Polish Music Reference Center Newsletter Vol. 3, no. 11
The dates for the III STANISLAW MONIUSZKO INTERNATIONAL VOCAL COMPETITION have been announced: Oct 1-11, 1998. The competition is sponsored by the Teatr Narodowy, Warsaw and organized by Maria Foltyn, artistic director of the competition, who founded it six years ago. Details in next month’s newsletter or fax Poland direct: 011-48-22-692- 0642. All singers are encouraged to apply. This might be an unforgettable experience!
A new set of Three Dances composed by Juliusz ZAREBSKI (1854-1885) and orchestrated by Franz LISZT, was found in Brussels among family papers of Ernest Vanderlinden (a descendent of Franz Servais, a student of Liszt). Zarebski also studied with Liszt and the music journal Strings reports that this “manuscript may have been Lisztís last work before his death.”
According to the BBC Music Journal (September issue), two Polish pianists figure in the “Who’s Who in Music?” list. Krystian ZIMERMAN as part of the “establishment” and Piotr ANDERSZEWSKI as “new blood” coming in. Bravo for Piotr! I remember him when he was a student at USC. He and his sister, violinist Dorota, gave many memorable performances for the Polish-American community in southern California. They were especially electrifying in their rendition of Hungarian music (their mother is Hungarian).
American artists scheduled to perform this season in Poland with the National Philharmonic in Warsaw include: Garrick OHLSSON, Artur PAPAZIAN, Leon FLEISHER, Jessye NORMANB Also Polish pianists Piotr ANDERSZEWSKI and Piotr PALECZNY.
The Polish American Journal reported that when violinists of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra were asked recently who they thought were the greatest violinists of all time, their first choice was Jascha HEIFETZ with Polish-born Henryk SZERYNG coming in second. I heard Szeryng a few years ago in the now-defunct Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena and I must say that his playing was emotionally overwhelming and technically superb.
A new book on composer Wojciech KILAR just published by PWM: Rozmowy z Wojciechem Kilarem (Conversations with Wojciech Kilar). He is the film composer in Poland and also known to some of you for his film score of Dracula and….. Authors are Klaudia Podobinska and Leszek Polony. PWM. Krakow 1997.
Two journals about Polish musical matters have recently came into existence. Both periodicals are published in Poland, in Polish; they may be ordered from anywhere in the world directly from their publishers and distributors (addresses included below). The first, monthly journal has been available since 1994, now reaching its 47th issue. Its title, STUDIO. Magazyn Plytowy i Radiowy (Radio and Recordings Magazine) well reflects the contents consisting of quality articles about music and performance practice, profiles of composers, CD reviews, and even current programs of Program 2 of the Polskie Radio S.A. With colorful, glossy pages, and fully professional content, it is a joy to read and behold. The publisher’s address: STUDIO, ul. Madalinskiego 42 m. 62, 02-544 Warszawa, Poland. Tel/fax: 011-48-22–49-23-60.
The second publication, GITARA. Historia. Aktualnosci (Guitar: History and Current News) has appeared on the market this year. This quarterly presents articles and news of interest to all classical guitarists, especially those interested in the Polish repertoire for this instrument. The publisher’s address is: Krzysztof NIEBORAK (Editor), 75-335 Koszalin, ul. Podgorna 59/2, Poland. Tel: 011-48–94-450-401.
Polish composers in the LA Philharmonic 1997/98 season:
NOV 20, Thurs. SZYMANOWSKI: Violinist MIDORI will perform Myths, op. 30.
NOV 6, 8, 9: CHOPIN: Piano Concerto no. 1. Polish-American pianist Emanuel AX.
DEC 4-7: SCHARWENKA (Polish-German composer): Piano Concerto no. 4 performed by Stephen HOUGH (winner of the 1996 Gramophone Award for “Record of the Year.”)
And by osmosis: Steven STUCKY (the first specialist on the music of Poland’s greatest contemporary composer, Witold Lutoslawski). I wondered about “polonizing” his name to either Stuckiewicz or Stuckowski. The latter would be pretty close to Stokowsky. We will have to make him an “honorary Pole.” Oct 23-26 is the west coast premiere of his “Pinturas de Tamayo.”
