July 1997

Polish Music Reference Center Newsletter Vol. 3, no. 7


What is Gorecki up to?

Polish composer Henryk Mikolaj GORECKI is coming to Los Angeles for the Gorecki Autumn festival sponsored by the University of Southern California School of Music and the Polish Music Reference Center at USC ,from September 30th through October 5th. Lectures, panel discussions, recitals and meetings with students are scheduled.

Prof. Donald CROCKETT will conduct the USC CONTEMPORARY MUSIC ENSEMBLE in chamber works by GORECKI and a gala concert with the composer conducting the USC SCHOOL OF MUSIC SYMPHONY will take place on Friday night, October 3.

Maria Anna HARLEY, Director of the Polish Music Reference Center, is spending a month in Poland (June 19-July 22). As recipient of a Zumberge Grant from the University of Southern California, she will be gathering materials for inclusion in the Virtual Encyclopedia of Polish Music project, for which the grant was awarded. In addition, she presented a paper at the International ‘Witold Lutoslawski’ Symposium: Stylistic and Aesthetic Considerations, held in Warsaw, June 27-28.

Polish tenor, Wieslaw OCHMAN, known to many from his performances with the San Francisco Opera Company, received a GOLD RECORD during a concert at the Royal Castle in Warsaw.

CHOPIN Society in Salzburg

Polish pianist Halina KOCHAN hs been instrumental in organizing the new CHOPIN Society in Salzburg, Austria. On the 24th of April, during the inaugural concert, she performed a number of CHOPIN’s compositions and also accompanied Agnieszka Gertener (soprano) in songs by CHOPIN, MONIUSZKO and PADEREWSKI.

Judging from the notices in the Salzburg papers both the concert and the newly formed organization met with a warm welcome from the public and the press. The mayor of Salzburg, Dr. Joseph Dechant, Dr. Theodor Kanitzer, president of the International Federation of Chopin Societies and Dr. Jurgen Hinterwirth, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland were entrusted during the ceremonies with the promotion and care of the new society.

Doctorate honoris causa for Paul SACHER

The ceremonies took place on April 23rd in the halls of the Academy of Music in Krakow. An opening address by the rector of the Academy, Prof. Marek STACHOWSKI was followed by remarks of his colleagues Prof. Adam WALACINSKI and Dr. Anna OBERC. The distinguished speakers emphasized SACHERís achievements as a conductor and, above all, his contribution to European music culture as a patron and mentor, stimulating creative effort and founding numerous scholarships. Congratulatory letters from the President of the city of Krakow, Jozef Lassota, and the President of the Polish Composers Guild, Maciej MALECKI, were read to the assembled. A concert of chamber music by LUTOSLAWSKI, KELTERBORNE and STACHOWSKI followed the ceremonies.

That evening, at the Krakowís historical market hall – Sukiennice- a gala concert in SACHERís honor took place. The Capella Cracoviensis and the Madrigal Ensemble (Zespol Madrigalistow) under the direction of Stanislaw GALONSKI performed the works of SZYMANOWSKI and SPISAK, along with compositions dedicated to the guest of honor by LUTOSLAWSKI and HONEGGER.

Polish Music at the Festival in Gavaudon

This past spring, the annual Music Festival in the picturesque Gavaudon Valley in Aquitaine (south-western France) featured the music of polish composers. This was thanks to the influence of composer Krzysztof MEYER who last year took part in the festival as a biographer of Shostakovich. On this yearís festival program, along side the staples of French music, there were works by Polish composers, exclusively. Besides several compositions by CHOPIN, the following were performed: SZYMANOWKIíMyths and Second String Quartet, PENDERECKIíDivertimento for cello solo, and MEYERís Sonata for cello.

The highlight of the festival was the greatly anticipated performance, on April 17, by the renowned French cellist, Ivan MONIGHETTI, accompanied by Krzysztof MEYER,which took place in the 13th century church Lacapelle-Brion.


