Polish Music Newsletter Vol. 19, no. 5

PMC News

March & April Donations to the PMC

After several months of working with fellow composers in Los Angeles, Tomasz Jakub Opałka left the PMC with several important resources related to contemporary music upon his departure. First, he donated a recording of his Symphonic Concert Works, adding to the already donated CD of his Music for Motion Pictures. Second, Opałka donated a DVD of the 2010 Wawel: Musica Festiva gala concert, celebrating the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Grunwald. Experienced by thousands in the courtyard of Wawel castle on July 15, 2010, this important concert featured the World Premieres of the winners of the ‘Wawel: musica festiva’ Polish Composers Competition—Zbigniew Bargieslki: Misterium przestrzeni [Mystery of Space], Tomasz Jakub Opałka: Przestrzenie [Spaces] and Łukasz Pieprzyk: Szarże [Charges]—as well as the last performance of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki’s Symphony No. 2 “Kopernikowska” held while the composer was still living. Such recordings are vital to performers and researchers of the newest classical music coming out of Poland.

Opałka also served as the conduit for several other important gifts from composer Krzysztof Baculewski. Prof. Baculewski provided the PMC with Anna Szostak’s new book Musica figurata ad usum publicum: Krzysztof Baculewski – twórczość chóralna w kontekście praktyki wykonawczej [Music Intended for Public Use: Krzysztof Baculewski – Choral Works in the Context of Performance Practice]. As Szostak says of her inspiration to write this book: “I believe that the achievements of composer Krzysztof Baculewski are valuable and original, and still too little known and appreciated.” This book was published in 2012 by Studio Noa – Silesian University, Katowice.

The book donation was accompanied by a CD of selected PDF scores of Prof. Baculewski’s works:

  • Partita No. 1 (1980) and No. 2 (1988)
  • Concerto for Orchestra (1981-83)
  • Suite de Cheminee for 2 accordions (1983)
  • String Quartet No. 1 (1984), String Quartet No. 2 (1985), and String Quartet No. 3 (1986)
  • Arrangement of Piano Concerto in A Flat Major, op. 2 by Ignacy Feliks Dobrzyński (1824 / 1986)
  • Nox Ultima, Nox Beata motet – Béla Bartók in memorium (1987-1990)
  • Antitheton I (1989) & II (1994)
  • The Profane Anthem to Anne (1993)
  • Rilke-Lieder for soprano and bass solo and two unaccompanied mixed choirs (1994)
  • Gloria for alto solo and mixed choir a cappella (1996)
  • Miserere for mixed choir a cappella (1999)
  • Odwodne i krzesane for mixed choir a cappella (2000)
  • Les Adieux – cantata for alto solo and chamber orchestra (2001)
  • Preludium, psalm i medytacja for choir and organ (?)

For details on Krzysztof Baculewski and his works, visit his PMC page.

Also donated this past month was composer Paweł Łukaszewski’s latest recording for DUX Records: Musica Sacra 4. The CD features his Missa de Maria a Magdala (2013) performed by the Technical-Humanistic Academy Choir in Bielsko-Biała, Elżbieta Grodzka-Łopuszyńska – soprano, Tomasz Sadownik – baritone and the Silesian Chamber Orchestra. This CD donation was delivered by Kurt Nelson of New York University, one the distinguished presenters at the PMC’s “Sounds from Behind the Iron Curtain: Polish Music after World War II” conference, held at USC on April 6, 2013.

One final donation came from author Barbara Literska, who sent us her new book Tadeusz Baird. Kompozytor, dzieło, recepcja [Tadeusz Baird. The Composer, His Works and Reception]. Literska’s extensive discussion of this nearly forgotten composer was published in 2012 by the University of Zielona Góra Publishing House.

[Sources: wawel.krakow.pl, instytutmuzyki.us.edu.pl, ow.uz.zgora.pl]

Love Strings Eternal

A Recap of the Paderewski Festival Youth Exchange Fundraisers in April

During the last weekend of April, the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles held three fundraising concerts to help finance this year’s Youth Exchange Program in Poland. Jointly organized with the Province of Tarnów and the Paderewski Institute of Musicology at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, the 2013 Exchange Program will run from June 22 until July 3.

