August 2000

Polish Music Reference Center Newsletter Vol. 6, no. 8

News Flash

Premiere Of Górecki’s Cantata

On 21 June 2000 the Choir of the National Philharmonics from Warsaw and an instrumental ensemble of musicians from the Philharmonics, conducted by Henryk Wojnarowski, premiered Henryk Górecki’s Salve, sidus Polonorum, Cantata about St. Adalbertus. This world premiere crowned the Polish Day at the EXPO 2000 in Hannover, Germany – a day filled with various attractions, concerts, performances and happenings, including the re-creation of a solemn procession of the two courts of the Polish king, Bolesław Chrobry and the German emperor, Otto III (who signed a treaty a thousand years earlier). The performances were skillfully organized by the H. Wieniawski Society from Poznań.

Górecki’s Cantata was previously scheduled for a premiere in Gniezno, during a solemn event attended by Pope John Paul II, and the presidents of Poland and Germany; however this performance was cancelled by the organizers of this “Millenium Summit.” Instead, the work was co-commissioned by EXPO 2000 and the H. Wieniawski Society; Polish TV SA paid for performance and recording rights (and recorded the piece for broadcasts by Polish Radio and the Second Program of Polish TV).

The three-part composition, according to reviewer Andrzej Sułek, “speaks in an original, modern language which is, simultaneously strongly and truly emotional… In the harmonic layer Górecki does not avoid dissonances, in the construction of melodic lines he refers back to the tradition of medieval music, though in the last movement a Polish ear could easily recognize the ‘góralska nuta’ (the highlander’s tune) that reverberates above historical time and context.” [Ruch Muzyczny 44 no. 15, 23 July 2000, 16].

The composer himself was very pleased with the completed work that preoccupied him for the last four years – the first composition he finished since writing Kleine Phantasie for violin and piano in 1997.

In a telephone interview of June 24 [with Maria Anna Harley], he stated that the work presents a shift in his style, a new compositional direction. In contrast to his world-famous Symphony no. 3, the Salve is “joyous music. One has to compose something joyous… When you are young you write about sorrowful, dark themes, when you are a bit older you know more joy.” In order to express this spiritual joy in sound, Górecki selected an instrumental ensemble of organ, two pianos, two glockenspiel, and two sets of bells. The musicians did their job admirably well, though the piece is not easy – both the singers and the instrumentalists were complemented for their achievements by Górecki himself and Polish music critics. The program of the concert included also two other pieces by Górecki, Euntes ibant et flebant and Totus Tuus, the medieval hymn to St. Stanislaus, Gaude Mater Polonia, two pieces by Baroque composer Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki, Gaude Maria Virgo and Tota pulchra es Maria, and the polychoral Magnificat by late-renaissance Mikołaj Zieleński.


Concert For Peace – For Hiroshima

On 8 August, at 7 p.m. at the F. Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, the 55th anniversary of atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will be commemorated with a Concert for Peace. The performers will include Japanese Children’s Choir Les Petits Chanteurs de Kyoto conducted by Yoshihiko Hirose and the Cantores Minores Choir of the St. John Basilica in Warsaw, conducted by Joseph A. Herter. The first part of the program will be filled with songs about peace, the second part will consist of a Japanese children’s opera, “Music Fantasy” by Yuji Morioka. The honorary patronage of this concert is by Stanisław Bielecki, the secretary of the Polish Society of Cities of Peace. The sponsors include: Amplico Life AIG, BRE Bank, FQS-Poland, Mc Donald’s, The Warsaw Voice, Warszawa – What, Where, When.The concert will be followed by a Meeting of Peace held on 9 August at 5 p.m. This celebration will take place at the Warsaw Bell of Peace which is located in the Mokotów district of the city, at the corner of Domaniewska and Bukowińska streets. This meeting will also include participation by both choirs. The Japanese choir will give a concert at the Royal Castle, near the Column of Sigismund in the Old Town of Warsaw (at 12 noon, on 9 August).

