Polish Music Center Newsletter Vol. 10, no. 10


Stanisław Skrowaczewski In Los Angeles

Stanisław Skrowaczewski and Dorothy Ditmer, Administrative Manager for the Thornton
School of Music and the driving force behind the Maestro’s visit to L.A., viewing the PMC Manuscript Collection.
Special Collection Room in Doheny Library, USC, Los Angeles. Photo: PMC Archives

Maestro Stanisław Skrowaczewski, distinguished conductor and composer, recently paid a two-week long visit to Los Angeles. Hosted by the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music and the Polish Music Center at USC, Skrowaczewski was in residence on campus September 6th-16th, giving master classes in conducting and composition, appearing in seminars and lectures, and working with the USC Thornton Symphony Orchestra.

Among the many highlights of his visit, Maestro Skrowaczewski delivered the 2004 Paderewski Lecture for the Polish Music Center. The September 15th event, held in the comfortable neo-Romanesque interior of United University Church, was moderated by Larry Livingston, the former dean of the USC School of Music, and featured performances of music by Paderewski and Skrowaczewski.

The program opened with Paderewski’s Cracovienne Fantastique for piano, performed by Marek Zebrowski, Program Director and Curator of the Polish Music Center. Afterwards, Maestro Skrowaczewski spoke at length about his life in music, sharing with the gathered audience many fascinating insights on his international career (now spanning over 50 years), his love of symphonic works by Bruckner and Szymanowski, and his substantial output as a composer.

Following his lecture, three current and former USC students—Danielle Nesmith, Lauren Chipman, and Jakub Omsky—performed selections from Skrowaczewski’s 1991 String Trio for violin, viola and cello. In preparation for this performance, the ensemble was coached by Professor Peter Marsh, Director of USC Thornton Chamber Music Program, as well as by the composer. Maestro Skrowaczewski seemed very satisfied with the spirited reading of this lively and virtuoso work, and the audience rewarded young musicians with a thunderous applause.

A gathering of friends of Polish music at the Wilks’ home, September 2004. L to R: Dr Stefan and Mrs. Wanda Wilk (PMC Founders), Stanisław Skrowaczewski, Hon. Paulina Kapuścińska (Consul for Culture), Dorothy Ditmer, Phil Ditmer, Drs. Zbigniew and Zofia Petrovich (Founding PMRC Donors). Photo: Marek Zebrowski

At the event’s close, the Honorable Paulina Kapuścińska (pictured above), Polish Consul for Culture, Education and Public Relations, thanked the Maestro and invited all listeners to the elegant reception, generously sponsored by the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland. The reception, which featured many Polish culinary delights, gave audiences members the chance to meet the maestro personally.

The following evening, September 16th, Stanisław Skrowaczewski conducted the USC Thornton Symphony Orchestra at Bovard Auditorium. The sold-out crowd heard an unforgettable performance of Skrowaczewski’s Concerto for Orchestra, a darkly dramatic and intensely personal two-movement work that filled the first half of the program. After the intermission, Skrowaczewski ably led the young USC players in a dashingly romantic interpretation of Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz, concluding an evening of music to remember.

Another special event in connection with Maestro Skrowaczewski’s visit was organized by the Modjeska Art and Culture Club of Los Angeles. The hosts for the evening, Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Kolodziey, opened their hospitable home to well over 150 club members and special guests who delighted in Maestro Skrowaczewski’s recollections of his youth in Lwów, and his early career in post-war Poland where, after his impressive debut as a young conductor in Wrocław, he was appointed as Music Director in Katowice, Kraków, and Warsaw.

During his visit in Los Angeles, Maestro Skrowaczewski also visited the recently opened Disney Hall, gave a special interview for Jim Svejda at KUSC-FM Radio, met with the USC Thornton School of Music Dean Robert Cutietta and several members of the faculty, and visited the Polish Music Center (pictured at right) and its manuscript collection held at the Special Collections Room of the Doheny Library.


Lutosławski Composition Competition

The Witold Lutosławski Society was founded in 2000 in Poland with purpose of protecting and promoting the artistic and spiritual heritage of Witold Lutosławski and to promote performance of his works. In this spirit, the Society announces its LUTOSŁAWSKI AWARD—International Composers Competition for 2004.

