Polish Music Center Newsletter Vol. 7, no. 8
Knittel’s World Premiere In Warsaw
The world premiere of Krzysztof Knittel’s work “El maale rahamim” dedicated to the memory of the Jewish victims of the massacre at Jedwabne took place on 10 July 2001 in the Evangelical Church in Warsaw. The work’s title stems from the first words of the Hebrew prayer for the dead; it lasts for 12 minutes and is scored for choir and orchestra (Camerata Silesia and National Symphony Orchestra of the Polish Radio conducted by Wojciech Michniewski).In the spring of 2001 Knittel wrote music for Agnieszka Arnold’s film Neighbors and at that time was deeply moved by compassion for the victims of the murder.
I examined in detail various reports by the witnesses of the crime in Jedewbne, also including the reports by the participants in the crime. It was terrifying. I was ashamed and thought that it is a disgrace for us, Poles, regardless of the fact that the German soldiers and police were present. As a Pole, I felt bad about this. I decided to compose a work dedicated to the victims because I felt that I had to do something more than composing the music for the film
He continued: “I do it not only for the victims. During the war many Poles were murdered. I do it for another reason: for the future, for my children. I do not want to live in a country that is racist, that is dominated by Polish chovinism and nationalism. I want our country to be open and friendly to all the nations, all the races.”
The program of the concert included also “Melodie na Psałterz Polski” [Melodies to a Polish Psalter] by Mikołaj Gomółka (Evangelical composer from the 16th century, a representative of the Polish renaissance) and Gustav Mahler’s “Kindertotenlieder” sung by Ewa Podleś with the accompaniment of the Polish Radio orchestra conducted by Wojciech Michniewski.
Sinfonia Varsovia – For Its City
The renowned orchestra Sinfonia Varsovia dedicated six symphonic concerts to the inhabitants of the city after which it is named, i.e. Poland’s capital, Warsaw (Warszawa in Polish or Varsovia in Latin). The festival’s opening concert is scheduled for 1 September 2001 – the anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, but its program is focused on the celebrations of the Paderewski Year. The program, conducted by Jerzy Maksymiuk, includes works by Fryderyk Chopin, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Zbigniew Bujarski, Henryk Wieniawski, and Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodaly.
The soloists include Anna Bajor (soprano), Karol Radziwonowicz (piano), and Zbigniew Kornowicz (violin). The concerts take place in various locations in Warsaw: in the Polish Radio’s Concert Studio named after Witold Lutosławski, in the gardens of the Wilanów Palace, in the courtyard of the Royal Castle, and in various churches.
The conductors include also: Jacek Kaspszyk, Krzysztof Penderecki, Wojciech Michniewski, and harpsichordist Władysław Kłosiewicz who will lead the ensemble from the harpsichord in a concert of Baroque music (Bach, Teleman, Vivaldi). Other programs will present music by Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, and Rossini. The final concert of the festival will take place on 12 August, under the baton of Krzysztof Penderecki. All the performances are free.
Polish Radio Orchestra In France
National Symphony Orchestra of the Polish Radio in Katowice, often considered to be the best Polish orchestra, has left for a concert tour in France. During the International Piano Festival La Roque D`Antheron held in July 2001, the orchestra appeared at the opening night, with a program of piano concerti by Serge Rachmaninoff and Aram Khachaturian, as well as Chopiniana by Alexander Glazunov. The second concert program included works by Bela Bartók – his three Piano Concertos and a Hungarian Suite. The orchestra, conducted by Antoni Wit, previously traveled to Germany; the current tour was its 133 series of appearances abroad. The orchestra was created in 1935, recorded over 140 CDs, premiered over 40 new compositions, and worked with Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Masur, Mscislaw Rostropowicz, Placido Domingo, and Martha Argerich. [M]
24th Szymanowski Days In Zakopane
The 24th Days of the Music of Karol Szymanowski were initiated with a concert held on 19 July 2001 in his villa (now museum), Atma, in Zakopane. The series of concerts ended on 23 July and included presentations by musicians from several countries: Czech Republic, Denmark, Korea, Poland, Switzerland, and the U.S. Christina Michaeli Pryn (violin) of Denmark, accompanied by Joachim Olsson presented Szymanowski’s works along with pieces by Nielsen and Rafał Augustyn. All the concerts of this festival include works by Szymanowski along with compositions by others – his contemporaries or Polish students and followers. The festival is sponsored by the Karol Szymanowski Music Society in Zakopane and held in Szymanowski’s villa, “Atma” where his museum is located (it is a part of the National Museum of Kraków). [PAP]
10th Meeting Of Polonia Choirs In Koszalin
The Tenth World Meeting of Polonia Choirs took place at the end of July in Koszalin, Poland. The event includes the participation of twelve ensembles, mostly from neighboring countries: Byelarus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, and Ukraine.
