Polish Music Reference Center Newsletter Vol. 6, no. 2
Winners Of The 1999 Wilk Prizes For Research In Polish Music
The jury of the 1999 edition of the annual Wilk Prizes for Research in Polish Music (no. 13) has reached the final decision about distributing the prizes. Two prizes are given in the professional categor and none in the student category. The jury consisted of: Prof. Bruce Brown (USC Thornton School of Music), Dr. Zofia Chechlińska (Institute of Arts, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw), Prof. Maciej Gołab (University of Warsaw, Poland), Asst. Prof. Maria Anna Harley (USC), Prof. Bryan Simms (USC Thornton School of Music), and Prof. Richard Wingell (USC Thornton School of Music). The prize-winning papers will be published in the online semi-annual publication of the PMRC, Polish Music Journal, vol. 3 no. 1 (2000).
PROFESSIONAL CATEGORY (2 x $500): TWO AWARDS
- Prof. James PARAKILAS, Bates College
“Nuit plus belle qu’un beau jour”: Poetry Song, and the Voice in the Piano Nocturne
- Dr. Sandra P. ROSENBLUM, independent scholar
Chopin’s Music in Nineteenth-Century America: Introduction, Dissemination, and Aspects of Reception
STUDENT CATEGORY ($500): NO AWARD GIVEN
Mutter Plays Lutosławski And Penderecki
Anna Sophie-Mutter’s two-week residency with the New York Philharmonic under Kurt Masur from January 6th to the 15th included performances of some compositions specifically written for her: Lutoslawski ( “Chain 2”) and Penderecki (Violin Concerto No. 2). Paul Griffiths of the New York Times wrote that “in spite of the diversity of each piece written for her, something of their intended performer’s special energy infuses them all.” For more details see www.newyorkphilharmonic.org.
Slavic Arts Ensemble In New York
The Slavic Arts Ensemble founded by Mieczyslaw Gubernat gave a “star” performance at their December concert in the Polish Slavic Center in New York as reported in two Polish-American newspapers [Jozef Przyjemski (Kurier Plus, Jan. issue) and Zbigniew Macher (CP-S)].
Both reviews praised the solo performance of Hanna Lachert, first violin at the beginning of the program. And both thought the highlight of the program was the world premiere of “Hej, Koleda, Koleda” commissioned by the ensemble for the occassion. Written by Hanna’s brother, Piotr Lachert, who lives and teaches at the Academy of Music in Pescare, Italy it was based on elements of Polish Christmas carols by request and was enthusiastically received by the audience. The program consisted of the music by Bach, Britten, Sibelius and two Polish composers, S. B. Poradowski and Piotr Lachert. Members of the quintet are: Hanna Lachert, v.; Mieczyslaw Gubernat, v.; Borys Dewiatow, viola, Vladimir Pentalejew, cello and Pawel Knapik, bass.
Piotr Lachert has composed 17 sonatas, primarily for violin, violin and piano concertos, piano trios, string quartets, a ballet, “Cien” and an opera, “Aroka Tre.” Note: PMRC has a catalog of the published works of Lachert.
Wieniawski Heard in Poland and the U.S.
Violinist Itzak Perlman included a Wieniawski work in his recently soldout (27 Jan) recital at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in California. More Wieniawski was heard at the Culver City-Marina del Rey- Westchester Symphony conducted by Frank Fetta at the Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium in Culver City (23 Jan) when Concerto Competition winners were featured.
In Poland we spotted the name of Wieniawski in several recital listings, most notably in the “Stars Promote” festival in Jelenia Góra (February 5-11).
Poznan Nightingales are 60!
The Poznań Nightingales are celebrating their 60th anniversary combined with the 80th birthday of its founder Stefan Stuligrosz. Several concerts have been planned with the final one scheduled on 8 September, 2000 with Teresa Zylis-Gara, Ryszard Karczykowski, Jarosław Brek and Sinfonia Varsovia. The ensemble has a repertoire of more than one thousand works beginning with Polish medieval music to the contemporary music of Szymanowski and Penderecki (as reported in Przeglad Polski).
Chopin – Washington Birthday Concert
The co-incidence of Fryderyk Chopin and George Washington sharing the same birthday, 22 February (in 1810 and 1765 respectively), has not been explored in music until Joseph Herter masterminded a concert scheduled for 22 February 2000 and to be held in the Holy Cross Church in Warsaw (8 p.m.; free admission). For this concert Herter organized an ad hoc orchestra and invited eminent pianist, Chopin specialist from the U.S., Edward Auer. President of the City of Warsaw, Paweł Piskorski and Daniel Fried, the Ambassador of the U.S. in Poland offered the honorary patronage over the event.
The program includes compositions by Fryderyk Chopin (Andante spianato and the Great Polonaise Brillante), as well as compositions by Norman Dello Joio, Aaron Copland, Dudley Buck i Charles Ives/William Schuman. The vocal segments of the program will be performed by the orchestra and choir Cantores Minores, conducted by Joseph A. Herter. During his visit to Poland, Auer will also teach a masterclass at the F. Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw (24 February, 10 a.m.).
