February 1998

Polish Music Reference Center Newsletter Vol. 4, no. 2


1997 Wilk Prize Competition Winners

As the Director of the Polish Music Reference Center and the President of the Jury, which this year included USC Professors: Bruce Brown, Bryan Simms, Janet Johnson, Giulio Ongaro, Visiting Professor LLoyd Whitesell, and Wanda Wilk, I am pleased to announce the winners of the 1997 Wilk Prizes for Research in Polish Music.

In the student category, the jury awarded the 1997 Wilk Prize to Timothy J. Cooley, doctoral student of ethnomusiocology at Brown University for his paper entitled “Authentic Troupes and Inauthentic Tropes.” This work explores performative and interpretative aspects of music of the Tatra mountains and the role of scholars in forming “authentic” ethnic performance traditions. The prize consists of $ 500.00 cash and an award certificate.

In the senior category the 1997 Wilk Prize is divided between two papers; each awarded $500.00 cash prize and an award certificate. The prize-winning papers are “Perspectives on Paul Kochanski’s Collaborative Work with Other Composers as Reflected Through his Personal Manuscript Collection.” by Tyrone Greive (University of Wisconsin, Madison) and “Alexandre Tansman: the Man and the Artist” by Jill Timmons and Sylvain Fremaux (Linfield College, Oregon).

The three prize-winning papers will be published in the first issue of a newly formed electronic journal, an academic quarterly dedicated to research in Polish music, Polish Music Journal. The journal will be available from the Polish Music Reference Center’s Home Page in the summer of 1998. Maria Anna Harley

The well-known music Polish author and music critic, Jerzy WALDORFF, is honorary director of the Paderewski Museum in Warsaw. The Polish- American newspaper, Nowy Dziennik, issued an appeal from him on behalf of the museum for any memorabilia of famous Polish artists who have been to the U.S. Among them are singers Marcella SEMBRICH- KOCHANSKA, Jan and Eduard DE RESZKE, Adam DIDUR, pianist Jozef HOFMAN and conductor Artur RODZINSKI. The address of the museum is ul. Szwolezerow 9, 00-664 Warsaw, tel: 011-48-22- 622-6434. For help in shipping you may contact the Polish consulates in the USA or the Polish Embassy in Washington, D.C.

The new Minister of Arts & Culture in Poland, Joanna WNUK-NAZAROWA, announced a small increase in the 1998 budget, which however only reflects the increase in inflation. Nonetheless, she predicts the raising of cultural levels. She also called for creating cultural web sites on the internet, with the creation of a “virtual Chopin Institute” as the top priority.

The PENDERECKI QUARTET is currently the Quartet-in-Residence at the Wilfred Laurier University in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. They are available for performances anywhere on this continent.

March 2, 1998 is the deadline to apply for the CHOPIN PIANO COMPETITION at the KOSCIUSZKO FOUNDATION this year. Former winners include VAN CLIBURN and Murray PERAHIA, among others.

For news on Polka music read the Buffalo-based Polish American Journal, which features a Polka magazine in each issue. Look them up on the web: http://www.polamjournal.com. Mark KOHAN is the editor. The journal is a great source for finding recordings of polka and ethnic music; also sources for accordion sales and parts.

While on the subject of polkas, I had great fun reading some of the titles listed: Accordionly Yours, Stormin’ Polkas, Classic Honky Style Polkas, Polka with my Carolcha, Love Those Polkas. There are also Polish Wedding albums and Easter and Christmas ones.

The PAJ also reported on the world premiere of “Glory to St. DanielPrince of Muscovy for choir and orchestra by Krzysztof PENDERECKI, who was commissioned to write for Moscow’s 850th anniversary.

Scandal at the opera in Warsaw! The new version of Karol SZYMANOWSKI’s ballet, “Harnasie” brought about a negative reaction from the audience. Music critic Jerzy WALDORFF called the spectacle a scandal. In his 70-some years of going to the opera, he had never seen anything so “non-sensical, stupid and offensive” as the Nov 10th premiere in the Teatr Wielki in Warsaw of Emil Wesolowski’s choreography of the ballet.