This year’s XXXII WRATISLAVIA CANTANS INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL was dedicated to composer Wojciech KILAR on the occasion of his 65th birthday.

The XXXII WIENIAWSKI FESTIVAL in Szczawno-Zdroj presented two laureates of the last (XIth) International Violin Competition in recital: Anna RESZNIAK and Lukasz BLASZCZYK. The “WIENIAWSKI Quartet also performed works by SZYMANOWSKI, WIENIAWSKI and BEETHOVEN.

A newly discovered Prelude in C minor by Karol SZYMANOWSKI was performed in concert on June 17th in Studio S-l in Warsaw by Stanislaw BUNIN, winner of the 1988 Chopin International Piano Competition, during a recital commemorating the 60th anniversary of Polish Radio Program II. Bunin’s grandfather, pianist Harry NEUHAUS, was a very close friend of Szymanowski.

SINFONIA VARSOVIA, the Polish chamber orchestra, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. During this period it performed over 1500 concerts throughout the world and recorded over 150 CDs. The group does not have a permanent conductor nor its own concert hall. Among its many conductors: Jerzy MAKSYMIUK, Jacek KASPRZYK, Wojciech MICHNIEWSKI, Grzegorz NOWAK, Jerzy SEMKOW and Yehudi MENUHIN.

The KRONOS QUARTET has just completed the tour of Russia featuring music of Henryk GORECKI (who has composed two string quartets for them), John CAGE and Steve REICH, composers rarely heard in Moscow.

USC Professor Daniel POLLACK has just recorded Romantic Piano Music – the Passionate Kiss on Navarre Corporation Four Winds label. The fifteen piano masterworks include SZYMANOWSKI’s famous Etude in Bb and CHOPIN’Raindrop Prelude, 2 Etudes and the Eb major Nocturne.


was organized this spring in Minsk (Byelorussia) to commemorate 125th anniversary of the composerís death. Joint efforts of the Polish Embassy, the Moniuszko Music Society of Warsaw and the Byelorussian Music Academy resulted in two days of meetings of Moniuszko scholars from both nations, as well as artists enamored with his music. The conference program included a series of lectures probing the composerís connections with Byelorussian culture, a concert of his music performed by Byelorussian artists and students of the Byelorussian Music Academy, and a visit of all the conference participants to Ubiel (composerís birthplace), where the Moniuszko Museum is now located.


Winners of the second ANNUAL YOUNG PIANISTS COMPETITION in New Jersey: Daniella BRACCHI, age 15 and Andrew PAK, 16 of California.

Seventy pianists under the age of nineteen participated in the event held at the Stryjniak Music School of the Cultural Foundation in Clark, New Jersey. The contestants were known to the jury only by number ( names and teachers were made known only after the judging was made). Prof. Miroslaw HARBOWSKI of the Royal Music Academy of Copenhagen was chairman of the jury. He also presented a Chopin recital during this event.

Jerzy STRYJNIAK, founder of the school, has been busy not only teaching, but also concertizing. He just returned from the Middle East where he gave a concert of Liszt and Chopin works in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates).


Organ Music Festival in Gdansk-Oliwa

The XL International Festival of Organ Music opened on June 20th in Gdansk-Oliwa. The following artists performed during the inaugural concert at the Oliwa cathedral: Jadwiga RAPPE (alto), Herve DESABRE (organ), Roman PERUCKI (organ), SCHOLA CANTORUM GEDANENSIS, and the BALTIC PHILHARMONIC, Wojciech MICHNIEWSKI conducting. SAINT-SAENS‘ Third Symphony in C-minor and Elizabeth SIKORA‘s cantata Omnia tempus habent were on the program for the opening ceremonies. The latter composition is the most recent work of the composer, commissioned for the millennium of the city of Gdansk.

