Michał Kleofas Ogiński (1765-1833) is one of the most prominent politicians, civic activists and culture people, who gained the world recognition by his polonaises, of which „A Farewell to the Homeland“ (a-moll No. 13; French, Les Adieux a la Patrie) is most popular one.
The music of Michał Kleofas, already during his lifetime, was heard in many European countries, enjoyed both by commoners and magnates, and performed even in the salons of the first persons of the court. Ogiński‘s four-volume „Memoires“ published in Paris and Geneva were expected by and popular among readers. In 1828, Michał Kleofas prepared for publication his second book: a musical and aesthetical collection of essays, „Letters about music“ (it was published after his death). Many other his pieces and travel notes remain in manuscript, part of them found their way into archives where they are kept to this day.
After Ogiński‘s death his personality fell into partial oblivion in the wake of wars, uprisings, revolutions, and the redrawing of the map of Europe by the great states. Only his music was still remembered and was the reason that an interest in his life, services to the Polish-Lithuanian state and the aspirations to restore the GDL was renewed in the second half of the 20th century.
After the restoration of the independence of Lithuania and the start of the renovation of the Michał Kleofas Ogiński‘s estate manor in Rietavas and the estate complex of his grandson Michał Mikołaj Mark Seweryn Ogiński (1849–1902) in Plungė, the interest in the personality of Ogiński and his written heritage in Lithuania became more engaged and purposeful. At that time, on the initiative of museum workers of Rietavas and Plungė, the roads of cultural relations and historical search were paved to Belarus, Poland, Great Britain and Russia with a view to establishing contacts with colleagues, Ogiński‘s descendants and the researchers of his cultural legacy. The approaching 250th birth anniversary of Ogiński united them in their work efforts. The joint endeavour of the preservers of Ogiński‘s memory in Lithuania, Belarus, Poland, Great Britain, and Italy was instrumental in designing and implementing, in 2005-2014, a program for the preparation for the Ogiński anniversary. Owing to their consistent efforts, the society became more aware of the 18th-19th century events in Lithuania and other European countries, about the struggle of Ogiński and his comrades to restore the former GDL annd PLC, as well as about Ogiński‘s cultural legacy.
On the occasion of Ogiński‘s anniversary, his „Memoires“ and „Letters about Music“ were published in Lithuanian language; there appeared the first scientific studies of Ogiński, children books about him, collections of scores and CDs of his music; an abundance of information emerged online, in periodical press, radio and television shows; there were held over ten international scientific conferences; dozens of concerts, cultural evenings and exhibitions. In September 2015, in Rietavas, the former Ogiński estate manor, in front of the column marking the place where a representational palace of the Ogiński princes stood in the 19th-20th century, there was unveiled a monument „The Stone Blossom“ created by sculptor Regimantas Midvikis to commemorate the memory of the Ogińskis,
2015 has been the year when Ogiński‘s music was widely performed, he was discussed not only in Lithuania, but also in other countries worldwide, as a statesman, diplomat and composer. The anniversary has passed, but the initiative to research the activities and preserve the memory of the Ogiński family continues. This ensures that the memory of Michał Kleofas Ogiński will always be alive, and his music, immortal.