The festival’s director, Zbigniew Ciechanowski, stated that a special attraction of the festival will be performances by a 40-person choir Ojczyzna [Homeland], created for the festival and consisting of the conductors who participate in the courses for Polonia choir directors organized yearly in Koszalin. In addition, the inaugural concert included performances by children participating in Polonian Workshops for Children and Youth 130 performers). An unveiling ceremony of a memorial plaque dedicated to Ignacy Jan Paderewski (the patron of the outdoor bowl where the festival takes place) preceded the performance.
Summer With Chopin In Busko Zdrój
The Seventh Summer in Chopin held between 17 and 26 July in Busko Zdrój (Marconi Sanatory), includes performances of pianists from several countries: Sviese Cepliauskaite (Lithuania), Eri Iwamoto, Mie Hirato, Shoko Seimiya, and Rumiko Tsuruta (Japan), Robernei Ferretti (Brasil), Krzysztof Grabowski (France), and Mariusz Dropek (Poland). In addition to solo Chopin recitals, there will be jazz concerts and an evening of poetry and music, “Nocturne.” The programs are hosted and coordinated by Prof. Barbara Hesse-Bukowska.
Cantores Minores Tour – A Success!
The tenth anniversary tour of the Cantores Minores, the Men’s and Boy’s Choir of the Basilica Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Warsaw, under the direction of American-born Joseph A. Herter was a great success. The choir began their tour on 7 July in New York city and performed more than 30 times in 21 cities throughout New York, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and ended in Minnesota on August 12th. The group’s repertoire consists of music not only by Polish composers (both early and contemporary, like Gomolka, Gorczycki, Moniuszko, Bernat, Nikorowicz, Prosnak, Stojowski, Paderewski, Lutosławski, Panufnik, Swider and Piotr Moss), but also included European and American composers (Anton Bruckner, Edward Elgar, Howard Hanson, Karol Hansen, among others) and some spirituals. In addition to the vocal numbers, Jerzy Dubinski, their organist and pianist, performed organ solos of music by Bach, Surzynski and Messiaen, as well as a transcription of Szymanowski’s famous Etude Op. 4, No.3 by British musicologist Alistair Wightman. The truly varied and interesting programs were complemented by soprano soloist Anna Mackowiak, who is their vocal coach and male soloists from the local cities (baritone Gregory Moore in NYC and DC and tenor David Troiano in Detroit. Michal Osmycki doubles on the violin and soloists from the ensemble include: countertenor Franciszek Kubicki, Jaroslaw Smolarz, tenor and Henryk Grocholski, baritone. Congratulations to Joseph Herter for his splendid organizational ability! [WW]
Paderewski Song Recital
The Polish Theatre Institute of New York presented a recital of all the songs (22 of them) composed by famed pianist and composer Ignacy Jan Paderewski. The PMC was happy to be of assistance in obtaining all the scores for this concert so ably organized by Nina Polan. As in the last production of this institution (Moniuszko’s “Halka”) pianist Pablo Zinger again served as music director and accompanist. Guest artist Monika Krajewska (mezzo-soprano) joined the regular cast of singers: Robin Rubendunst (soprano), Bruce Rameker (baritone), Gregorio Ranger (tenor) in a memorable recital. The songs were sung in Polish, English and French, with the latter being one of my favorites, the Opus 22 “Twelve Songs to words by Catulle Mendes.” If you would like to have a CD of the Paderewski Songs program or a CD of the Moniuszko opera, “Halka” just let me know at email@example.com and I’ll relay the message to Nina Polan of the Polish Theatre in New York. [WW]
Paderewski Tribute In November
If you are in New York in November be sure to attend the “Tribute to Paderewski” concert at Carnegie Hall sponsored by the Kosciuszko Foundation on November 4th. The Sinfonia Varsovia conducted by Jerzy Maksymiuk and artists Janusz Olejniczak (piano) and Anna Bajor (soprano) will present an all-Polish program featuring the music of Paderewski, Chopin, Moniuszko, and Kilar. They will be joined by the Paderewski Festival Singers, a New York choir especially formed for this occasion under the direction of Jan Sporek. For further information call Tom Pniewski, Director of Cultural Affairs at the Kosciuszko Foundation (212) 734-2130, or visit the Kosciuszko Foundation web site: http://www.kosciuszkofoundation.org.
Paderewski Lecture Series
Polish Music Center at USC is planning to celebrate the Paderewski Year by creating a new program that will continue over the years: the Paderewski Lectures. In its initial year, 2002/2003, two lectures, or lecture-recitals will be held at the University of Southern California. The lectures will be given by distinguished representatives of Polish culture, preferrably musicians. The lectures will be recorded and published, or released on CD (in case of the lectures). This permanent addition to the Polish Music Center’s activities is designed to publicize the wide range of Polish cultural achievements, by highlighting visits of Polish artists, musicians, and composers. Ignacy Jan Paderewski was a man of many talents, a pianist, composer, statesman, humanitarian, and a great speaker. His charismatic presence has not been forgotten by Polish Americans and Poles, but seems to be less important for Americans. The formal announcement of the lecture series will be made in September 2001.