17th C. Violin for Poznań

The Lions Club of Poznań bought a 17th-century violin, probably originating from the workshop of Warsaw violin-maker, Dankwart and donated the instrument to the collection of the Poznań Museum of Musical Instruments. There are less than 20 violins of this type preserved in the world and the gift is all the more precious that the violin’s sound is still quite impressive – dark and velvety. The instrument was heard as played by Jarosław Żołnierczyk during the ceremony of donating the instrument to the collection (music by Bach, Biber, and Bacewicz).

Ida Haendel in L.A.

Polish-born violinist, Ida Haendel, was the subject of a feature article by John Henken in the Los Angeles Times, 30 July 2000. She visits L.A. as guest artist with the I Palpiti Chamber Orchestra for the International Laureates Music Festival at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood on Friday, 4 August 2000.She made her London debut at age 9 in 1937 and has had a “Brilliant but Bumpy Career” as the headline of the article said. “As a female child prodigy, violinist Ida Haendel met resistance from pros. Now as a veteran, she’s found the obstacles remain.” Ms. Haendel has been living in Canada since the 1950s and the “Canadian Broadcasting Corporation made a two-hour documentary about her that has aired many times.”

The article also mentions her latest recording on Decca where she performs Szymanowski’s “Mythes” with pianist-conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy. Her 1940 and 1950 recordings have been reissued on the Pearl label and on Testament. [WW]

Marian Zygmunt Dies

Polish-born bass Marian Zygmunt Nowakowski (known as Marian Zygmunt) died in England at age 87. A feature article was written by John Steane in the August 2000Gramophone. The artist who settled in Great Britain after World War II made a name for himself at the Royal Opera House in London.


Winners Of Serocki Competition

Winners of the VII Kazimierz Serocki International Composition Competition for 2000 include:

I – Gianni Giacomazzo (Italy) for “Fussione” for Harp solo & String Quartet.

II – Antonio Giacometti (Italy) for “Syncretic Landscape II” for Guitar & String Quartet

III – Paul Stanhope (Australia) for “Sea Chronicles” for Soprano & String Quartet

IV – Pawel Gabrysiewicz (Poland) for “Szreń na grani” for Soprano & String Quartet

The finale of the VII International Kazimierz Serocki Composition Competition took place at the Witold Lutoslawski Concert Studio in Warsaw in June 2000. Pianist Szabolcs Esztenyi performed “A piacere” by Serocki in memory of the composer – this aleatoric work in open form was heard twice, once at the beginning and once at the end of the concert. Zygmunt Krauze (who until 2000 was the president of the Polish Society for Contemporary Music, now replaced in this function by Jacek Rogala) served as chairman of the jury along with Tania Leon (USA), Unsuk Chin (Korea), Mark Kopytman (Israel) and Marek Stachowski (Poland). The Competition which was inaugurated in 1974 is now held every two years. For more information about further edition of this competition contact the Polish Society for Contemporary Music. The address is listed on our “Competitions” page.

Bydgoszcz Choir Wins In Wales

The Chamber Choir of the Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz won two prizes at the 54th International Festival in Llangollen, Wales. Under the direction of Janusz Stanecki the Choir came in Second in the chamber category and Third in the youth and academic category. The Bydgoszcz group also toured in several towns in northern Wales. Boguslaw Schaeffer’s “Stabat Mater” and Feliks Nowowiejski’s “Missa Pro Pacem” are among the Polish compositions in their reportoire.

Tomaszewski Honored By Chopin Foundation

The yearly award of the International F. Chopin Foundation was given to Prof. Mieczysław Tomaszewski for the whole of his research into the life and music of Fryderyk Chopin, and in particular for his monumental book, Chopin: Człowiek, dzieło, rezonans [Chopin: Man, Work, Reception], published in 1998. This award was given for the second time; the first award-winner was Prof. Jan Ekier. The jury consisted of Jan Ekier, Kazimierz Gierżod, Zofia Helman, Józef Kański, Jacek Kaspszyk, Marek Niewiarowski, and Piotr Paleczny.

Internet News

Chopin On The Internet

You can hear Chopin’s “Introduction and Polonaise” Op. 3 for cello and piano on Global Music Network’s web-site at along with an article on Chopin. After reading and listening you can click “to visit discussion forums ” about the “recording of this rare chamber work by Desmond Hobig, cello and Jon Kimura Parker, piano.”

