Polish Music Reference Center Newsletter

Vol. 0, no. 1

This column will cover all current events pertaining to Polish music, its composers, its artists and artists performing Polish music. It will be updated on a regular basis. Submissions are welcome. Contact Wanda Wilk, Director.

The British journal Gramophone’s 1994 Record of the Year for Best Instrumental Recording AWARD went to Polish pianist, Krystian Zimerman, for his rendition of Debussy’s Preludes. (DG 2 CD 435773-2). As described by the editor of Gramophone, James Jolly, it is “a work of infinite variety and breathtaking colours. It may not be a conventional way of interpreting these masterpieces, but it is one of enormous insight and an impressive staging post in the career of one of the century’s undisputed keyboard masters.

Herbert Glass reviewed the discs for the Los Angeles Times on June 12, 1994: “In his stunningly fine new recording of the two books of Debussy Preludes, he is at once the most analytical of pianists and the most imaginative. What strikes the listener from the outset is the reflectiveness that Zimerman has invested in these performances. Yet they never seem studied.”

Ever since winning the 1975 Chopin Competition the Polish pianist has recorded exclusively for Deutsche Grammophon. This is his second recording to win a Gramophone Award. (Chamber music category in 1990). Look up Zimerman’s recording of Lutoslawski’s Piano Concerto, written in 1987 for him by the late maestro. DG 431664-2 GH. BBC Symphony, Luto slawski conducting.

Shopping for Christmas? Here is something for everyone on your list to suit varying tastes:

  1. For the lover of classical music, nothing would be lovelier than the latest CD of Szymanowski’s choral masterpiece, Stabat Mater. The Birmingham Symphony led by the young and talented British conductor, Simon Rattle, who just received the “Artist of the Year Award” from Gramophone. Included in this recording is one of Szymanowski’s last compositions, the beautiful Litany to the Virgin Mary, in its first recording outside of Poland. Available at your local classical record store or mail order house, like Koch International, (800) 688-3482 or H&B Recordings Direct, (800) 222-6872 [International orders call (210) 545-0940] or write to 12037 Starcrest, San Antonio, TX 78247.
  2. Los Angeles Philharmonic performance of the Lutoslawski III and IV SymphoniesEsa Pekka Salonen leads the Philharmonic in a performance of the Fourth symphony which was commissioned by them for the composer’s 80th birthday celebration. Available from your local classical record store. CBS 2-M2K 42271. Also on the record: Lutoslawski’s Espaces and Messiaen’s Turangalila.
  3. For a mixture of good classical and fun music try “Riches and Rags. A Wealth of piano music by women.” played by Nancy Fierro, pianist. AMP 2001. This is the first recording ever of some of Maria Agata Symanowska’s (1789-1831) Mazurkas and the first CD of the II Sonata for the Piano by Poland’s outstanding composer, Grazyna Bacewicz (1909-1969). It also presents ragtime music by American women (some recorded for the first time), as well as the first recording of Maria Hester Parke’s (1775-1822) Sonata in f major, op. 4Quatre Pieces Fugitives, op. 15 by Clara Schumann (1819-1896) rounds off the program.The first CD produced by the PMRC, it has been favorably reviewed by Ludwik Erhardt, editor of Ruch Muzyczny, the Polish music periodical, and it was selected by Radio Station KUSC (Los Angeles FM 91.5) as “Bonnie’s Best Bets for 1993.

    Available from Public Music Radio Resource: (800) 75-MUSIC or order from Carondelet Productions, 11999 Chalon Rd. Los Angeles, CA 90049, (213) 272-8016, ex. 235 or Fax (310) 475-8735. Cost: $10 for cassette or $15 for CD. Add $3 shipping and CA res. add 8.25% tax.

