December 2000

Polish Music Center Newsletter Vol. 6, no. 12


News Flash


Gramophone Award For Rattle’s King Roger

The December issue of the Gramophone informs about the triumph of Sir Simon Rattle, distinguished British conductor, whose recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 10 (in the Deryck Cooke performing edition) received the title of the Recording of the Year. Rattle’s EMI set of King Roger was recognized as the best recording of opera and the third of Rattle’s Szymanowski recordings to receive a Gramophone Award. During his acceptance speech, Rattle spoke about “his devotion to Szymanowski’s music and how his Birmingham forces now felt Totally at home with the idiom.”


News


Ptaszynska’s Awards, Successes, And Premieres

On October 29 Marta Ptaszynska received a very prestigious award given by the Polish Government for outstanding contributions to the Polish culture. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Władysław Bartoszewski, gave these awards during the ceremony in Warsaw, Poland.

Another inspiring news from Warsaw is about Ptaszynska’s celebrated opera for children, which was premiered in September 1999 at the Warsaw’s National Opera. On 7 October 2000 the 50th performance of Mister Marimba took place at the National Opera. The tickets for the performances are sold out until end of the year (the performances were all sold out also during the previous season). The conductor, Mr. Wroblewski, informs us that there is even a society of friends of Mister Marimba in Warsaw.

During the Exhibition of Polish Manuscripts and Chamber Music Concert held at the Polish Music Center on 21 October 2000 Ptaszynska’s manuscripts were displayed along with her scores, concert programs, excerpts from interviews, photographs and so forth. She was also almost our “featured composer” – with three pieces on the concert program. (A limited edition of the CD recording from this concert was issued by the Center and may be ordered from the PMC for $15 plus $5 for mailing). The audience was delighted with Ptaszynska’s sense of instrumental color and her whimsical use of quotation from the music of Chopin (in Scintilla for two marimbas).On 8 November 2000 Ptaszynska’s music was featured in New York at a retrospective concert of her music at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College. The concert included the performance of her Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra, the song cycle Liquid Light for mezzosoprano, piano, and percussion, Cadenza, Classical Variations and a premiere of a new work LETTER TO THE SUN for narrator, soloist hand drummer and percussion quartet.


10 Years Of Cantores Minores

The Boys’ and Men’s Chorus of St. John Cathedral Cantores Minores celebrates it tenth anniversary with a jubilee concert and Mass at St. John Cathedral on ulica Swietojanska in the capital’s Old Town at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 22, 2000. It was on this exact day in 1990, the feast of St. Cecilia (patroness of musicians), that the choir presented its first concert at St. Anthony of Padua Church. The short concert, which precedes Mass, will consist of works by the Polish Baroque composer Grzegorz G. Gorczycki (Psalm 121 – Laetatus sum), the 20th cent. Belgian composer Flor Peeters (Jubilate Deo), the 19th century Czech composer Zdenek Fibich (Beatus vir) and works by the late romantic English composers Edward Elgar (Ave Maria) and C. Hubert C. Parry (Dear Lord and Father). The choir’s jubilee celebration is under the patronage of the Honorable Pawel Piskorski, Mayor Warsaw.Music by Licinio Refice (Missa Choralis), Ralph Vaughan Williams (The Old Hundredth Psalm Tune) and Elgar (Ave verum) will accompany the Mass, which ends with a festive setting by Joseph Haydn of the Church’s official hymn of thanksgiving the Te Deum. Preaching the homily of the Mass will be Fr. Andrzej Zajac of Tarnow, the president of the Polish chapter of Pueri Cantores, an international organization of church boy choirs, of which Warsaw’s Cantores Minores is a Polish chapter charter member.

The founder and current conductor of the choir is Joseph A. Herter, a native of Detroit who has been living in Warsaw for the past 26 years. Under his direction, with the help of the choir’s president and vice-president Messrs. Alfred Stefankiewicz and Ryszard Gieros – who have also served in those functions for the past decade – the choir has performed in 14 countries, including three extensive concert tours to North America. The choir has also sung in an equal number music festivals both in Poland and abroad and has won top prizes in competitions in Lecco, Italy, and Moscow. Performing with the choir will be organist Michal Sawicki, soprano Anna Mackowiak and violinist Michal Osmycki.

As part of their tenth anniversary celebration, Cantores Minores will take its fourth concert tour to the USA during the summer of 2001, travelling from New York to Minneapolis. During its stay in America the choir has already had the honor of being invited to take part in several prestigious events. They include the following: singing for the opening ceremony of the tercentennial of Ste. Anne de Detroit Parish in Detroit, the second oldest Roman Catholic Church in the United States (the City of Detroit will also be celebrating its 300th anniversary at this time); singing for Mass in Polish as part of the centennial marking the dedication of St. Josaphat Basilica in Milwaukee, the largest church in the State of Wisconsin and a landmark in the city’s Polish community; singing in a concert in Chicago on August 1, marking the Warsaw Uprising and organized by the Chicago-Warsaw Sister Cities Program. The choir has also been asked to perform at Madonna University in Detroit (administered by the Polish-founded Felician nuns), Sienna Heights University (administered by the Dominicans) in Adrian, Michigan, the Benedictine run St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.