You can also click to hear on the same site: Christopher O’Riley performing Chopin’s “Prelude” in D minor, Op. 24 and Lutoslawski’s “Trauermusik” with Christopher von Dohnanyi conducting the Philharmonic Orchestra in a live performance recorded last year at the Royal Festival Hall in London’s South Bank Centre. Martin Ross wrote the program notes for Lutoslawski’s “memorial tribute to the Hungarian composer Bela Bartok” for this web-site. [WW]

Web Site For Jerzy Gablenz

George Gablenz, grandson of the distinguished composer Jerzy Gablenz (1888-1937) informs us that there is a new web site dedicated to his grandfather, at: The site is very well planned and realized, with many images, narrative biography, full list of works, list of performances, information about recordings, and links to related sites, including the location of the composer’s manuscripts and other relevant data. The materials have been prepared by Thomas Gablenz, the composer’s son, who dedicates his time and attention to saving the memory of his father. Jerzy Gablenz died in an airplane crash, but the legacy of his music remains.

Kisielewski’s Site

Marek Soszynski of Birmingham, U.K. informs us that he has opened a website dedicated to the Polish composer and writer Stefan Kisielewski (1911-1991). The site may be found at: At present it contains the basic chronology of Kisielewski’s life, the list of compositions, and a short biography. There is room for his writings and a listing of his fiction, but these are still under construction.

PolArt – New Front Web Site

POLART – POLAND by MAIL – announces that they have launched a new look of their web front site to offer new options and to facilitate shopping. You may visit this new site and send them comments at the above address. This new web site offers a link on the left side, which allows you to view the current auctions PolArt holds on E-Bay. The auctions change daily and should be checked regularly.

In addition PolArt encourages its visitors to also visit the site for Polish charity, at , where you can give donations and make a difference in Polonia without spending your own money. A new section was created where you can donate up to $1 per day in less than 10 seconds. The money will be used to buy and distribute products promoting Polish culture.

Duda – Violinist’s Site

Michał Styczyński announces a new web page for a young violinist, Katarzyna Duda who recorded her debut CD with Waldemar Malicki, pianist, on the DUX label. The site may be found at: or at you will find there the bio of the artist, her repertory, reviews and articles about her, as well as fragments from the CD, entitled “Le Streghe” and containing a variety of virtuosic pieces for violin and piano (by Paganini, Sarasate, Ravel, Kreisler). Unfortunately for our purposes, the CD includes only one Polish piece, Wieniawski’s Concert Polonaise in D major op. 4.

New Publications & Books

Atwood On Chopin In Paris

Roza Nowotarska wrote a lengthy article on 30 June, 2000 in the Nowy Dziennik Thursday supplement, Przeglad Polski, about going to a concert of the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center that was conducted by Marvin Hamlisch. The conductor combines his concerts also as a soloist and narrator. At this program Ms. Nowotarska learned, much to her surprise, about Atwood’s newest book, “The Parisian Worlds of Frederic Chopin.” for the first time. In her article she bemoaned the fact that Atwood’s book was unavailable in the local stores like Borders, Barnes & Noble, Crown or Dalton Books.

The book, published by Yale University Press in December 1999 , is available now from at 30% discount. The $35 hardcover, 416 page book, ships within 2-3 days for $24.50. sales rank: 99,960. Average customer review: *****. If you visit the site, you will also get to read the reviews and commentaries about it and also join in a discussion about it.