Edward Auer has been enthusiastically acclaimed in 30 countries in North and South America, Europe and the Mideast, the Orient and Australia. The first American ever to win a prize in the International Chopin Competition in Poland, he has returned there for more than 20 concert tours since 1965, most recently in 1994. He has appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Atlanta, Baltimore, and Detroit Symphonies, the Orchestre National and Orchestre Philharmonique in Paris, the RIAS Orchestra of Berlin, Japan’s NHK and Osaka Symphonies and innumerable others. Mr. Auer has solo recordings on RCA Japan, Toshiba/EMI and Town Hall. The second of a series of Chopin recordings on the Camerata Tokyo label will be appearing this year. An active and devoted chamber musician, Auer also has a handful of distinguished ensemble recordings to his credit.
Born in New York of Hungarian descent, Auer grew up in Los Angeles, where he studied with Aube Tzerko. He made his New York debut in Carnegie Recital hall under the auspices of Young Concert Artists in 1964, while still studying at Juilliard with Rosina Lhevinne. A two-year Fulbright Study Grant to Paris followed. While in Europe he entered five international competitions, winning prizes in every one, including first in the Concours Marguerite Long in Paris. More recently, this prestigious contest, as well as the renowned Chopin and Tchaikovsky Competitions, have honored Auer by inviting him to serve on their juries. Edward Auer presently makes his home in Bloomington, Indiana, where he lives with his wife, daughter and Hungarian sheepdog. He is on the piano faculty of the Indiana University School of Music. For further information about the pianist contact him at Indiana: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kwiatkowski’s Debut Reviewed
Polish cellist, Rafal Kwiatkowski, winner of the Young Concert Artists 1999 International Auditions, gave a “most impressive debut” according to Edith Eisler in her “On Stage” article in the February/March issue of the Strings magazine. “His technique is relaxed, secure, and entirely at the service of the music, and his tone is warm, pure and variable. His expressiveness which tends toward lyricism, is simple, direct, and genuinely felt, while his rhythm and pacing have extraordinary poise and flexibility. In a progrma of music from many lands, he displayed a natural affinity for every style and idiom…. The Chopin Sonata, op. 65 was suffused with a pensive melancholy that never became sentimental; the Scherzo sparkled, the slow movement was warm and noble…”
Szymanowski’s Writings Highlighted
Leon Botstein, editor of The Musical Quarterly writes extensively about Szymanowski’s views on contemporary music (expressed in his 1926 essays) in his editorial notes “Rethinking the 20th century.” The conductor of the American Symphony states “What is fascinating about Szymanowski’s musings is how prescient they seem.” See The Musical Quarterly, Summer 1999, Volume 83, Number 2.
New Books On Oginski, Szymanowski, Szpilman
Gary Fitelberg of Calabasas, CA sent us his reviews of four books in English that have been published in the last few years:
- Wightman, Alistair. Karlowicz, Young Poland and Musical Fin- de-siecle. Hampshire, England. Scolar Press. 1996, 134p.
- __________________. Szymanowski on Music: Selected Writings of Karol Szymanowski. London, England. Toccatta Press. 1999. 390p.
- Załuski, Andrzej. The Times and Music of Michal Kleofas Oginski (1765-1833). London, New Millenium. 1997. 171p.
- Szpilman, Wladyslaw. The Pianist: The Extraordinary Story of One Man’s Survival in Warsaw 1939-1945. New York, Picador. 1999. 222p.
Polish Music Journal
Volume 2, No. 1. Summer 1999. ISSN 1521 – 6039.
The first issue of the second volume of our musicological publication, Polish Music Journal, which was initiated in 1998, has finally appeared online. This issue, subtitled “The Chopin Year I,” contains two prize-winning papers from the 1998 edition of the Wilk Prizes for Research in Polish Music. Halina Goldberg (Asst. Prof., Indiana University) writes about “Chopin and Warsaw’s Salons” and Dorota Zakrzewska (Doctoral student in musicology, McGill University, Montreal) writes about “Alienation and Powerlessness: Adam Mickiewicz’s Ballady and Chopin’s Ballades.” According to Goldberg, “it is in Warsaw’s salons that the young Fryderyk received his social grooming, and it is here that he met many of his future Parisian hosts or made connections that opened the doors to the most respected households of European capitals.” The article presents a segment of her doctoral dissertation highlighting aspects of Polish musical life not previously known in the West. As a result of her thorough survey of archival material, early 19th century publications and documents, the image of Warsaw changes from a provincial, backwater town to a modern, highly-cultured city. Warsaw’s sophisticated inhabitants participated in a wide range of musical events (public and private); they were aware of the most recent musical fashions. Chopin’s immersion in this cultural millieu shaped his future development.
Zakrzewska’s extensive article focuses on a host of details about the “alienation and powerlessness” experienced by the Great Emigration of Polish intelligentsia who settled in Paris after the fall of the November Uprising (1831). She traces parallels between the literary and musical pieces, their contexts and inspirations, as well between Chopin’s internal turmoil and the “alienation” of Mickiewicz’s hero, Konrad (from “The Forefathers’ Eve, Part III). Her study, based on her M.A. thesis, develops some ideas previously encountered in the writings by James Parakilas and Karol Berger.