Szymanowski specialist, Teresa CHYLINSKA, agreed and expressed that it was a pity that it happened to a composer who valued beauty and quality above all things. (RM)

Valentine Concert: An Evening of Romance

14 February 1998

Concert of a French pianist specializing in the music of Chopin, Roberto Scherson, at Hancock Auditorium of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 8.p.m. This unique event is co-organized by the PMRC, the Polish Consulate and the Polish-American Congress. The program includes music by Chopin interspersed with excerpts of love letters by George Sand, performed by a Polish actress, Paulina J. Mielech. A reception will follow the concert. Sponsors include also AOM Airlines, and Egyptian Tourist Authority. Tickets $ 20 for singles and $ 30 for couples, available from concert manager, Ms. Sandra Buchan, 310–318-2969 or 213-743-2356, or Mr. Vladek Juszkiewicz, 818–982-8827.


Polish flutist Grzegorz OLKIEWICZ presented a recital of music by CHOPIN, GORECKI, LUTOSLAWSKI and PENDERECKI on Jan 11th at the Kosciuszko Foundation at 3:00 p.m. Bravo to Mr. Olkiewicz and his accompanist, pianist Gerald RANCK, for performing an all-Polish music program! The soloist graduated from the Karol Szymanowski Music Academy in Katowice followed by studies in Czechoslovakia and Italy.

Also on the same day and in the same city (one hour earlier) the Chopin Foundation of NY (Jan Gorbaty, president) presented pianist Magdalena LISAK in a recital of music by CHOPIN and BARTOK. Ms. Lisak was a finalist in the Chopin International Competition in 1995.

A day earlier she performed at the Polish Cultural Foundation in Clark, NJ, Janusz SPOREK, director of the music school located there.

On concert tour in Poland during the month of January: Jazz artists Ursula DUDZIAK and Adam MAKOWICZ. Both artists have been residing in the U.S. in recent years. Ursula has teamed up with singer Grazyna AUGUSCIK in singing Polish Christmas carols in jazz style. They performed in LA last December at the Jazz Bakery. Ursula’s latest album “Painted Bird” is dedicated to the late Jerzy Kosinski. Award-winning jazz pianist, Adam MAKOWICZ, is touring Poland with American jazz singer, Gail WINTERS, in a “Carnival with George Gershwin,” in commemoration of Gershwin’s Centennial this year.

Tadeusz KACZYNSKI reported in Ruch Muzyczny on the Tansman Centennial in Paris. A musicological conference took place at the Sorbonne in Paris on November 26th in which fourteen musicologists from six countries took part.

Accompanying chamber music concerts added to the picture of Tansman’s creativity. Two string quartets (IV and VIII) were performed by the SILESIAN QUARTET (which has recorded all 8 of them on CD). Five Pieces for violin and piano were played by Beata and Barbara HALSKI and the V Piano Sonata by French pianist Francoise BONNET. Diane ANDERSEN spoke of the composer’s contacts with her country, Belgium. She recently recorded all of TANSMAN’s Mazurkas on CD.

The Centennial was officially closed on December 16th, the day of his death, with the last of a cycle of concerts at the Institut Curie. Here the L’ENSEMBLE VOCAL FRANCAIS performed Three Madrigals to a text by Michael Archangel a capella. Then pianist Teresa CZEKAJ played Intermezzi and Mazurkas followed by trombonist Jean-Michel ALHAITS. Two exhibits had been prepared by the Paris Conservatoire of Music and by the National Library’s Music section, with the help of Tansmans’s two daughters.

Reviewed In American Record Guide (Jan/Feb ’98):

MONIUSZKO’s opera, “Straszny Dwor,” in Buffalo: Herman TROTTER wrote, “What was perhaps most important in this very assured production…Straszny Dwor…virutally unknown in North America, was given not just a fair hearing but one that made us want to see what else there is of interest in Moniuszko’s oeuvre beyond this opera and Halka.”