Edith Eisler, who writes concert reviews for Strings magazine, wrote the editorial review: “This book may be of greater interest to the historian – political, social and cultural – than to the musician. As its title indicates, it is about France, particularly Paris, more than about Chopin… The author, a New York dermatologist, who has written two previous books about Chopin […] has prodigiously researched every aspect of French life between the revolutions of 1830 and 1848 [….] Among the most interesting chapters are those on the Polish refugee community […] writing is lively, witty, and informative […] abounds with excellent illustrations. Unfortunatley, it also abounds with anti- semitic slurs; Atwood misses no chance to point out, in an insulting manner, the Jewish origin of anyone he does not like, from the Rothschilds to Heine, Meyerbeer and Offenbach…

This is what other reviewers had to say:

  • Kirkus Reviews called it “a scintillating biography of Chopin and his life in the French capital.”
  • Marek Zebrowski (Boston Book Review) wrote, “a fascinating and lively portrait of Paris in the first half of the 19th century […] fascinating trivia […] maybe the best and liveliest survey yet of life in Paris some 150 years ago.”
  • Rich from Canberra, Australia wrote, “What pleasure it is to be able to sit down and write a review of a truly enjoyable book, such as this one […] book provides reader with a guide through the city of Paris as seen and experienced by Chopin during his time there.”

All reviewers found the book to be interesting, pleasurable and fascinating. If you want to write a review after reading the book, just like Rick from Australia, you are invited to do so on the web-site. The site also lists and describes the other two books written by Atwood on Chopin which are now out of print. The books are “Pianist from Warsaw” and “The Lioness and the Little One: The Liaison of George Sand and Frederic Chopin.” does urge you to try their out-of-print search service. I believe I know where one can still buy a copy of “Pianist from Warsaw,” but I must investigate this first. [WW]

Calendar Of Events

AUG 1: Penderecki. Quartet for cl, v, viola & cello. Music Academy of the West Faculty Artists. Lobero Theatre. Santa Barbara. Tues. 8:00 p.m. $25. (805) 963-0761.

AUG 1: Chopin. Piano Concerto No. 2. Louis Lortie, piano. Los Angeles Philharmonic. Thomas Dausgaard, cond. Hollywood Bowl. Los Angeles. 8:30 p.m. $1 to $83. (323) 850-2000.

AUG 5: Artists of SummerFest, La Jolla. Music by Haydn, Gorecki, Tower and others. 7:30 p.m. $25-50. Sherwood Aud. (828) 459-3727.

AUG 8: Kevin Kenner. Chopin Festival in Warsaw. Royal Lazienki Park, Stanislawowski Theatre. 7:00 p.m.

AUG 11: Music by Chopin, Szymanowski & Mozart. Jon Nakamatsu, piano. Part of Chopin Int’l Festival in Duszniki-Zdroj. Former laureates of the Chopin International Piano Competition performing. Piotr Paleczny, music director.

Recent Performances

12th Days of Kraków Composers

by Maria Anna Harley

The cover of the program book of the 12th Days of Kraków Composers “Confiteor” features the twin towers of the Marian Church from which the hourly Heynal is heard. The program book indicates also that the Festival, one of the celebrations of Kraków as a European City of Culture, was held under the auspices of Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, the Metropolitan Bishop of the city. In the program book, the festival, organized by the Kraków Section of the Polish Composers’ Union, was introduced by Dr. Robert Tyrała (priest, who wrote about the spiritual significance of music) and Festival’s organizer, Jerzy Stankiewicz, the president of the Kraków section of ZKP (who wrote about the purpose of this year’s events, celebrating the spiritual aspects of composing and spiritual function of music as an expression of faith, both personal and communal). It is the first time that the festival had such a strong “confessional” and multi-denominational character, with numerous religious pieces on the program (including the traditions of Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Protestant branches of Christianity and Judaism). Traditionally, however, the Festival began on Pentecost, the celebration of the Holy Spirit in May – the holiday of “inspiration” which results in musical creativity.