The competition is open to composers of all nationalities and ages. The following types of unpublished and un-premiered compositions will be considered: string quartet, works for violin and piano, cello and piano, oboe and piano, clarinet and piano, voice and piano; the use of tape and live electronics will not be permitted. The text in a piece for voice and piano may be in any language, although an English translation must be included. The length of the work may be between 15 and 30 minutes. The deadline for submission of scores is 15 November 2004. For more information and entry details, visit www.lutoslawski.org.pl.

A Multi-National Opera Production

In a co-production with Teatr Wielki of Poznan, the Washington National Opera opens its season with a premiere production of Italian composer Umberto Giordano’s red-blooded verismo masterpiece, Andrea Chenier. Distinguished Polish filmmaker and opera director Mariusz Trelinski, who debuted in Washington D.C. with a widely praised production of Madama Butterfly in 2001-02, returns to the Kennedy Center with this avant-garde production. According to the Washington Post, “Andrea Chenier is perhaps tailor-made for Mr. Trelinski’s post-postmodern, minimalist concept…this 1896 opera is less driven by character than by its almost prophetic vision of a new century’s coming apocalypse.”

The subject of Andrea Chenier is French in origin, although its themes resonate across the globe. The Financial Times calls it “a glitteringly ironic take on the French Revolution [in which] everything looks immaculate and works beautifully.” Seeking justice, an idealistic young poet recites a poem at a party criticizing the aristocratic guests for ignoring the plight of the poor. His action comes back to haunt him as he and the woman he loves are caught up in the grip of terror with a vindictive revolutionary in determined pursuit.

Three Italian singers make their Washington National Opera debuts in this production. Renowned tenor Salvatore Licitra and up-and-coming tenor Carlo Ventre share the stoic role of Chenier. And soprano Paoletta Marrocu (pictured above) successfully matches the power of these two in her role as Chenier’s lover, Maddalena. The opera is co-conducted by Plácido Domingo (General Director of both Washington National Opera and Los Angeles Opera) and Eugene Kohn. Dates for Andrea Chenier at the Washington National Opera are September 11, 14, 17, 20, 23, 26m, and October 2, 2004.

Information for this article was taken from Polish Cultural Institute and the Washington National Opera. Visit their website, www.polishculture-nyc.org for more details. A full synopsis of the opera and biographies of the performers are available at www.dc-opera.org.

Chopin & Friends Festival And Polish Theater

16 October – 14 November, 2004

International Chopin & Friends Festival is an annual festival organized by New York Dance and Arts Innovations, Inc. in various cultural institutions throughout New York and beyond. It is a five-week festival of the arts, celebrating the global legacy of Chopin uniting the traditional and the modern, the national and the universal. The Honorary Patron of the festival is the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York.

The Gala Inauguration will be Saturday 16 October 2004 at the Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall at 2pm. The event will feature Polish artists Katarzyna Duda, violinist, and Miroslaw Feldgebel, pianist, performing works by Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz, Dmitri Shostakovich, Henryk Wieniawski, Maurice Ravel, Nicolo Paganini, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, George Gershwin and Pablo de Sarasate. For information about this and all other events of the Festival, visit www.nydai.org/festival_intro.html.

Also supported by NYDAI this month, actors from Teatr pod Gorke in Poland will present Jest tesciowa i ziec, czyli zawirowanie pior nonsensu based on texts of Konstanty Ildefons Galczynski. This piece, directed by Grazyna Matyszkiewicz, is a great combination of humor and reflection, filled with unforgettable songs and poetry of Galczynski. The extraordinary performance by Katarzyna Laniewska & Stanislaw Gorka is a miraculous example of contemporary Polish theatre (Polish language only).

Warsaw Philharmonic Tours US

This month, Antoni Wit and the Warsaw Philharmonic joined by winner of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Olga Kern, begin this year’s U.S. tour. Their programs will consist of some combination of the following: KILAR Orawa, CHOPIN Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor (Op. 11), PENDERECKI Polymorphia, BRAHMS Symphony No. 1 in C minor (Op. 68), TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 4, and RACHMANINOFF Piano Concerto No. 3. The orchestra will have 23 concerts across the U.S. For dates and venues of each concert, visit www.polishculture-nyc.org.