Jack Raventos (13) and Daniel Ha (13), two piano students from Central Coast who are also winners of the annual Paderewski Youth Competition (pictured at right), were selected for travel to Poland this summer. For about a week, these two Americans will join two piano students from the Music School in Tarnów and two students from the School of Arts and Music in Khmilnyk, Ukraine. The entire group will spend a week at Paderewski’s former manor house in Kąśna Dolna, participate in piano workshops and master classes, and perform solo and chamber music at a special concert commemorating Paderewski’s death anniversary on June 29. Other appearances in the region will include concerts in the town of Czchów on June 30 and at the Jagiellonian University on July 2.

While in Poland, the Exchange Program participants are provided by local authorities with room and board at the manor house as well as local transportation and sightseeing trips in the area. The Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles however must cover the cost of international air travel for the two students and a parent-chaperone, as well as hotels and meals during their stay in Kraków. To this end, the Paderewski Festival board relies on a large group of supporters in Los Angeles area and on Central Coast.

The ever-hospitable and elegant home of Stanley and Helena Kołodziey served as the venue for the first concert in the “Love Strings Eternal” series, held on April 26 in Beverly Hills. The hosts had provided the large group of select guests with a truly Polish welcome as well as a delicious cold and hot buffet, supplemented by choice Paso Robles wines provided by Festival supporters at Cass Winery and Hope Family Wines. The evening feast was followed by a concert of chamber music featuring works by Hummel, Debussy and Paderewski performed by pianist Marek Zebrowski and the Upstream II ensemble: violinist Jason Issokson, violist Deanna Lynn, cellist Stella Cho, and bassist Harish Kumar.

On April 27, the same excellent musical program was performed in conjunction with an afternoon tea at the spectacularly beautiful home of Ken and Marilyn Riding in Paso Robles. The musicians were heard again on April 28, this time on the East Side of Paso Robles at Cass Winery, one of the main sponsors of the Paderewski Festival during the past 8 years.

For an interesting and informative review of the performance given during the April 28 concert at Cass Winery, visit the Delos Records guest blog hosted by composer Mark Abel.

Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles logoAnyone interested in contributing to the Festival and/or to this year’s Exchange Program may do so by visiting the Paderewski Festival website at www.paderewskifest.com, where more information about this year’s events can also be found. The 2013 Paderewski Festival will be held from November 7-10, and will feature piano master Karol Radziwonowicz as the gala performer.


Festival of Premieres: Polish Modern Music

From April 26-28, Katowice was again transformed into the Poland’s capital of new music, when this year’s 5th Festival of World Premieres: Polish Modern Music took place. During this edition of the Festival, nearly 30 works by Polish artists representing different generations—from young novices to grand masters of the Polish composer scene—were performed for the first time.

The following works were given their World Premieres during the Festival:

On April 26 in the Music Academy Hall (5:00 pm):

Aleksander Nowak – From Upstairs for violin and percussion
Paweł HendrichErtytre for cello solo
Włodzimierz KotońskiArietta e i fiori for trombone and tape
Ryszard OsadaDouble Reflection for cello octet
Sławomir WojciechowskiFingertrips for 8 prepared cellos

On April 26 in the Grzegorz Fitelberg Concert Hall (7:30 pm):

Tomasz Opałka (right) – L.A. Concerto for Violin & Orchestra
Dariusz Przybylski – Concerto for Cello and Orchestra
Rafał Janiak – Violin Concerto no.1
Piotr Moss Kawafis Poems for baritone and orchestra

On April 27 in the Music Academy Hall (noon):

Justyna Kowalska-Lasoń –  String Quartet no.3 “I find my song”
Dobromiła Jaskot (right) –  Elferiae for string quartet
Aleksandra Gryka –  10, 12, 13, –31.  for string quartet
Hanna Kulenty – String Quartet no.5 [Polish premiere]
Krzysztof Meyer –  Piano Quartet Op. 112 [new version]

On April 27 in the Music Academy Hall (5:00 pm):

Marcin RupocińskiNon possumus for choir, chamber ensemble and electronics
Adrian RobakChamber Concerto poems by Emily Dickinson
Benedykt KonowalskiNowa pieśń chwały [A Song Of Praise] for solo clarinet and mixed choir a cappella
Marcin BortnowskiMiserere for chamber choir and percussion ensemble
Ryszard Gabryś (right) – Voyelles de Arthur Rimbaud for mixed choir of soloists