The program of the 12th Days began on June 11 with a Mass in the intention of the Kraków musicians, and a compositional concert of Juliusz Łuciuk, on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of his work as a composer. The day’s celebrations concluded with a concert of Capella Cracoviensis performing Katyń Epitaph by Andrzej Panufnik (1967), Requiem by Roman Palester (1946-7), and Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater (1925-26). The Festival, inaugurated by such classic masterpieces of Polish music became truly contemporary with a full program of two or three concerts per day held through the week, until 18 June 2000. The ensembles included the Jascha Lieberman Trio, Akademos Quartet, orchestras of the Academy of Music, the Polish Radio, the Tarnów Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Les Jouers de Flute from Zurich, The Hammerhead Consort from Edmonton, Canada, the Chamber Choir “Gloria” from Lviv, Ukraine. Each concert was held in a different location, predominantly in the wonderful church interiors, including the Marian Basilica, churches of Franciscans, Augustinians, Dominicans, Jesuits, Carmelitans, Paulins, Benedictines, as well as the Evangelical Church, the Center of Jewish Culture, the Center of Japanese Art and the Concert Hall of the Academy of Music. The Festival guests included composers Roman Berger (Bratislawa, Slovakia), Ulrich Gasser (Kreuzlingen, Switzerland), Frederick Kaufman (Miami, USA), Eugeniusz Popławski (Minsk, Byelarus), Mirosław Skoryk (Lviv, Ukraine). The honorary guest was Lady Camilla Panufnik from Britain.

I attended a small number of the Festival’s concerts, during my participation in the 58th Annual Meeting of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America, held at Jagiellonian University June 16-18, 2000. While the “slice” of the music presented at the festival that I was able to experience “first-hand” was rather small, it was of a high quality and left me with a very good impression about the whole event. On 15 June the stone walls of the chamber-sized hall at the Dominican monastery resounded with the beautiful sonorities of the Akademos Quartet (female performers only), whose rendition of Zbigniew Bujarski’s Kwartet na Adwent (1984) resulted in an ovation from the audience. The evening concert at the Carmelitan Church was dedicated solely to the music of Bogusław Schaeffer. The Capella Cracoviensis, conducted by Stanisław Krawczyński, with Beata Karczmiarz, soprano, Agnieszka Monasterska, mezzosoprano, Andrzej Rzymkowski, saxophone and Andrzej Białko, organ, performed Stabat Mater(1983), followed by Psalms for soprano, six-part choir, saxophone and orchestra, and the world premiere of Te Deum for 8-part choir, violin solo, saxophone solo and orchestra (1979-2000). This early work was “hidden” from the audiences for over 20 years, but sounded fresh and interesting, with richly contrapuntal instrumental interludes and expressive, lyrical or dramatic choral writing. According to Schaeffer’s program note, the piece is in five movements, each in a different mood and texture, including thick polytonal polyphony (in 12 keys at one moment!), sections composed in quartertones, and tranquil moments filling the church’s interior with rich, consonant chords.

The afternoon concert on 16 June did not seem to hold much promise: one piece only, De Profundis by Roman Berger, a playback of a recording in the presence of the composer. Somehow, despite the monumentality of Paweł Sydor’s Credo heard in the evening concert of the same day, Berger’s quiet work, appeared to be the most profoundly “spiritual” of what I experienced in Kraków. The piece, scored for bass voice, piano and cello, was projected with fascinating, sparse transformation of sound (reverberation, ring modulation, echoes) by Edward Kulka. Berger’s composition, composed “because of his internal need” and not in response to any commissions in 1975 and 1980, uses two sombre poems by Tadeusz Różewicz, Lament and Ocalony [Saved/Survivor] as the source of text and ideas. Różewicz’s profound reflections on the loss of faith and the cruelty of the war find an appropriately austere setting in Berger’s score – with its extensive temporal durations and sophisticated use of the voice and the instruments. After long stretches of darkness – breathing, wailing voice, at times accompanied by repeated, pounding chords of the piano – the brief appearance of cello cantilena has an almost angelic quality, which is again overcome by darkness at the end. The poem concludes with its first line: “I am twenty four years old. I survived, while being led to slaughter.” The survivor witnessed unspeakable horrors which rendered the concepts of human culture meaningless: “these names are empty and synonymous: / man and animal / love and hate / enemy and friend / darkness and light.” The sombre text and its exquisite musical interpretation by Berger belong among the most impressive artistic testimonies of the Holocaust.