Wieniawski Festival at Szczawno-Zdroj

Eight consecutive days of great music – eleven different concerts- were scheduled as a part of the 32nd Wieniawski Festival which takes place annually at the resort in Southern Poland. From the 14th through the 21st of June many established Polish and foreign artists, as well as many recent winners of competitions for young artists, performed music by WIENIAWSKI, SZYMANOWSKI, SARASATI, PAGANINI, VIVALDI, MOZART, BACH, GRIEG and others.

On the afternoon of June 19, the concert entitled Father and Daughter was devoted entirely to the music of WIENIAWSKI and his daughter Irene DEAN PAUL who published her compositions under the pseudonym “Poldowski.” The works of the great composer and his talented daughter were played by Anna RECHLEWICZ-SKOWRONSKA (violin) and Wojciech SKOWRONSKI (piano).

Bronislaw HUBERMAN Violin Festival in Czestochowa

June 15-22 were the days devoted to the celebration of Polish – Jewish violin virtuoso Bronislaw HUBERMAN on the 50th anniversary of his death (June 15, 1947). The series of concerts organized by the Ministry of Culture and Czestochowa City Council featured violin compositions performed by the visiting ISRAEL PIANO TRIO and such contemporary Polish artists as: Wanda WILKOMIRSKA, Joanna MADROSZKIEWICZ, Piotr KWASNY, Roman LASOCKI, Bartlomiej NIZIOL, and Edward ZIENKOWSKI.

The evening of June 19th was devoted to reminiscences of the great violinist, political visionary, and social activist on behalf of Jews persecuted during the WWII.

The annual MONIUSZKO FESTIVAL in KUDOWA-ZDROJ was honored with the presence of the composer’s great granddaughter, Klara, a professor at the Paris Conservatory. Highlights of the festival included the presentation of the opera, Straszny Dwor (The Haunted Manor) by the Teatr Wielki from Lodz and a gala concert finale with soloists from Canada, Bialorus, Ukraine and Poland.

The American premiere of Liquid Light by Marta PTASZYNSKA, with the composer, a virtuoso percussionist, performing with mezzo-soprano Patricia Adkins CHITI and pianist Paul HURST took place at the recent TENTH INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON WOMEN IN MUSIC held at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, outside of Los Angeles.

The Polish premiere of Joanna BRUZDOWICZ‘s opera-musical, Tides & Waves was held on June 1st on the Polish warship Wodnik in Gdynia during the 1000th anniversary celebrations of the city of Gdansk with a multinational cast of players and producers. The stage director, choreographer, set designer and lighting engineer are from Finland, the musical director from Poland, and the actor/singers from Italy, France, and Poland.

The unusual idea of presenting the music spectacle on board the Navy training ship created much interest. The stage was set on the helicopter landing area and the audience placed on the borders of the water in the historic Westerplatte site.

The floating “theatre” will present the opera/spectacle in other Polish harbors (Brzezno, Sopot, Gdynia, Swinoujscie, Hel and Szczecin) in June and August. In 1998 it will undertake a world tour to Stockholm, Malmo, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Lubeck, Kiel, Hamburg, Rostock, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Le Havre, Dunkirk, Brest, La Rochelle, Bilbao and Lisbon. Plans are underway for presentations in London, Boston, New York, Gibraltar, Malage and Barcelona in 1999.

The composer, who lives in Brussels, came to the U.S. for the premiere of her Song of Hope and Love on June 22nd at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. The composition was performed by cellist Steven Honigberg and Carol Honigberg on piano. It received an excellent review in the Washington Post from Joseph McLellan. The critic believes that based on the evidence of this one work alone, BRUZDOWICZ‘s music should be better known in the United States.

Eleven concerts were presented at the LANCUT FESTIVAL of chamber music in May with almost 300 artists participating: The KINGS SINGERS from Great Britain, TheSINFONIETTA CRACOVIA Directed by Tadeusz WOJCIECHOWSKI, The BUDAPEST STRINGS, The AMADEUS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA directed by Agnieszka DUCZMAL, The Orchestra and Choir of the KRAKOW PHILHARMONIC under the direction of Adam NATANEK, Tiziana FABBRICINI of La Scala, violinists Konstanty KULKA, Jan STANIENDA, Kaja DANCZOWSKA, cellists Roman JABLONSKI and Attila PASZTOR, pianist Arkaday WOLODOS and others.