Irena Wieniawska (1879-1932), a famous daughter of Henryk Wieniawski, was known during her lifetime also as Lady Dean Paul. However, neither of these names could be found on her published music, that was simply issued with the name of “Mr. Poldowski.” Despite these secretive origins (justified by the prejudice against women composers still prevalent at the time), the songs are miniature gems to texts by best French poets. Wieniawska used the form of the French art song, or melodie, as perfected by Gabriel Faure, her teacher.
A superb collection of these songs has now been made available by the Fundacja Galeria na Prowincji in Lublin, Poland. The Foundation was a sponsor of a recording prepared and realized by French contralto Catherine Dagois, accompanied on the piano by pianist Edgar Teufel. The CD, issued by Ars Produktion (FCD 368 398), includes 20 songs to texts by Paul Verlaine. The piano accompaniments are shimmering, harmonically rich and poetic, the vocal line perfectly moulded to the vivid, yet mysterious texts.
The disc’s cover is dark-brown and this “sepia” coloring brings in a mood of a bygone era. But there is nothing “bygone” about Wieniawska’s songs, that sound as fresh and captivating now as when they were composed almost 100 years ago. [MT]
Festival Of Organ And Chamber Music In Lezajsk
The tenth edition of International Festival of Organ and Chamber Music takes place in July-September in the basilica of the Bernardine Order in Lezajsk. The highlight of the festival is the famous Baroque organ preserved in original state, without electronic modifications. There are only two other instruments of this class in Poland: in Oliwa and Kamien Pomorski. The last concert of the festival will feature the Symphonic Orchestra of the Holy Cross Philharmonics, conducted by Jerzy Maksymiuk accompanying soloists (organ and cello). One of the curiosities on the program is a concert of Duo Glass of Gdansk who presents classical works on a glass harmonica.
Folk Song And Dance Ensemble Śląsk In Morocco
Polish State Folk Song and Dance Ensemble was invited to tour Morocco. As the only representative of Poland, the group will perform in the International Festival of Culture and Art in Rabat, organized under the motto of “the cultural inheritance for peace and the cooperation of the nations.” 90 members of the group will travel to present their colorful spectacle of folk and national dances and costumes. One of the performances will take place in the gardents of the Royal Palace in Rabat. The group, created in 1953 by composer and conductor Stanisław Hadyna is now bearing the name of its founder who died two years ago. The group’s repertoire focuses on the songs and dances from Silesia and the Beskid Mountains.
8th Music Days – Drozdowo-Łomża
The festival is one of the greatest regional events in the Łomża district, centered around the manor of the Lutosławski family in Drozdowo. The events includes performances in local churches and the manor, now converted into a Nature Museum. This year’s program was focused on Marian motives and the celebration of the year dedicated to Cardinal Wyszyński, called “Prymas Tysiąclecia” (The Primas of the Millennium). Opera singer, Jacek Szymanski serves as the festival’s director and invites guest performers, including, Marzena Prochacka (soprano), Tamara Rakocz (soprano), Józef Przestrzelski (tenor), and Dariusz Wójcik (basso).
Halina Czerny Stefanska And Henryk Debich Died
Pianist Halina Czerny-Stefańska, outstanding pianist and teacher, died in Kraków on 1 July 2001. Since winning the I Prize in the Chopin International Piano Competition in 1949, she has concertized extensively in Europe, Japan and the U.S., including performances with George Solti and Zubin Mehta. She served on the jury of the Chopin Competition numerous times. She is survived by her husband, pianist and teacher, Professor Stefanski of Kraków. For more information check our July Newsletter.
The funeral of Henryk Debich, eminent conductor and composer, took place on 12 July 2001. For forty years Debich directed the Orchestra of the Polish Radio and TV in Łódź, he died on 4 July at the age of 80. Debich, born in January 1921 in Pabianice studied theory, composition, and conducting at the State Higher School of Music in Łódź, with Bohdan Wodiczko and Tomasz Kiesewetter. After the war he was a conductor at the Łódź Philharmonic, but his greatest musical achievement was his work with the Radio and TV Orchestra that he directed since September 1949 until its dissolution in 1993. The orchestra accompanied singers during national and international song festivals at Sopot, Opole, Kolobrzeg, and Zielona Góra. Debich participated in numerous international juries in song competitions, in Drezno, Athens, Istambul, Bucarest, and Havana.
Tomasz Stanko Online
Polish Jazz Network (http://www.polishjazz.com/) is proud to announce the opening of the new website devoted exclusively to the art of one of the most intriguing contemporary world artists – Tomasz Stanko. The website address is http://www.stanko.polishjazz.com/. The site consists of Stanko’s biographical note, timetable of his flourishing career, links to many reviews of Stanko’s releases, interviews with the artist.
You can also visit an Internet gallery with Tomasz Stanko as a subject of photos from many leading European photographers. One of the most important future of the site is the most complete on the Web (and beyond) discography of Tomasz Stanko, with individual pages full of detailed information about specific releases from Polish trumpet master. Via website you can also sample selections of Stanko’s music through Mp3 and Real Player clips. Furthermore, fully interactive, easy to use and 100% secure store is available for those interested in purchasing or trading Stanko’s CDs and LPs. In addition, the website provides a link to community forum to allow sharing comments, remarks and commentaries about Tomasz Stanko art among his fans. Please visit Tomasz Stanko website at http://www.stanko.polishjazz.com/.
