Polish Music Reference Center Newsletter Vol. 5, no. 9
Szymanowski’s King Roger In The Spotlight
Szymanowski’s “King Roger” was selected as “Recording of the Month” by the Gramophone. EMI has just released a new CD of the hugely successful concert performance of the rarely-heard Szymanowski opera, King Roger, which Simon Rattle recorded at the 1998 Proms in England (EMI CDS5 56823-2; see discography). At the same time, the British conductor was featured as the cover artist of the September issue of the Gramophone, the British magazine devoted to classical music. In addition, Rattle’s conducting was also the subject of a feature article (an extensive interview with Adam Sweeting). The conductor described how jubilant he was after he had performed King Roger in Salzburg with the City of Birmingham Orchestra last summer. He felt that he had made an important point because Szymanowski always wanted to be accepted in Austria. Rattle stated: “The hall was packed to the rafters … at the end we had the most incredible 20-minute standing ovation. I simply took the score and held it up, and that got the greatest cheer of all.”Rattle’s profound interest in Szymanowski’s music resulted with a series of prize winning recordings and acclaimed concert performances. He has brought the choral masterpiece “Stabat Mater” twice to Los Angeles and recently won prizes for his recording of the Polish composer’s Violin Concertos. The conductor explained his zeal “to bring what he considers unjustly neglected works to the attention of a broader public.” This lay behind his “decision to record King Roger, Szymanowski’s resplendent and mysterious exploration of culture, philosophy and sexual identity. The opera was premiered in 1926, but has rarely been heard since… there’s a canon of accepted masterpieces, but there’s another list of masterpieces which have been passed over for one reason or another. It was often simply the language, particularly in Szymanowski’s case.”
The Chopin Year
The Age Of Chopin Conference At Indiana
The Age of Chopin: Chopin Sesquicentennial Symposium will be held this month at Indiana University, Bloomington (September 17-19). The conference, organized jointly by The Polish Studies Center and the School of Music of the University will feature artists and musicologists from Europe and the U.S. For a full program of concerts and lectures click ontoThe Age of Chopin.The following musicans and scholars are scheduled to appear:
- Performers: Edward Auer, piano; Ik-Hwan Bae, Edmund Battersby, piano; Evelyn Brancart, Emilio Colon, cello; The Corigliano Quartet, Liat Elkan, soprano; Leonard Hokanson, piano; Lynn Kao, piano; Teresa Kubiak, soprano; Michael Morgan, conductor; Emile Naoumoff, piano; Shigeo Neriki, piano; Reiko Shigeoka Neriki, piano; Julien Quentin, Stanley Ritchie, conductors; Karen Shaw, piano; Gwen Starker-Preucil, violin; Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, cello; and others, including Indiana University’s orchestra and ensembles.
- Scholars from Poland: Zofia Chechlinska (Institute of Art, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw), Maciej Golab (Institute of Musicology, University of Warsaw), Waldemar Okon (University of Wroclaw), Irena Poniatowska (Institute of Musicology, University of Warsaw).
- Scholars from the U.S.: Halina Filipowicz (U. of Wisc.,Madison), Maria Anna Harley (PMRC, USC), David Hertz (Indiana University), Jeffrey Kallberg (University of Pensylvania), Leslie Kearney (Indiana University), Marianee Kielian-Gilbert (Indiana University), Eric McKee (Penn State University), Barbara Milewski, (Princeton University), John Nici (Queens College, CUNY), James Parakilas (Bates College), Bozena Shallcross (Indiana University), Carl Schachter (CUNY), Whitney Walton (Purdue University) and Sandra Rosenblum (Independent Scholar, Boston).
Ptaszynska’s Fanfare For Chopin
In a recent concert at Orchestra Hall in Chicago by the Polish American Orchestra commemorating the Chopin Year Marta Ptaszynska’s “Fanfare for Frederic Chopin” inaugurated the event. Pianist Piotr Paleczny appeared as soloist and the Orchestra performed Rozycki’s “Stanczyk” and Paderewski’s “Polonia” Symphony.
Chopin Bust In Luxembourg Gardens, Paris
A new Frederic Chopin bust will be unveilled for the second time in the Luxembourg Garden in Paris on the 189th anniversary of the composer’s birth. The brass bust is a replica of the work by Polish sculptor Boleslaw Syrewicz. The original, unveiled in 1900, was taken down and melted down by the Nazis during their occupation of Paris in WWII.