September production of the Greater Buffalo Opera Company under the artistic direction of Gary Burgess presented two performances of Moniuszko’s 1865 opera (The Haunted Manor) with American, as well as Polish artists. Sets and costumes were also imported. The critic went on to say that the opera company “has scored its most notable successes not in its own productions of repertory operas but in periodic large gestures aimed at contributing something significant to the American opera scene.” In 1992 it presented SZYMANOWSKI’s King Roger.

Still more on “Gorecki Autumn” at USC (from the American Record Guide):

Richard GINNELL wrote, “for a school still reeling from the infamous loss of Arnold Schoenberg’s archives, this was a newsworthy coup to savor. And it was a performance to savor, too, unlike any that I have experienced thus far.” Of Elizabeth Hynes’s singing he said, “in the first movement it was hair-raising, even electrifying.” … “It was a performance that any orchestra, let alone a youth ensemble, could have been proud of – and although the musicians seemed surprised by the tumultuous six-minute ovation, they should not have been.”

American Record Guide on Penderecki in New York:

Shirley FLEMING reflected on what the dozens of New York Philharmonic orchestra’s subscribers missed, when they did not stay to hear the local premiere of PENDERECKI’s Fifth Symphony. She described the music as vivid and vigorous that will undoubtedly be widely performed in years to come”… The music “concentrates on distinctive episodes and clearly defined nuggets that recur often enough to give shape to the 35-minute one-movement piece…Penderecki’s theatrical touch is not abandoned, but it is grounded in very solid craftsmanship.”

New Books

Dr. Deborah Anders SILVERMAN has written a book entitled, “From Krakow to Chicago: Polish-American Folklore.” She lectured recently in New York on Polish-American folk music.

New from PWM Edition in Poland (books in Polish): Szymanowski. Liryka i ekstaza. (Lyricism and ecstasy) by Tadeusz ZIELINSKI.

Volume “kl” of the Music Encyclopedia now available.

Monograph on Wojciech KILAR, Poland’s foremost film composer and respected symphonic music composer entitled, “Rozmowy z Wojciechem Kilarem” (Talks with Wojciech Kilar) by Klaudia Podobinska and Leszek Polony.

Ignace Jan Paderewski. Antologia. Published by Ars Nova in Poznan with Jerzy JASIENSKI as author.

Musica Iagellonica is a new publishing house affiliated with the Musicological Institute of the Jagiellonian University. Their newest catalog listed in Ruch Muzyczny includes the first monograph on Jozef Koffler (Poland’s first dodecaphonist who perished in a concentration camp) by M. Golab and a small monograph on Witold LUTOSLAWSKI by J. Paja-Stach.

Biblioteka Narodowa (The National Library) is also publishing books. Their latest “Rekopisy Muzyczne 1. polowy XIX wieku ze zbiorow Biblioteki Narodowej” (Manuscripts of the lst half of the 19th c. in the National Library collection). Compiled by Wanda Bogdany- Popielowa, former director of the Music Section at BN. It lists 372 ouvre of Polish and non-Polish composers, including those in the archives at the National Museum in Raperswil, Switzerland. For more information you may fax BN @ 011-48-22-608-25-52 or via e-mail: promocja@bn.org.pl.


Did You Know That…

…there is now a third recording of Lutoslawski’s Partita? This time by violinist Roman LASOCKI with the National Philharmonic of Katowice under the direction of Jerzy Swoboda. It is paired with the Cello Concerto performed by Tomasz STRAHL……Vlado PERLEMUTER was born in Lithuania of Polish parents? A concert pianist of the older school, Perlemuter made a series of CHOPIN recordings between 1974 and 1992 for Naxos. They are now gathered together in a super-bargain box. The first six CDs offer a group of Nocturnes. This is a Collector’s item.

…Leopold GODOWSKY (1870-1938) was also Polish? Born in Wilno, he settled in the USA in 1884 becoming an Americanized pianist and composer. He is the undisputed “King of improvisation.” This is evident on ALTARUS AIR-CD 9092/3. Godowsky. 53 Studies on Chopin Etudes (1910-14) with Carlo GRANTE, pianist. Lionel Salter wrote in Gramophone (Dec ’97) that Godowsky’s “wickedly entertaining metamorphoses of Chopin pile on every kind of elaboration to the originals, making them seem almost child’s play in comparison.” And you thought Chopin was difficult? This I must hear!!!