Other Polish names include: Marion Arthur KUSZYK, oboe (featured in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Winds) Oct 23-26) and Maciej PIKULSKI (accompanying Jose Van Dam, baritone) Nov 13.
The “Gorecki Autumn” festival at USC (Oct 1-5) was a huge success! The October 3 concert, “Gorecki conducting Gorecki” with soprano Elizabeth Hynes was a sellout at USC’s Bovard Auditorium (which holds 1558) as soon as it was announced. Mark SWED, chief music critic of the Los Angeles Times gave a positive review of the concert.
The tempos were unprecedented; Gorecki added a full ll minutes to the suggested timing of 54 minutes in the printed score. And the performance was simply extraordinary, practically unfathomable under the circumstances. Gorecki is not a very experienced conductor. He had little more than a single rehearsal. The orchestra, consisting of university students, has been together only the few weeks of the new school year. But Gorecki’s personality is like a force of nature, and he achieved an intensity that I have never heard equaled in this music from far more accomplished professional orchestras.
Before the concert began, Larry Livingston, Dean of the School of Music and Steven Sample, president of the university formally announced the endowed position of Dr. Maria Anna Harley as the first “Stefan and Wanda Wilk Director of the Polish Music Reference Center” and they publicly thanked my husband and myself for our commitment, financially and otherwise), for establishing the PMRC in 1985.
Another highlight of the festival was a lecture by British musicologist Adrian Thomas, author of a monograph on Gorecki. There were two other concerts of Gorecki’s music “Solo and Chamber Music” on Oct 1 and a concert by the USC Contemporary Music Ensemble under the direction of Donald CROCKETT on Sunday night.
In addition to a student forum on Friday, a symposium was held on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with guests speakers: Adrian Thomas, James Harley, David Kopplin, Luke B. Howard, Mark Swed and Maria Anna Harley who organized the event.
USC music faculty and students were remarking on this being the best event ever!
John ADAMS’s first piano concerto, “Century Rolls,” written for Polish-American pianist Emanuel AX was premiered in September. A European premiere is scheduled for early November by the London Symphony Orchestra. The work reflects “the composer’s fascination with the piano rolls that helped to immortalize such performers as Gershwin, PADEREWSKI, and Jelly Roll Morton.”
On October 3rd “The World of Karol Szymanowski,” was hosted by June LeBell of Radio station WZXR, and sponsored by the Kosciuszko Foundation of NY. Performers included Laura KAFKA, soprano, Piotr FOLKERT, piano and the PENDERECKI STRING QUARTET at Carnegie Hall. Jerzy KAPLANEK, first violinist of the Quartet played “Arethusa’s fountain” and Sonata in d minor, op. 9. Ms Kafka sang “Songs of the Fairy Princess” and some of the “Children’s Rhymes.” Piano selections included Variations in b minor, op. 10 and the famous Etude in b minor, op. 4, as well as two mazurkas. The Quartet performed the II String Quartet, op. 56. Tom Pniewski, director of cultural affairs at the foundation, spoke briefly before the concert about Szymanowski’s life and some of the ties between Stravinsky and Bartok.
OCT 18: Los Angeles pianist Wojciech KOCYAN flew to San Francisco to perform a recital of music by CHOPIN, MOZART and GORECKI at the Century Club of California. Sponsored by the Chopin Foundation’s Council of San Francisco. Gosia Kossakowska, president.
Also on OCT 18 and also in San Francisco, pianist Tadeusz MAJEWSKI presented “Images of Chopin” with Julie Mueller, narrator, reading Chopin’s letters at the First United Methodist Church in Napa for the benefit of the Arts Council of Napa Valley.
Calendar of Events
NOV 6: Polish-American pianist Emanuel AX performing Piano Concerto no. 1 by CHOPIN. Los Angeles Philharmonic, Roger Norrington, cond. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. LA. 8:00 p.m. on Nov & 8th. 2:30 on Nov 9th.
