February 2001

Polish Music Center Newsletter Vol. 7, no. 2

News Flash

2001: National Philharmonic Turns 100!

The 100th anniversary year of the National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra began with a concert featuring Emanuel Ax in a Piano Concerto by Chopin and Wieslaw Ochman as a soloist in the “Harnasie” ballet of Szymanowski. The evening’s program commenced, of course, from a spirited rendition of the Polish national anthem.Nowy Dziennik reports that soloists scheduled for this anniversary year are Murray Perahia, Daniel Barenboim, Stanislaw Bunin, Cecilia Bartoli, The English Concert, Huelgas Ensemble, Europa Galante, Beaux Arts Trio, Alban Berg Quartet, the Wiener Philharmoniker led by Zubin Mehta, and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under Riccardo Chailly.

It may be of interest to note that the first concert of the National Philharmonic Orchestra in 1901 also featured a pianist – it was a solo performance by Ignacy Jan Paderewski. The orchestra was disbanded during World War II and after its revival in 1951 was directed first by Witold Rowicki, then Kazimierz Kord. The number of concerts, premieres, international tours and recordings of the orchestra is simply astounding and we extend our sincere wishes for extraordinary successes in the future to all the orchestra’s musicians, administrators and staff. Congratulations!


World Premiere Of Kilar’s Mass

World premiere of Wojciech Kilar’s first mass “Missa pro pace” took place in January at the Warsaw Philharmonic with the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir conducted by Kazimierz Kord. Soloists: Izabella Klosinska, sop.; Jadwiga Rappe, alto; Charles Daniels, tenor; Romuald Tesarowicz, bass and Andrzej Chorosinski playing the Solo Introit on the organ.

Seventh Boychoir Festival In Poznan

Following a hiatus of nine years, the Polskie Słowiki (Polish Nightingales) from Poznań, one of the world’s most outstanding boychoirs under the leadership of Wojciech A. Krolopp, will sponsor The VII World Boychoir Festival in Poznań from Friday, February 23, until Tuesday, February 24. The festival will host nineteen choirs (seven of them Polish) from thirteen countries. The choirs and conductors taking part in the festival include the following:

  • Austria / St. Florian: St. Florianer Saengerknaben – Franz Farnberger
  • Belgium / Aalst: Cantate Domino – Michael Ghijs
  • The Czech Republic / Prague: Pueri Gaudentes – Zdenka Souckova
  • Denmark / Herning: Herninger Boys’ Choir – Mads Bille
  • Germany / Dresden: Dresdner Kapellknaben – Matthias Liebich
  • Great Britain / Oxford: New College Choir Oxford – Edward Higginbottom
  • Holland / Hilversum: The Netherlands Radio Boychoir – Mark Peterson
  • Korea / Taejon: The Gloria Boys’ Choir – Ch’ung Ch’ong-nam
  • Lithuania / Vilnius: Azuoliukas – Vitautas Miskinis
  • Norway / Trondheim: Nidarosdomens Guttekor – Bjorn Moe
  • Poland / Koszalin: The Cathedral Choir Cantate Deo – Waleria Żuawnik
  • Poland / Police: The Police Boys and Mens Choir – Fr. Mirosław B. Oliwiak
  • Poland / Poznań: The Poznań Nightingales – Stefan Stuligrosz
  • Poland / Poznań: The Polish Nightingales – Wojciech A. Krolopp
  • Poland / Poznań: The Cathedral Choir – Fr. Szymon Daskiewicz
  • Poland / Tarnów: Cathedral Choir Pueri Cantores Tarnovienses – Fr. Andrzej Zajšc
  • Poland / Warsaw: The Cathedral Boychoir Cantores Minores – Joseph A. Herter
  • Russia / Moscow: The Boychoir from the Academy of Choral Arts – Victor Popov
  • United States of America: The Madison Boychoir – Dan Krunnfusz

At six o’clock in the evening on Saturday the 24th, each choir will present a five-minute program at the Great Gala Concert in the hall of the Adam Mickiewicz University, the home of the Poznan Philharmonic. Earlier that same day at noon, fifteen of the choirs will also perform the first three of Stanisław Moniuszko’s four Litanie Ostrobramskie with orchestral accompaniment at the Archdiocesan Cathedral in Poznań. On the morning of Sunday the 25th, the choirs will sing for Mass at selected churches in Poznań. Later that same day, each choir will share a concert with another choir in one of many concert venues planned for the festival. Other highlights of the festival include performances of Handel’s The Messiah by the Oxford New College Choir, Mozart’s Requiem by the Polish Nightingales, Puccini’s Messa di Gloria by the Norwegian Cathedral Choir and Mozart’s Missa brevis in D by the Poznan Cathedral Choir. For more information: www.slowiki.pl

Polish Music Journal

Volume 3, 2000

Polish Music Center announces the publication of the 2000 volume of the Polish Music Journal. The summer 2000 issue of the Journal was seriously delayed by editorial problems. Since it is impossible to publish issue no. 2 before issue no. 1, we decided to hold back the publication of its counterpart and “unveil” both parts together. The issue vol. 3 no. 1 is subtitled “The Chopin Year II: Transformations of Chopin’s Style” and contains four articles from a book edited by Maciej Gołąb, Przemiany stylu Chopina(Kraków: Musica Iagellonica, 1993) as well as one book review. Prof. Gołąb also served as the guest editor for this issue. The table of contents is as follow:

  • Maciej Gołąb: Transformations of Chopin’s Style – Introduction
  • Teresa Dalila Turlo: “Notes on the Chronology of Chopin Works”
  • Zofia Helman: “Norm and Individuation in Chopin’s Sonatas”
  • Elżbieta Witkowska- Zaremba: “Versification, Syntax and Form in Chopin’s Mazurkas”
  • Maria Piotrowska: “‘Late Chopin:’ Remark’s on Chopin’s Last Works”
  • Wojciech Bonkowski: Review of John Rink’s book, Chopin’s Piano Concertos.