The issue of the Polish Music Journal contains two other articles: by Dr. Jan Węcowski, “Religious Folklore in Chopin’s Music” and by Prof. Andrzej Tuchowski, “Chopin’s Integrative Technique and its Repecussions in 20th-Century Polish Music.” According to Węcowski, whose controversial theses have been widely discussed by musicologists and Chopin specialists in Poland, the composer borrowed phrases and motives from a large group of religious songs. In the article, Węcowski traces the borrowings in 10 pieces by Chopin; apparently, the examples of parallels between passages from Chopin’s pieces and 19th century religious songs in the vernacular that he collected for his article are just “the tip of the iceberg.” Tuchowski’s analytical excursus into “integrative techniques” of creating large-scale formal patterns highlights Chopin’s Nocturnes op. 27 and Sonata in B flat minor, op. 35. He also points parallels in the music of Karol Szymanowski and Witold Lutosławski.
A humorous undertaking, though not without serious overtones, is the contribution to the Polish Music Journal by Prof. Douglas Hofstadter, Pullitzer Prize winner, physicist, linguist, cognitive psychologist, a translator, and a music lover. Chopin’s music and its critical reception are the main subjects in this lighhearted essay. The scholarly content of the journal is complemented with a review of Małgorzata Gasiorowska’s excellent monograph about Grazyna Bacewicz (by Alicja Usarek, doctoral student at the University of Texas). Thus, we also mark the Bacewicz year.
Nowa Polska Web Site
The managers of this new site are currently putting the finishing touches to our newly designed web sites (NewPoland.com & NowaPolska.com)! They have experienced rapid growth in the past few months and would like to note that every month has been a record month compared to the prior month. Their hit count stands at just over 530,000 thousand since September ’99 – most of the hits have been received just in the past several weeks. There are culture-related links on the site, but its focus is commercial. For more information contact Kuba Jewgieniew, President; NewPoland.com & NowaPolska.com mail to: email@example.com; tel: (949) 689-8113.
New Polish Site In Holland
Information Bulletin of the Dutch Polonia has been created in the Netherlands. The site contains current information, advertising, and short reports from various events. It may be found: http://lightning.prohosting.com/~polonia. The site is managed by Ms. Beata Wronska, President, and Witold A. Nowotny, composer (http://www.nowotny.tmfweb.nl). For further information contact Ms. Wronska: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fitelberg Competition For Conductors
Winner of the VI International Grzegorz Fitelberg Conductors Competition in Katowice was Massimiliano Caldi of Italy. The 32 year old pianist, composer and conductor was born in Milan. He is presently director of the Chamber Orchestra Milano Classica. Caldi received the first prize and gold medal; the second prize went to Tomas Hanus (Czech Republic), the third prize was divided between Stephen Ellery (UK) and Charles Olivier-Munroe (Canada), and there were two ex-aequo Honorable Mentions, for Michał Nesterowicz of Poland and Tao Lin of China. The competition had 150 candidates, 50 participated in the first stage, 12 in the semi-final round and 6 in the finals. The jury consisted of Jan Krenz, Chair, and 10 other conductors, includin three poles (Blaszczyk, Katlewicz, Wit). The jury included two award-winners from past issues of the competition, Imamura (1983) and Zilm (1987). The participants worked with two orchestras and the repertoire included major pieces from the symphonic repertoire, by Beethoven, Berlioz, Brahms, Dvorak, Rimsky-Korsakov, Schumann, Wieniawski , Karłowicz. The final stage included a Polish contemporary composition (Górecki, Kilar, Szabelski) and a new piece, given only at the conclusion of the third stage. the first movement of First Symphony by Andrzej Dziadek. The level of musicianship was impressive, but there were organizational problems caused by insufficient budget of the competition that honors Poland’s most esteemed promoter of new music and member of the Young Poland movement, composer and conductor.
Midem Award For Penderecki
Krzysztof Penderecki received the Best Composer Award at the 33rd Midem Classique 2000 at Cannes. The music industry convention and festival, held Jan 23-27, featured three days of Polish music with recordings of Polish music exhibited by 8 recording companies. A program “From Chopin to Contemporary Times” included music by Marek Stachowski and Marcel Chyrzynski. During the fair, Penderecki also conducted his “Credo” and “Seven Gates of Jerusalem” with an orchestra he organized in the same manner as Krystian Zimerman did his Polish Festival Orchestra). They will later tour Europe. This is just the latest in the recognitions of the unique standing of Penderecki in the domain of contemporary music; last year he received a Grammy award for best classical recording of his Violin Concerto “Metamorphoses” performed by Anne-Sophie Mutter.
Jerzy Kurczewski Choral Award
Jan Łukaszewski, eminent conductor, director of Scholar Cantorum Gedanensis, was the first recipient of the newly established award named after conductor Jerzy Kurczewski, the leader of Poznań Boys Choir and Choral School. The Kurczewski foundation is directed by Alina Kurczewska, the daughter of the conductor, teacher and composer. The award will be given every two years and will highlights the achievements of outstanding Polish choral conductors. The jury consisted of Agnieszka Duczmal, Stanisław Gałoński, Jan Szyrocki, Edmund Kajdasz, Alina Kurczewska. The president of the jury was Krzysztof Meyer and the honorary patron, Krzysztof Penderecki.
Szymanowski Award For Anderszewski
Piotr Anderszewski, pianist, received the 1999 Prize of the Karol Szymanowski Foundation in Poland. Jury chair, Krzysztof Jakowicz, stated that it was for “original, individual interpretation of the music of Szymanowski and for its enthusiastic presentation in concerts abroad.” Former recipients: Teresa Chylinska, musicologist; Wanda Wilkomirska, violinist; Jerzy Godziszewski, pianist; Stefania Woytowicz, soprano; and Sir Simon Rattle, conductor.
