On 8th of February, 1909, during a skiing and photography trip, Mieczysław Karłowicz de armis Ostoja died, buried by an avalanche under Mały Kościelec. He was an extraordinary composer, photographer, publicist and dedicated mountain climber, born in the historical Lithuania. He was also a co-founder of the Tatrzańskie Ochotnicze Pogotowie Ratunkowe (Tatra Volunteer Search and Rescue). He was a remarkable character among the artistic landscape of the Young Poland. The information about his death shook the whole contemporary cultural society of Poland, which was still torn due to past partitions.
Why did we decide to involve ourselves in popularization of the life and creation of that particular artist?
Our motivation is based on two aspects. Firstly, many of us lost someone close to them in the mountains, a person about whom we know that – if given a chance – he or she would become someone great and exceptional. All of them shared the fate of Karłowicz, a man at the beginning of his adult life and outstanding artistic career.
At the place where Karłowicz died there stands a monument called “Kamień Karłowicza” (“Karłowicz’s Stone”), featuring an inscription saying “Non omnis moriar” – we want the life and creation of this artist to become a symbol of hope and invincible spirit of all those who lost their lives prematurely in the mountains, and also of those who are still able to enjoy their wondrous and seductive beauty.
Secondly, Karłowicz, who is a bit forgotten and undervalued nowadays, could have become one of the greatest Polish composers, according to many esteemed specialists living both in his times and nowadays.
Therefore, we considered it our duty to show to the world his extraordinary and – as it soon turned out – very abundant legacy.
Our aim is to familiarize the wide audience with Karłowicz’s creation and to “enliven” it in a way. We hope that the online platform will become a place of meetings and creative ferment – similar to that in which Karłowicz himself lived and composed! We also hope that we will be able to rouse interest in the work of this artist among young musicians and music lovers, mainly by showing the possibility of its creative use and rearrangement using the modern composition and performance techniques.