NOV 10: “Evening of Polish Ballets” premiere. Music of SZYMANOWSKI, KARLOWICZ & KILAR choreographed by Emil WESOLOWSKI. Grzegorz NOWAK , cond. Teatr Narodowy, Warsaw.
NOV 22: Pianist Jon NAKAMATSU performing CHOPIN Polonaises at the Polonaise Ball of the Polish Arts & Culture Foundation. Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco.
NOV 26: Witold Lutoslawski’s Partita for violin and orchestra, Orchestra of the F. Chopin Academy of Music, Warsaw, Larry Livingston, cond. (Dean of USC School of Music).
NOV 29: Polish-American Christmas Gala starring THE LIRA ENSEMBLE [The Lira Singers, The Lira Dancers, Lira Chamber Chorus, Lira Chamber Orch.] with the Pytlik Brothers Polish Folk Band. Royce Aud. 24 Ransome NE, Grand Rapids, MI. (616) 459-2224.<
NOV 30: Polish-American Christmas Gala starring The LIRA ENSEMBLE. Bendix Theater of Century Center. 120 S. St. Joseph, South Bend, IND. (219) 288-8966.
Three CDs (with music of Polish composers) have made it to the short list of Gramophone nominations sponsored by Britannia Music Club for 1997:
1) For the best concerto:
Simon Rattle’s rendition of SZYMANOWSKI’s Violin Concertos no. 1 & 2 with Paganini Caprice and Romance in D.; Zehetmair, violin. EMI CDC5 55607-2.
2) For the best instrumental recording:
Pianist MICHELANGELI playing CHOPIN, DEBUSSY, MOMPOU and SCHUMANN. TESTAMENT SBT2088.
3) For Britannia Music Members’Award:
CHOPIN Nocturnes performed by pianist PIRES.
A KOCH-SCHWANN recording (310 662) of SZYMANOWSKI’s Piano Works was one of eleven recordings being appraised for technical sound and was found “outstanding” in all respects! Pawel Kamasa, piano. 20 Mazurkas, op. 50 and 2 from op. 62. Recorded in DRS Radio Studio, Zurich. Klaus Koenig, engineer.
NIMBUS Records released a new mid-price CD (N18812) with Ignacy (Ignaz) Jan PADEREWSKI playing Liszt, Schubert, Beethoven, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Wagner & Schelling. It has been written that Paderewski’s performances of Liszt and Beethoven were superb.
Reviewed In American Record Guide
David Raymond reports favorably on LUTOSLAWSKI: Symphonies 2 & 4. Saarbrucken Radio Symphony, Roman Kofman, cond., NAXOS CPO 999386. “Recordings of Lutoslawski Symphonies aren’t piling up quite as fast as 1812 Overtures or Brandenburg Concertos, but they’re holding their own.” There are recordings led by LUTOSLAWSKI (EMI and PHILIPS), Esa-Peka SALONEN (SONY) and Antoni WIT (NAXOS). Raymond believes the latter is “one of the best bargains in 20th century music.”NAXOS’s LUTOSLAWSKI series continues to be an ideal introduction to music that deserves the widest currency.” This is how Raymond introduces NAXOS 553423 which includes the “Paganini Variations,” the 3rd symphony and vocal pieces, “Paroles tissees” and “Les espaces du sommeil.”
NAXOS continues their “bargain series” with the music of Karol SZYMANOWSKI: NAXOS 553687 & 553688. These discs correspond exactly with the Marco Polo series 8.223294-6. They include the Szymanowski cantatas: Stabat mater; Veni Creator; Demeter, Penthesilea and (on the first one) also the song cycles “Love Songs of Hafiz;” “Songs of the Infatuated Muezzin” and “Songs of a Fairy Tale Princess;” the early opus of 3 Songs by Jan Kasprowicz, and “Roxana’s Song” from King Roger. Reviewer Carl Bauman says they are “at the price all are worth having.” (September/October 1997 American Record Guide.)