Opportunities and Competitions
2001 Moniuszko Competition
All singers born after 20 April, 1966 are called to prepare for the IV International Stanislaw Moniuszko Vocal Competition to be held 20-29 April, 2001. Application Deadline: 1 October, 2000.
Polish repertoire requirements:
- Stage 1: One song by Stanislaw Moniuszko
- Stage 2: One 20th c. Polish song
- Stage 3: One aria from opera by Moniuszko
Prizes: Grand Prix: $14,000; Frist Prizes in female and male categories: $8,000 each. Other prizes, $6,000 and $4,000. Special Prize: Participation in an opera production in Teatr Wielki-National Opera in Warsaw.
Founder and artistic director, Maria Foltyn: 48/22 635-57-38. Chairman of the jury: Jacek Kaspszyk, director of the Teatr Wielki National Opera Orchestra. Entrance fee of $100 due by 1 April 2001. In the U.S. applications available at the PMRC and at the Polish Arts & Culture Foundation in San Francisco. In Poland: Competition office. For more information and to request copies of the music contact the Competition office at Teatr Wielki – Opera Narodowa, Pl. Teatralny 1, 00-950 Warsaw, tel: 48-22-692-0642; fax: 48-22–692-0548.
Call For Papers – Panufnik Conference, November 2001
On 23-25 November 2001, the Institute of Musicology of the Jagellonian University, will present an International Musicology Conference entitled “The Music of Andrzej Panufnik and Its Reception.” The chair of the program committee is Dr. Jadwiga Paja-Stach. The conference will deal with the following subjects:
- Polish themes in Panufnik’s works
- Pitch organization in Panufnik’s music
- Role of geometry in compositional technique of Panufnik
- Concertare and concertante techniques in his music
- Symphonic, solo and chamber music of Panufnik
- Film music by Panufnik
- His vocal compositions
- Reception of Panufnik’s music in Poland, UK and other countries,
- His works in the context of 20th century music.
The program committee encourages submissions by fax or letter, 300-word abstract and a title of the proposal in Polish and/or English. The information should be sent to the Institute of Musicology, Jagellonian University, Krakow, ul. Starowislna 34, Poland.
Dictionary Of 20th Century Polish Composers
Recently, we have received the following letter requesting collaboration from composers and scholars in compiling a new dictionary of Polish contemporary composers. We encourage all composers to submit their biographies and lists of works to this dictionary.
TO WHOM IT MY CONCERN:
I am sending you information from Prof. Marek Podhajski regarding a book on Polish composers 1918-2000 (including émigrés). The book is going to be published in Polish and in English. He already has nearly 800 names from around the world. The book would be a documentation of the achievements of Polish composers on the broad historical background (including Poland’s political reality, social and cultural developments, and changes through the Twentieth Century).
The documentation is based on different bibliographical materials, and different sources concerning life and creations, which would be critically analyzed by a group of Polish specialists lead by professor Marek Podhajski, author of many books, and a known authority in Twentieth-Century music. Any person of Polish background, who created even one composition that was performed publicly (especially if the work was published, printed on a concert announcement, concert program, recorded or made a subject of live off-site transmission, mentioned in newspaper critique or in other media, etc.), is invited to send the information.
The research covers the body of creation from the end of World War I (November 11, 1918), the day Poland regained independence until January 1, 2001. The subjects of research would be divided in groups:
- composers who were born in the nineteenth or twentieth centuries, but creating past 11.11.1918
- composers who were born and died in period from 11.11.1918-1.1.2001.
- composers who were born after 11.11.1918 and before 1.1.2001, whose life continues in twenty-first century.
The authors are initially researching composers of classical music, but they are planning to include creators of other types of artistic music (for example music written for needs of dramatic theatre, film, or television). The authors want the book to be the source of knowledge about Polish music of the twentieth century. They do not want to omit any creator who even by smallest input wrote himself or herself into the flow of Polish music history. Professor Podhajski, together with the group of editors, is planning to put in even the smallest documented mention to register only the simplest facts, which are going to be researched further in the future. Entrance to the book is based on world standards (The International Biographical Center, Cambridge, IBC).
For further information contact Ms. Katarzyna (Kathy) Szymanska, email@example.com;
7501 Democracy Blvd.Apt.423; Bethesda, MD 20817- 1277; Fax 301 469 7404; Home phone no: 301 469 8437.
Cantores Minores In Panufnik’s Koledy
An out-of-the-ordinary concert of Christmas music took place place on Sunday, January 23, at 4:00 p.m. at St. Anthony of Padua Church on ul. Senatorska 31, located between Plac Bankowy and Plac Teatralny. The concert, organized under the auspices of Cantores Minores (the boychoir of St. John the Baptist Basilica Cathedral), featured the Polish premiere of works by two well-known contemporary composers: Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe’s orchestral Christmas work Awake, Glad Heart! (Polish translation) and British composer Roxanna Panufnik’s Christmas Kompot – four Polish carols arranged for a children’s chorus and orchestra. Both the Australian Embassy and the British Council cosponsored this musical Christmas season event.
Joining forces with Cantores Minores on the Panufnik carols was the Police Boys Choir (Fr. Miroslaw B. Oliwiak, director and founder). Roxanna Panufnik, the daughter of the late Warsaw-born Polish composer and conductor Andrzej Panufnik, set the following carols for her Christmas Kompot: Narodzil sie Jezus Chrystus, Lulajze Jezuniu, Witaj gwiazdko zlota, and Tryumfy Króla.