“Musical Intersections” Conference In Toronto

During the “mega-meeting of music societies” held in Toronto in the beginning of Novembr 2000, the following organizations had their yearly sessions:

American Musical Instrument Society, American Musicological Society, Association for Technology in Music Instruction, Canadian Society of Music Libraries, Canadan Society for Traditional Music, Canadian University Music Society, College Music Society, Historic Brass Society, International Association for the Study of Popular Music, Lyrica Society for Word-Music Relationships, Society for American Music, Society for Music Perception and Cognition, Society for Ethnomusicology, and Society for Music Theory.

An overview of the program, even without any statistical analysis of proportions of papers devoted to different topics highlights two particularly dominant subject areas: the role of new technologies, especially the Internet, in music culture, and the various aspects of American music (not: North-American, i.e. including Canada and Mexico, but strictly American). `Contrasting with this narrow range, the sessions of the Society for Ethnomusicology provided a plethora of presentations on a breathtaking variety of cultures from around the world. Musicologists continued to show their devotion to early music, with a large number of sessions on individual composers or even works.Polish music was the subject of not more than five papers scattered between over 280 sessions (with 2 or 3 papers presented during each session, to a total of about 900 papers). During the session of the American Musicological Society dedicated to Chopin and chaired by Dr. Sandra Rosenblum (winner of the Wilk Prize for Research in Polish Music of 1999 and a Chopin expert), two papers were presented. Prof. Halina Goldberg (University of Alabama) entitled her presentation “Does Four Equal Twelve: Chopin’s Works for Piano and Orchestra as Arranged for the Salon.” She took issue with the common understanding of the term “quartets” in reference to salon versions of Chopin’s orchestral pieces as being too literal (i.e. as referring to four performers only) and distant from the historical practice. In Chopin’s time that term referred to any chamber ensemble used instead of the orchestra to accompany the soloist; a quartet could well have had 12 performers, with single winds, not just the basic string instruments. The second paper of the session was given by Prof. Jeffrey Kallberg (University of Pennsylvania) who discussed the issue of “Chopin and the Aesthetic of the Sketch: A New E-flat Minor Prelude?” Kallberg presented several reconstructions of possible preludes that could have been composed from a 31-measure draft in “Es moll” and dating to the period when the Preludes op. 28 were being completed. After considering all available historical and musical evidence and comparing his reconstructions with several of Chopin’s works, Kallberg decides against his own attempt to reconstruct a new “work.” The excercise becomes futile in terms of enlarging Chopin’s catalogue, but extremely fruitful in terms of recognizing the manner in which Chopin worked and the character of his improvisations at the piano, the source of his music.

Profs. Goldberg and Kallberg are also winners of Wilk Prizes for Research in Polish Music, both received essay prizes in the past. Prof. Kallberg is also this year’s winner (ex aequo with Dr. Martina Homma) of the newly instituted Wilk Book Prize for Research in Polish Music (see November newsletter for more details).

The remaining three papers from the Toronto conference belonged to various “international” sessions. Barbara Milewski, the winner of the 1999 AMS Dissertation Fellowship (and of the Wilk Prize in the student category), presented the findings from another chapter of her doctoral dissertation in progress on the national constructs used in the mazurkas. “Szymanowski’s Highland Mazurkas: A More Elevated National Music for the Twentieth Century” discusses the nationalistic ideology underlying the Mazurkas op. 50 and the selection of traits that Szymanowski chose to articulate “Polishness” in music. Milewski claimed that Szymanowski abandoned the romantic tradition for the sake of creating an “authentic” and ethnically “pure” style that would “redeem the soul of Polish music.” Milewski’s presentation took into account Szymanowski’s texts and music. Other papers at that session discussed Hungarian, French and Czech musical nationalisms.

Dr. Timothy Cooley is a member of the Society for Ethnomusicology; one of this Society’s meetings was devoted to “Music and Identity in the Tatras and Balkans.” Cooley’s presentation was entitled “Music and Identity Politics in the Polish Tatras: Changing Meanings of Musical Symbols” and discussed the use of folklore to structure identity by the romantic nationalists and post-World-War-II communist government. In conclusion of his paper, Cooley stated: “The music repertoire of this region remained surprisingly stable during the entire twentieth century, but the symbolic meaning changed from exotica, to national symbol, to symbol of an ethnic minority.”

The final presentation on a Polish theme that I was able to find in the program of this mega-conference, dealt with Chopin’s pianos. Eva Badura-Skoda, pianist-scholar based in Vienna, Austria, talked about “the sound of Chopin’s Pianos” and illustrated her lecture with recorded examples of the sound qualitites of pianos by Graf, Pleyel, Erard, and Broadwood. Dr. Badura-Skoda stated that Chopin was very sensitive to the quality of his instruments and that he recommended that his students practice only on the best instruments. Apparently, he was highly partial to Viennese pianos made by Conrad Graf; he also liked the pianos of Ignaz Pleyel (in Paris) but was not fond of Erards. The presentation, supported with documentary research (letters, diaries, biographies) was fascinating. It is interesting to note that Dr. Badura-Skoda was the only presenter on Polish music who did not receive the Wilk Prize for Research in Polish Music (most likely because she never applied). It is a great pleasure to have such a distinguished group of scholars among our winners.