Tomas Stanko is a leading European jazz trumpeter, composer and bandleader. Since early 1960s he has been a principal force in European jazz. Highly unique and one of its kind music of Stanko played a crucial role in shaping the many forms of Polish and European jazz avant-garde. Its open form, abstract of expression, diverse interpretation and highly emotional, almost “human” tone of his instrument, characterizes music of Tomasz Stanko. His art is on one hand deeply connected with jazz universe of John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Don Cherry, and on the other hand profoundly influenced by Slavic lyric and avant-garde form of Stanko’s mentor and long time collaborator – Polish pianist and composer Krzysztof Komeda. Despite being associated with free jazz, Stanko music is very communicative, receptive and accessible for all jazz fans willing to take the extra step.
Polish Jazz On Internet Radio
You might listen to Polish jazz streaming 24 hours a day 7 days a week at http://www.live365.com/stations/238246. Enjoy!
A comprehensive site on all Russian and Eastern European matters is Slavophilia (http://www.slavophilia.com). The main goal of this site is to promote Slavic culture in English-speaking community. Their links include one to the Polish Music Center.
Polish Literary Journal “Zwoje”
New, illustrated issue of “Zwoje” (in Polish), vol. 3 no. 28 has appeared at http://www.math.ualberta.ca/~amk/zwoje/ The journal presents poetry, novellas, and essays by eminent Polish authors, including Leszek Długosz, Czesław Miłosz, Julia Hartwig, Ryszard Kapuściński, Andrzej Kobos, and many others. The essays discuss the art of Witkiewicz, nationalism, and Polish-Jewish relations.
Slenczynska Receives The ACPC Award
During its annual convention held this year July 17-21 in Chicago, the American Council of Polish Clubs presented its Cultural Achievement Award to former child prodigy, pianist, and teacher Ruth Slenczynska Kerr. Ruth Slenczynska is also the author of two books, Forbidden Childhood and Music At Your Fingertips. At this 75th anniversary event, presided over by president Marion V. Winters of Massachusetts, soprano Kinga Skrętkowicz presented a recital as the winner of the annual Marcella Kochanska Sembrich Vocal Competition.
Monograph On Zygmunt Krauze
Krystyna Tarnawska-Kaczorowska has just published yet another monograph of a Polish composer following her studies of Tadeusz Baird, Augustyn Bloch, and others. Zygmunt Krauze: Między intelektem, fantazją, powinnością, i zabawą [Zygmunt Krauze: Between intellect, imagination, duty and play] was issued by PWN Scientific Publishers in Warsaw (2001).
The volume includes an introduction, Krauze’s biography and a chronological list of works followed by three interviews: first dealing with the music, second about “a bit of everything,” and the third about theater music and opera. The bulk of the volume consists of detailed studies of a series of Krauze’s compositions, starting with his theory of “unistic music” of the 1960s, and including important details, analysis, and overviews of major works in his oeuvre.
The book is illustrated with music examples, diagrams and photographs, including some in color. It is handsomely produced by the reliable publisher that has issued many valuable music studies. The collection was long overdue: the sooner it appears in English translation, the better. [MT]
Triangiel – Music Publisher
I have just been made aware of the huge scope of production of the Polish publishing company, Triangiel. Founded in 1991 in Warsaw by Marcin Mazur and Wlodzimierz Soltysik, the new Polish music publishing firm has already almost seventy albums in their catalog of predominantly Polish choral music arranged for mixed choirs, children’s or female choirs, all male chorus, solo voices, and some instrumental music ranging from early Polish music to contemporary, and including Polish Christmas carols and even American negro spirituals. Visit their web-site to see what treasures they have selected for use by schools and choirs at very nominal prices: “www.triangiel.com” or “www.polbox.com/t/triangel/tytulowa.html.” The publishers are to be commended on their choices of music. There are five albums of motets and hymns by Grzegorz Gorczycki, an outstanding composer of Polish Baroque music. Some of this music has never been published before. They include the best early Polish music composers, like Wacław of Szamotuły or Mikołaj Gomółka. The latter’s setting of all 40 Psalms of Jan Kochanowski has long been regarded a national treasure. Triangiel has made available the best of early Polish music as well as the best of contemporary choral music with albums by Koszewski, Mazur, Twardowski and Sielicki. Their latest publication was issued for the 110th anniversary of the Warsaw Singing Society “Lutnia” in Poland; here works by Marian Sawa, Romuald Twardowski, Andrzej Koszewski, and Andrzej Hundziak appear in print for the first time.