Polish accents include Alexandre Guilmant’s composition for organ Introduction et Variations sur un ancien noël polonais. The variations are based on the Polish carol W zlobie lezyand will be performed by organist Michal Sawicki. Still another Polish accent was the set of five Polish carols arranged for chorus and piano by Zygmunt Stojowski, a famous Polish pianist and composer who spent the last 40 years of his life working in the United States, where he died in 1946. Soloists for the concert included soprano Anna Mackowiak, alto Elzbieta Panko, tenor Krzysztof Szmyt, and baritone Ryszard Ciesla. The chorus and ad hoc orchestra – made up of members from the National Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra – performed under the direction of Joseph A. Herter.
O’Riley Plays Chopin
Christopher O’Riley’s performance of Chopin’s F-minor Concerto with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra was well reviewed by John Henken in the LA Times (24 Jan). The pianist “proved persuasively soulful in the twilight of the central larghetto and brilliantly clarified and propulsive in the finale….In encore, O’Riley rolled aggressively through Chopin’s D-minor Prelude.”
Gorecki’s Music In New York
The New Amsterdam Singers of New York included Gorecki’s “Totus Tuus” and Penderecki’s “Cherubim Song” at their December concerts.
Lutoslawski Cello Concerto Praised
After the January concert of Lutoslawski’s Cello Concerto featuring Lynn Harrell in Philadelphia, music critic Peter Dobrin (Philadelphia Inquirer (1/15) praised the performance as one “of great timbral and expressive variety” and praised conductor Simon Rattle as “one of the worthiest conductors around.”
Berman’s Chopin Recital
Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times gave an interesting critique of Boris Berman’s (head of Yale’s piano department) recent recital at Pomona college, in which the Russian emigre performed Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy and John Cage. The latter selection probably due to acknowledge Pomona’s most famous musical alumnus. “His strong fast fingers can, for instance, created a sense of engulfing, swirling tintinnabulation in the trills at the end of Chopin’s Polonaise-Fantasie, Op. 61, or the spidery, furious opening of Chopin’s B-Minor Scherzo…but there was also a quiet, hollow tolling of individual notes in the Chopin Nocturnes.”
A Season With The Polish Festival Orchestra: Jan Jakub Bokun in Conversation with Maria Anna Harley
USC graduate student of clarinet and conducting, Jan Jakub Bokun, has just returned from an extended tour with the Polish Festival Orchestra, formed in the summer of 1999 by pianist Krystian Zimerman to realize his novel vision of Chopin’s Piano Concerti. The following interview was conducted in January 2000, to give our readers one musician’s perspective on the widely-recognized musical celebration of the Chopin Year.
MAH: How did you get involved in the Polish Festival Orchestra?
JJB: An electryfying news was spread in the fall of 1998; Krystian Zimerman announced that he was forming a new Polish orchestra! The orchestra would perform and record the two Chopin Piano Concerti with Zimerman conducting from the piano. 40 concerts in the most prestigious concert halls were schedulled to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Chopin’s death. I sent my CV, letters of recommendation, and a video recording; two months later I was invited for a live audition that took place in Warsaw on December 20, 1998. The audition was successful and I was one of the lucky 60 musicians (out of 450 candidates!) who took part in this amazing project.
MAH: Please describe the schedule of performances of the orchestra. I know that you were rehearsing the concerti and recording them in the summer and performing at the Salle Pleyel in Paris, on October 17, 1999, the exact anniversary of Chopin’s death. What were other highlights of the “Season with Krystek”?
JJB: After an intense two weeks of marathon-rehearsals in Zabrze we performed in Poland (Gdańsk, Lódź, Kielce, Wrocław); at the Salzburg Festival in Austria; and recorded an album for Deutsche Grammophon in Torino in Italy. After a short break we continued in Poland (Zabrze, Kraków, Katowice, Poznań, Szczecin) and toured Europe (over 10 concerts in Germany, then Belgium (Brussels), France (Lille, Paris), England (London, Birmingham), Holland (Amsterdam) and Switzerland (Basel, Zurich, Luzern). After a 3-days rest we left for the U.S. and performed 11 concerts there: in Massachaussets, Connecticut, New York (Carneggie Hall), New Jersey and Washington, D.C. On November 24 – 25 we performed for the last time in the National Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw.
MAH: There have been rave reviews of the Zimerman-led performances and of the recording, welcomed as a “must-have” by the music critics. Could you add to this list of comments your own description of the most notable musical moments of performing together?
JJB: Probably every member of the orchestra has his/her own list of unforgettable performances. For me, there were quite many moments of most profound emotional intensity, moments that I will remember for the rest of my life. Those memories include the Salzburg performance, both Koln and Kraków Philharmonic concerts (overcharged “electric circuit”!), also Paris (Salle Pleyel on 0ctober 17 – Chopin’s death anniversary), Amsterdam (Concertgebouw has probably the greatest accoustic in the world; although I did not play in Musikverein in Vienna), Carneggie Hall (for sure one of our best concerts) and the last, very intimate performance in Warsaw…
MAH: How did working with this group of musicians for this extended period affect your muscianship and career?