Poland In Their Hearts—International Symposium

Scholars of Polish music from around the world will be convening in Berlin for the “Poland in their Hearts—Composing Abroad” International symposium from 21-24 October 2004. The symposium will be held at the Universität der Künste. Several friends of the Polish Music Center will be presenting, including Joseph A. Herter, Stojowski scholar, choral conductor, and frequent contributor to the Polish Music Newsletter and Journal, and Teresa Chylinska, Szymanowski scholar and author of both vols. 5 & 7 of the Polish Music History Series. Composers covered include Chopin, Panufnik, Tansman, Wienawski, Moniuszko, and others.

Programs at PIASA

The Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America (PIASA) is a Polish-American non-profit organization located in New York City and supported exclusively by the public, its members and friends. Founded in 1942, it has become the leading center of learning and source of information about Poland’s history and culture in the United States. It is also a research center and a disseminator of knowledge about the Polish-American ethnic group and its role in America.

Wednesday, 20 October 2004:
PIASA is pleased to invite the public to an author’s evening with the poet Fr. Janusz A. Ihnatowicz. Fr. Ihnatowicz will read his poems, in particular, those collected in his newest volume An Epigram of Hope and Other Poems (Rzeszów: Frazy, 2004). The event will begin at 7:00 PM.

Friday, 29 October 2004:
PIASA is pleased to invite the public to an evening of remembrance dedicated to Witold Gombrowicz in this 100th anniversary of the year of his birth. The evening will commence with a short paper on “Gombrowicz and Exile”, by Prof. Harold Segel after which Jan Jakub Kolski’s feature film Pornografia, based on the novel by Gombrowicz, will be introduced and screened by Dr. C.S. Kraszewski. The film is in Polish, with English subtitles and admission is free. The event will begin at 6:30 pm.

Both events will take place at the home of the Institute (208 E. 30 th St., New York).

For further information, call: (212) 636-4164 or email: piasany@verizon.net.

Opportunity For Young Polonians

Conductor Piotr Gajewski is urging young Polonian musicians to participate in the 2005 High School Summer String Institute in Wash. DC. The National Philharmonic created the Summer String Institutes to nurture the talent and skills of young musicians and to encourage their continued participation in classical music now and throughout their lives. At the Institutes, students perform a variety of orchestral music and have the increasingly rare opportunity to study chamber music literature.

The two weeks of Institutes are followed by the National Philharmonic Summer Chamber Music Festival, which features performances by the Institutes’ faculty members, other National Philharmonic musicians, and guest artists. Attendance at these concerts is free for Institute participants through the ALL KIDS, ALL FREE, ALL THE TIME program. More details about this program available at www.nationalphilharmonic.org/minors.html.

To learn more or request an application, call the National Philharmonic office at 301-762-8580. In 2004, the application deadline is April 30. A limited number of merit-based scholarships are available.

Books On Immigrant Experiences

A Singing Ambivalence: American Immigrants between Old World and New, 1830-1930
ISBN 0-87338-794-5. Victor Greene.

A Singing Ambivalence is a comprehensive examination of the ways in which nine immigrant groups—Irish, Germans, Scandinavians, Eastern European Jews, Italians, Poles, Hungarians, Chinese, and Mexicans—responded to their news lives in the United States through music. Each group’s songs reveal an abiding concern over leaving thief loved ones and homeland and an anxiety about adjusting to a new society. But accompanying these disturbing feelings was an excitement about the possibilities of becoming wealthy and about looking forward to a democratic and free society.

Distinguished historian Victor Greene surveys an extensive body of songs of known ad unknown origins that comment on the problems immigrants face and reveal the wide range of responses the newcomers made to the radical changes in their new lives in America. His selection of lyrics provides useful capsules of expression that clarify the ways in which immigrants defined themselves and staked out their claims for acceptance in American society. But whatever their common and specific themes, they reveal an ambivalence over their coming to America and a pessimism about achieving their goals.