Polish Music Association Formed (2nd Notice)

Formed in order to increase the visibility of scholars specializing in Polish music and facilitate their informal contacts, the Polish Music Association is an informal alliance, without board, president, dues, or detailed bylaws. The founding members include: Jeffrey Kallberg, Halina Goldberg, Sandra Rosenblum, Barbara Milewski, Timothy Cooley, Maja Trochimczyk (who met in Toronto) as well as Adrian Thomas, Cindy Bylander, Martina Homma, Luke Howard (who met in 1997 in Phoenix and proposed the creation of this society). The first and most important purpose of the society is exchanging scholarly information, topics of doctoral dissertations, new research findings in an informal fashion. In Janurary the web site of the Polish Music Center will include a web page of the Association, consisting of a list of scholars with their e-mail addresses and current research interests.

Students and scholars with interests in Polish music are encouraged to contact the PMC (at “polmusic@usc.edu”) to add their names to the list. In the future, the Association may become a lobby within the American and International Musicological Societies, putting together and organizing panels on Polish music and holding regular meetings of its members and all interested parties.


Cracow Composers In Florida

A group of Polish musicians and composers traveled to Florida International University where they presented three concerts of contemporary Polish music as well as two lectures. The Polish Night during the FIU Music Festival 2000 took place on 10 November 2000. During this chamber music concert works by the following composers were presented: Witold Lutoslawski, Krystyna Moszumanska-Nazar, Karol Szymanowski, Krzysztof Penderecki and Marek Stachowski. Two young Cracow composers, Marcel Chyrzynski and Pawel Sydor were also featured on the program prepared by the President of the Cracow chapter of the Polish Composers’ Union, Jerzy Stankiewicz.


International Tribute to I.J. Paderewski

During the special event held at the Polish Embassy in Washington, D.C. on 4 November 2000 three speakers addressed the public, Charles H. Borowsky, President of the International Friends of Music Association, Jan SEk, President, of the Paderewski Ad Memoriam Foundation, and Barbara Mikulski, U.S. senator. The speeches preceded the award ceremony during which four people received the Paderewski Award for Distinguished Contributions to Society and Culture:

  • Sheldon Bair, Founding Music Director of the Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra
  • Cecylia Barczyk, cellist and professor at Towson University,
  • Stanley Ciesielski, President of the Polish Heritage Association of Maryland,
  • Erick Friedman, violinist and professor at Yale University.

The award ceremony was followed by a concert presented by Cecylia Barczyk, Erick Friedman, Reynaldo Reyes, Young American Virtuosi, and Maryland Cello Quartet. The International Tribute to Paderewski is organized by the International Friends of Music Association and the International Committee for Honoring I.J. Paderewski under the auspices of international and national organizations, including UNESCO. The occasion for the Paderewski tribute is his 140th anniversary of birth and the 60th anniversary of death.

During the concert season 2000/2001 worldwide cultural events (concerts, symposia, festivals, etc.) will be held in honor of the great Polish statesman and musician. These events will be coordinated by the International Friends of Music Association and the Paderewski Committee (mentioned above) and will be held under the auspices of the UNESCO/International Music Council in collaboration with nationaland international cultural and social organizations.


Internet News


New Poland: Facelift

“New Poland”, a Polish-themed commercial Internet site, has received a “face-lift” in order to increase its content, make it easier to navigate and increase the speed of loading. The site may be found at: www.newpoland.com. For comments and suggestions the visitors may write to: feedback@newpoland.com


“Polski” Discussion Group For Youth

There is a new discussion group for young people of Polish descent based in America. The group, organized by Fred Frontier (who is based in Seattle area), may be contacted at “polski-owner@egroups.com.” There are some postings on popular music concerts, e.g. by Stan Borys, and “Polish raves” and parties for students. Interestingly, most people trying to write in Polish spell the words phonetically and make horrible grammatical errors (spelling is beyond any comment). While attempts to preserve the Polish language are laudable something needs to be done about the practice of mangling it so much in writing. Perhaps, for these young people the Polish language belongs solely in the domain of “oral culture” and home tradition, without formal schooling. We would recommend excellent language programs available to students, for instance the summer school organized by the Kosciuszko Foundation at the Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland.


Polish Folk Dulcimers

Perhaps some of our readers are interested in discovering that the dulcimer was also a Polish folk instrument. Mr. Jankowski is a maker of these instruments, used in Polish and Byelorussian folk musics. His site may be found at: http://www.klezmershack.com/contacts/vendors/jankowski/jankowski.html


Request For Information About Violins

Wodzislaw Elsley of Austria inquires about Jacek Krupa, a violin maker from Zakopane, Poland. He owns two wonderful violins by this maker and would like to find out more about the artisan who created them. Mr. Elsley has been using these instruments for nearly 15 years but so far was unsuccessful in locating any information about their maker. His e-mail is “geige@optusnet.com.au”


DUX Recordings Online

We are pleased to inform our readers that the excellent Polish recording company DUX, which has a large catalog of rare Polish music now has its own Internet site where visitors may browse the catalog and place orders . The page, www.dux.pl, allows the visitors to pay for their orders with their credit cards. For more information contact Ms. Aleksandra Kitka, DUX Public Relations.