The Triangiel has an ongoing series of Polish Christmas carols with at least four albums completed so far; two albums of Chopin’s songs (one arranged for children’s choir a capella, the other for mixed choir); Polish patriotic hymns and other miscellaneous categories. One album that is a “must” for every Polish-American household is the album of cabaret songs, “Już taki jestem zimny drań” (I’m Such a Cold-blooded Rogue), whom all familiar with this song will know was written by the most famous Polish song-writer and film composer, Henryk Vars. This album includes seven of “the most popular pre-war songs from cabarets and films in arrangements preserving original harmony and rhythm, including a historical background.” Five of the songs here were written by Vars and they are unavailable otherwise. I know, I tried. Since the albums are filled with informative notes in Polish and English, they should become part of the repertoire of every school choir here in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world. They certainly are an important and missing addition to choral music that will enrich the culture of the country where it is performed.
You may e-mail them at “firstname.lastname@example.org.” or at “SOLTYSIK@POLBOX.COM.” You may also write to Wlodzimierz Soltysik, ul. Szczesliwicka 2 Lok. 8, 02-352 Warszawa, Poland. You can order the Christmas albums (one for SSA; one for SATB) on the internet from cantusquercus.com at only $1.95 each. Cantus Quercus Press is located in Thousand Oaks, California and may be reached at 805-497-0400 or FAX 805-4944250. [WW]
Polish News Magazine
The number of Polish American publications steadily grows. The Polish News, according to Agnieszka Tessar-Sekowski, is the only bilingual illustrated monthly magazine in the area published KJT International Ltd. (www.polishnews.com) and available by subscription. The news section brings information from Poland, as well as several regions of the U.S.; other sections include Economy, History and Civilization, Culture, Our Home, etc. For more information contact: KJT International, Ltd.
911 W. Irving Park Rd.
Bensenville, IL 60106
PMC Polish Strings
The second CD issued by the Polish Music Center, “Polish Strings: 20th Century Orchestral Classics” is available from the Center. The recording of a 31 March concert features Jan Jakub Bokun, conductor and Adrianna Lis, flute, with USC Strings. If you would like to order a copy you could make a donation of $20 for the CD only or $120 for year of “sustaining membership” in the PMC (the CD is a gift).
The CD includes:
- Romuald Twardowski: Triptych of the Virgin Mary
- Henryk Górecki: Three Pieces in Old Style
- Tadeusz Baird: Colas Breugnon (Adrianna Lis, flute solo)
- Wojciech Kilar: OrawaThe first CD issued by the PMC, “Polish Chamber Music,” with works by Baird, Serocki, Bacewicz, Szeligowski, and Ptaszynska is also available.
Anderszewski In The Spotlight
According to Richard Dyer of the Boston Globe (music review: “Anderszewski lets rhythm flow” in the 19 July 2001 issue of the paper), the Polish pianist is already established as an international figure and it is “only a matter of time before American households will need to learn how to pronounce his name.” A video of Anderszewski’s performance of Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations by Bruno Monsaingeon will soon be released in the U.S. Dyer believes that “it may be the best visual document ever made of a pianist in performance, and Anderszewski makes the hourlong work pass in a flash of lightning.”The critic has highest words of praise for Anderszewski’s talent: “Anderszewski’s wonderful fingers are directed by a strikingly original musical intelligence; he’s a poet at the keyboard, an interpretive genius, which means you can’t argue with him, even if you don’t like what he’s doing. And he’s one of the few pianists today who could get away with playing a recital on a sultry night wearing a black body shirt instead of a penguin suit.”
After a detailed overview of Anderszewski’s recent concert appearance at an International Piano Festival in Chapin Hall, Williamstown, Mass., Dyer reserved the highest words of praise for Anderszewski’s intuitive sense of rhythm: “Connecting the viewpoints is Anderszewski’s animating sense of rhythm, the most remarkable in Bach since the legendary Wanda Landowska’s. Bach’s dance rhythms are defining, and Anderszewski is in constant motion. He’s not dancing to the music himself, but you can see the rhythmic impulse originate at the center of his being and pulse through his fingers and onto the keyboard. For Piotr Anderszewski life is rhythm, and rhythm is life.” [MT; news courtesy of Amanda Roberts Gilmore]
Yundi Li In Los Angeles
Chopin Competition winner, 18-year old Chinese pianist, Yundi Li, gave a recital at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles, on Saturday 28 July, playing a Nocturne, Ballade, Scherzo, Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante and the B minor Sonata. The concert program is described in more detail in the July issue of our Newsletter.
Urbaniak’s Film Music
The Thursday supplement of Nowy Dziennik reports on music events in Poland and concerts in the New York area. They inform us that Jazz artist Michal Urbaniak returned to Poland to complete writing the music to Andrzej Czeczot’s animated film, “Eden.” He is also engaged to compose the music to Krzysztof Krauze’s film, “Nikifor.” [WW]
Paderewski In Warsaw
A concert of music of Paderewski and Chopin by pianist Karol Radziwonowicz and the I Solisti di Varsovia Quintet preceded the unveiling of a bust of Paderewski by artist Maksymilian Biskupski, along with the opening of a gallery dedicated to Paderewski and Polish emigrees at the Paderewski Museum in Warsaw. [WW]
Three Pianists Gala In New York
In the Nowy Dziennik, pianist Roman Markowicz reported about special Three Pianists Gala Concert held at the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland on 17 June 2001. Markowicz, one of the pianists featured on the program, highly praised pianists Jacek Zganiacz and Adam Makowicz who participated in the concert. The highlight of the program for the audience was hearing Chopin’s music in its original form followed by jazz improvisations based on the same music by Makowicz. The concert included also piano arragements of Franz Schubert’s songs by Franz Liszt, and various other works by Liszt and Schubert. Since the pianists alternated constantly, and the program consisted of a grand total of 27 items, it was somewhat confusing to follow. The Makowicz improvisations were the most memorable, along with a surprise addition to the concert: a brief appearance of the violinist Anna Karkowska, a talented graduate of the Juilliard School of Music who was accompanied by her sister.