Chopin Celebrations In Washington
A series of lectures and concerts had been scheduled as Chopin Celebrations in Washington, D.C. from 4 Nov to 30 Nov. Among the artists: Janusz Olejniczak, Krystian Zimerman, Adam Makowicz, Ewa Osinska, Wojciech Switala, Roman Markowicz, Olga Pasiecznik and the Chamber Music Trio of Steven Honigberg. Lecturers: Count Adam Zamoyski, Arlette Serralaz, Count Jean D’Ormesson. Films, such as, “Blue Note” will be shown.
Chopin Anniversary Tour
A Chopin Anniversary Tour organized by the Kosciuszko Foundation is scheduled for Oct 15-26 in Poland and Oct 26-31 in Paris. For information call Pat Tours 1-800-388-0988.
Namirovsky’s Chopin Recital
Michael Namirovsky, laureate of the 1999 Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin National Piano Competition, will be featured in a Chopin Recital at the U. of Houston in October. Co-sponsored by the Texas chapter of the Kosciuszko Foundation and the University of Houston. Michael Namirovsky will also perform with the Springfield Symphony in March of 2000.
Marathon At Alice Tully Hall
A Gala concert Marathon featuring the music of Chopin and Szymanowski will be held at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center on 17 October. Performers: Garrick Ohlsson, Jacob Lateiner, Jerome Rose, Jan Gorbaty and more than 40 others. Hosted by David Dubal. 8 p.m. For info call 212-734-2130 x213.
Pollack’s Chopin Recital At USC
Prof. Daniel Pollack will perform Chopin’s Piano sonatas in B flat minor and in B minor during a recital commemorating the 150th anniversary of Chopin’s death (on Sunday, October 24, 4 p.m.). The recital will be held at Newman Hall at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
Warsaw Autumn: 17-25 September 1999
The most important new music event in Poland is taking place in September. Here, we repeat our report on the Festival’s program from the July issue of our Newsletter. The program of the 42nd International Festival of Contemporary Music includes a variety of themes and names. The cycle of “New Vocality” (i.e. new vocal techniques) includes a recital of Joan La Barbara, as well as performances of works by Berio, Ashley, and a collaboration of John King with Krzysztof Knittel. The cycle of “Musica Britanica” is accompanied by a selection of new works and styles from the U.S. “America Nova.” There is a focus on the sonoristic music of Witold Szalonek, a retrospective of the musical avant-garde, night concerts of electronic music, a variety of miscellaneous projects, and what the program describes as “Basso Continuo” – that is rich offerings of Polish music, from the classics of this century to the youngest composers.
The festival opens with a monographic concert dedicated to the music of Grazyna Bacewicz. This concert, organized by PWM Edition (17 September, 4 p.m.). presents Bacewicz’s Second Piano Sonata, Fourth String Quartet and First Quintet. The official program commences in the evening of the same day, with Szalonek’s Les sons and a variety of Polish premieres by European composers. Pawel Mykietyn’s Commencement du siecle will be heard on Saturday, 18th September along with works by Hanna Kulenty (Sinequan Forte B), and again, Szalonek (L’hautbois mon amour – Commissioned by the Warsaw Autumn). The next day will only include a piece by Anna Zawadzka-Golosz ( Mirrors – commissioned by the Warsaw Autumn). Monday, 20 September, will be a “field day” of Polish music – with works by Bogusław Schaeffer, Marek Chołoniewski, Ewa Synowiec, Barbara Buczkówna, Zbigniew Bujarski, Krystyna Moszumańska-Nazar. Tuesday, again, is quite rich in Polish pieces – works by Ewa Podgórska, Eugeniusz Knapik, Witold Lutosławski, Jerzy Kornowicz, and Henryk Górecki, as well as by the “honorary Pole” – Hungarian composer Szabolcs Esztenyi (new work commissioned by the Warsaw Autumn). On Wednesday and Thursday double opera by John King and Krzysztof Knittel will serve as the “Polish centerpiece” while Friday will feature pieces by Kazimierz Pyzik, Witold Szalonek, Zbigniew Penherski (commissioned by the Warsaw Autumn). The closing day will see a concert of the Youth Circle of the Polish Composers’ Union (works by Małgorzata Gołab, Aleksander Kościów, Robert Kurdybacha, Piotr Majchrzak, and Jakub Sarwas). The events of the main program will feature pieces by Jarosław Siwiński and Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil.
The Panufniks In The News
Lady Camilla Panufnik sent us the latest news regarding the recent events featuring the music of the Panufnik family. The Royal Ballet has just completed a run of a brilliant new ballet with the Henry James story, The Turn of the Screw, using Andrzej Panufnik’s “Arbor Cosmica.” A series of concerts entitled “Panufnik Days” is scheduled in Krakow in connection with a new competition named after the composer.