At Hanka’s Table
ISBN: 1891105094. Hanka Sawka.

At Hanka’s Table is the story of a remarkable Polish-American family revealed through food, history, personal narrative and art. Exiles from Communist Poland, Hanka and her internationally known artist husband Jan Sawka arrived in New York City in 1977 with a few dollars, a couple of suitcases and a toddler. They were about to embark on a life filled with art, adventure and exotic foods.

During the next 25 years, Sawka’s work saw expression in Op-Ed page drawings for the New York Times, set designs for Samuel Beckett, award-winning paintings and posters in over 60 museum collections here and abroad, stage designs for the Grateful Dead, and most recently was awarded The Lorenzo Il Magnifico Gold Medal at the 4th Florence International Biennial of Contemporary Art (2003) for The Voyage, a major multimedia spectacle. His work was recently exhibited at ACA Galleries, New York.

While Jan made art, Hanka cooked to the delight of fellow artists who were constant guests at Hanka’s table. In this colorful book, illustrated by Jan, Hanka shares her experiences of different cultures during her travels. Among these exquisite drawings by Jan are 100 recipes based on Polish cuisine with European and Asian influences.

Polish Archive Reference

Polskie instytucje za granica: przewodnik po zbiorach archiwalnych
[Polish Institutions Abroad: A Guide to Archives]

By Anna Krochmal
Published by Rada Dziedzictwa Archiwalnego [Archival Heritage Council], Warsaw 2004
ISBN 83-89115-15-8
In Polish with Preface in English

This important publication provides a comprehensive look at various collections of Polish archives all over the world. Listed alphabetically by country, each of the seventy-six archives surveyed is described in a standardized fashion, under the following categories: Name and address of the institution, including the name of the director; Hours of operation and policies on lending of materials; History of the institution, its collection and holdings; General description of the collection and the arrangements for holding and retrieval of materials; Bibliography on the history of the institution and its collection; In-house publications by the institution, and other applicable information.

Each of the eleven countries covered by this study (Argentina, Australia, France, Canada, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States of America) is introduced by a brief overview of the history of Polish emigration, giving the reader a sense of historical perspective on the activities of Polish expatriates in their new homelands. Not surprisingly, it turns out that Poles had traveled far and wide. A group of Polish carpenters arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1608, ready to build the new colonies. In the last part of the 17th century the province of Quebec, Canada, had its first Polish settlers from Gdańsk, and by the 1740s a Polish Jesuit priest was active among the Argentine Indians in the very distant Santa Fe. Filled with many fascinating insights and useful information, this book-a fist publication of its kind-will be a truly valuable research tool for all interested in tracking the Polish cultural diaspora during the past two hundred and fifty years.



Ochlewski Composition Competition

The Tadeusz Ochlewski Composition Competition was established in 2003 by PWM Edition as a publishing firm responsible for the promotion of Polish compositional output. The competition is open to composers under the age of 30 in Poland. Each year, these young composers are asked to focus on a short composition for one solo instrument. Prizes include cash and the opportunity to publish with PWM, Poland’s premiere music publisher, as well as invitations to music festivals around Poland.

On 7 September 2004, this year’s winner was chosen by a jury comprised of: Professor Alina Gruszka, guitarist, vice-rector of the Academy of Music in Katowice; Professor Marek Stachowski, composer, rector of the Academy of Music in Cracow; Andrzej Kosowski, Editor-in-chief of PWM Edition. Eleven compositions for solo classical guitar were submitted in the competition. The 1st place prize was awarded to Marek Pasieczny for the composition Hommage a Manuel de Falla. Distinction was also given to Barbara Kaszuba for Fantasy. These works will be published by the end of 2004.

Entrants for the 2005 competition will be required to submit a composition for solo alto saxophone. See www.pwm.com.pl for competition rules.


Makowicz vs. Mozdzer

On 25 September 2004, the Polish Cultural Institute presented two of the greatest keyboard talents on the Polish music scene today: Adam Makowicz and Leszek Mozdzer, going head to head for the first time at Carnegie Hall. These classically trained jazz pianists will perform their interpretations of Chopin and jazz standards, solo and as a duo. The concert will be recorded for future release on EMI Poland.