Wait, this CD is also extensively reviewed in Ruch Muzyczny by Stnaislaw DYBOWSKI, who calls Carlo GRANTE a super-virtuoso and tells of other recordings of Godowsky’s works. In 1989 the French firm Dante released 5 CDs of Godowsky’s works, including the 53 Etudes with pianist Geoffrey Douglas MADGE.

Newest Releases

DUX 0287. SZYMANOWSKI. Works for violin and piano. (Sonata op. 9, Romance, op. 23, Nocturne & Tarantella, op. 28, Myths, op. 30 and Lullaby, op. 52). Piotr PLAWNER, v., Waldemar MALICKI, piano.

ROMOPHONE mono 81026-2. Marcella SEMBRICH . Opera Arias. Soprano Sembrich with various artists. From Victor originals recorded 1904- 08.

OLYMPIA OCD 629. CHOPIN. Complete Songs. Also songs of MONIUSZKO, SZYMANOWSKI, PADEREWSKI and NIEWIADOMSKI. Annete CELINE, Brazilian soprano and her mother Felicja BLUMENTAL, piano. Sung in Polish with full English translations in the booklet.

TESTAMENT SBT 1113. DAVID OISTRAKH plays sonatas by Prokofiev, Karen Khachaturian and Szymanowski. Vladimir Yampolsky, piano. Part of EMI treasures restored.

MDG 303 0532-2. SCHARWENKA, Philipp. Piano Trios, Cello sonata and Trio Parnassus. First recording. Part of Rare Repertoire Outstanding Performances series issued by Musikproduktion Dabringhaus und Grimm.

MARSTON mono 52004-2. Josef HOFMANN. The Complete Recordings. Volume 5. Works by BEETHOVEN, CHOPIN, DEBUSSY, GLUCK, HOFMANN, LIADOV, LISZT, MENDELSSOHN, PROKOFIEV, RACHMANINOV and WEBER. Bryce Morrison calls Josef Hofmann (1876-1957) one of “music’s most jealously guarded legends… for his admirers (Anton Rubinstein and Rachmaninov) he could do no wrong, and those fortunate enough to have heard him live during his heyday in America…..” (I was one of them who heard him on the radio).

ALTARUS 9045 (Albany). PADEREWSKI: Miscellanea, op. l6; Tatra Album; Sonata in E-flat minor. Adam WODNICKI, piano.

Reviewed in the Nov/Dec 1997 issue of American Record Guide. Allen LINKOWSKI remarks that as a composer, Paderewski “left an important body of work,m including a symphony, piano concerto, opera and a multitude of piano pieces.” The Sonata is a major work which “epitomizes the romantic ideal, using the full resources of the modern piano. It is filled with imposing melodic content, and its dramatic power is somewhat overwhelming. It demands a virtuoso technique to bring it off. The complicated culminating fugue will test the strength of any pianist. Given its appeal, I am surprised the work hasn’t achieved greater popularity.”

Also reviewed in Fanfare Jan/Feb 1998: Here Martin ANDERSON calls it “an astonishing, bravura piece of writing, bristling with appallingly difficult piano writing – not that you’d know it from Wodnicki’s assured, energized performance.” Both reviewers also commented on the program notes written by Malgorzata Perkowska-Waszek, director of the Paderewski Archives in Krakow, as well as the very good recorded sound. Strongly recommended.

RCA VICTOR Gold Seal 09026 68813-2. My Favorite Chopin. Van Cliburn. Reviewed in Gramophone by Jed DISTLER. This reissue of Van Cliburn’s first solo outing in 1961, “dispels any notion that this American icon was merely a superficial virtuoso with a handsome face.”

MCD 023. SZYMANOWSKI. Piesni kurpiowskie. Camerata Silesia.


Composers Born In February:

  • Grazyna BACEWICZ: Feb 2, 1909
  • Roman MACIEJEWSKI: Feb 28, 1910
  • Feliks NOWOWIEJSKI: Feb 7, 1877