JJB: The Chopin project was by all means the greatest thing that happened in my musical life. Something so fantastic may not happen again, so I would rather avoid answering your question…
MAH: Would you like to continue working with Zimmerman on related projects? Is a pianist conductor a better conductor than one that does not play the piano at hte same time?
JJB: The first question is rhetorical… Certainly, no conductor is better than a bad conductor… Music making with Krystian was like a big love affair, except that it involved 60 people! It felt much more like playing chamber music, therefore we did not really need the conductor. Of course, there is only a limited number of pieces that you can play with a pianist conducting from the keyboard. Can you imagine doing a Bartók piano concerto or- let us say – Tchaikovsky in such a way? Impossible.
MAH: Could you describe the new interpretation of the music and how it differs from others?
JJB: From the very first rehearsal we knew that Zimerman was bringing new life to this music. Chopin’s tutti passages were often considered to be badly orchestrated and unadventurous (Chopin was only 19-20 when wrote his Piano Concerti). Krystian proved that these statements were a nonsense. He emphasized the operatic element (by the time Chopin compose the concerti he already knew nine Rossini’s operas!) and suggested a very romantic approach to both pieces. The vocal element in these concertos was perhaps intensified by the fact that Chopin was in love with a young singer, Konstancja Gładkowska, when he composed them.
Apart from the rubato, portamento and inflections coming from the opera world Krystian exposed many interesting details from the score (string passages as well as flute, basson and horn soli), that were often ignored by other conductors. However, the most important thing for me is the fact that the orchestral part has been integrated with the solo part. This brought a great theatre vitality and dramatic impact to both works.
Calendar Of Events
FEB 3: Ivo Pogorelich, piano. Chopin/Rachmaninov. (Chopin: Polonaise in C minor, Three Mazurkas, Sonata No. 2 and Rachmaninov: Moments musicaux). Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, Cerritos, CA. 8:00 p.m. $47/42/37/32. Students $17. 800-300-4345.
FEB 4: Inauguration of the Bach Year in Pomorska Philharmonics. Cond. Marek Pijarowski. Arias from Bach’s Passions and the Mass in B minor. Lutoslawski’s Symphony no. 3.
FEB 7: Moniuszko. Opera “The Haunted Manor.” Silesian Opera, Katowice, 6 p.m.
FEB 8: Gorecki. Third Symphony. Wolfgang Sawalisch, cond. Elzbieta Szmytka, sop. Carnegie Hall. NY.
FEB 9: Opera “Krakowiacy i Górale” by Bogusławski and Stefani, at the National Opera House in Warsaw, 7 p.m.
FEB 11: Valentine Concert for Lovers. Baltic Philharmonic, Gdansk, 7 p.m. Program includes Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 2, with Natalia Stolarska, vln; Zygmunt Rychert, cond.
FEB 4-11: Seventh National Festival “Stars Promote” . Lower-Silesian Philharmonic, Jelenia Góra. Concerts include works by Wieniawski (4 Feb), Moniuszko and Paderewski (5 Feb), Moryto, Ratusińska, Wróbel, Zieliński (11 Feb).
FEB 24: Anna Sophie Mutter, violin. Music by Part, Stravinsky & Penderecki. UCLA Royce Hall. Los Angeles.
FEB 26: Chopin 190th Birthday Commemorative Recital. Eva Ostrovsky, piano. First place winner of the Josef Hofmann Competition. Embassy of the Republic Poland, Washington, D.C. 7:00 p.m. $25. 90 seats only, pre-paid first basis seating.
FEB 27: Chamber Music Concert. Music by Chopin and Brahms. Roza Kostrzewska-Yoder, piano. Marek Szpakiewicz, cello. In Riverside sponsored by the Polish American Congress. $15/ or 25/couple. Reservations 909-278-9700.
FEB 27: Music by Chopin and Zebrowski. New Century Saxophone Quartet. Kosciuszko Foundation Chamber Music Series. 3:00 p.m. WQXR Radio Broadcast: 4 March @ 9 p.m.
by Wanda Wilk
Chopin: Opus 111 Series Reviewed
Reviewed by David Denton (Fanfare, Jan/Feb 2000) who described this interesting 10-disc series as “exploring his life and music, beginning before his birth, and concluding with his legacy to music in general.” The first disc performed by the “folk group Zespoł Polski helps us understand Chopin’s roots with an exploration of traditional Polish music performed on instruments of Chopin’s time, adding to that perception by performing some of his piano music on their folk instruments. The booklet, with this first disc, details the many dance rhythms upon which Chopin could have drawn, though he was astute enough to select the mazurka, a dance that had been largely unexplored in classical music, as one of his major inspirations.”Denton’s four-page article discusses the rest of the set. His conclusion, while criticizing the often-spartan notes and inconsistent presentation, advises one to select a few issues best suited to one’s tastes, singling out the Sokolov and jazz versions by the “fabulous Andrzej Jagodzinsky Trio.” He also praises Janusz Olejniczak’s “two solo-piano discs first issued eight years ago, and followed by his appearance in the role of Chopin in the film La Note bleue. He has a striking facial resemblance to the composer, and here displays an affinity with the character of Chopin’s music in effervescent accounts of 23 Mazurkas…he has a very Romantic approach to the music, replacing the strict dance tempo with a rhythimic latitude that approaches self-indulgence. His range of dynamics and tonal nuances is pleasing, though I miss the aristocratic aura Ashkenazy induces.”