Time to think of Christmas gifts: Send for the free catalog from Pol Art 1-800-278-9393 (http://www.polart.com). They have MONIUSZKO operas “Halka” and “Straszny Dwor” also two CDs of Songs for home use.
For KIEPURA videos call the Bel Canto Society at 1-800-347-5056 or Fax 1-908-225-1562. They have 4 with Kiepura.
Call the Poland Import and Export Co. for their free Polskie Nagrania catalog 415-341-3541. Albin Wozniak lists several CDs from that catalog in his Sep Newsletter: The Polish Violin (Olympia OCD 323); Polish Christmas Carols (PNECD 025); Mazowsze or Warsaw Cathedral Choir for Sacred Music (PNECD 034 & 057); Jan Kiepura (Pearl PEA 9976), etc…
“Rubinstein Remembered” A 4907 ($19.98) a video created in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Polish pianist’s birth, tracing his pianistic career from the early years in Poland through his rise to international acclaim. Order from the Public Television source 1-800-799-1199.
Do you know someone who plays an instrument?
How about presenting him/her with a gift of:
BEETHOVEN: Polonaises for piano, op. 89. or Jozef WIENIAWSKI’s (brother of the famous violinist Henryk) “Fantaisie pour deux pianos,” op. 42.
From Musik-Antiquariat , Heiner Rekeszus in Wiesbaden, Germany. FAX: 0611/308 1262 or e-mail: Mus-Antik-Rekeszus@t-online.de
Look up Polish composers’ scores avialable from European American Retail Music: http://www.jwpepper.com. Their June 1997 “New Publications” catalog lists Alexander TANSMAN’s Piano Collection. 15 piano works (#5529441) for only $6.95. The music reflects his Polish background, as well as French and American characteristics (he lived in France and the U.S. for some years).
Order the new Henle Urtext edition (#5502174) of all 57 CHOPIN mazurkas, plus 3 fragments. $17.95. Call 1-800-345-6296. They also have the study score of GORECKI’s “Kleines Requiem fur eine Polka, op. 66” for piano and 13 instruments and PENDERECKI’s recent “Sinfonietta” no. 2 for clarinet and strings.
Available from the PAJ Bookstore in Buffalo, NY:
“Ring in a Polish Christmas” Polish carols performed by the LIRA ENSEMBLE & CHAMBER CHORUS with booklet of text and translations.
or PAJ’s Polish Village Christmas. Available on CD ($12.95) or tape cassette ($8.95).
Polish Folk Dances & Songs ($39.50); Song, Dance & Customs of Peasant Poland ($24.95); Polish Heritage Songbook ($14.95). Old Polish Legends ($11.95); or Polish Weddings, Customs & Traditions by Sophie Knab ($19.95)
Tape cassettes from Assumption BVM Parish of Oil City, PA. Christmas carols, Easter and Lenten hymns, Hymns to the Blessed mother, Hymns to the Sacred Heart, Advent Hymns, Hymns to various saints, etc… All with songbook ($13).
The Polish Connection
They must be Polish with surnames like this. Jeff TYZIK conducted the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in a premiere performance of his “Festive Overture” on Sep 25th.
Raymond WOJCIK, will conduct the premiere of his “Sea Songs” on April 18, 1998 with the Garden State Philharmonic, New Jersey.
I found the name of Stephen SITARSKI, concertmaster of the Kitchener- Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, in the Sep/Oct 1997 issue of Symphony magazine.
Another good sounding Polish name: Lucia DLUGOSZEWSKI who was commissioned to write an orchestra work for the Peninsula Symphony with Sara Jobin conducting it on May 15, 1998. She was born in Detroit, Michigan and went to my alma mater, Wayne University.
TV POLONIA (Polish Television USA) will broadcast its program from Warsaw 24 hours daily, thanks to the Direct Broadcasting System. Wanda Tomczykowska reports on this in her monthly newsletter, Forum. For info: call 847-718-1001 or look it up on the internet: www.tvp.com.pl/programy/tvpol-ix.htm.