In New York the SCHOLARES MINORES PRO MUSICA ANTIQUA from Poland, a group of youths age 9 to 19, sang, danced and performed music on instruments from Medieval, Renaissance and early Baroque periods. The ensemble was founded 22 years ago by Witold and Danuta DANIELEWICZ. They are now touring through the state of New York (Utica, Syracuse) and into Quebec City and Montreal.

This past April, Warsaw Chamber Opera inaugurated a series of concerts entitled: Marcin MIELCZEWSKI – known and unknown. The aim of the series is to introduce to the public the works of MIELCZEWSKI discovered in the Staatesbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz in Berlin, after the unification of Germany. MIELCZEWSKI’s compositions are part of the collection of works by Italian and Polish composers who were collaborating with the royal court ensemble in Warsaw, in the 17th century. There are 38 religious concerts and masses in this collection which are believed to have come from the pen of Marcin MIELCZEWSKI. During the first concert the following newly discovered compositions were presented by the Musicae Antiquae Collegium Varsoviense under the direction of Liliana STAWARZ: Benedictio et claritas, Plaudite manibus, Sub tuum praesidium, Laudate Dominum, Confitemini Domino, Laetatus sum and O lumen Ecclesiae. Shortly, all these and the other compositions by MIELCZEWSKI from the Berlin collection will come out in print, published by Pro Musica Camerata.

Recent Recordings

Newest Releases

At least there is a brighter picture as far as recordings of music by Polish composers are concerned. The composers’ lists in the Schwann catalog are getting longer and more and more of the newest releases are being reviewed.

RICERCAR RCR 158165: String Quartets 1 and 2 of Stanislaw MONIUSZKO (1819-72) and Ignacy DOBRZYNSKI (1807-67) are reviewed by Carl BAUMAN in the May/June issue of American Record Guide. Speaking of Dobrzynski he reflects that were the composer better known we would probably have several recordings of all three of his quartets. He calls it a gorgeous early romantic work that shows influences of Hummel. He describes Moniuszko’s quartets as early works from his 20th year that show clear national influences. He strongly recommends the disc!

ALBANY TROY 229: Jozef KOFFLER (1896-1944?) Sonatina for piano coupled with the Passacaille for cello and piano by Szymon LAKS (1901-1983). A pleasant surprise to see the works of these two Polish composers on disc. KOFFLER (Poland’s first dodecaphonist) died in a concentration camp and LAKS survived his ordeal because of music.

ENTERPRISE ENT VA 2110: Another interesting disc to add to your collection would be The World of Singing, vol. 5: The Polish School, Part I: Sopranos and mezzo-sopranos. Part of the Vocal Archives series. Polish artists recorded here include Ewa BANDROWSKA-TURSKA, Jadwiga DEBICKA, Janina KOROLEWICZ-WAYDA, Salomea KRUSZELNICKA, Helena LIPOWSKA, Maria MOKRZYCKA, Matylda POLINSKA-LEWICKA, Ada SARI, Marcella SEMBRICH (KOCHANSKA), Helena ZBOINSKA-RUSZKOWSKA, Maria OLCZEWSKA, Wanda WERMINSKA.

SONY 62334: The re-mastering of Columbia’s 1903 GRAND OPERA SERIES did not do very well by Polish opera stars Edouard de RESZKE and Marcella SEMBRICH. American Record Guide critic Desmond ARTHUR can’t understand why a singer of his (de Reszke) immense reputation as a singing-actor should sound so dim of personality and thin of voice at the age of only 49 remains a mystery. We are told that his brother Jean was so unhappy with the few recordings he made for Columbia he ordered the masters destroyed. The reviewer is also disappointed in the Sembrich rendition.

