Playing of the Hejnal Madame Marie Sklodwoska Curie Statue Dedication Ceremony in Polish Garden
June 7, 2009
Near the conclusion of the ceremony to re-dedicate the bust of Madame Marie Sklodwoska Curie, all eyes turned to the statue. Michael Carey played the Hejnal - once from each side.
Legend of the Hejnal
In 1241 nomadic Tatar tribes invaded Europe and caused a serious threat to Krakow, which was located at the crossroads of two ancient trade routes and thus an important cultural and commerce center of Eastern Europe.
A young boy was stationed as a sentry atop the tower of the Church of Our Lady Mary (Panna Marja). As the Tatars approached the city, this young boy trumpeted a warning, which gave an advantage to the residents.
According to the legend, his warning is credited as a major reason for the defeat of the Tatars. His signal, however, was interrupted by a Tatar arrow which killed him. The broken melody is called the Hejnal.
When Polish soldiers climbed in victory to the top of Monte Casino in WWII, a trumpeter again played this broken tune.
The Heynal played at the feet of Monte Cassino Abbey, shortly after the Allied victory in the Battle of Monte Cassino
Today, that unfinished melody is played on the hour from the Church of Our Lady Mary in Krakow. Moreover, the Hejnal, can be heard at noon throughout Poland on the radio.
Hejnal player in Kraków, photo from guide "Ulicami Krakowa", 1968