David Vroom, editor of American Record Guide, also criticizes some of the inconsistencies (use of an Erard piano, which Chopin never used) and some pieces being heard twice within the series and he “absolutely hates Chopin as jazz” and has “had enough of this Appalachian crossover: I like that music, but don’t mess up our Chopin with it-leave him alone!” He does highly recommend “Poland,” the Janusz Olejniczak disc but prefers Claudio Arrau and Ivan Moravec to Grigory Sokolov’s playing, even though he gives high marks to Sokolov for his “examplary technique and thoughtfulness in concept.”
Opus 111 has also produced “Muses books with CDs. The marriage of Art and Music.” These are full length books by leading scholars filled with artistic reproductions and photographs with an enclosed CD. Of the five advertised in Gramophone: Venice; Divine Harmony (Russia); Naples; AMA the Basques; Chopin. The Women in His Life. is listed as OPS 7008 and includes a CD with performances by Olejniczak and Sokolov mentioned above.
Jan Krzywicki’s Music On Albany
ALBANY TROY 337 CD: Jan Krzywicki. Quartet; Starscape; Trumpet Sonata; Rexroth Songs. Colorado Quartet; Mary Ann Coppa, Elizabeth Hainen, hp; Terry Everson, tpt; Emily Golden, mz; Susan Nowicki, p. Anthony Orlando, perc.This disc was reviewed in the latest issues of both the American Record Guide and Fanfare with both critics singling out the String Quartet. “Most riveting work on the disc.” Barry Kilpatrick (American Record Guide) “The real stunner of the collection is the 1993-94 String quartet commandinaly played b the Coloradans.” Robert Carl (Fanfare).
Both critics liked the music overall with Robert Carl being reminded of “Zemlinsky, even more Szymanowski.” The composer is an American of Polish heritage – “a former composition student of Vincent Persichetti, Nadia Boulanger, and Darius Milhaud, Jan Krzywicki (b 1948) teaches music theory and performance practice at Temple University, conducts the Network for New Music ensemble in Philadelphia, and is an increasingly prominent composer.”
Penderecki’s Chamber Music
MDG MDG 304 0917-2: Penderecki. String Trio. Prelude. Per Slava. Sonata. Cadenza per viola solo. Ensemble Villa Musica.”Fervently recommended” by David Denton (Fanfare). “The Ensemble Villa Musica is outstanding throughout, as each member takes a solo role. They are never lacking in terms of virtuosity, and string intonation is faultless…Above all, the unanimity in the Trio and Quartet is exemplary, and they ideally balance their respective weight. The recording quality is superb, and would rank among the finest chamber- music discs I have ever encountered.”
Rathaus For Orchestra
CENTAUR CRC 2402: Rathaus. Suite for violin and orchestra, Op. 27; Suite for Orchestra, Op. 29; Suite for Orchestra, Op. 29, Serenade for Orchestra, Op. 35; Polonaise symphonique, Op. 52. Joel Eric Suben, cond. Slovak RSP; Janacek PO; Dorota Anderszewska, vn.Reviewed by Paul A. Snook in Fanfare (Jan/Feb 2000). After a brief introduction of the composer: “During the 1920s in Berlin, the Polish-born composer Karol Rathaus (1895-1954) was widely regarded as one of the leading lights of the younger generation” Snook favorably describes the works and concludes with “The energetic performances by Czech orchestras under Joel Eric Suben are all first-rate…this collection of less daunting works probably offers the best possible introduction to one of the major figures awaiting rediscovery and reevaluation from the first modernist generation.”
I was happy to see that the violinist was Dorota Anderszewska who was one of the “Polish students” here at USC several years ago. She is presently concertmaster of the symphony orchestra in Bordeaux.
MDG 336 0889-2. Philipp Scharwenka. String Quartets; Piano quintet. Mannheim String Quartet; Thomas Duis, p.After a brief mention of this composer being overshadowed by his younger brother Franz Xaver (whose four piano concertos are all vailable on disc), Martin Anderson points out the strong points of this Polish born composer and why one should listen to this music. He recommends this disc along with another of this composer’s works: OLYMPIA OCD 655 called “Chamber Music-Vol. 1.”
DG 459 683 2GH. Chopin. Ballades; Fantasie; Preludes. Maurizio Pollini, pf. Tim Parry calls this “a recording to be reckoned with. Maurizio Pollini reminds you of the stature and greatness of this music.” (Gramophone January 2000).
Gramophone’s Recordings Of The Century
Music critics have been listing the recordings that have influenced them the most in past century in Gramphone:
Jed Distler wrote: “Chopin dominates my choices for the twentieth century’s first three decades, starting with Aleksander Michalowski’s deliciously exhibitionist Chopin Minute Waltz transcription….Paderewski’s 1912 A Minor Mazurka, Op. 17 …similarly, a gorgeous Nouvelle Etude in A flat recorded by Moriz Rosenthal in 1929 transports you to a kinder, gentler world.”
David Fanning: “A BBC Legends issue that fully lived up to its billing was of Richter in Chopin and Debussy.” Two discs of piano concertos by Polish artists Krystian Zimerman and Emanuel Ax were also included, however, the composers were not Polish.
Michael Oliver: “The splendour of Sir Simon Rattle’s recording of Szymanowski’s King Roger is so glorious, the opera’s exotic straneness so headily evoked, that its one drawback is that it might cast other Szymanowski performances into the shade. Raymond Clarke’s absorbing account of the three piano sonatas, which appeared the same month, also deserves every Szymanowski-admirer’s closest attention.”