by Wanda Wilk
Anderszewski’s “Diabelli Variations” Praised
“A recording that can stand with the very best” is how Stephen Plaistow described Piotr Anderszewski’s newest CD of the Diabelli Variations by Beethoven on Virgin Classics VC5 45468-2 in the Gramophone, August 2001 issue. He continues: “This is the most intelligent, searching and sheerly delighful account of the Diabelli Variations to have reached us since Alfred Brendel’s… A compelling recital: Piotr Anderszewski plays with a perfect balance of rigour and imagination […] an outstanding issue.”
Anderszewski is also featured in the News section in an interview by Paul Cutts, where his picture stands above the pianist’s account of “My Month,” beginning May 15th in Paris where he “went to the Paris Cinemateque for the premiere screening of a film, directed by Bruno Monssaingeon,” of himself playing the Diabelli Variations. The remainder of the month was a whirlwind tour of the world: on to Lyon to perform them at the Lyon Opera’s concert Series, then to Geneva for a day […] on the 19th preparing for my first tour of Australia in June by studying the Bach concertos […] June 8 fly to Australia […] my tour starts in Sydney and I’ll be playing throughout with the Australian Chamber Orchestra […] doing the Bach Concertos and Haydn’s D major Concerto […] I’ll cover Sydney, Brisbane, Camberra, Melbourne and Adelaide before flying back to Paris on June 29.” An exlusive interview with this outstanding former USC student appears online at www.gramopone.co.uk.
Penderecki On EMI
EMI Double Forte CZS5 74302-2 Penderecki. Key works of a Polish modernist from the 1960s and 1970s conducted by the composer. Wanda Wilkomirska, vn., Siegfried Palm, vc., Felicja Blumenthal, hpd, Krakow Philharmonic Chorus, London Symphony orch., Polish Radio Nat’l Symphony Orchestra.
“These 1970s analogue recordings were digitally remastered and reissued on separate mid-price CDs in the mid-1990s. It makes good sense for EMI to pair them, since together these compositions define the range – the strengths and weaknesses – of Penderecki’s early style […] Emanations and the Dream of Jacob still deserve to be heard in the concert hall, as does Threnody […] These performances underline the composer’s strengths as a conductor concerned to bring out the dramatic immediacy of his scores […] In the early 21st century, this music has acquired genuine historical interest, and the recordings should be taken in that light.” (Arnold Whittall in the Gramophone).
Penderecki On Daedalus Music
Daedalus Music advertises a special sale of the Penderecki Gala. Regularly sold at $17, now available for only $7.98. The CD includes Sinfonietta, Flute Concerto, Quartet for Clarinet and String Trio, Sonata for violin and piano, Benedicamus Domino, Lacrimosa and Song of Cherubim. Featured soloists: Jean-Pierre Rampal, Jadwiga Gadulanka, sop., Christoph Poppen and Grigori Zhislin, violin & others. Warsaw Nat’l Philharmonic Choir, Sinfonia Varsovia, Henryk Wojnarowski & Krzysztof Penderecki, conductors. Recorded at a performance in the National Philharmonic Hall in 1993 in honor of the composer’s 60th birthday.
Penderecki’s Chamber Music
CPO 999 730-2. Penderecki: String Trio; Prelude for Clarinet; Per Slava; Piano Sonata; Cadenza for viola; Clarinet Quartet. Eduard Brunner, cl.; German String Trio; Patrick O’Byrne, p.
This recording was reviewed in the last issues of both Fanfare and American Record Guide. Paul Rappoport summarizes in Fanfare: “Except for the Quartet, the compositions on the CPO are not major ones. But they do add to the understanding of this major Polish composer.” Steven E. Ritter seems to agree with Rappaport about the composer’s importance concluding his review with “this is mandatory as a document of one of the most important composers of our time.”
Polonia Bookstore: DUX And ACCORD
The Polonia Bookstore in Chicago (www.polonia.com) now has the following new classical CDs on sale released by two Polish recording companies, Accord and Dux, which sell for $15.95 each, except for the 2-disc Karlowicz disc.
ACCORD ACD 00792. Wojciech Kilar. Missa pro pace. $15.95. Izabella Klosinska, Jadwiga Rappe, Charles Daniels, Romuald Tesarowicz. Warsaw Philharmonic, National Orchestra & Choir of Poland.