On April 27 in the Grzegorz Fitelberg Concert Hall (7:30 pm):

Stanisław Krupowicz – Piano Concerto
Krzysztof KnittelPartita for saxophone, orchestra and electronic media
Bronisław Kazimierz PrzybylskiLofoten – Concerto Symphony for Viola and Orchestra
Mikołaj Górecki (right) – Symphony no.2

On April 28 in the Grzegorz Fitelberg Concert Hall (noon):

Marta Ptaszyńska (right) – Of Time & Space. Concerto for Percussion,  Electronics and Orchestra
Maciej Małecki – Concertino for Cello and Symphony Orchestra
Wojciech WidłakFestivalente for symphony orchestra

On April 28 in the Grzegorz Fitelberg Concert Hall (6:00 pm):

Zygmunt Krauze – Canzona for instrumental ensemble [Polish premiere]
Michał DobrzyńskiThree Songs to poetry by Rilke
Andrzej KwiecińskiCanzon de’ baci for tenor and orchestra
Agata Zubel (right) – In Between the Ebb of Thoughts and the Flow of Sleep. Songs for Voice, Piano and String Orchestra to poetry by Tadeusz Dąbrowski
Mikołaj MajkusiakPulsaciones for accordion, guitar and string orchestra

In addition to the organizer—the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR)—the festival featured several leading Polish ensembles, including: the AUKSO Chamber Orchestra of Tychy, the Katowice City Singers’ Ensemble Camerata Silesia, the Silesian String Quartet, Warsaw Cellonet Group, the Orkiestra Muzyki Nowej, as well as soloists Marcin Bronikowski, Magdalena Bojanowicz, Paweł Gusnar, Urszula Kryger, Piotr Pławner, Piotr Sałajczyk, Tomasz Strahl, Gracja Szymczak, Janusz Wawrowski, and Agata Zubel.

All concerts were held in the Grzegorz Fitelberg Concert Hall in the Cultural Centre in Katowice, and in the Concert Hall of the Academy of Music in Katowice. Three performances of NOSPR were broadcast by Polish Radio Channel 2.

The Festival of World Premieres Polish Modern Music, a biennial of Polish contemporary music, has been held in Katowice since 2005. The event was conceived by Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa, the Managing Director of the NOSPR. When announcing the first edition of the festival 8 years ago, she wrote: “The aim of the Festival of World Premieres is to present the broadest possible range of the latest works by Polish composers to music lovers – those attending the concerts in Katowice and the loyal listeners of Polish Radio Channel 2.” Wnuk-Nazarowa also referred to the achievements of Grzegorz Fitelberg—the founder and original Artistic Director of NOSPR, who himself not only promoted but also stimulated new works of Polish composers. In this way, Fitelberg has become a kind of spiritual father for the Festival.

[Sources: beethoven.org.pl, festiwalprawykonan.pl]

Kowalski World Premiere In Kielce

The April 26 concert by the Świętokrzyska Philharmonic in Kielce featured the world premiere of Gniew Wiatru [The Wind’s Anger], a work for saxophone and chamber orchestra by Bartosz Kowalski (b. 1977). The work was commissioned by the Świętokrzyska Philharmonic in conjunction with the 2nd edition of the Composer-in-Residence Program, which is funded by the Institute of Music and Dance. Gniew Wiatru was written for saxophonist Paweł Gusnar, who introduced it to the public at the concert in Kielce.

Bartosz Kowalski says that the choice of a solo instrument was quite obvious: “… wind instruments have a lot to do with wind… and the possibility of using the soprano and alto saxophones and the orchestra gives a range of expression from a light breeze to a hurricane unleashed by the entire ensemble.” He added, “In my opinion, there is still a great lack of literature for wind instruments, because many composers continue to write concertos for piano, violin, or cello. It’s great to break that tradition. As for the orchestra, I decided on a chamber ensemble for practical reasons, since it would be easier to organize future performances of this work. In addition to the small group of winds, the ensemble consists of two groups of percussionists, as well as piano and strings.”

The April 26 concert program also included the first performances in Kielce of Krzysztof Meyer’s Hommage a Johannes Brahms and Grzegorz Fitelberg’s Symphony No. 1, under the baton of maestro Janusz Przybylski.