Bryce Morrison: “Dante’s reissue of both the Chopin concertos – the start of their ongoing celebration of this pianist – is at least an assuaging compensationn for such a savage loss.” (Reference here to the untimely death of the soloist on this disc, pianist Noel Mewton-Wood).
Arnold Whittall: “In the orchestral music field I was particularly impressed by the latest issue in Naxos’s bargain-price Lutoslawski series – not only a sizzling account of the First Symphony, but a fine performance of the late song-sequence Chantefleurs et Chantefables.” He also included the EMI recording of “Szymanowski’s masterpiece” King Roger in which Sir Simon Rattle “conducts an exceptionally authoritative reading in superb modern sound.”
Szymanowski’s King Roger
EMI 5 56823 2: Szymanowski, King Roger. Sinfonia concertante (Symphony No. 4). Simon Rattle, cond. City of Birmingham SO; Elzbieta Szmytka (Roxanna); Ryszard Minkiewicz (Shepherd); Philip Langridge (Edrisi); Thomas Hampson (King Roger).This time it is Martin Anderson (Fanfare) raving about the beauty of this disc. “This is one of the most exciting recordings you are likely to come across in years, and it automatically takes its place as the best available recording for both King Roger and the Fourth Symphony…The importance of this set can hardly be overstated. Having musicians of this standing making such a convincing case for one of the finest 20th-century operas may even kick-start Szymanowski as a mainstream composer. It could not perform a more laudable service. Recommended with urgent enthusiasm.”
Other New Releases
NAXOS 8.554020. Paderewski. Piano Concerto, Polish Fantasy, Overture. Janina Fialkowska, National Polish Radio SO, Antoni Wit, cond.
CALA CA CD 0525. Stokowski – French Concert. An arrangement for orchestra by Leopold Stokowski of Chopin Mazurka No. 13 in A minor, Op. l7, is included with the music of French composers Duparc, Franck, Messiaen and Ravel. Recorded and conducted by 90-year old Stokowski.
DECCA released a new CD on 11 Jan 2000: Jean-Yves Thibaudet “The Chopin I Love” includes 19 “greatest hits” plus 4 bonus tracks on Chopin’s own Broadwood piano. A documentary “The Chopin Touch” will air on American TV this year.
Jan Lewan’s “Complete Wedding Album” even has music for removing garter scene. Available from the PolAmJournal bookstore.
Born This Month
- 2 February 1909 – Grażyna BACEWICZ, composer, violinist, pianist (d. 1969)
- 7 February 1877 – Feliks NOWOWIEJSKI, composer, organist
- 8 February 1953 – Mieszko GÓRSKI, composer, teacher (active in Gdansk and Koszalin)
- 9 February 1954 – Marian GORDIEJUK, composer, teacher, theorist (active in Bydgoszcz)
- 14 February 1882 – Ignacy FRIEDMAN, pianist and composer (d. 1948)
- 18 February 1881 – Zygmunt MOSSOCZY, opera singer (bass), chemist (d. 1962)
- 27 February 1898 – Bronisław RUTKOWSKI, organist, music critic, conductor and composer (d. 1964)
- 28 February 1910 – Roman MACIEJEWSKI, composer, pianist (d. 1998 in Sweden)
- 28 February 1953 – Marcin BŁAŻEWICZ, composer, teacher (active in Warsaw)
Died This Month
- 3 February 1959 – Stanisław GRUSZCZYŃSKI, tenor (active throughout Europe, b. 1891)
- 3 February 1929 – Antoni Wawrzyniec GRUDZIŃSKI, pianist, teacher, and music critic (active in Lody and Warsaw, b. 1875)
- 7 February 1954 – Jan Adam MAKLAKIEWICZ, composer (active in Warsaw, b. 1899)
- 9 February 1959 – Ignacy NEUMARK, composer and conductor (active in Kopenhagen, Oslo and Schveningen, b. 1888)
- 10 February 1905 – Ignacy KRZYŻANOWSKI, pianist and composer (active in Krakow and Warsaw, b. 1826)
- 14 February 1957 – Wawrzyniec Jerzy ŻUŁAWSKI, composer, music critic, teacher, and mountain climber (b. 1916)
- 23 February 1957 – Stefan SLĄZAK, singer, organist, conductor (active in Silesia, b. 1889)
- 27 February 1831 – Jósef KOZLOWSKI, composer (active at the Russian Court in Petersburg, b. 1757)
Jerzy WALDORFF, music critic and lover, a popular TV personality and author of numerous popular books and essays on music, died in Warsaw on 29 December 1999. Waldorff’s weekly column in the weekly Polityka, called “Muzyka łagodzi obyczaje” [Music makes the customs more gentle], drew together a devoted group of readers, attracted both to Waldorff’s strong, personal judgements and his idiosyncratic style. During TV appearances he often mentioned his musically-named dog as an arbiter of taste – “Puzon” [Trombone] was a dachhound of interesting opinions! The colorful, greater-than-life personality of Waldorff was widely admired, but also attacked. Sadly, his devotion to the cause of fundraising for the restoration of Warsaw’s historical cemetery, Powazki, was not rewarded after his death by the waiving of the fees due for Waldorff’s own funeral.