to the Homeland (Pożegnanie ojczyzny).[3]

Some of his other popular works and compositions include:

  • Opera Zelis et Valcour, ou 'Bonaparte au Caire' (1799).[1]
  • Treatise 'Letters about music' (1828).
  • 'Memoirs on Poland and the Poles, 1788–1815' ('Memoires sur la Pologne et les Polonais, depute 1788 jusqu'a la fin de 1815'),[16] published in Paris.
Polonaise by Ogiński

Problems playing this file? See .

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Don Michael Randel, The Harvard Bibliographical Dictionary of music, Cambridge University Press, 1996, p. 649.
  2. ^ a b Jim Samson, The Cambridge Companion to Chopin, Cambridge University Press, 1995, p. 148.
  3. ^ a b Kielian-Gilbert, Marianne, "Chopiniana and Music’s Contextual Allusions", in The Age of Chopin: Interdisciplinary Inquiries, edited by Halina Goldberg, Indiana University Press, 2004, p. 182.
  4. ^ Justin Wintle, Makers of Nineteenth-Century Culture: 1800-1914, Routledge, 2002, p. 116.
  5. ^ Jerzy Lojek, "British Policy toward Russia and Polish Affairs, 1790-1791", The Polish Review, vol. 28, no. 2, 1983, p. 10.
  6. ^ Maciej Karpińki, The Theatre of Andrzej Wajda, Cambridge University Press, 1989, p. 131.
  7. ^ Antony Brett-James, 1812: Eyewitness Accounts of Napoleon's Defeat in Russia, St. Martin's Press, 1966, p. 40.
  8. ^ a b c d Roman Marcinek, Tadeusz Chrzanowski, Encyklopedia Polski, Wydawnictwo Kluszczyński, 1996, p. 457.
  9. ^ a b c d Jerzy Jan Lerski, Historical dictionary of Poland, 966-1945, Greenwood Press, 1996. p. 400
  10. ^ John Ehrman, The Younger Pitt: The reluctant transition, Stanford University Press, 1983, pp. 10, 13
  11. ^ Lennart Bes et al. Baltic connections: archival guide to the maritime relations of the countries around the Baltic Sea (including the Netherlands) 1450-1800, Volume 1, Brill, 2007, p. 1853
  12. ^ a b Michael J. Mikoś, Polish Baroque and Enlightenment literature: an anthology, Slavica Publishers, 1996, p. 190
  13. ^ Iwo Załuski, A Polish family in music - Prince Michal Kleofas Oginski's musical gene lives on, Contemporary Reviev, February 1997
  14. ^ "In short, I felt, says Oginski, that Poland must be dependent either on France or Russia, and between the two, I saw greater chance of its welfare, and greater hopes even of its recovering its nationality under the sceptre of the Emperor Alexander." in: The Foreign quarterly review, Vol. 3, Treuttel and Würtz, 1829, p. 491
  15. ^ Bolesław Klimaszewski, An outline of Polish Culture, Warsaw, Interpress, 1984, p. 159.
  16. ^ J. C. Garlington, Men of the Time. A biographical dictionary of eminent living characters of both sexes, George Routlege and sons, 1865, p. 177

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.