Adam Makowicz studied classical music at the Chopin Conservatory of Music in Krakow, and his parents and teachers expected him to become a classical pianist. However, his life was changed forever in the mid-1950’s when he discovered jazz while listening to Voice of America Radio. At a time when jazz was barely tolerated by the Polish government (officially deemed “decadent”) Makowicz chose a new life of freedom and improvisation. And it came at high price. He was forced to leave his home and school and spent two years homeless in Krakow until he discovered a small jazz club hidden in a cellar where he could play and sleep in exchange for doing chores.

Ultimately the sacrifices made pursuing his love of jazz paid off when legendary record producer John Hammond invited Makowicz to New York in 1977 for a 10-week engagement and to record a solo album for CBS. By this time, Makowicz had over 25 records under his belt, was performing worldwide, and was voted #1 jazz pianist in Europe by Jazz Forum readers six years in a row. He settled in New York in 1978, and later became an American citizen.

In 1981, The Polish government imposed martial law in an attempt to crush the growing Solidarity movement. In response, President Reagan initiated the creation of a special television program, “Let Poland Be Poland,” which was beamed to 55 countries around the world, and included a performance by Makowicz along with many artists and public figures. As a result, Makowicz was banned from Poland until it gained its freedom in 1989. Since then, Makowicz has returned to his homeland every year, popularizing the music of American composers both in solo recitals and with symphony orchestras. The Wall Street Journal boasted, “Adam Makowicz has been praised by Benny Goodman, compared with Art Tatum, Erroll Garner and Teddy Wilson, honored by jazz publications and toasted all over Europe as a genius. Mr. Makowicz’s fiery style, firm chording and rapid Tatumesque right hand phrasing make him more than deserving of the accolades he has received.”

Leszek Mozdzer is one of the greatest keyboard talents on the Polish music scene today. Born in 1971, he has been playing the piano since he was five, and his father gave him one of Makowicz’s recordings for his sixth birthday. He developed an interest in jazz during high school, and in 1991 he joined the Milosc band. During the six years Mozdzer led Milosc, it became the most popular jazz group in Poland. He recorded six albums with the group – two with trumpeter Lester Bowie. In 1996, Mozdzer graduated from the Stanislaw Moniuszko Conservatory in Gdansk.

Mozdzer received many accolades, including the Krzysztof Komeda Prize 1992 from the Polish Culture Foundation, the First Prize of the International Jazz Improvisation Competition in Katowice in 1994, the Mateusz Swiecicki Prize from Polish Radio 3, the Mayor of Gdansk’s medal for outstanding artistic achievements, and the Fryderyk Prize for Jazz Musician of 1998, as well as many citations in the magazine Jazz Forum. Mozdzer has recorded 30 CDs, including four under his own name, the best known of which is Chopin Impressions. He has also collaborated with such jazz greats as Arthur Blythe, Buster Williams, Billy Harper, Joe Lovano and Archie Shepp. Today Mozdzer performs all over the world, and at the prestigious Piano Festival in Chartres, his jazz interpretations of Chopin’s pieces received a standing ovation. Since 1992 he has been a regular collaborator with Zbigniew Preisner, Poland’s leading film music composer, taking part in the recording of many of the composer’s film scores. Although Mozdzer has idolized Makowicz for many years, the two just met this past spring when the Polish Cultural Institute brought Mozdzer to New York from Poland to begin rehearsals for this concert.

Górecki In Australia

Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki. Photo by Vladek Juszkiewicz

Henryk Górecki’s Symphony No. 3, “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs” was featured by the Queensland Orchestra in a program entitled “Of Sorrow and Joy”. Other works in the program were Shostokovich’s Festive Overture and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcraker Suite. Vladimir Verbitsky was the guest conductor and Sara Mcliver, an Australian soprano, was the soloist. The Polish Music Center provided photographs for the extensive program for this event.

