August 1996

Polish Music Reference Center Newsletter Vol. 2, no. 8


PMRC WELCOMES NEW DIRECTOR: Dr. Maria Anna Harley has been appointed director of the Polish Music Reference Center and assistant professor of Music History and Literature at the USC School of Music beginning with the fall semester.

We are happy to welcome Dr. Harley, not only for her broad qualifications as a musicologist, but also because her fervent dedication to promote Polish music matches mine.”(Wanda Wilk).

Nominated for 1996 GRAMOPHONE AWARDS (Contemporary music):

GORECKI: Kleines Requiem
Philips 442 533 – 4 PH

New “INTERNATIONAL MUSICAL ENCOUNTERS IN CATALONIA.” The International Music festival in Ceret and Vallespir begins August 1-10th and is devoted to the music of the three countries which were the first democracies in the world: USA, France and Poland.

The initiator of this event is Polish composer, Joanna BRUZDOWICZ, who lives in Belgium, is married to a German and she and her three children speak Polish, German, French, English at home.

In attendance at the festival: American composers Daniel KESSNER and StephenCOHN with pianist Dolly KESSNER, flutist Laura ORITI and percussionist Kevin MURPHY; the Pawel PERLINSKI JAZZ QUARTET from Poland; Polish violinist and pianist Robert SZREDER and Boguslaw STROBEL; the String Quartet “L’Estree Ensemble” from Lausanne; Catalonian musicians: the “COBLA” Ensemble; Francois Michel RIGNOL, pianist, Francisco ORTIS, guitar.


Fifty-two young virtuosi have qualified for the XII INTERNATIONAL WIENIAWSKI VIOLIN COMPETITION which will start on October 12th in Poznan, Poland. Eleven countries will be represented: Poland (17), Japan (15), Finland (6), USA (4), Russia (3), Korea (2), Israel (1), Moldavia (1), Germany (1), Norway (1) and Taiwan (1).

Another violin competition: The KAROL SZYMANOWSKI INTERNATIONAL VIOLIN & PIANO COMPETITION will be held in the city of Lodz, Poland September 8-21, 1997. Organized in 1982 during the composer’s Centennial Celebration, the competition is held every five years. For further information fax: 011-48-42-32-89-29.

The X JUBILEE FESTIVAL OF POLONIAN FOLKLORE ENSEMBLES presented 34 groups from 15 countries July 21-28th, with the largest group from the U.S. (9).

During the “GUARDIAN” INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITION held in Dublin, Ireland (May 2-15, 1997) both CHOPIN concertos are part of the required repertoire. Professor Andrzej JASINSKI of Katowice (teacher of Zimerman) will serve on the jury.

Winner of the 1996 Marcella Kochanska SEMBRICH Memorial Scholarship from the American Council for Polish Culture (ACPC) is Mary HESTON of White Bear Lake, Minn. The ACPC is holding their annual convention in Minneapolis on August 15th.

Some members of the Polish American community in San Diego are members of a private club, so that they can have contact with top representatives of Polish culture from the U.S. and abroad. The “Polski Salon Artystyczny in San Diego” (PSASD) led by Jerzy & Teresa Barankiewicz presents music recitals, evenings of poetry, lectures, art exhibits and meetings with Polish artists and musicians visiting their city. Most recently they honored mezzo- soprano, Stefania KALUZANKA, who made her American debut in Aida with the San Diego Opera. The last meeting was a lecture/video presentation on the history of Polish music by Malgorzata JEDYNAK- PIETKIEWICZ, director of Polish TV.

Calendar of Events

June 21-August: XXXII INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF ORGAN & CHAMBER MUSIC held in Kamien Pomorski, Poland. Twelve organists (6 from abroad) will perform on historic organs. Organist Andrzej CHOROSINSKI opened the festival.

August 9: BERLIN SAXOPHONE QUARTET will be one of the highlights of the chamber music session.

October 5: “OPEN HOUSE” at the Polish Music Reference Center. Part of the Los Angeles County-wide Arts Open House ’96. Co-sponsored by the Polish University Club, Polish American Historical Association and the Polish American Cultural Network. Guest artist: Prof. Jerzy JANKOWSKI, pianist from the Music Academy in Wroclaw, Poland.

Something New

A new book on Artur RUBINSTEIN is out from Grove Press. The first biography of the Polish-Jewish pianist since his death in 1982 enlightens and enriches his own autobiography. By Harvey SACHS.

“A Polish Renaissance” is part of a 20th Century Composers Series edited by Norman Lebrecht and published by Phaidon Press. David Gutman reports in Gramophone magazine that the author, Bernard Jacobson, focuses on just four composers (PANUFNIK, LUTOSLAWSKI, PENDERECKI and GORECKI), neglecting Polish giant, Tadeusz BAIRD and others. In paperback, 240 pgs.

Did You Know That…

The WARSAW CHAMBER OPERA is the only theatre in the world that has MOZART’s entire operatic output in its permanent repertoire?

You can have four of them transported by air to your city. Contact Stefan SUTKOWSKI, director.

The EDWIN A. FLEISHER COLLECTION OF ORCHESTRAL MUSIC, the Free Library of Philadelphia, has the score and parts to two compositions by Polish composer Grazyna BACEWICZ?

The Concerto for String Orchestra and Overture.

English pianist, Angela LEAR, has devoted herself to perform “Chopin’s music as the composer intended?”

She states that “what most pianists nowadays are playing has little to do with what Chopin actually wrote.” (Gramophone, Aug ’96). In her dedicated crusade the pianist studies original manuscripts from all over the world. “The resulting interpretations have an arresting power and make compelling listening.”