To keep in good shape physically, dance the Polka! So says a reader of thePolish American Journal , Gram Stella Mazurek (age 77) of Buffalo, NY. Most enjoyable kind of exercise, too!
Born This Month
- NOV 1: Szymon LAKS (1901-198?)
- NOV 2: Eugeniusz MORAWSKI (1876-1948)
- NOV 3: Henryk JABLONSKI (1915- ? )
- NOV 4: Stanislaw NIEWIADOMSKI (1857-1936)
- NOV 6: Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI (1860-1941)
- NOV 23: Krzysztof PENDERECKI (1933- )
- NOV 24: Andrzej KURYLEWICZ (1932- )
- NOV 24: Jan MAKLAKIEWICZ (1899-1954)
- NOV 26: Jozef KOFFLER (1896-1943/4?)
- NOV 27: Stanislaw WIECHOWICZ (1893-1963)
- NOV 28: Jan FOTEK (1928- )
Polish Themes at an American Conference
by Maria Anna Harley
Soon after the Gorecki Autumn, the positive results of which exceeded my expectations (and will be summarized in a new book of essays and Gorecki’s interviews given at USC), my attention shifted to Witold Lutoslawski. I had proposed a session on Lutoslawski’s music for the 1997 Meeting of the American Musicological Society (Phoenix, Arizona) and my proposal was accepted. Three papers on Lutoslawski appeared in the program of this important conference, the annual gathering of music historians from the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Even more importantly, the meeting was held in association with the annual gathering of the Society for Music Theory (as it is customary every two years), so the potential audience of our session included historians, theoreticians, students of both areas, and composers.
Who was speaking, then? The first paper of the Lutoslawski and Schnebel joint AMS-SMT session was given by Prof. Adrian Thomas–whose expertise in Polish music goes far beyond Gorecki (Thomas was the Provost’s Distinguished Visitor at USC’s Gorecki Autumn). His paper on “Future Sketches: Lutoslawski’s Jeux venitiens” was based on documents held at the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel as welll as those newly located by Prof. Thomas in the Archives of John Cage–to whom Lutoslawski offered the manuscript score of Jeux venitiens with sketch material and the original version of the piece. Prof. Thomas discussed differences between the two versions of the music. In the abstract, printed in the conference program, Thomas described the content of his paper in the following words:
Jeux venitiens (1960-1961) occupies a pivotal place in Lutoslawski’s career. Lutoslawski employs his twelve-note harmonic schemes and “ad libitum” rhythmic principle substantively for the first time, and the work’s structural design also anticipates many subsequent pieces. This paper investigates the new and genuinely agant-garde means with which Lutoslawski fashined his mature languge. […] The sketches shed much light on later technical and expressive refinements. In addition, they demonstrate that melody, as well as harmony and rhythm, was an integral component of Lutoslawski’s thinking even at this crucially experimental moment.
The second speaker, Dr. Martina Homma of Cologne, Germany, is currently a guest of the PMRC, working with me on a joint conference project and conducting her own research. Homma’s 1995 dissertation on Witold Lutoslawski’s compositional technique is based on over 10 years of research, supported by the composer with access to his scores, sketches and with interviews; her disertation received the highest academic award of the University of Cologne (“opus eximium”). I hope to see it published as a book by the Polish Music Reference Center. At the AMS-SMT Meeting, however, Homma spoke about “Sound Color and Harmony in Lutoslawski’s Music.” Her profound knowledge of Lutoslawski ‘s compositional process and musical style was obvious in her discussion of different examples where the composer used tone color and harmonic elements together to create specific tone-complexes. The paper explained the main principles behind linking color and harmony, characterized Lutoslawski’s style of orchestration, illustrated the conjunction of layered instrumental color with intervallic structure as well as with rhythm and texture. Homma concluded:
The timbral-harmonic dimension of Lutoslawski’s compositions is closely related to other aspects of his compositional technique, such as local harmony (“harmonia lokalna”). Its creation through a selective use of intervallic structures undergoes an evolution that may be traced chronologically throughout Lutoslawski’s oeuvre.