Bruzdowicz In Oregon

During an exciting and challenging program in July, pianists Rebecca Jeffers and Angela Carson performed Esitanza by Joanna Bruzdowicz (the 2003 Paderewski Lecturer). The “Piano Duet Festival by the Sea” is an annual concert featuring this duo of professors from Oregon State University, held at the St. Peter the Fisherman Lutheran Church in Lincoln City, OR. This year’s theme was “First Hearings: New Works for Piano Duet”, which included, in addition to the Bruzdowicz, several works by Hungarian composers as well as a world premiere of a piece by American composer Libby Larsen.

Calendar of Events

OCT 1: New Music In New Places. The Saint Crispin’s Chamber Ensemble will perform music of Polish composer Piotr Grella-Mozejko, as well as other examples of improvised and through-composed material. Red Strap Market, Edmonton, Canada. Noon. Free admission. http://www.musiccentre.ca

OCT 2: Chopin: Four Mazurkas, Op.43. Charles Fierro, piano. Cal State University Northridge, Music Recital Hall, Northridge CA. 8:00 pm. Program notes available at www.pianofortenews.comunder Events. Tickets $10 / $7 faculty, staff, senior citizens / $5 students. For more information, call (818) 677-2488.

OCT 3: Panufnik: Heroic Overtureand Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 “Eroica”. Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Gerard Schwarz, cond. Philharmonia Hall, Liverpool. 4:30 p.m. www.liverpoolphil.com.

OCT 3: Krzysztof Penderecki conducts his 7 Gates of Jerusalem(dedicated to the 3,000 years of existence of the holy city) and Karol Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater. Paris, France. Part of the Nova Polska festival. 25, rue de Mogador , Paris 9e. Location : 0825 000 821.

OCT 5: Music by Chopin, Schumann, Messiaen and others. Emma Johnson, cl. John Lenehan, p. St. Mary’s Church, Lancaster. www.concertsinchurches.com

OCT 7: Chopin: Polonaise-Fantaisie in A flat. London Festival Orchestra. Ross Pople, cond. St. James’s, Piccadilly. London. 6:30. 020 7609 0331.

OCT 7-9: TANGOby Slawomir Mrozek. Oct 7-8 at 7:00pm, Oct 9 at 2:30 and 8:00 pm. USC campus, Scene Dock Theatre, Los Angeles, CA.www.usc.edu/calendar/events/23368.html.

OCT 9: Szpakiewicz and Shpachenko Duo Recital. Polish cellist Marek Szpakiewicz is the winner of the 16th Mu Phi Epsilon International Competition. Newman Recital Hall, USC campus, Los Angeles, CA. 8:00 pm. Free admission. Reception to follow. For more information, call (213) 385-2348 or e-mail at kmori@usc.edu

OCT 10: Golec U. Orkiestra in concert. Patriotic Hall – 1816 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA. 6:00 pm. Tickets: $40.00. Information & reservations: (310) 396-2165.

OCT 10: Stanislaw Drzewiecki, piano, at Chicago Symphony Hall. Program: Chopin Polonaise, Op. 53 and No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35; Liszt Hungarian RhapsodyNo. 2 in D-flat Major; Rachmaninov 3 Etudes-Tableaux from Op. 39; and Kreisler/Rachmaninov Liebesleid and Liebesfreudwww.cso.org.

OCT 16: Gala Inauguration of the Chopin & Friends Festival (Oct 16 – November 14) . Katarzyna Duda, violinist, and Miroslaw Feldgebel, pianist, performing music from Poland and around the world. Admission: $25 and $40—the latter includes a “meet the artists” reception across the street from Carnegie Hall at the famous Buckingham Hotel, former “home away from home” to Ignacy Paderewski, the legendary pianist, composer and Polish prime minister who had a special affinity for the works of Chopin.

OCT 16: Polish Folk Dance Ensemble KRAKUSY at Leisure World. Laguna Woods, CA. Clubhouse 3 Auditorium. 3 pm. Tickets $10. For information call (949) 206-9122.

OCT 16/17: Chopin Festival, Florida. Stanisław Drzewiecki, piano. Free admission. For more details, visit the website of the U.S. Chopin Foundation.

