No, not Mercury. But Frédéric François Chopin. A Polish national treasure, monument, pride and joy and icon. We don’t have his body but we have his heart – see below for details.
Chopin’s Heart (Warsaw Insider, September 2011)
Getting your heart torn out and dispatched to your homeland sounds morbid these days. But back in the times when great composers were penning their masterpieces, it apparently wasn’t all that peculiar a dying wish. And thus, Chopin was buried in the Pere-Lachaise cemetery in Paris, while his heart has its final resting place in the Holy Cross Church in Warsaw, the city where he grew up in. One unexpected discovery of visitors to Poland, even classical music fans, is that Chopin had Polish heritage. The virtuoso’s father was French. His mother was Polish and he was born outside Warsaw (in Żelazowa Wola). Had it not been the November 1830 Uprising, he’d have returned to the Polish capital after a concert in Vienna. Despite residing in France, his works were influenced by Polish motifs and he pined for Poland. So, it seems befitting that his heart should return to, well, where his heart was. During the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, the Holy Cross Church was smashed up. The urn escaped unscathed in a hiding place. The last known probing of the urn is believed to be after the war in 1945. At that time, the heart was in good form, locked away in a crystal vessel filled with what is believed to be cognac. 2010 was the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth that Warsaw celebrated in style. A party leftover is the benches along the Royal Route with a map of spots where the composer worked and played. Soak up Chopin’s trivial and sounds at the revamped Chopin Museum.