Such subtlety and understanding were missing from Sydor’s Credo, a huge, truly “conservative” undertaking (that makes one miss the “progressiveness” of the greatest 20th-c. composers, such as Messiaen, who remained faithful to their brands of modernity), but it is too early to severely criticize a composer born only in 1970, five years before Berger’s composition was conceived. In time, perhaps, this skillful manipulator of traditional chords will be able to infuse his creation with some spiritual depth and inspiration – and this brings me back to the point of departure, i.e. the spiritual concept of the festival. Words, even the most exhalted ones, may be meaningless – perhaps music is at its most spiritual when it expresses contemplations and reflections of the most personal kind?

Wieniawski In Carnegie Hall

Ms. Fleming, editor of the Music in Concert section of the American Record Guide reviewed the “debut recital of 26-year-old Judith Ingolfsson, winner of the 1998 Indianapolis Competition.” The artist performed at Carnegie Hall on 1 April. “Her tone, on the 1683 ex-Gingold Strad that she plays as the Indianapolis gold medalist, is full, rich, and warm […] she clearly has affection for free- flowing, rhapsodic music of a ‘romantic’ cast, which she enters into with a comfortable spontaneity but without exaggeration. “In a program of Rorem, Bloch, Brahms, and Wieniawski…” the Polish composer’s “Fantaisie Brillante on themes from Gounod’s Faust was played with nuance and color, and was capped off by pleasantly tingling acrobatics on the E string.” [WW]

Lutosławski In England

During the Buxton Festival in Derbyshire, England cellist Natalie Clein performed the music of Britten, Lutoslawski and Bach.

Argerich’s Recital Reviewed

“Standing ovations are tediously routine these days, but the Chopin brought on a heart-felt one at mid-concert” said Shirley Fleming in the Music in Concert section of the July/August 2000 American Record Guide. After 19 years Martha Argerich returned to a full house at Carnegie Hall in New York on 25 March after her “self-imposed exile from solo piano appearances.” She performed “two Chopin works – the F- sharp minor Barcarolle and the crunching Scerzo No. 3 […] The Scherzo, at breathtaking speed, was an experience of sheer grit and guts, hugely gripping and at the same time full of color and wonderfully diaphanous in its delicate passages.”


by Wanda Wilk

Kissin’s Chopin

RCA Victor 09026-63535-2. Chopin. Preludes, Piano Sonata No. 2, Polonaise in Ab. Evgeny Kissin, piano.Michael Ullman wrote in Fanfare [July/August 2000]: “I imagine every listener interested in the composer will want to hear Kissin’s latest.” In this disc “Kissin has recorded three of Chopin’s masterpieces…This disc will be compared to Rubinstein that also couples the Preludes and Sonata…Rubinstein plays more elegantly, perhaps. His is a gentler Chopin. But few pianists have equaled the drama and the convincingly shifiting moods that mark Kissin’s Chopin.”

Novaes’s Historical Chopin

Music & Arts CD-1029 (2 CDs). Chopin. Misc. works. Guiomar Novaes, piano.This is a reissue of “unissued 78s and much of the 1949 town Hall concert by Novaes, who studied with Isidor Philipp and Mieczyslaw Horszowski.” Quoting Michael Ullman (from July’s Fanfare): “The performances are superior [….] A perfectionist […] a virtuoso pianist, she seems to sing the Preludes […] despite the severe problems with sound […]. Music & Arts has done the listening public a service in issuing these performances.”

The Essential Lutosławski

Phillips 464 043-2PM2 The Essential Lutoslawski

EMI CZS5 73833-2 Lutoslawski.In the Gramophone (July issue) Rob Cowan wrote a feature article on two Lutoslawski discs in “Recent reissues and recordings from the archives” under the caption “High Drama from the Passing Century. Masters of the Orchestra.” A serious picture of the late composer is included.

After reviewing a three-CD set of Karl Hartmann’s eight symphonies, Cowan writes, “A more familiar modern master is commemorated with two desirable, mid-price double-packs. The first, Philips’s ‘The Essential Lutoslawski,’ includes Witold Rowicki’s classic Warsaw recordings of the Concerto for Orchestra, Venetian Games and Funeral Music. Martha Argerich and Nelson Freire perform the Paganini Variaitons, and there are recordings of the Third Symphony, Cello Concerto (Heinrich Schiff), Dance Preludes (Eduard Brunner), Concerto for Oboe, Harp and Chamber Orchestra (Heinz and Ursula Holliger), and Les espace du sommeil (Dietrich Fischer- Dieskau) all performed under the composer’s baton.”