OCT 17: Celebration of the 125th birth anniversary of Grzegorz Fitelberg. Walter Legawiec, violin; Carolle Ann Mochernuk and Paul Kueter, piano. Music by Fitelberg, Mazowsze and Legawiec. Polish Cultural Foundation, Clark, NJ. 3:00 pm. $10 suggested donation. (732)382-7197.

OCT 17: Piotr Anderszewski, piano. Music by Bach & Chopin. Wigmore Hall, London. 11:30 a.m. www.wigmore-hall.org.uk.

OCT 19: Chopin: Ballade in F minor. Paul Lewis, piano. The Two Moors Festival (Oct 16-23), a festival held in rural churchs between Exmoor and Dunsmoor. St. George’s Church, Dunster. www.thetwomoorsfestival.com.

OCT 21: Chopin: Ballade in F minor. Paul Lewis, piano. Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford. www.musicatoxford.com.

OCT 23: Berlin concert of Polish Music. Featuring SN 1993 Jand Piano Concerto of Bettina Skrzypczak, and the 3rd Symphony of Witold Lutosławski. Peter Hirsch, cond. Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester, RBB, Großer Sendesaal (“Musik der Gegenwart”).

OCT 23: Golden Voices, superstar Barbara Kubiak – soprano, Leszek Swidzinski – tenor, Tadeusz Szlenkier- tenor, and young operetta star, Iwona Tober, from the Polish National Opera. Celebrity Symphony Orchestra with Andrzej Rozbicki, Music Director. Living Arts Centre Mississauga, Canada. 8:00pm. Call (905) 306 6000 or 1-888-805-8888 for tickets and information.

OCT 24-30: Composer of the week: Chopin. BBC Radio 3. 12 midnight – 1 a.m.

OCT 29: Chopin: Ballades, Op. 23, 38, 47 & 52. Alexander Melnikov, piano. Nordern Farm Centre, Maidenhead, England.

Contact your local Polish cultural centers for events in you area.


Skowronski Plays!

Artist’s label, S:CR-07
Works by Ysaÿe, Prokofieff, Ravel, Satie and R. Schumann

Polish violinist Vincent Skowronski has released a new album in his series “Skowronski Plays!” entitled “Skowronski Plays! Avec et Sans – Live in concert”. This CD features Skowronski solo as well as with pianist Saori Chiba. According to the Chicago Daily Herald, Weekend Edition (10/1/04), “Vincent P. Skowronski, concert violinist and Master Teacher of that instrument, once again provides evidence with his new LIVE recording, SKOWRONSKI PLAYS! Avec et Sans *Live in Concert* (S:CR-07), that a violin in the hands of a master musician can provide an aura of musical magic. So it is no surprise that Skowronski’s technical mastery of the instrument along with his often mystical ability to communicate gleam forth in these performances.” For more information and to order this CD, visit www.skowronskiplays.com.

Melcer On Acte Préalable

Henryk Melcer (1869-1928): Chamber Works

Henryk Melcer (1869-1928): Chamber Works will become available from Acte Préalable on 10 October 2004. This world premiere recording features the The Warsaw Trio, consisting of Andrzej Gębski, violin; Jaroslaw Domżal, cello; and Joanna Ławrynowicz, piano. Works recorded on this CD are Sonata for violin and piano in G major, Dumka for violin and piano, and Trio for piano, violin & cello in G minor (Op. 2). www.acteprealable.com.

Innovative New CD

By Wanda Wilk

Aeolia 1001

A new double CD, “Paderewski in Recital” produced by the Pianola Institute in London, is now available and is highly recommended. A must for every music lover!

This is the, “first time that Paderewski’s playing can be heard without disturbing noises and with a perfect, modern sound,” wrote Rita Rosenstiel, former curator of the Paderewski Museum in Morges, Switzerland in her letter which accompanied a copy of the new release on which she collaborated. We gratefully acknowledge the donation to the Polish Music Center of this edition produced by the Pianola Institute of London.

John Farmer of the Classic Record Collector compared these Aeolian Reproductions of Paderewski’s Duo Art rolls with the pianist’s early HMV 78 pm discs. He found that these latest CDs, “give an excellent and faithful account of his style of playing with modern sound,” which is clear and realistic throughout.

