Writings on Paderewski & Chopin

This month we received yet another donation from Rich Widerynski, a longtime PMC friend and supporter of not only the Polish Music Center but many Polish-American organizations in California. This time around, he presented us with several books on Chopin and Paderewski, including the following items:

▪ Marian Marek Drozdowski: Ignacy Jan Paderewski—A Political Biography in Outline

▪ Józef Kański: Chopin and the Land of His Birth

▪ Rom Landau: Ignace Paderewski—Musician and Statesman

▪ Mary Lee McMillan and Ruth Dorval Jones: My Helenka

▪ Józef Orłowski: Paderewski

▪ James H. Phillips: Paderewski Discovers America

▪ Marek Zebrowski: Paderewski in California

                ▪ Annales Paderewski, No. 20-1997

The July 1997 issue of the Annales, published by the Paderewski Society in Morges, Switzerland, features several interesting articles including one on Paderewski’s return to the concert stage in 1923, women in Paderewski’s life, an essay on Laurence Alma-Tadema—a great friend of Paderewski and of Poland—and an article by Anne Appleton-Strakacz about the distortions that still appear in print and film regarding Poland and history of World War I.

Marek Drozdowski’s very interesting book takes a comprehensive look at Paderewski’s political activities. The most that can be said about Józef Orłowski’s obsequious biography of Paderewski is that besides his pompous prose there are a few photos of interest, and this book is a rare find. Józef Kański’s album covers the best-known facts about Chopin and his Polish roots and does so in Polish, Russian, English, French and German, obviously indicating that this 1975 communist era publication ambitiously aimed for the world market. Rom Landau’s biography wasn’t authorized by Paderewski, while Mary Lee McMillan’s and Ruth Dorval Jones’s portrait of Helena Paderewska is a welcome addition to the rather scant literature on the subject. Finally, James H. Phillips’s privately published book provides some insights into Paderewski’s American adventures.

Recorded Rarities

Sławomir Dobrzański, pianist and professor in Manhattan, Kansas, and author of Maria Szymanowska’s biography (PMHS Vol. 9), has donated to us three very interesting CD recordings in early April. The first two present a large selection of solo piano works by Halina Krzyżanowska (1867-1937), a pianist and composed born in France. She studied at the Paris Conservatoire (where she won the piano competition prize) and toured Europe with concerts, including performances in Warsaw, Lwów, and Kraków in the late 1890s. For the last thirty years of her life, Krzyżanowska taught piano at the Rennes Conservatoire. She left a large body of solo piano and piano-vocal works as well as some orchestral and stage compositions. On her two Acte Préalable CDs (AP0558 and AP0559), pianist Elżbieta Tyszecka presents over two dozen short pieces by Krzyżanowska, including such salon titles as A la Gavotte, Mazour, Krakowiak, Menuet, Humoresque, Berceuse, Tarantelle, Reverie, and Valse-Ballet, among others. This is an important recording that will help discover yet another romantic-era woman composer and her undoubtedly fascinating opus.

The other recording in this gift is a disc of solo piano and piano-vocal works by Juliusz Wertheim (1880-1928). This pianist, conductor and noted music critic studied with Moszkowski and Urban in Berlin and with Noskowski in Kraków. As a virtuoso pianist, Wertheim toured Europe and America and, for one season (1915-1916), led the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. After World War I he taught at the Warsaw Conservatory. Given his busy life, Wertheim did not publish many of his compositions during his lifetime. He died during a Warsaw Philharmonic concert he conducted on 6 May 1928. It is pianist Elżbieta Tyszecka again on this Acte Préalable (AP0562) CD recorded Wertheim’s extensive Ballade, Op. 11, Preludio e Fuga, Op. 12, and Zwei Klavierstücke, Op. 14. Three short songs, Trzy piosnki, with soprano Beata Zawadzka-Kłos, complete this very interesting musical offering.

In late April, we received two more rare recordings for our library from Prof. Sławomir Dobrzański, this time on the DUX and Opus Series labels. The first is a compilation of solo piano music by the prolific Antoni Kątski (1816-1899), a virtuoso pianist and composer who studied with John Field in Russia, performed with Chopin at concerts in Paris, and widely toured Europe, North America, as well as Asia and New Zealand. Pianist Anna Parkita carefully selected from Kątski’s opus, choosing such works as Toujours seul, Op 57, La Résignation, Op. 131, Souvenir de St. Petersburg, Op. 207, and La Sensitive. Rêverie, Op. 246, among others for about an hour-long recital of romantic music, appropriately titled Meditations (DUX 1926).

Łukasz Woś (b. 1967) is yet another composer whose works will be added to our library thanks to Dr. Dobrzański. The CD, evocatively titled Cinema Romantico, was issued by the Opus Series and features a selection of Woś’s compositions for cello and piano. Several shorter pieces (Nocturne, Ballade and Scherzo, as well as Three Serenades and Three Romances) are anchored on this recording by Woś’s three-movement Sonata for Cello and Piano. The performers here include cellist Przemysław Wierzba and pianist Anna Parkita.

As always, to all our donors: Dziękujemy! Many thanks!