European Internet

The European Internet service has launched its Polish division on 20 November 2000. It may be found at www.EuropeanInternet.com/Poland. EIN is the publisher of the very popular Central Europe Online (www.CentralEurope.com) and Poland Today (www.centraleurope.com/PolandToday) an Internet portal that reaches nearly 150,000 English speaking readers each month who have economic or cultural interests in Central & Eastern Europe and Poland.


Jerzy Gablenz’s Site Updated

The web site devoted to the life, music and memory of Jerzy Gablenz has been updated and now includes a Polish language version. The URL remains: http://home.eol.ca/~dgablenz/.


MP3 Files on Xenomusic.com

According to its promotional material, this site solves two answers which music consumers and artists have faced recently: 1) Selling tracks via MP3 while compensating artists and 2) Selling tracks from Central and Eastern Europe to which an eager North American audience hasn’t had access.

Visit the site www.xenomusic.com to download one track for free (the rest you will have to pay for). The site is eager for feedback from artists, music lovers, industry writers, and academics who have interest in both their legal arrangements with artists, as well as in “exotic” music from places such as Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary and more.


Awards


Bukalski In Met Auditions

Polish-American basso, Wojciech Piotr Bukalski, 33, of Santa Barbara, California placed 3rd in the recent Metropolitan Opera Western Regional Auditions held at USC last month. First prize winner, Los Angeles tenor Peter Jeon, 28, will represent the region in the national finals in New York City next spring.


Polonski Wins Tansman Competition

Polish cellist, Dominik Polonski, was the winner of the III Alexander Tansman International Festival and Competition of Musical Individuality in Lodz. Tied for 2nd place: Arkadiusz Krupa, oboe (Poland) and Dmitri Illarionov (Russia). Also a tie for 3rd place: Julia Igonina (Bialorus) and Anna Tyka, cello. The competition began with an inaugural recital performed by the American singer, Gwendolyn Bradley.-


Skubiszewski Wins In Australia

Cezary Skubiszewski – Polish composer living in Australia won AFI 2000(Australian Film Institute) Award for Best Original Music Score for his music to the film “Bootmen”. The AFI Awards ceremony was broadcasted live from Sydney Fox Studios on 19/11/00 on SBS TV. You may visit the site of the Australian Film Institute for more information about this award: www.afi.org.auSkubiszewski studied music in Warsaw, Paris and Melbourne. In 1972 he lived in Paris, in 1974 settled in Australia where he has pursued a compositional career with a focus on film music. In 1981 the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra performed his Symphony “Home at Last.” His music for the following films was recognized with awards:

  • “Bootmen” AFI(Australian Film Institute) Award 2000.-Best Original Music
  • “Two Hands”APRA (Australian Performing Rights Ass) 2000- Best Film Music; Australian Composers Award – Best Film Score 1999.
  • “The Sound of One Hand Clapping” – FFC and AGSC (Aust.Guild of Screen Composers)- Best Soundtrack Album 1997; Herald/Sun – Best Album
  • “Lilian’s Story” – Asia Pacific Film Festival – Best Music 1997; New York Critics Award.

In addition, Mr. Skubiszewski is the recipient of “Ansett Star Allaince” MADC 2000 Award – Best Music for Advertisement, and of AGSC 2000 Award Best Music for Advertisement. He composed music for the following feature films:

  • “La Spagnola” 2000 Dir.Steven Jacobs (Spain -Australia)(bedzie wydany w 2001).
  • “Bootmen” 2000 -Dir.Dean Perry (20th Century Fox)
  • “The Wogboy” 2000 – Dir.Nick Giannopolous
  • “Two Hands” 1999 – Dir.Gregor Jordan (Sundance Film Festival 99 -USA)
  • “Strange Fits of Passion” 1998 – (Cannes Film Festival 99)
  • “Witch Hunt” – 1998 Columbia Pictures
  • “The Sound of One Hand Clapping” 1997 – Dir Richard Flannigan (Berlin Festival)
  • “Hurrah” 1998 – Mayfair Ent.UK.
  • “Lilian’s Story”1997 – Dir.Jerzy Domaradzki (Toronto Film Festival 97)
  • “First Day” 1996 – Dir.Gordon Glenn (ABC).

His music is available on the following recordings:

  • “Lilian’s Story” – films soundtrack – SONY Columbia 83785 2
  • ‘The Sound of One Hand Clapping” – EMI 7243 4 94493 2 9
  • “The Bootmen”- film soundtrack – BMG 74321784292
  • “The Wogboy”-film soundtrack – Festival Records Mush 332692
  • “Two Hands” – film soundtrack – Festival Records D32052
  • “Sounescape” Platinum 12021
  • “One Man Too Late” – Polygram 884 449-7

Paderewski Award Recipients

During the Paderewski Tribute held in Washington, D.C. on 4 November (see Tribute above) four people received the Paderewski Award for Distinguished Contributions to Society and Culture:

  • Sheldon Bair, Founding Music Director of the Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra
  • Cecylia Barczyk, cellist and professor at Towson University,
  • Stanley Ciesielski, President of the Polish Heritage Association of Maryland,
  • Erick Friedman, violinist and professor at Yale University.

