Prepared by Barbara Zakrzewska-Nikiporczyk
Ruch Muzyczny [Musical movement] appeared in Congress Poland during a period which saw economic growth, industrialization, and the development of a middle class. The resulting new social structure encouraged the development of Warsaw’s musical life. Institutions such as the Galician Music Society (1859) and the Music Institute of Warsaw (1861) were created; journalism and music publishing developed; and the activities of concert institutions grew. Ruch Muzyczny established a level much higher than that of earlier ephemeral musical periodicals.
Josef Sikorski (1813-1896) was the journal’s only editor. After studies in piano with Józef Jaworek and composition with Józef Elsner, Sikorski became a music teacher for the family of Count Ostrowski at his country estate. There, Sikorski had the enriching opportunity to study a very good library. Upon his return to Warsaw he became a journalist publishing concert reviews and articles in the Biblioteka Warszawska and several other journals. From 1866 to 1873 he served as editor of Gazeta Polska. Among Sikorski’s important contributions is Dorecznik muzyczny [A handbook on music] in which he created a new Polish musical terminology.
The aim of the journal was to establish a publication that would be of interest to the community and that would teach the rudiments and history of music Poles. However, while Ruch Muzyczny has a pedagogical focus and is not a professional journal in the full meaning of the term, it does contain reviews, biographies, musical news, and articles on music theory, instruments, and acoustics. The position of the journal concerning questions of national art was exceptionally progressive. Sikorski believed that the solution to the problem of creating a national art lay not only in assimilating folk melodies into “professional music,” but also in developing a proper understanding of the works of contemporary composers such as Berlioz, Wagner and Liszt. The compositions of the foremost contemporary Polish composer Stanislaw Moniuszko are extensively reviewed in the journal, and the information contained therein is used in monographs on the composer to the present day. In addition to a history of music up to the era of Palestrina, the journal contains a series based on original documents concerning musicians in Kraków from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries. Music supplements consist of short pieces for piano, and songs for voice with piano accompaniment.