Volumes I and II have been released on the APR label with Volumes III and IV to follow soon. Highly recommended by BBC Music Magazine.

Lithuania also has a musician who served as president of his country?

PADEREWSKI was prime minister of Poland in 1919 and LANDSBERGIS is a musicologist who authored eight books on the “lone Lithuanian genius” Mikalogus CIURLIONIS, is now primarily known as a politician.

Reason for mentioning Lithuanian composers here is because of the close interaction between them and Poland. Information on these two musicologists has been consistently available in Polish publications and Poland published scores by Lithuanian composers during a time when they were not published in their own country.



Kleines Requiem fur Eine Polka. There are now two recordings of this “circus music,” so called by the composer during early rehearsals. Music critic Ashby describes it in the Jul/Aug issue of American Record Guide as “beatific and slow music, derived from Polish plainchant, surrounds a manic and incredibly banal polka section that brings to mind Mahler’s statement on how he linked profound, sometimes pained emotions with moments of diatonic cheapness.” Banal or not, it is still my favorite piece!

The PHILIPS 442 533 is coupled with Lerchenmusik performed by the Schoenberg Ensemble and according to Ashby has a better performance of the Requiem than the NONESUCH release (79362), because of its greater sensitivity and more distant microphones. However, he prefers the Nonesuch issue because of the other Gorecki work, Good Night, a hauntingly, beautiful piece! Both discs will make excellent additions to anyone’s collection.

Gorecki’s Miserere has another recording. This time by the Swedish Radio Choir, Ericson Chamber Choir, Tonu Kaljuste conducting. CAPRICE 21515. The older release is John Nelson’s on NONESUCH.


Piano Concerto, Chantefleurs et Chantefables, Symphony no. 2, Fanfare for Los Angeles Philharmonic. Paul Crossley, piano; Dawn Upshaw, soprano; LA Phil, Esa-Pekka Salonen, cond. SONY SK 67189. Music critic, Mark Swed, rates it a 10/10.

Writing about the Piano Concerto he states, “Traditional in four movements, the score displays a tremendous verve in the solo writing, intricate and luminous as Chopin, sensuous as Szymanowski -the two great Polish composers whom Lutoslawski succeeded, he now being the third great Polish composer.”

Symphony no. 3, Chantefleurs et Chantefables. BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Tadaaki Otaka, cond.; Valdine Anderson, sop. BIS CD 743. Reviewed by Gramophone (Aug ’96).

Other LUTOSLAWSKI recordings recently reviewed in American Record Guide: EMI 53853 (Preludes & Fugues, Poems by Michaux, Paroles Tissess and Postlude I).

KOCH SCHWANN 1523 (Chain II). Coupled with Schnittke’s “Viola concerto.” Isabelle van Keulen, violin.


Variations & Fugue, op. 23; Tatra Album, op. 12; 3 Polish Dances, op. 5; 4 Humoresques de concert, op. 14; Nocturne, op. 16. Ewa Kupiec, piano. KOCH 1176. Music critic Manildi warmly recommends this disc in a recent issue of American Record Guide and believes that Paderewski’s skills as a composer have still not been properly acknowledged.


Concertos for violin, no 1 & 2; Three Paganini Caprices and Romance in D. EMI CDC 5 55607-2. City of Birmingham Symphony, Rattle; Thomas Zehelmair (vn), Silke Avanhaus (pf).
Excellent review by Michael Oliver on page 59 of Gramophone, Aug ’96 issue.


H & B Recordings lists quite a few Polish recordings in their catalog. If you don’t have the MONIUSZKO operas (Straszny Dwor; Halka) or Operatic Overtures to the Polish operas: Verbum Nobile, Bajka, Jawunta, Flis and Paria order from them now (800-222-6872).

They also have the “Polish Virtuoso” featuring pianists Jozef HOFMANN, Ignaz FRIEDMAN & PADEREWSKI performing works by themselves and MOSZKOWSKI.

Polish Baroque music in Poland is excellently portrayed on MUSICON MCD 015 by the ensemble “Concerto Polacco” under Marek Toporowski. Polish music critic Bohdan POCIEJ believes this to be the most masterful performance of Polish Baroque music on Polish recordings ever. Played on instruments from that era.


Born This Month

  • KRZYSZTOF MEYER: August 11, 1943
  • ZYGMUNT MYCIELSKI: August 17, 1907
  • WLODZIMIERZ KOTONSKI: August 23, 1925

Died This Month

  • September 2, 1996: 15th Anniversary of BAIRD’s death.
  • October 27, 1996: 5th Anniversary of PANUFNIK’s death.
  • November 1, 1996: 95th Birthday of Szymon LAKS.
  • December 11, 1996: 120th birthday of Mieczyslaw KARLOWICZ.

Composer of the Month

Krzysztof Meyer

Born in Cracow in 1943, Meyer studied composition in his home town with Stanislaw Wiechowicz and Krzysztof Penderecki, and then in Paris with Nadja Boulanger. He is a prolific composer. In addition to 6 symphonies and other orchestral works, he has written 8 instrumental concertos, miscellaneous chamber music which include 9 String Quartets, a Piano Trio, Piano Quintet, and many piano works (Sonatas and Preludes). He has also written three operas anda ballet.

His last symphonic work, Carillon was commissioned by the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival and was also performed at the Warsaw AutumnInternational Contemporary Music Festival in 1993.

As a pianist he performed with Ensemble MW2 in Warsaw and abroad.He was president of the Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP) from 1985 to 1989. He has won numerous national and international prizes and awards. One of the first was the First Prize in the Grzegorz Fitelberg Competition in 1968. He has been teaching at the Hochschule fur Music in Cologne since 1987.