This new edition includes several works which have never been published commercially. They include two Chopin Ballades, a Mazurka, Nocturne and third Scherzo, the Schubert/Liszt Soiree de vienne and Paderewski’s own, Caprice genre Scarlatti and Legende.”

As I listened to the recording I was taken back to a night in 1938 when I actually saw and heard the great Paderewski perform in concert in Detroit. As a 17-year old I had to take a street car and a bus to get to the concert. I returned home long past midnight with both parents waiting up for me— fearing the worst. And I was in seventh heaven, mesmerized by what I had seen and heard. The concert was a huge success, the hall was filled with people sitting in the aisles and the audience wouldn’t let go of this great man with the long hair. They demanded and he played encore after encore! It was a real happening!

The first CD contains Chopin’s works and five of Paderewski’s own. The second CD contains his famous renditions of Beethoven’s, Moonlight Sonata, music by Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Debussy, Shelling and Liszt. No one could play Liszt’s Second Hungarian Rhapsodie as he did! It ends with his most famous piece, the Menuet. I remember as a child that every piano student’s aspiration was to be able to play this Menuet. THAT was a mark of achievement!

Not only is the sound of this recording authentic and real, but one can immediately hear that this is a unique artist performing. Every little nuance is discerned and the sheer pianism is at once dazzling and exhilarating. As John Farmer wrote, “Paderewski’s style of playing is instantly recognizable. As would be expected, there is much use of rubato and he underlines and accentuates pleasing harmonies and musical phrases just as the great actors of his period made the most of their lines. Paderewski’s playing is poetic, lyrical and in good taste. His famous mannerisms, left hand before right hand, broken chords are rarely intrusive and his finger work in fast single note passages is outstanding. This style of playing suited to 19th century romantic music and, in its time, was hugely successful with audiences.”

I also like this style. The liberties he took with tempo rubato and the broken chords provide a more mellow effect. It is important not only from a historical perspective, but simply for its enjoyable aspects.

I highly recommend this new masterpiece of a release. For more information see www.pianola.org.


Born This Month

  • 3 October 1882 – Karol SZYMANOWSKI, composer, pianist, (d. 29 March 1937)
  • 3 October 1923 – Stanisław SKROWACZEWSKI, composer and conductor
  • 4 October 1910 – Eugenia UMIŃSKA, violinist
  • 9 October 1924 – Regina SMENDZIANKA, pianist
  • 10 October 1910 – Henryk SWOLKIEŃ, music critic, composer
  • 16 October 1867 – Ferdynand HOESICK, music critic, publisher (d. 13 April 1941)
  • 18 October 1879 – Grzegorz FITELBERG, conductor, violinist, composer (d. 10 June 1953)
  • 20 October 1819 – Karol MIKULI, pianist, composer, conductor, Chopin’s student (d. 21 May 1897)
  • 25 October 1868 – Michał ŚWIERZYŃSKI, composer, conductor (d. 30 June 1957)
  • 30 October 1904 – Alfred GRADSTEIN, composer, activist (d. 29 September 1954)


Died This Month

  • 1 October 1990 – Andrzej KRZANOWSKI, composer, accordion player (b. 1951)
  • 1 October 1861 – Tekla Justyna KRZYŻANOWSKA, pianist, Chopin’s mother (b. September 1780)
  • 7 October 1854 – Adolf CICHOWSKI, Chopin’s friend, officer and civil servant (b.1794)
  • 17 October 1849 – Fryderyk CHOPIN, composer and pianist (b. 1 March (also listed as February 22) 1810)
  • 17 October 1938 – Aleksander MICHAŁOWSKI, pianist, composer, Tausig’s student (b. 5 May 1851)
  • 18 October 1962 – Maria SZCZEPAŃSKA, musicologist (b. 13 May 1902)
  • 21 October 1837 – Michał Józef GUZIKOW, folk musician (b. 1806)
  • 27 October 1991 – Andrzej PANUFNIK, composer and conductor (b. 24 September 1914)
  • 30 October 1912 – Jan Karol GALL, composer and conductor (b. 18 August 1856)
  • 31 October 1952 – Adolf CHYBIŃSKI, musicologist (b. 29 April 1880)