More information about Bartosz Kowalski is available at: www.bartoszkowalski.com

[Source: imit.org.pl]

Festival Premieres In May

Many new works by Polish composers will receive their world premieres at festivals in Poland during the month of May. Below is a list of the premieres at the most prominent Festivals.

“Gaude Mater” International Festival of Sacred Music in Częstochowa and surrounding cities (May 1-5, 2013):

[Source: blueshoremusic.blogspot.com]

Warsaw Musical Encounters in Warsaw (May 11-18, 2013)

  • Tomasz OpałkaCollisions of the Matter for symphonic orchestra (May 11)
  • Zbigniew Bagiński – Symphony No. 4 (May 11)
  • Jerzy Kornowicz – new work  (May 13)
  • Szabolcs Esztényi – ENIGMA?-  created music (May 13)
  • Anna Ignatowicz-Glińska5 Songs to poems by Dorota Gołaszewska for soprano and string quintet (May14)
  • Włodzimierz KotońskiIII String Quartet (May14)
  • Zbigniew PenherskiBreviary for male soprano and string quartet to poems by  Zbigniew Herbert  (May14)
  • Jarosław SiwińskiSextet for string quartet, double bass and piano (May14)
  • Bartosz Kowalski – Contra Tempus for baroque instruments ensemble (May 15)
  • Photograph courtesy of PolMIC

    Krzysztof Baculewski (right) – Antitheton III for violin, cello and harpsichord (May 15)

  • Jan Oleszkowicz – Therapeutic session (May 16)
  • Sławomir Czarnecki – Ursyn Concerto for flute, oboe, clarinet, viola and string orchestra (May 17)
  • Adrianna FurmanikPerseids for chamber string orchestra (May 17)
  • Marcin Błażewicz     Concerto for accordion and strings (May 18)
  • Jerzy Maksymiuk ThoughtfullyAdagio per archi e pianoforte  (May 18)

KODY Festival of Traditional and Avant-garde Music in Lublin (May 10-18, 2013)

  • Kwadrofonik (right) – new arrangement of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (May 15)
  • Jerzy Mazzoll and Tomasz Sroczyński – Rite of Spring Variation (May 15)
  • Ignacy ZalewskiThe Lightning’s Initial (May 16)
  • Cezary DuchnowskiSadhana (May 16)
  • Aleksander KościówLithaniae (May 16)

See the Festivals section below in this Newsletter or individual festival websites for details and performers.

[Sources: gaudemater.com, wsm.art.pl, codes-festival.com]

 Blecharz/Smytka Premiere – The ‘P’ Project

The ‘P’ Project is comprised of dla głosów i rąk [for voices and hands] by Jagoda Szmytka and Transcryptum by Wojtek Blecharz—two of the many new operas commissioned from contemporary Polish composers by the Teatr Wielki-Polish National Opera in the last few years. The premiere will be presented at the Teatr Wielki in Warsaw on May 23, 2013 as a part of Terytoria [Territories], a series of meetings with contemporary music in which the Polish National Opera seeks to discover and sketch a new image of opera. The genre is changing its definition today, conquering new territories, drawing new meanings, proposing a new aesthetic. In this cycle we present the greatest works of contemporary music alongside debuts of Polish composers, works that are completely unknown next to classics of the avant-garde, debuts of Polish directors juxtaposed with productions staged by top European names. Opera is alive, doing well, and winking at us with Fenics’ cybernetic eye.

The opera dla głosów i rąk [for voices and hands] is an exploration of how musicians are not transparent conductors of the composer’s ideas to the listener’s ear but are made of muscle and bone. The opera is not a transparent institution serving the spectators such works as the composers create, the directors stage and the conductors lead. Composer Jagoda Szmytka (right)and co-librettist and designer Michał Zadara create the opera and take the spectators on a journey through the anatomy of the sound, the body and the opera. The cast is comprised of: Soloist – Izabella Kłosińska, and Composer – Barbara Wysocka.

Transcryptum is an object, an event or an artistic operation, a procedure containing an imprint of trauma with all the tracks leading to it. The trauma that is the leitmotif of composer Wojtek Blecharz’s project may be interpreted as a kind of space isolating and partially paralyzing memory. Trauma creates a secret place in memory—a crypt that isolates the opera’s heroine from getting to know the absolute truth about herself. The cast is comprised of: Soloist – Anna Radziejewska, and Dancer – Tomasz Wygoda.