New Publications & Books


Articles On Zimerman

The Piano & Keyboard magazine (November/December issue) had an attractive picture of the Polish pianist, Krystian Zimerman on the cover. The feature article, “The Modest & Magnetic Krystian Zimerman” was written by Robert Rimm, who revealed the artist as “absorbed in a number of projects and interests – recording, writing, collecting urtexts, conferring with composers, organizing concerts – and living intensely.” Rimm describes the pianist not only a dedicated family man, but one who is “as dedicated to teaching as he is to performing.”I found the article extremely interesting with details on Krystian’s first musical encounters, his work ethic, the romantic pursuit in his performances, music criticism, recording and his unique relationship with his students. It is a recommended reading for all music lovers [WW].


National Library Book Listing

The National Library of Poland (Biblioteka Narodowa) now lists all newly published books in a special site: www.bn.org.pl. The current list includes:

  • Szoka, Marta, ed. Arcana musicae, Marta Szoka, ed. Lodz: Academy of Music, 1999.
  • Demska-Trebacz, Mieczyslawa, ed. Dzielo Chopina jako zrodlo inspiracji wykonawczych[Chopin’s work as a source for performance inspirations]. Conference proceedings. Mieczyslawa Demska-Trebacz, ed. Warszawa: F. Chopin Academy of Music, 1999.
  • Mazepa, Leszek, ed. Musica Galiciana, vol. 3 “Music Culture in Galicia in the context of Polish-Ukrainian relations (from the period of Piasts to 1945). Leszek Mazepa, ed. Rzeszow: Wydawnictwo Wyzszej Szkoly Pedagogicznej, 1999.
  • Wozna-Stankiewicz, Malgorzata, ed. Muzykologia wobec dziela muzycznego [Musicology and the Musical Work]. Festschrift for the 70th Birthday of Elzbieta Dziebowska. Malgorzata Wozna-Stankiewicz and Zofia Dobrzanska-Fabianska, eds. Krakow: Musica Iagellonica, 1999.
  • Jan Astriab, et al., eds. Witold Lutoslawski: Czlowiek i dzielo w perspektywie kultury muzycznej 20 wieku [W.L – Man and Work in the perspective of the 20th century music culture]. Jan Astriab, Maciej Jablonski and Jan Steszewski, eds. Poznan: Poznanskie Towarzystwo Przyjaciol Nauk, 1999.
  • Maria Zduniak, ed. Zycie muzyczne Wroclawia [Wroclaw Musical Life]. Maria Zduniak, et al., eds. Wroclaw: Academy of Music, 1999.
  • Lutoslawski, Witold. Postscriptum. Witold Lutoslawski. Collection of Lutoslawski’s texts editec by Danuta Gwizdalanka and Krzysztof Meyer. Warszawa: FZL, 1999.
  • Interpretacja artystyczna dziela muzycznego na podstawie wykonan Ballady g-moll op. 23 F. Chopina [Artistic interpretation of the musical work on the basis of performances of the Ballade in G minor op. 23 by F. Chopin] Lodz: CMYK Studio Poligrafii i Reklamy, 1999.
  • Wozna-Stankiewicz, Malgorzata Muzyka francuska w Polsce w 2 polowie XIX wieku: Analiza dokumentow jako podstawa zrodlowa do badan nad recepcja [French music in Poland in the second half of the 19th century: the analysis of the documents as the source basis for thed research of reception]. Krakow: Musica Iagellonica, 1999.
  • Helman, Zofia. Roman Palester: Tworca i dzielo [Roman Palester: Creator and his Oeuvre]. Krakow: Musica Iagellonica, 1999. Also contains texts and libretti of Palester’s compositions.
  • Bielawski, Ludwik. Tradycje ludowe w kulturze muzycznej [Folk traditions in musical culture]. Warszawa: Instytut Sztuki Polskiej Akademii Nauk, 1999.

Calendar Of Events


DEC 2: Polish American Christmas Gala. Lira Singers, Lira Dancers, Lira Chamber Chorus, Lira Chamber Orchestra with the Pytlik Brothers Polish Folk Band. Pickwick Theatre, Park Ridge, IL. 847-692-6590. 8:00 p.m.

DEC 3: Same as above, but in Cicero, Illinois. Morton East Aud. 1-800-547-LIRA (5472). 3:00 p.m.

DEC 10: Same as above, but in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Pitman Theatre of Alverno College. 1-414-383-6116. 3:00 p.m. Visit Lira on the internet at www.liraensemble.com

DEC 3: Christmas Chopin Concert. California Club, San Francisco. 1-510-659-8082 or ChopinSF@aol.com

DEC 9: A “Wigilia” Celebration in True Polish Tradition. Christmas eve celebration. Embassy of the Republic of Poland, 2640 16th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 6-10 p.m. Res: 703-255-9645 or 437-9212. $50 adults; $25 children & students.