DUX CD DUX 150. Chopin. Piotr Paleczny, piano. Prima vista Quartet, Janusz Marynowski. Polonaise, Impromptu, Nocturne, Scherzo, Piano Concerto in E minor.
DUX CD DUX 0193. Renaissance Ball in Warsaw. Jacek Urbaniak, cond. Misc. compositions. Anonymous from Jan of Lublin Tablature, Valentin Haussmann, Wojciech Dlugoraj, Anonymous from a manuscript from Plock and Victoris Codex.
DUX 0197. Paderewski in Memoriam. Stefania Toczyska, sop., Jeff Cohen, piano. Paderewski’s Opus 22, “Twelve Melodies to text by Catulle Mendes” and songs by Camille Saint-Saens.
DUX 0132-2. Karlowicz, Mieczyslaw. Symphonic Poems. Silesian Philharmonic, Jerzy Salwarowski, cond. $29.95. The conductor has devoted his efforts to bringing out all of this outstanding composer’s (generally regarded as Poland’s first symphonist) symphonic works.
They also have in stock: POMATON EMI CD 724352 306121. Zbigniew Preisner. Ten Easy Piano Pieces. Leszek Mozdzer, piano. $15.95.
ACCORD 456085. Lutoslawski: Overture for Strings, Funeral Music, Venetian Games, Partita, Interlude. Krzyszof Jakowicz, v.; Krystyna Borucinska, p. Sinfonia Varsovia, Wojciech Michniewski, cond.
Reviewed in American Record Guide, July/Aug 2001: “This program explores his music for chamber orchestra in chronological order […] as an introduction to the composer it is excellent.” (David W. Moore)
Silesian String Quartet
ACCORD 11336. Szymanowski, Lutoslawski. String Quartets. Silesian Quartet.
Carl Bauman (in the American Record Guide was impressed with the “outstanding notes” and the performance of the Silesian Quartet, which has recorded the Szymanowski Quartets for a second time. He writes, “They again have the music in their very soul […] they present them with a sensual otherworldliness that is a key to much of Szymanowski’s music. The sound is richer and warmer than before.”
Songs By Marek
Koch Schwann 365752. Marek: Songs (all). Elzbieta Szmytka, sop. Jean Rigby, mezzo; William Dazeley, bar.; Iain Burnside, p.
This is volume 6 of Koch’s Marek edition. “Were it not for Koch-Schwann and the Czeslaw Marek Foundation of Zurich, this skilled Polish-Swiss composer (1891-1985) would still be completely unknown.” John Boyer calls this CD in the American Record Guide “a commendable addition to the Marek Edition.”
BBC Legends BBC 4057-2. Chopin: Piano Pieces. Shura Cherkassky, p.
Harold C. Schonberg gives us a little background about the pianist, a child prodigy and student of the late Josef Hofmann, who played magically but never had a great career. He had a perfect technique, a glowing sound, incredible reflexes, always interesting if sometimes unorthodox ideas about the music under his fingers. When performing in New York every pianist in the vicinity, from Josef Hofmann down, was in the audience. These are recordings of concerts given in England btween 1970 and 1991. “This disc, one hopes, will focus attention on a very great pianist.”
Harmonia Mundi 901 721. Chopin: Piano Pieces. Alain Planes, piano.
Channel 15998. Chopin: Piano Pieces. Dejan Lazic, p.
JRI 113. Chopin: Piano Pieces. Frederick Moyer, p.
DG 469 127-2. Chopin: Piano Pieces. Martha Argerich, p.
Reviewer David Mulbury recommends each of the four discs. He praises Planes playing of the Preludes as among the most beauiful he has heard, although his top choices for them are Bolet, Novaes, Ohlsson and Zayas. He also enjoyed the rich quality of the 1906 Steinway used in this recording. Of the second disc he considers Lazic born in Zagreb in 1977 a “young artist to be watched with interest.” The third disc has “unquestionably the finest polish and immaculate discretion of these four.” He does find the Kawai piano used not in the same class with the best Steinways and Bosendorfers and found the acoustic to be dry. “The most memorable work on the program? Surely the D-flat Nocturne, thought by many to be Chopin’s quintessential Nocturne; Moyer’s recording of it is one of the most winsome to be found.” Of the last disc: “In the past, I have been bothered by Martha Argerich’s Chopin, so highly acclaimed by most critics, feeling that it is too white-hot, too extreme in brilliance to be truly Chopinesque…Her Grande Polonaise Brillante…decisively refutes that opinion. She is at her best in Chopin’s quieter movements, and the Andante spianato is ravishingly beautiful […] We have here a performance that flirts perilously close to perfection.”
DG 289 469 127-2. Chopin. Andante spianato; Scherzo, Piano Sonata, Piano Concertos 1 & 2. Martha Argerich, p. Claudio Abbado, cond. Vladimir Ashkenazy, p. David Zinman, cond. London Symphony Orchestra.
This CD is reviewed in the American Record Guide (see above) as well as by Michael Ullmann in Fanfare (July/Aug 2001). Most of the CD is taken from an Argerich 1965 LP (London CS 6440), and Aszkenazy plays Piano Concerto No. 2. Ullman states: “This reissue is more than welcome; its price makes it a steal.”
