May 1995

Polish Music Reference Center Newsletter Vol. 1, no. 5


First prize in the National Chopin Piano Competition in Miami was won by Jon Nakamatsu of Los Gatos, Ca. This qualifies him to compete in the major Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw in October. In addition to taking first prize the winner won $17,000.

NEW MUSIC PUBLISHING COMPANY opens in Poland: BREVIS. Most of the music in their catalog was composed in the 1980s and 1990s. Among the eighteen contemporary composers, I found familiar names, like Rafal Augustyn, Jan Fotek, Andrzej Koszewski, Wlodzimierz Kotonski, Krzysztof Meyer, Krystyna Moszumanska-Nazar, Pawel Szymznski and Lidia Zielinska.

The PMRC has four catalogs that can be sent to anyone interested, on a first -come, first-served basis. Otherwise, write to them directly: Brevis Music Publishers, al. Niepodleglosci 51, PL61-714 Poznan, Poland. Phone/fax 48 (country code) 61 (for Poznan) 33 34 44.

One of my favorites from the catalog is Lidia Zielinska’s Saturday Dance (1981). There are many orchestral works by her and Rafal Augustyn. Here are some other items that caught my eye: Krzysztof Meyer’s “Caro Luigi” for four cellos and chamber orchestra and Pawel Szymznski’s “A Kaleidoscope for M.C.E.” for cello solo. There appears to be an excellent selection for flute, bassoon, saxophone and double bass. There are two string quartets by Augustyn and Zielinska and a large selection of music for tape by various composers.

For those who don’t know, Andrzej Koszewski is Poland’s most famous choral composer. Many of his works utilize several languages, Polish, German, Italian, Latin, Esperanto and just sounds. His most popular works are “Muzyka-fa-re-mi-do-si” and “Angelus Domini” and for only the most advanced groups “La Espero” and “Nicolao Copernico dedicatum.” Brevis publishes only two of his works, along with his arrangement of five Chopin Songs for mixed choir. They also published a guide to the composer with a detailed description of his compositions with a discography, etc.. by Lidia Zielinska.

Music Events In May

May 31-June 3. POLISH MUSIC FESTIVAL at McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

It is under the auspices of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of Canada, Concordia U., McGill U. and the Canadian University Music Society. Organizers: Dr. Wolfgang Bottenberg/Concordia and Dr. Maria Anna Harley/McGill, Polish Institute.

Polish composers featured: Chopin, Szymanowska, Szmanowski and contemporary music composers Gorecki, Zielinska, Dutkiewicz, Popielski, etc… A program of Polish jazz will feature compositions of Krzysztof Komeda, Tomasz Stanko and Michal Urbaniak. Early Polish music will be represented by Mikolaj Gomolka, Mikolaj Zielenski and Adam Jarzebski. See the section on Programs of Polish Music Around the World for details.

Did You Know That…

… Jazz pianist, Krzystof Komeda, wrote the music to the “Lullaby” in the film, Rosemary’s Baby. He was making his way to the top in Hollywood when he was killed in a car crash in the U.S. The PMRC has an LP album featuring Komeda at the piano.

… Pianist Ignace Jan Paderewski was a master craftsman in composition. There are now six different recordings of his Piano Concerto. One of them, Koch Schwann (3-1145-2), also includes the “Polish Fantasy” performed by two different pianists, Karol Radziwonowicz and Regina Smendzianka, respectively. The former has recorded the Complete Piano Works of Paderewski on Chant du Monde LDC 2781073/75.Two of Paderewski’s most important piano works are the Sonata, op. 21 and the Variations. Very difficult and challenging. Olympia OCD 302 has Barbara Hesse-Bukwska playing the Sonata.Paderewski also composed a Sonata for violin and piano. You can hear it on Pavane ADW 7283 performed by Robert Szreder and Boguslaw Strobel. The two Polish artists, who live in Holland and Belgium, also perform Szymanowski’s Sonata in d minor, op. 9 and Lutoslawski’s “Partita” on this CD.