DEC 9: Christmas Concert. Music by Piotr Lachert and Walter Legawiec. Slavic Arts Ensemble. Kosciuszko Foundation, 15 E. 65th St. NY 10021. 8:00 p.m. $15 including reception. 212-734-2130 or www.kosciuszkofoundation.org.

DEC 10: Calliope: A Renaissance Band. Seasonal music and carol singing. Kosciuszko Foundation Chamber Music Series.


Recent Performances


U.S.: Chopin, Chopin, Chopin

In Southern California: Frederic Chiu at the El Camino Center (11Nov); Anthony Padilla in La Jolla (12 Nov); Armen Guzelimian at the S. Pasadena Music Library (19 Nov); Wojciech Kocyan at the Pacific Unitarian Church in Rancho Palos Verdes (11 Nov; this concert also included pieces by other composers, for piano and clarinet performed by Jan Jakub Bokun).

In New York: Mikhail Pletnev performed four Scherzos (Op. 20, 31, 39 & 54) at the Carnegie Hall.

In Seattle: Emanuel Ax and the Seattle Symphony performed the Piano Concerto No. 1 (16, 17, 18 & 19 Nov.)


Polish-Canadian Composers

The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra performed Piotr Grella – Mozejko’s “Mass” on 19 Nov. On 3 and 4 November Peter Paul Koprowski’s “Symphony of Nordic Tales” was performed by the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. At the same time, further south in New York State, the world premiere of Koprowski’s Cello concerto took place. The critics praised conductor Alan Miller for “producing a fresh, not strained by the challenging score” sound from his Albany symphony with soloist Maya Beiser.


Polish Pianists in the U.S.

In Boston Krystian Zimerman appeared on 30 November and 1 December in the popular Rachmaninoff “Third” instead of the Chopin that he is so celebrated for, while in England pianist Piotr Anderszewski opened the Harrod’s International Piano Series at the South Bank Centre, London (9 Nov).


Tribute To Satchmo In Poland

A “Tribute to Satchmo” took place for the great American jazz artist, Louis Armstrong, in honor of his 100th birthday by Polish jazz artists Andrzej Jagodzinski, Ewa Bem and Hanna Banaszak. The concert took place at the National Philharmonic in Warsaw.


75th Anniversary Of Kosciuszko Foundation

A gala concert of American music took place at the National Theatre in Warsaw during the 75th anniversary celebration of the Kosciuszko Foundation of New York. The Sinfonia Varsovia conducted by Mariusz Smolij featured pianist Adam Makowicz in Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” the “Symphonic Dances” from Bernstein’s “West Side Story,” the “Adagio for Strings” by Samuel Barber and works by Ives and Copland.


Paderewski Gala In Poland

There were also gala concerts honoring the 140th birthday of Ignacy Jan Paderewski. Pianist Karol Radziwonowicz and the Concerto Avenna conducted by Andrzej Mysinski performed at the Paderewski Museum in Warsaw.


Polish Artists At The Polish Consulate

A new series “Polish Artists in Music” was inaugurated at the Polish Consulate (233 Madison Ave. & 37th St.) in New York city on Friday evening, 3 Nov. with Roman Markowicz, music critic for Nowy Dziennik, coordinator and artistic director, and featuring pianists Andrzej Anweiler, Katarzyna Karkowska, Anna Marchwinska, Roman Markowicz, Berenika Zakrzewska; baritone Mariusz Kwiecien; bass-baritone Cezary Doda; mezzo- soprano Monika Krajewska; violinists Magdalena Golczewska, Anna Karkowska, Piotr Kwasny and Hanna Lachert and guest pianist Tomoko Yazawa. [based on a report in Nowy Dziennik]


Stan Borys In Portland And Seattle

One of the legendary figures of Polish popular music in the 1970s and 1980s, Stan Borys, gave two concerts on the West Coast, on 28 November he preformed at the Polish Home in Seattle, and on 29 November he gave a concert at the Polish Hall in Seattle. According to Marek Stepien, who forwarded this information to us, Borys is a musical legend from Poland, the laureate of many festivals in Poland, Belgium, France and Greece. His greatest hits were “Jaskolka uwieziona”, “Anna”, “Wiatr od Klimczoka”, “To ziemia”. Singing “Jaskolka uwieziona”, Stan Borys won the first prize at the Sopot Festival in Poland. For more information you may see Stan Borys photo at Marek Stepien’s site, http://home1.gte.net/marek/borys.jpg, or visit the artist’s own page at: http://www.stanborys.com.