A good number of new CHOPIN (1810-1849) recordings on CD have been released recently, listed alphabetically by pianist:

Ferruccio BUSONI: FONE 90 F13 CD
Alfred CORTOT: HPC HPC 003
Brian GANZ: ACCORD ACD 202452
Jakob GIMPEL: Cambria 2- CMB 1070
Gregory GINZBURG: ARLA 56-7
Youra GULLER: HPC 021
Ian HOBSON: Classics for Pleasure CFP CFPSD 4748
Eugene INDJIC: CLAVES CD 50-9105; CLAVES CD 50-8911; CLAVES CD 30-8812/13
Jose ITURBI: HPC 030
Anatole KITAIN: ENTERPRISE ENT PL 221 (Piano Library Series)
Robert LORTAT:HCP 037
Ignace Jan PADEREWSKI: FONE 90F 09
Michael PONTI: DANTE PSG 9538/9539
Filippo QUARTI: PHOENIX 240 0023-8

The American Record Guide had three reviews of CHOPIN discs: Maria Joao PIRES’ of all the Nocturnes (DG 447096) Garrick OHLSSON’s Piano Pieces(ARABESQUE 6686) and a not so good review of the Koch release ASV 6178 of the Cello Sonata performed by Bernard GREGOR-SMITH.

Leopold GODOWSKY  (1870-1938)

DANTE 2 – PS9 8903/4 & PSG 9009: Piano music of Leopold GODOWSKY. Vol. 1-5. Geoffrey Douglas MADGE, pianist.

NAXOS 8.553793: Konstantin SCHERBAKOV performing piano music of Leopold GODOWSKY. Poems, Toccata, Waltz Poems, Melodie, Capriccio, Polonaise, etc.. recorded in Hampshire, Eng. Feb ’96.

Henryk Mikolaj GORECKI (1933-)

TRANG TRP 84 (Royal Philharmonic Collection Series): GORECKI: Stucke im alten Stil for String Orchestra and Symphony no. 3. Royal Philharmonic, Yuri SIMONOV, conducting, Susan GRITTON, soprano.

Witold LUTOSLAWSKI (1913-1994)

ROUND TOP RTR 116/861/6: LUTOSLAWSKI: Dance Preludes for clarinet and piano. Patricia SHANDS, cl, Eugene ROWLEY, p.

Stanislaw MONIUSZKO (1819-1872)

KOCH 1444: Stanislaw MONIUSZKO: Overtures and Dances. Cracow Philharmonic, Roland BADER.conducting.

Steven J. HALLER bemoans the limiting of the recording to only two overtures (Halka and Verbum Nobile). For a listener to experience all the surging passion and hair-trigger excitement Moniuszko put into this Music one must still go back to the original Olympia CD in mono.

Hopefully, Koch will bring out another disc with overtures to the important operas, Straszny Dwor, Hrabina and Flis. Perhaps they should look into the upcoming production of Straszny Dwor in Buffalo in September.

Franz Xaver SCHARWENKA (1850-1924)

The brothers Philipp SCHARWENKA (1847-1917) and Franz Xaver are not listed in Polish encyclopedias or almanacs; probably because they spent their lives outside of Poland. Born in Poznan when it was East Prussia, Franz Xaver moved to Berlin and founded a music conservatory there. Steven J. HALLER reviews thePiano Concertos 2 and 3 in the American Record Guide.

He quotes H.V. HAMILTON from the pages of Grove: Energy, harmonic interest, strong rhythm, many beautiful melodies and much Polish national character and states that Scharwenka was proud of his Polish heritage and that one can find Polish dance rhythms in the final movements of both of these concertos. Brilliant music splendidly performed by Seta TANYEL and the Hanover Radio Philharmonic under Polish conductor Tadeusz STRUGALA.


Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937)

NAXOS has just released four CDs (reissues of Marco Polo discs) of Karol SZYMANOWSKI‘s music with the Polish State Philharmonic Orchestra of Katowice, Karol STRYJA conducting:

  1. NAXOS 8.553683 Symphony no. 1 & 2
  2. NAXOS 8.553684 Concert Overture, Sym no. 3 & 4
  3. NAXOS 8.553685 Violin Concerto 1 & 2, Nocturne & Tarantelle
  4. NAXOS 8.553688 Songs

CHANDOS 9496 (Koch): SZYMANOWSKI: Concert Overture, Violin Concertos 1 & 2. Lydia MORDKOVITCH, BBC Philharmonic/Vasily SINAISKY, conducting.

Carl BAUMAN praises this recording as another first-class issue of the two violin concertos….the early Concert Overture (1904-05) also is given the best combination of perfection and recording that I know. Not only is the Chandos recording beautiful; it is solid from the thunderous bass to the highest notes.(American Record Guide May/June 1997)

ARLECCHINO ARL 59: Maria YUDINA, piano. Preludes and Variations in Bb.

Henryk WIENIAWSKI (1835-1880)

ARLECCHINO ARL 8: Fantaisie Brillante on themes from Gounod’s Faust for violin & orchestra and Legende for violin and orchestra. Leonid KOGAN, violin, USSR SO, Zdenek CHALABALA, conducting.

TALENT DOM 2910-12: Viola Pieces by Violin Virtuosi. Reverie in f# for viola and piano. Pierre-Henn XUEREB and Luc DEVOS.

FONE 96 F 02: Legende and Polonaise brillante no. 2 in A for violin and orchestra (transcribed for violin & piano). Salvadore ACCARDO, violin, Laura MANZINI, piano.


Born This Month

  • July 04, 1904: Artur MALAWSKI
  • July 06, 1837: Wladyslaw ZELENSKI
  • July 09, 1951: Eugeniusz KNAPIK
  • July 10, 1835: Henryk WIENIAWSKI
  • July 10, 1936: Jan Wincenty HAWEL
  • July 14, 1926: Jan KRENZ
  • July 16, 1947: Grazyna PSTROKONSKA-NAWRATIL
  • July 17, 1932: Wojciech KILAR
  • July 22, 1930: Leoncjusz CIUCIURA
  • July 23, 1884: Apolinary SZELUTO
  • July 26, 1928: Tadeusz BAIRD
  • July 26, 1922: Andrzej KOSZEWSKI
  • July 29, 1943: Marta PTASZYNSKA


Died This Month

  • Maria SZYMANOWSKA died July 25, 1831.

Calendar of Events For June-July 1997

JUNE 23-29: The Californian visit of the Szczecin Boys’ Choir “Nightingales” The choir is one of the 15 participants in the Golden Gate International Children’s Choral Festival, Oakland-San Francisco, (300 choirs submitted their applications!).

JULY 5 (Saturday): The Szczecin Boys’ Choir “Nightingales” will give one concert in Los Angeles, at 6:30 p.m. at the Polish Church, 3424 W. Adams Blvd.
Program: Gaude Mater Polonia (hymn to honor St. Stanislaus), Bogurodzica (the most ancient Polish anthem), two psalms by Mikolaj Gomolka (16th c. settings of the Polish Psalter by Jan Kochanowski), choral works by Stanislaw Moniuszko (Przylecieli sokolowie), Orlando di Lasso, W.A. Mozart, A. Scarlatti, F. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, and others. Tax deductible donations for Polish-American Charities, “Help for Polish Children in Need of Surgical Treatment” “PAC – HELP FOR CHILDREN.”The choir was founded in 1960 by conductor Jan SZYROCKI. At present the artistic director and conductor of this choir is Bozena DERWICH, graduate of the F. Chopin Academy of Music, Warsaw. The choir has previously performed in Spain, Greece, South Africa, Denmark, France, Germany and Israel (first prize at the competiton Shirat Hayamin ’96). For more information please contact Wladek Juszkiewicz, tel. 818-982-8827 e-mail ajanda@earthlink.com.