Finally, in my presentation, “New Insights into Lutoslawski’s Concept of the Sound Plane” I drew on my research conducted in the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel in the summer of 1996. I was looking through sketch material and Lutoslawski’s notes for information for a completely different paper, on the use of the subjects of Death and Night in his music; this paper was presented at the Lutoslawski conference in June 1997 in Warsaw (the paper will be published in Lutoslawski Studies). While browsing through the collection of documents I found Lutoslawski’s notes dating back to the late 1950s and the early 1960s about a new compositional technique, based on “sound planes” and “objects.” Lutoslawski’s use of French terminology (l’objet sonore), let me on a search for the sources of Lutoslawski’s ideas in the writings of Pierre Schaeffer, who coined the French term. In the abstract, I wrote:
This term [i.e. the sound plane] describes musical entities with clearly delineated temporal borders and pitch-timbral content.. […] Sketch material for Trois poemes d’Henri Michaux (1962-63) and Paroles tissees (1965) contains many instances of superimposed sound planes that intersect and permeate each other. Lutoslawski’s idea of complex juxtaposition of evolving sound masses has parallels in the music of Xenakis, Penderecki, or Ligeti, and may be contrasted with the use of sonorous elements by Bacewicz and Ptaszynska. The composer, profoundly concerned with perceptual clarity, structures the sound planes in accordance with the principles of auditory scene analysis–including the phenomena of masking and auditory stream segregation. The planes located in the same registral space are differentiated by timbre, while planes of similar timbres are sharply distinguished by register, articulation, dynamics, and so on.
The short durations of each paper, including mine, did not leave time to realize everything promised in the abstract; my cuts extended to comparisons with other composers, including Bacewicz and Ptaszynska. This was, therefore, the first question of a very lively and interesting question period. The three papers created a certain whole, allowed for interactions between the speakers, and created a precedent in the history of the AMS Meetings: a session dedicated–almost in its entirety–to one contemporary Polish composer. (The fourth paper of the session, by Paul Attinello, discussed the music of a German avant-garde composer, Dieter Schnebel).
However, the Lutoslawski session was not the only Polish element on the program. As usual, there were papers on Chopin, by Halina Goldberg, of the Queen’s College and Graduate Center, City University of New York and by Adriana Ponce of Brandeis University. Dr. Goldberg’s presentation on “Chopin in Warsaw’s Salons” drew extensively from the research for her doctoral dissertation, a pioneering study into the sociological dimension of the musical life in Warsaw. Dr. Goldberg writes in the abstract of her paper:
Much has been said about Chopin’s participation in Parisian salon life, but the salons frequented by Chopin in Warsaw are given marginal mention. Yet it is in Warsaw’s salons that the young Fryderyk received his social grooming, and it is here that he met may of his future Parisian hosts or made connections that opened the doors to the most respected households of European capitals. […] The post-war Polish research emphasized the incebtedness of Chopin’s music to folkore and downplayed the contribution of intelligentsia and aristocracy as representative of boureois decadence and the aristocratic abuse of wealth. Yet I have found an abundance of information about this active salon culture in diaries, letters, and journal articles. Warsaw had over forty significant salons, and direct evidence of Chopin’s musical presence can be established in most of them. These salons were just as splendid and socially refined as their countepart in Paris or Vienna, and they sought the same lvel of intellectual and artistic experiences. The picture that now unfolds contradicts the accepted image of Warsaw asa cultural backwater and instead restores the Polish capital to its European status.”
Finally, the the very last presentation of the AMS-SMT Meeting, Dr. Adriana Ponce discussed “Chopin’s Ballades: A Romantic Representation of Form and Time.” The paper proposed a new interpretation of the form of these works “in terms of a process resembling a conic spiral” on the basis of Chopin’s “idiosyncratic process of thematic recurrence together with a conspisuous delay of any high-level structural dominants in Chopin’s first, third and fourth Ballades.” In contrast to the four papers summarized above, Dr. Ponce’s study did not rely on newly accessible source materials (sketches, documents) but on a revised interpretation of form in Chopin’s music, cast in new theoretical terms.