Andrzej’s daughter, Roxanna is also a talented and highly praised composer; she had a huge success with her Westminster Mass, commissioned for the late Cardinal Hume’s 75th birthday last year. It has just been recorded by Teldec and will be issued in September. She is now working on an opera for the Teatr Wielki in Warsaw scheduled for next April.
Meanwhile, son Jeremy, whose music is more along rock and house-music lines, also has a CD coming out in September, and he travels all over the world making personal appearances with his compositions.
One should conclude that the Panufniks are a very talented family. Lady Camille, an established photographer, also has a new book, photos and text, on the Royal Ballet School, coming out with Penguin in America and England. (reported by Wanda Wilk)
Two Chopin CDs made it to the first round in the Gramophone Awards for 1999:
- In the Concerto category: Piano Concertos. Marta Argerich, p. Charles Dutoit, cond. EMI.
- Instrumental category: Ballades. Evgeni Kissin, p. RCA.
This CD was also no. 13 on the Top 20 ICMR Classical Chart for June & July 1999. The ICMR is a group of independent classical music retailers based in England. This list identifies the top selling CDs throughout the ICMR stores. Several other recordings have been nominated to the Gramophone Awards:
- 1965 Recital by Marta Argerich. EMI.
- Chopin Piano Concerto no. 1. Pires. DG.
- Chopin Piano Works. Jon Nakamatsu, p. Harmonia Mundi.
- Lutoslawski Cello Concerto. Bauer, Wit. Naxos.
- Lutoslawski Cello Concertos. Wispelwey. Channel Classics.
by Wanda Wilk
Voskressensky’s Chopin Concert In Malibu
Daniel Cariaga favorably reviewed Mikhail Voskressensky’s concert in the Los Angeles Times (7 Aug) with the headline, “Chopin Master Enthralls with Passion, Spontaneity.” The Russian pianist who appeared on the International Piano Symposium at Pepperdine University is a specialist in the music of Chopin.
He was the bronze medal winner of the first Van Cliburn Competition in Fort Worth in 1962 (at the age of 27). Since then, Cariaga writes, “those of us in the U.S. have heard little of him, except as an active teacher (he has produced numerous winners of major competitions) and a piano jurist.”
Chopin and Paderewski In Polish American Journal
The latest August issue of the Polish American Journal, a weekly from Buffalo, NY, reported on the UNESCO “Memory of the World List” and Paderewski’s Piano on the front page.As we have previously reported Fryderyk Chopin’s letters and autographs of his compositions, owned by the Chopin Society and the National Library in Warsaw, Poland, have been put in the UNESCO “Memory of the World” List, which includes the most valuable pieces of international cultural heritage. The autograph of Nicolaus Copernicus’ (Mikolaj Kopernik) “De revolutionibus libris sex” kept at the Jagiellonian Library in Krakow is also on the list.
An article by David Taylor also shows a photo of the 1892 Steinway Concert Grand piano used by the Polish pianist, composer, former Premier of Poland and humanitarian, Ignace Jan Paderewski, during his second American tour in 1892. The piano with the inscription scrawled in black ink onto gilt metal, “This piano has been played by me during the season 1892-1893 in seventy-five concerts.” is stored at the National Museum of American History.
Ptaszynska In Canadian Musicworks
An extensive and scholarly study “Percussion, Poetry and Colour. The music of Marta Ptaszynska,” written by Maria Anna Harley, appeared in the Summer 1999 issue of Musicworks, a tri-annual new-music publication from Toronto, Canada.
The author discusses various aspects of this talented Polish composer’s music, presenting an overview of a career that spans two continents. Special attention is devoted to Ptaszynska’s monumental work Holocaust Memorial Cantata (1991-1993), which was premiered under the baton of the late Sir Yehudi Menuhin – as an example of her “politically engaged pieces” and to the song cycle Liquid Light for mezzosoprano, piano and percussion (1995) – as an example of colorful, whimsical and enchanting compositions with Ptaszynska’s favourite instruments – percussion. The article lists Ptaszynska’s works for percussion instruments – the composer is a virtuoso percussionist and has the ability of “color hearing” associated with percussion timbres. Harley also discusses Ptaszynska’s interest in Polish patriotic and religious themes, apparent in her cantata Polish Letters and Conductusfeaturing quotations from Bogurodzica, the oldest recorded hymn of Poland, which also served as a national anthem and a battle hymn.