Newest Releases

Marco Polo 8.223690 presents 67 minutes of guitar music by Alexander Tansman (1897-1986). [Note that the Centennial of his birth will be here soon (1997)]. Guitarist Marc Regnier received a glowing review for his playing from William Ellis in the May/June issue of American Record Guide. Works performed: “Cavatina;” “Mazurka;” “Suite in Modo Polonico;” “Scriabin Variations;” Chopin “Homage;” “Pezzo in Modo Antico;” Folks Songs; “Suite and Hommage to Lech Walesa.” Of the latter, Ellis writes, “Tansman’s last guitar work from 1982 looks back tenderly on his homeland in the native form of a mazurka.” Other comments about the composer: “Tansman wrote lifelong in a neo-classic style that found solace in Chopin, adventure in Stravinsky, and the constant pull of history on his pen. His music has great decency and personality. You’ll find much sentiment but not the hearts-and-flowers variety. It is conservative to a fault, but his ideas are noble and his structure sound.

In the same issue of American Record Guide David G. Mulburry strongly urges all “pianists and Chopin devotees to acquire without delay Garrick Ohlsson’s latest installment of the Chopin Complete Works, the Polonaises (16) and Impromptus (Arabesque 6642 from Allegro). He predicts that these 2 CDs will become a reference document on the genre in future years.

More and more of the music of Grazyna Bacewicz is being recorded. Latest presentation of her String Quartet no. 4 is by the Maggini Quartet. Koch ASV 908. It is paired with the two Szymanowski String Quartets.

Birthdays In May

  • May 2 Zygmunt Noskowki (1846-1909)
  • May 5 Stanislaw Moniuszko (1819-1872)

MONIUSZKO is known as Poland’s “Schubert” and the “Father of Polish opera,” although he wrote choral and chamber music and music for organ in addition to more than three hundred art songs. For a printout of his compositions write to the PMRC, USC School of Music, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0851, or email

  • May 17 Joanna Bruzdowicz (1943- )

BRUZDOWICZ is quite a phenomenon, combining a successful career as a composer and lecturer and that of a wife and mother. Together with her husband, Jurgen Tittel, she lives with their three sons in Belgium and France. They speak several languages at home: Polish, French, English, German, Russian and Italian.After graduating from the Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw in 1966 with an MA in piano and composition (with K. Sikorski), she received a scholarship from the French government to pursue composition studies with Nadia Boulanger, Olivier Messiaen and Pierre Schaeffer.She composed several operas (“The Penal Colony” after Franz Kafka; “The Women of Troy;” “The Gates of Paradise“) which enjoyed a successful run in Warsaw. An opera-musical “Tides and Waves” based on the contemporary drug scene, was commissioned for the Olympics in Barcelona. She has also written symphonic works and chamber music, piano music, electroacoustic and electronic music, as well as compostitions for ballet, theater, film and television.She wrote the music to several films of Agnes Varda, including “Vagabond” which was awarded the “Golden Lion of Venice” and “Jacquot de Nantes,” which was an official selection for the Cannes Festival in 1991.

Full of energy and always on the go, Joanna Bruzdowicz founded the “Jeunesses Musicales of Poland” while studying in Paris. She is the president of the “Chopin-Szymanowski Society of Belgium” and vice-president of the “International Federation of Chopin Societies,” as well as being active in several other groups.

She and her husband have written the screenplay for a series of 36 TV-films “Stahlkammer Zurich,” for the First German TV channel (ARD). They have also conceived a series for children, “Maupy’s Planet,” which unites modern science with nature and th e world of imagination. The music to all these is composed by Joanna Bruzdowicz. They have also published a series of books for children with an international theme.

Her latest compositions include: “The Cry of the Phoenix,” a concerto for cello and symphony orchestra written for the 50th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising in 1994 with a first performance in Lublin, Poland. She also wrote “Spring in America,” a sonata for violin and piano written specifically for R. Szreder and B. Strobel for the Polish Music Festival at Lincoln Center, NY in April, 1994.

Of particular interest is the beautiful, modern setting of the “Stabat Mater” for a cappella choir commissioned by the Polish Music Reference Center at USC for a performance at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California honoring three people w ho made the Hall of Crucifixion possible: its founder, Dr. Hubert Eaton; artist Jan Styka who painted “The Crucifixion” and Ignace Jan Paderewski, who conceived and commissioned the 10,000 square foot – five stories high – painting.


Olympia OCD 329
Concerto for double bass & orch (1982)
Concerto for violin & orch (1976)

Pavane ADW 7218
Quartet no. 1 for strings, “La vita” (1973)
Quartet no. 2 for strings, “Cantus aeternus

Pavane ADW 7266
Epigrams for solo violin (1964)
Sonata for solo violin “Il ritorno” (1990)

Pavane ADW 7287
Erotiques (1966) for piano
Sonata d’Octobre (1978) for piano

CH 347
Music to film, “The Vagabond” of Agnes Varda