    The CD is also available from Hildegard Publishing Company, where you can find the scores for Szymanowska’s music: No. 09005. Maria Szymanowska. Music for piano. ed by Sylvia Glickman. $28.50 and Maria Szymanowska. 25 Mazurkas. ed. by Polish musicologist Irena Poniatowska. $34.50. Hildegard Pub. Co., Box 332, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010. Phone/fax: (610) 649-8649.

  4. First time recording of some of Juliusz Zarebski (1854- 1885) piano pieces are presented by English pianist, Rachel Franklin, currently at Peabody Conservatory of Music as a teaching associate and faculty member at the U. of Maryland. Rachel F. won the Pro Musicis International Award, giving solo debuts at Carnegie Hall and Jordan Hall in Boston. Zarebski was a pupil of Franz Liszt and his piano works are recorded on a compact disc for the very first time.Rachel Franklin’s playing is favorably reviewed by David Johnson in Fanfare Magazine, Nov/Dec 1994 issue, …”The Suite Polonaise, op. 16…is an exquisite miniature…a pleasure as well as a challenge to play. I can’t imagine its being played more elegantly than it is here. Franklin’s is a meticulous art: every note is in its place and accounted for. Yet it is anuanced, beautifully sculpted playing, alive to matters such as phrasing, dynamics, rubato….Those same virtues inform Franklin’s Chopin: impeccable fingerwork, a sensitivity to the architecture of each piece, and a wide range of dynamic gradations…

    Produced by ENDECA EN/RF 199401 under the title, “Polish Piano music by F. Chopin and J. Zarebski“, the disc features Chopin’s Piano Sonata in Bb minor, op. 35 and Ballade no. 4. and nine pieces by Zarebski: Novelette Caprice, Grande Polonaise, Serenade, Suite Polonaie, Dumka, Mazurka, Cracovienne and Kujawiak. Order by mail from ENDECA, 935 N. Calvert St. Apt. D, Baltimore, MD 21202. $13 includes shipping & handling. FAX: (410) 625-5791.If you liked Zarebski and want to hear more of this composer, look up Polskie Nagrania MUZA label CK 688. Pianist Maria Korecka-Szoszkowska plays Tarantela, op. 25, Concert Etude, Impromptu-Caprice, Gavotte, Spanish Serenade & Polish Suite.

  5. For very easy listening try “White Eagle over Warsaw”. Original Polish melodies. This is a collection of Polish dances (Polkas, Mazurkas, Obereks, Polonaise and Waltzes) selected from the Trojanowski Collection, adapted, arranged and performed by Leland Forsblad on the synthesizer. Great to relax or dance to! Available from Gabriel Music, 17128 Colima Rd., Suite 140, Hacienda Heights, CA 91745. $10 plus shipping. Cassette only.

For other latest releases see the Discography file.

Did You Know That…

Gorecki’s music is published by the British firm of Boosey & Hawkes. A new work for chamber ensemble is entitled “Kleines Requiem fur eine Polka.” It is scored for piano and thirteen instruments. The “superb” work received its U.S. premiere in November of 1993 by Dennis Russell Davies who led members of the Brooklyn Philharmonic playing the piano part himself. Other scores available from them include Old Polish Music, Amen, Totus Tuus, Beatus Vir and String Quartet no. 1 (Already it is Dusk).

Boosey & Hawkes is also the publisher of Andrzej Panufnik’s music. Now available: Cello Concerto; Bassoon Concerto, Twelve Miniature Studies for piano, and scores to Heroic Overture and Katyn Epitaph.

A concert devoted to Gorecki’s a cappella choral works was given in April, 1994 at Chicago’s Church of St. mary of the Angels. It drew thousands of listeners. The choruses of Chicago Lyric Opera and the Chicago Symphony, conducted by John Nelson, joined forces for the first time to present the U.S. premiere of Gorecki’s extraordinary 37-minute opus Miserere. Also included in this program organized by Lucyna Migala, founder of the Lira Chamber Chorus, were Gorecki’s Amen and Euntes ibant et flebant.