The journal Musicworks includes an audio CD with examples of new music discussed in the text and Harley’s article is illustrated with one movement from Ptaszynska’s song cycle, “Liquid Light.” It is the first feature dedicated to this talented composer published in Canada and the first one in the series of articles on Polish women composers to appear in Musicworks.
Homma’s Lutosławski Study Reviewed
Andrzej Chłopecki published a lengthy and enthusiastic review of Martina Homma’s magisterial study of the music of Witold Lutosławski in a recent issue of Ruch Muzyczny. Chłopecki praised Homma’s thorough and enlightened analysis of the composer’s style and the whole of his output. He called for rewarding the author of this book (published in 1997) with the highest Polish cultural awards. It contributes more to the understanding of Lutosławski’s music than several festivals. Congratulations to Dr. Homma!
Kulenty and Ptaszynska In New York
Two Polish women composers were included in the Summergarden series at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (www.moma.org). The series of free concerts (2 July to 28 Aug), entitled ‘”Uncommon Voices: A New Presence in Music” offered a worldwide look at one of the 20th century’s proudest achievements, the artistic results of the woman composer’s rise to prominence.’Marta Ptaszyńska (b. 1943):”Moon Flowers” (1986) received its New York premiere on 23 & 24 July in the program of “Music for Cello and Piano.”
Hanna Kulenty (b. 1961): “A Third Cycle” (1996) received its U.S. premiere on 20 & 21 August, in a program of “Music for Piano.”
Chopin and Gorecki In Toronto
Conductor Andrzej Rozbicki reports about the concerts of his Celebrity Symphony Orchestra, active in Toronto. On 15 January the orchestra opened the Chopin Year in Canada with a concert held at Living Arts Centre, Toronto, with soloists Piotr Paleczny and his Canadian student, Daniel Wnukowski. On 15 May, also in Toronto, the orchestra performed Symphony no. 3 by Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, and Victoria by Wojciech Kilar. In this concert the orchestra was joined by the Polonia Singers choir. This concert was repeated in New York in St. Bartholomew Church on Manhattan, on 22 May. This performance featured Festival Symphony of New York. The soloist was Zofia Kilanowicz. For more information check “firstname.lastname@example.org” in the section “People of the Arts.”
Calendar Of Events
Sep 1: “Da Pacem, Domine” concert marking the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, Warsaw, Chopin Academy of Music. Organized by Dr. Joseph Herter, director of Cantores Minores of the St. John Cathedral in Warsaw. Other choirs include: the Berlin Knabenchor (Larl-Ludwig Hecht, conductor) the Szczecin Nightingales (Bozena Derwich, conductor), The Indonesian Children’s Choir from Jakarta (Ida Swenson, conductor), and the Bialystok Medical Choir (Bozena Sawicka, conductor). The program features Andrzej Panufnik’s “Procession for Peace” and Elgar’s “Polonia.”
Sep 11: Chopin. 24 Preludes, Op. 28. Brian Ganz, piano. National Chamber Orchestra Piano Recital Series. F. Scott Fitzgerald theatre Concert Hall, rockville Civic Center park. Rockville, MD 20851. 301-762-8580.
Sep 17-25: International Festival of Contemporary Music, Warsaw Autumn. Warsaw, Poland, various venues. Program includes numerous pieces by Polish composers, including many world premieres.
Sep 17: “Chopin in the Salon,” a concert styled after the 19th century soiree. Emile Naoumoff, Teresa Kubiak, Charles H. Webb, Leonard Hokanson, Ik-Hwan Bae, Helga Winold and the Corigliano Quartet. Auer Concert Hall. Indiana University. 8:00 p.m. Part of “The Age of Chopin” Conference and Festival.
Sep 18: “Chopin on Chopin’s Piano. A solo recital by Edmund Battersby on a 19th Graff piano, one of Chopin’s favorite instruments. 8:00 p.m. Auer Concert Hall. Indiana University. Part of “the Age of Chopin” Conference and Festival.
Sep 19: “Monsieur Chopin: the Public Virtuoso.” A 19th c. virtuoso concert with orchestral pieces by Chopin and other romantic composers, a program typical of Chopin’s public performances. Edward Auer and Reiko Shigeoka Neriki in Chopin’s works with orchestra. Auer Concert Hall. Indiana U.
by Wanda Wilk
Royal Long Players
The British label Royal Long Players has released double CDs featuring fabulous performances by great artists from the EMI back catalogue at a “good” price. Among them the Chopin Polonaises and Nocturnes.
ASV CD QS 6215. Szymanowski. Music for Violin and Piano. Detlef Hahn, v. Mark Fielding, p. Brand new recordings at budget prices!