Discography


by Wanda Wilk

I found several interesting new recordings in Ethel Enterprises Catalogue No. 149 that would make an excellent addition to any Music Recording Library. These recordings may be ordered by phone 1-800-648-2042 or found on the Internet, at www.ethelnet.com. The list includes:

  • Krzysztof Meyer’s Piano Concerto, Op. 46 with Pavel Gililov, piano. Also “Musica incrostata.” Antoni Wit, conducting the Radio S.O. of Katowice. Koch Schwann DDD $15.59.
  • Zbigniew Preisner’s “10 Easy Pieces for Piano” performed by Leszek Mozdzer. EMI Classics.
  • Martin Roscoe’s performance of Szymanowski Piano Works Vol. 3 on Naxos has just been reduced to only $6.79.
  • Tansman’s “Sinfonietta,” “Divertimento” and “Sinfonia picola” performed by the Virtuosi di Praga under the direction of Israel Tinon. Koch Schwann.
  • Czeslaw Marek’s “Chamber Music” Vol. 8 features music for piano, cello and harp. Koch Schwann.
  • Paderewski’s music performed by Adam Wodnicki includes the Variations & Fugue, Op. 23 and also Op. 10 & 14. Altarus. $17.59.
  • Nowowiejski’s “Organ Works” performed on the great Sauer organ of the Bremen Cathedral by Rudolf Innig. $15.99
  • Lutoslawski conducting the Polish Radio National SO in several of his own works. EMI Classics $15.59.

Christmas Shopping


Time to think about the Christmas gift for your family, friends, loved ones and yourself. Make it a gift of music. There are two CDs of Polish music that received rave revues and awards since they were released. They are the Chopin Piano Concertos performed the “Polish Way” by Krystian Zimerman and his Polish Festival Orchestra and Szymanowski’s opera “King Roger” under the baton of British conductor Sir Simon Rattle.As reported in previous newsletters, the Szymanowski received the Best Recording of an opera, while the Chopin recording was selected as one of Ten Outstanding CDs and nominated for the Best Recording of a Concerto by the British journal Gramophone. The Szymanowski also includes Polish composer’s Symphonie Concertante performed by Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, whose recording of the Haydn Piano Concertos beat out the Chopin for Best Recording of a Concerto. An all around winning combination!

There are many other things you can select in addition to recordings. You may wish to give a gift of printed music. Take, for instance, the 16-page book of 13 Polish Christmas carols for voice and piano for only $1.50, as advertised in the Polish American Journal (1-800-422-1275). This is part of the larger book Treasured Polish Songs published by the Polanie Club of Minneapolis. The society has also published “Treasured Polish Customs” for $16.95, which has the famous “Torun pierniki” (gingerbread cookie) recipe. It may be a little too late to make them for this Christmas holiday, since gingerbread cookies have to be made at least a month in advance, but you will have a head start for next year. You can order these books from any of the Polish gift shops located in Polish parishes or elsewhere throughout the U.S. and these are books that any family can enjoy, whether you have a Polish connection or not.

If you have any youngsters around, then buy them the tape cassette “Polkas for Children” from the Polish American Journal bookstore. It is described as a “fairy tale set to music. Learn counting in Polish, common words and phrases, famous Poles, etc…” Cassette only for $9.00. Produced by the Polish Community Center of Buffalo, New York, ti was conceived, coordinated and designed by Mark Kohan, editor of the Polish American Journal, who along with his musician/musicologist wife, Kyle, are also players in the band. It’s a fun cassette for kids of all ages (including me!).

For the young readers in your extended family, get them “The Trumpeter of Krakow” or “Polish Fables” or “Old Polish Legends.” For young girls a Polish Barbie Doll (dressed in a Polish costume) would be a welcome gift. This can be ordered from the Polish American Center in Hamtramck, Michigan (1- 888-619-9771). To keep youngsters busy for hours get them the books on Polish cutouts called “wycinanki” (vih-chee- nahn-key). “Polish Wycinanki Designs” ($5.95); “Wycinanki Pattern Book ($13.50), “Book of Paper Cutting” ($14.95) or “Paper Cuts, Polish Style.”

There are dozens of CDs or tape cassettes of Polish Christmas carols produced here in the U.S. and in Poland. The Lira Singers of Chicago have a nice selection and these can be found in most gift shops or you can order directly from them at 1-800-547-LIRA or visit them on the internet at www.liraensemble.com.

One of the largest online Polish gift shops is PolArt from Florida. I am happy to say that they are now even listed in the many mail-order catalogues. Congratulations to Jarek and Ania Zaremba for their expertise in marketing! The way to go! If only the music publishers in Poland would learn from them.

Order the new video “The Most Beautiful Polish Christmas Carols” sung by soprano Teresa Zylis-Gara and the Boys Choir from Poznan under the direction of Stefan Stuligrosz and including performances by the Mazowsze Ensemble and Capella Cracoviensis. There are two volumes ($24.95 each). Tel: 1- 800-278-9393. Howver, if you only want the CD, then you can choose the Polskie Nagrania CD 025 entitled “Koledy Gwiazd Polskich” (Polish Stars Sing the Carols). Seventeen carols sung by Teresa Zylis-Gara, tenor Wieslaw Ochman and the Boys’ and Men’s Choir of the State Philharmonic in Poznan directed by Stefan Stuligrosz.

If you are into film music, PolArt advertises a special reduced price from $99.95 to $59.98 for a “2-volume boxed set” which “chronicles the artistic achievements of Andrzej Wajda’s career with many color and black and white photographs, diary entries, critical reviews and other original documents from Wajda’s personal archives. This collector’s item is a must for lovers of his work.” In English. (Reader’s please note: This would be a great gift for the Polish Music Center archives at USC.)

You can also get the great Polish film composer “Preisner’s Music” on CD ($19.95) or the “Requiem for a Friend” that Preisner wrote honoring his friend, the late Krzysztof Kieslowski.