Godowsky’s Chopin Transcriptions

Tall Poppies TP 135 Godowsky. Passacaglia. Busoni, Godowsky, Liszt Transcriptions. Chopin Etudes. David Stanhope, piano.

Bryce Morrison is impressed with Stanhope, a “conductor, horn player and bass trombonist who occasionally finds time to practice piano.” He began his critique with “Take a deep breath: here is a towering athlete of the keyboard who tosses off the peaks of the virtuoso repertoire before breakfast, aided by a four- pedal Stuart piano.” This player puts on a great show of his pianistic talent in this recording of “Godowsky’s massive Passacaglia (music which caused even Horowitz to despair, claiming he needed at least six hands to perform it) […] He positively revels in Busoni’s joyous and opulent arrangement of Bach’s organ Prelude and Fugue […] and enterprisingly prefacing his selection of Chopin-Godowsky Etudes with the originals […] he spins off every intricacy with dazzling fluency.”

E. AX with Chopin on DVD

TDK Collection DV-ECCRA European Concert 1999. Chopin, Mozart, Schumann. Emanuel Ax, piano. Berlin Philharmonic Orch., Bernard Haitink, cond.

This is a DVD “recorded live in St. Mary’s Church, Krakow, on 1 May 1999.” In Gramophone (July) Michael Scott Rohan calls it “mixed results, both in performance and in visual terms, and Haitink isn’t on best form,” blaming the church acoustics and the pianist and conductor for “some rather less than vibrant performances.”

Gramophone Recommends Chopin

On page 130 you will find under Recommended Recordings some of the Chopin Piano concertos that Gramophone recommends. For the “legions of recordings of the individual concertos look up the Gramofile on”


Born This Month

  • August 4, 1879 – Józef REISS, musicologist, Polish music expert (d. 1956)
  • August 7, 1935 – Monika (Izabela) GORCZYCKA, musicologist (d. 1962)
  • August 8, 1946 – Mieczysław MAZUREK, composer, teacher, choral conductor
  • August 8, 1897 – Stefan ŚLEDZIŃSKI, conductor, musicologist
  • August 10, 1914 – Witold MAŁCUŻYŃSKI, pianist, student of Lefeld
  • August 11, 1943 – Krzysztof MEYER, composer, musicologist
  • August 17, 1907 – Zygmunt MYCIELSKI, composer, writer
  • August 18, 1718 – Jacek SZCZUROWSKI, composer, Jesuit, priest (d. after 1773)
  • August 20, 1889 – Witold FRIEMAN, composer, pianist
  • August 21, 1933 – Zbigniew BUJARSKI, composer
  • August 22, 1924 – Andrzej MARKOWSKI, composer and conductor
  • August 23, 1925 – Włodzimierz KOTOŃSKI, composer
  • August 28, 1951 – Rafał AUGUSTYN, composer, music critic
  • August 29, 1891 – Stefan STOIŃSKI, music etnographer, organizer, conductor (d. 1945)
  • August 30, 1959 – Janusz STALMIERSKI, composer


Died This Month

  • August 15, 1898 – Cezar TROMBINI, singer, director of Warsaw Opera (b. 1835)
  • August 15, 1936 – Stanisław NIEWIADOMSKI, composer, music critic
  • August 17, 1871 – Karol TAUSIG, pianist and composer, student of Liszt (b. 1841)
  • August 21 1925 – Karol NAMYSŁOWSKI, folk musician, founder of folk ensemble
  • August 22, 1966 – Apolinary SZELUTO, composer and pianist, member of Young Poland group (b. 1884).
  • August 23, 1942 – Wacław WODICZKO, conductor (b. 1858), grandfather of Bohdan, conductor
  • August 27, 1865 – Józef NOWAKOWSKI, pianist, composer, student of Elsner, friend of Chopin
  • August 29, 1886 – Emil ŚMIETAŃSKI, pianist, composer (b. 1845)