Athene’s Szymanowski Release
ATHENE ATH CD 19. Szymanowski Piano Sonatas (3) and Prelude & Fugue in C# minor. Raymond Clarke, piano.Reviewed by Michael Oliver in Gramophone. He calls it “a release of major importance.” The reviewer is overwhelmed with the 3 Piano sonatas, and believes this to probably be the only current recording of the Third Piano Sonata. “Raymond Clarke chose it for his graduation recital 12 years ago and for his broadcasting debut, so it obviously means a lot to him, and in this remarkable performance he demonstrates it to be an extraordinary piece….his love for these sonatas’ rich and delicate sonorities and his absolute conviction that the Third Sonata is a masterpiece are as evident as his technical fluency.”
Black Box BBM 1025. “Transformations.” Roman Mints, v, Eugenia Chudinovich, p. Music of Gubaidulina, Langer, Lutoslawski (Subito), Penderecki (Three Miniatures), Schnittke and Vassiliev.
Arnold Whittall comments in Gramophone that “Penderecki’s pungent Miniatures (1959) offer a rare sighting of a composer very different from the Penderecki of today.”
Friedman As Pianist
BIDDULPH LHW044. Ignaz Friedman plays Mendelssohn, Chopin and Liszt.
In the same issue of Gramophone, Bryce Morrison gives a glowing description of the fabulous Polish pianist’s playing, to wit – “Friedman’s elegance and aplomb demand a book rather than a review….seemingly as natural as breathing, Freidman’s artistry ….leaving younger pianists to wonder at such insouciance, at such effortless transcending of received wisdom.” He also praises “the transfers of recordings dating from 1930-6 as admirable.”
Preisner’s CD Expected
To be released end of September: Zbigniew Preisner’s “10 Easy Pieces for Piano” in cooperation with Polish jazz pianist, Leszek Mozdzer.
Born This Month
- 19 September 1938 – Zygmunt KRAUZE, composer
- 5 September 1924 – Krystyna MOSZUMANSKA-NAZAR, composer
- 24 September 1914 – Andrzej PANUFNIK (died 27 October 1991), composer
- 18 September 1883 – Ludomir ROZYCKI (died 1 January 1953), composer
- 13 September 1896 – Tadeusz SZELIGOWSKI (died 10 January 1963), composer
Died This Month
- 29 September 1954 – Alfred GRADSTEIN (born 30 October 1904), composer, and social activist
- 27 September 1943 – Wacław GIEBUROWSKI (born 6 February 1878), priest, choral conductor and musicologist
We are very happy to report that our offices have moved from the basement to the second floor of the United University Church on USC Campus. While our quarters have doubled and the PMRC will have another phone line and a fax number of its own (it is not established yet), the mailing address and the main phone remain the same. The new space includes two air-conditioned offices, for the director and the librarian, and a library reading room housing our collection and audio equipment. The library will be open after September 15 – we had a lot of material donated to the collection that was in storage and now has to be relocated and reorganized in the new space.The unexpected workload associated with the move (we had to decide to take or refuse the relocation to the new offices on a week’s notice) has caused this newsletter to be shorter than usual. Readers who are “hungry” for more material should turn their attention to August and July issues, both featuring articles by Dr. Joseph Herter (on Elgar’s Polonia) and by Dr. Zakrzewska-Nikiporczyk (on Polish dance orchestras).
Wilk Prize Deadline
September 30, 1999 is the official deadline for submitting papers to the yearly research competition, Wilk Prizes for Research in Polish Music. There are two prizes awarded: professional category ($1000 prize plus publication in the online Polish Music Journal, and student category ($500 prize plus publication in the online Polish Music Journal). For more information, the rules and list of past winners visit the competition website: Wilk Prizes. There are no submission forms and the submitted essay should be accompanied by a brief note and a proof of student status (in the case of student competitors).
Scholarly Visitors In 1999
Dr. Zakrzewska-Nikiporczyk will return to the PMRC for a three-month period. She will continue working on her cataloging project from September to December 1999. We will also welcome doctoral student Artur Szklener for a study of Chopin’s music. Both scholars are fellowship recipients of the Kosciuszko Foundation from New York. We greatly appreciate this assistance and hope to see many more Kosciuszko Fellows at the PMRC.
Congratulations to Martina Homma and Szymon Stepien, proud parents of Jan Wiktor, born on August 11, 1999. Dr. Homma’s magisterial study of Witold Lutosławski’s compositional style has just been reviewed by Andrzej Chłopecki (see above). Her parenting achievement also deserves recognition!