For the history buff you can order a 17th century suit of armor with helmet. It stands over 6’3″ tall with the metal stand and costs $4,495.00 or settle for a replica of the museum original of the flying horseman for only $349.95.

We recently had an e-mail inquiry from a fellow who has been looking all over for a CD called “Music in Early Poland” performed by the Camerata Cracovia and couldn’t find it anywhere. I found it in the Polonia Bookstore Christmas 2000 catalog (www.polonia.com or 773-481-6968). It has music by Mikolaj z Krakowa, Wojciech Dlugoraj, Jakub Polak, Adam Jastrzebski and two Italian composers who lived in Poland Diomedes Cato and Luca marenzio. It is on a Musicon label and costs $15.95 and was recorded in 1998.

They also have a new CD published in 2000 called “Jewels of Polish Music” which looked very interesting to me. Music by Maciej Radziwill, Wojciech Zywny (Chopin’s teacher), Bartlomiej Pekiel (one of the best of the Polish Baroque), Karol Kurpinski, Janiewicz, Dobrzynski and Oginski’s famous “Polonaise.” Another CD that caught my eye and just newly released by DUX Recording Producers was Stanislaw Moniuszko’s “Canons” performed by Roman Perucki (organ) and tenors Piotr Kusiewicz, Ryszard Minkiewicz, Pawel Skaluba and Krzysztof Szmit. I must admit I never heard this music nor any of the soloists. This will be a “must” on my shopping list.

In addition to classical, jazz, and pop music all the Polish gift shops feature CDs of music by the internationally known Slask and Mazowsze Folk Dance & Song Ensembles. There is also an album of the songs and dances from the Mazowsze repertoire for voice and piano, not to mention cookbooks, books on literature, language, history, Polish computer fonts, dictionaries, t-shirts, Polish china, wooden boxes, Polish amber jewelry and other miscellaneous items, e.g., a Parking for Polish Only sign. The catalogues are all very colorful and offer a large selection from which to choose for any one.

Last, but not least, the Friends of Polish Music at USC published five books on Polish music (two on Grazyna Bacewicz, two on Karol Szymanowski and a bibliography of Polish Music) and a new forthcoming one. See our publications list. And we still have a few dozen tape cassettes of piano music by Bacewicz and Maria Szymanowska (no relation to Karol) performed by Nancy Fierro (CD for only $15 with shipping costs included). Our new live recording with pieces by Gorecki, Twardowski, Ptaszynska, Baird, Wielecki, and Serocki is also available for $15 (plus $5 for shipping and handling).


Anniversaries


Born This Month

  • 3 December 1896 – Bolesław SZABELSKI, composer (d. 1979)
  • 5 December 1899 – Bolesław WOYTOWICZ, composer (d. 1980)
  • 6 December 1933 – Henryk Mikołaj GÓRECKI, composer
  • 11 December 1876 – Mieczysław KARŁOWICZ, composer (d. 1909, under an avalanche in Tatra mountains)
  • 14 December 1789 – Maria SZYMANOWSKA, composer, virtuosa pianist (d. 1831, of cholera)
  • 18 December 1907 – Roman PALESTER, composer, broadcaster (d. 1989)
  • 23 December 1830 – Adam MINCHEJMER, composer and conductor (d. 1904)
  • 24 December 1859 – Roman STATKOWSKI, composer, teacher (d. 1925)
  • 29 December 1902 – Henry VARS, film and popular music composer (d. 1978)

 

Died This Month

  • 11 December 1945 – Seweryn EISENBERGER, pianist (b. 1899)
  • 20 December 1834 – Maurycy MOCHNACKI, music critic, writer, pianist (b. 1804)
  • 21 December 1938 – Arnold LUDWIK, violin maker (b. 1873)
  • 23 December 1885 – Artur BARTELS, pop singer (b. 1818)
  • 24 December 1898 – Eugeniusz PANKIEWICZ, pianist and composer (b. 1857)
  • 26 December 1945 – Stefan STOIŃSKI, music ethnographer, writer, conductor (b. 1891)
  • 29 December 1913 – Jadwiga SARNECKA, pianist, composer, poet (b. 1877)
  • 31 December 1944 – Marian Teofil RUDNICKI, conductor, composer (b. 1888)

2001 Wishes


Our year 2000 was full of events and changes: the Center changed its name from Polish Music Reference Center to Polish Music Center, the Newsletter is now known as “Polish Music Newsletter” and the Center’s director is now Maja Trochimczyk (earlier known as Maria Anna Harley). A lot of work was done, some was begun and unfinished. But it was fun! We hope that our readers also enjoyed an eventful and exciting year and we wish everyone to have wonderful holidays and a great musical year 2001. We will celebrate the anniversary of Paderewski and many other anniversaries. Let us then repeat our last year’s wishes: Let the next year be celebrated as a true Year of Polish Music!

Maja Trochimczyk, Director
Wanda Wilk (Founder and Honorary Director)
Barbara Zakrzewska-Nikiporczyk (Librarian)
Student Assistants: Magda Bedernik, Jan Jakub Bokun, Blanka Sobus and Marcin Depinski