Stojowski Manuscripts At PIASA
by Maja Trochimczyk
Zygmunt Stojowski (b. 14 May 1870 in Strzelce; d. 6 November 1946 in New York), is a lesser-known, though fascinating, figure in Polish music of the 20th century. A recent revival of interest in this pianist, composer, teacher, and humanitarian activist, has started with Joseph Herter’s search for material that he has included in the concerts of the Mens and Boys Choir Cantores Minores of Warsaw. Through Herter’s research, Stojowski’s family archives at the home of his son, Henry Stojowski, an eminent Polish architect, have been located and examined.
I have visited Mr. Stojowski’s residence and reviewed the file, finding some fascinating source material that will soon be published – thanks to the assistance of Henry Stojowski – in the next issue of the Polish Music Journal vol. 4 no. 1, dedicated to the contemporaries and successors of Paderewski. Some of the archival material has previously found its way into the collections of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America, of which Stojowski was a co-founder and a distinguished member until his death in 1946. His wife, Loisa Stojowski (of Peruvian descent), an excellent pianist herself, donated a box of documents to PIASA including a range of material the catalog of which might be seen at the Institute’s web site: Piasa Archives.
The files (Collection no. 046 Sigismond Stojowski Papers) contain what now appears to be a Stojowski set of arrangements of Polish folk and historical songs that were used in a 1915 Polish Pageant, a fundraising event for the Polish cause, held in New York with the participation of such famed musicians as the soprano Marcellina Sembrich Kochańska. However, the manuscript materials for the Pageant in the PIASA archives consisting of full score, vocal score, choral, vocal, and orchestral parts, are mislabelled in the catalogue as being composed by Ernest Schelling. My new identification of this material was made possible by comparison with Stojowski’s later collection of Polish folk and national songs, issued in 1937 by Edward B. Marks Music Corporation, New York.
The Memories of Poland: Album is a notably patriotic and simple composition with a plethora of Polish flags and eagles on the red-and-white cover highlighting the national colors and emblems. The 27 songs have Polish and English texts, as well as simple piano arrangements. Of interest are several patriotic and religious anthems: Boga Rodzico [i.e. Bogurodzica, a setting of the 13th. c. Marian hymn that is known as Poland’s first national anthem], Boże, coś Polskę [God Save Poland], and Jeszcze Polska [or Dabrowski Mazurka, current national anthem]. These patriotic melodies are juxtaposed with love songs, krakowiaks, mazurs and wedding songs.
Arrangements of the same titles are included in the Polish Pageant file in the PIASA Archives. The content of the archival file and the extant publication are remarkably similar and allow us to identify the composer as Stojowski. However, the final identification may only be made after comparing the handwriting of the manuscript with other manuscripts by Stojowski. The full-evening Pageant included a historical survey of Poland’s most celebrated moments, with individual scenes dedicated to major kings, such as Kazimierz Wielki, or Władysław Jagiełło. The final parts of the Pageant consisted of a presentation of Polish folklore: a wedding ceremony and the folk music of the Tatra Mountains. The music was arranged by several composers; the “Jeszcze Polska” (or, properly, Dąbrowski’s Mazurka) orchestral arrangement, for instance, is signed as authored by Grzegorz Fitelberg, Poland’s famous conductor and composer of Jewish descent, a friend and champion of Szymanowski. The existence of this arrangement has not been noted and it is difficult to recognize its presence from the current listing on the PIASA page.
However, the identification of Stojowski’s authorship of this manuscript allows us to put to rest the “urban legend” that PIASA was somehow responsible for the loss of the composer’s manuscripts. Quite the opposite: his documents including also personal memorabilia and documents, press clippings, etc, are held in several acid-free boxes in air-conditioned room in the archives that are properly documented and maintained. PIASA’s archival project has just been completed and the Stojowski Papers were previously unavailable for study. It is a valuable collection for any historian of Polish music, any specialist in Polish American cultural matters, or any expert on Paderewski.
As a Polish patriot and humanitarian, Stojowski was actively in many projects. However, music was his first and foremost love. He is widely recognized as an original piano teacher of great stature in his time. Paderewski himself had the following to say about his colleague and one-time student (in a note dated 13 May 1924, New York; PIASA Archives):
It has been my privilege and my joy to assist Mr. Sigismond Stojowski in his studies as a pianist for a number of years. Remarkable pianist and composer, extraordinary musician, highly educated and refined man, he has done me the honor of adopting my method and style to such an extent that, whenever listening to some young people who had enjoyed his guidance and tuition, I have the impression to hear my own pupils.
Paderewski continued: “Among the few really great piano pedagogues of the present day, Mr. Stojowski occupies a very prominent position, for he has no superior.”
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 (see his Page at PMC)
- 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 (see his Page at PMC)
- August 22, 1924 – Andrzej MARKOWSKI, composer and conductor
- August 23, 1925 – Włodzimierz KOTOŃSKI, composer (see his Page at PMC)
- 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, (see his Page at PMC)
- 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)