May 23, 25 & 28, 2013 | 7 pm
Premiere of the ‘P’ Project – new operas by Jagoda Szmytka and Wojtek Blecharz
Teatr Wielki, Młynarski Hall
Plac Teatralny 1, 00-950 Warsaw
Tickets & Info: www.teatrwielki.pl

[Source: teatrwielki.pl]

Bembinow & Przezwański Premieres


On Saturday, May 11, the ForMusic Foundation will present the premiere of several new works at the Frederic Chopin University of Music in Warsaw. The works to be premiered are Miłosz Bembinow (above left) – Vides ut alta and Paweł Przezwański (above right)– Pneuma III. Both of these compositions were created with financial support of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage under the “Commissioned Composers,” which is administered by the Institute of Music and Dance [IMiT].

These pieces are written for an unusual instrumental ensemble, including: baritone, percussion, saxophone, accordion, and live electronics. They will be performed by the following young artists, known for their unique interpretations of contemporary music: Maciej Nerkowski (baritone), Leszek Lorent (drums), Wojciech Psiuk (saxophone) and Pawel Janas (accordion).

Saturday, May 11, 2013 | 4 pm
Premieres by Bembinow & Przezwański
Frederic Chopin University of Music, Studio S1
ul. Okólnik 2, 00-368 Warsaw, Poland
Admission: Free
Info: www.facebook.com

[Source: facebook.com]

German Piano Competition For Polish Music

The first edition of the German Piano Competition for Polish Music will be held on July 2-5, 2013 at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg, Germany. Initiated by Prof. Hubert Rutkowski (left), the Competition hopes to attract piano students from universities in Northern Germany, including Hannover, Bremen, Rostock, Lübeck, and Hamburg. It follows on the already successful cooperation between the Teodor Leschetizky Music Society in Warsaw, the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Hamburg and the Hamburg Music Academy.

The winner of the Main Prize will receive a touring engagement in Poland in October of 2013, including solo performances with orchestras. Other winners will perform in recitals throughout Poland later this year. The winner of the Hofmann Prize will receive a prize of recording of Hofmann’s piano works for the NAXOS label, the Leschetizky Prize winner will receive 2000 Euros for the best interpretation of Polish music, and the Chopin Prize in the amount of 1000 Euros will be given for the best interpretation of Chopin’s music. The jury will be headed by Prof. Adam Wibrowski, who will be joined by Marek Sorgowicki (Hamburg), Prof. Patrick O’Byrne (Bremen), Prof. Konrad Elser (Lübeck), Prof. Marian Migdal (Hamburg), Prof. Christopher Oakden (Hannover), Prof. Bernd Zack (Rostock), Maestro Łukasz Borowicz (Warsaw), the Honorable Magdalena Erdman (Berlin), and Mr. Mike Spring (London).

The application deadline for candidates whose names are forwarded by music schools is May 31, 2013. Individual applicants must submit their CVs and piano concerto repertoire lists by June 5, 2013. Details (in Polish and German only) at: www.dkpm-hamburg.de

[Sources: press release, dkpm-hamburg.de]

Szymanowski’s Villa In Zakopane Re-Opened

With a special concert held on May 10, Villa Atma—the former residence of Karol Szymanowski in Zakopane—will reopen to the public after a year-long closure. During that time the building was renovated and updated to codes without any changes to the historic character of this architectural gem, typical of Zakopane-style timber residences. The visitors to Karol Szymanowski’s museum housed in the villa will be able to see family photographs, musical scores and memorabilia, as well as films about the composer.

The May 10 program will feature Szymanowski’s vocal and piano works, presented by mezzo-soprano Urszula Kryger and pianist Mariola Cieniawa.

May 10, 2013 | 5:00 pm
Szymanowski recital with mezzo-soprano Urszula Kryger & pianist Mariola Cieniawa
Villa Atma
ul. Kasprusie 19, 34-500 Zakopane

[Source: pwm.com.pl]

Blechacz Returns for N. American Tour

International praise for Rafał Blechacz’s latest album, ‘<a href="http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/us/cat/si