The second issue of the Polish Music Journal connects “Chopin and Lutosławski” by its selection of articles. Two papers on Chopin received the Wilk Essay Prize for Research in Polish Music in 1999 (ex aequo: Sandra P. Rosenblum and James Parakilas); the author of the Lutosławski paper, Martina Homma, is also a Wilk Prize winner, though her work falls in the newly created category of Wilk Book Prizes. On over 800 pages of her monograph Homma provided a comprehensive analysis of Lutosławski’s compositional technique and its main factors; her book is reviewed by Andrzej Chłopecki. The content of this issue is as follows:

  • Maja Trochimczyk: Editorial – Chopin and Lutosławski
  • Martina Homma: “Witold Lutosławski’s Trois poemes d’Henri Michaux: The Sketches and the Work”
  • James Parakilas: “‘Nuit plus belle qu’un beau jour:’ Poetry, Song, and the Voice in the Piano Nocturne”
  • Sandra P. Rosenblum: “‘Effusions of a Master Mind:’ The Reception of Chopin’s Music in Nineteenth-Century America”
  • Zbigniew Skowron: Review of Mieczysław Tomaszewski’s Chopin. Czlowiek, Dzielo, Rezonans
  • Anrzej Chłopecki: Review of Martina Homma’s Witold Lutosławski. Zwolfton-Harmonik – Tonbildung – ‘Aleatorischer Kontrapunkt’.

John Rea And Wanda Landowska

Canadian composer John Rea has created a stage work about a world-famous Polish personality and musician (harpsichordist and composer), Wanda Landowska (1879-1959), it is “a little play” (30-minute duration), for which he has written both text and music. This is what Rea writes about his work:

Sacree Landowska is scored for actress/harpsichordist, seven musicians (string quartet, flute, oboe, clarinet), and ‘obbligato’ conductor (for the conductor does some acting too.) It will be performed after intermission during a concert of the Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal, Véronique Lacroix, conductor and artistic director. Catherine Perrin, harpsichordist, classical music radio host (Radio-Canada), and now television personality (with a weekly show (!) on new cinema) becomes Wanda, in sort of a “one-woman” show. Véronique Lacroix, conductor, and her ECM accompany Madame.

Rea wrote the text in French (there is also an English translation), and the scenes are subtitled: Introduction – Mazurka vivace / Scene No. 1 – Chopin et Bach / Scene No. 2 – Henri et Arnold / Scene No. 3 – Don Manuel et moi / Cadenza – Toccata celeste / Scene No. 4 – Apotheose de Landowska. According to the composer, the work is an elaborate metaphor and is following the course of an imaginary commission. Rea writes:

The renowned harpsichordist Wanda Landowska returns from the great beyond to perform once again the work that she commissioned, the Concerto pour clavecin et cinq instruments by Spanish composer, Manuel DeFalla (1876-1946) – the stage becomes a place out-of-time so that Madame Landowska may talk about her experiences, her acquaintances, her artistic will, her knowledge and skills, and her loves. With ease, she travels through the past, present and future, a talent quite normal for such a charming spirit as she. And she also plays music: pieces written by other composers such as Chopin and Bach, but also music that she herself has composed. And she talks about the musical instrument that she helped make famous, the one she called the “Roi-Soleil” of instruments, the harpsichord!

There will be three performances in the Montreal area, the last one being at Redpath Hall on Tuesday, February 20, 2001. A fourth performance will take place on Saturday June 9th, at the Domaine Forget (in St. Irénée, east of Quebec City).

Wanda Wilk is 80!

During a surprise birthday party for the founder and Honorary Director of the Polish Music Center, Wanda Wilk, Dr. Wilk announced the creation of a new scholarship at the Kosciuszko Foundation: Wanda Wilk Polish Music Fund. The foundation, with an initial gift of $100,000 is designated for scholars who wish to study music in the U.S., with a special emphasis on scholars visiting the Polish Music Center.While rejoicing about this future opportunity for music historians (who are always at the bottom of the founding list), the attendees at the event could also ponder the many achievements of Ms. Wilk, listed in a lovely speech by her teenage nephew, Joseph Wilk. The speech is available on our web site at: Wanda Wilk’s Birthday.

Drzewiecki – A Child Prodigy

In 2000 the Polish press was filled with reports about the phenomenal successes of Stanisław Drzewiecki (born on July 15, 1987 in Moscow), a child prodigy already appearing at European concert stages. His mother is Tatiana Szebanowa, a laureate of two awards at the Fryderyk Chopin International Competition in Warsaw. His father, Jarosław Drzewiecki, is also a celebrated pianist. At the age of four, Staś [diminutive for “Stanislaw] began his first piano lessons with such accomplished professors as Ida Leszczynska, Viera Nosina and Victor Mierzhanov. A year later he started to attend composition classes. Stas, as a five-year-old boy, made his solo debut at the Grand Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. He played piano concertos by Bach, Haydn and Mozart. In 1994 he toured Japan with the “Sinfonia Varsovia”; he was only seven years old. Staś performed concertos in Austria, Italy, Switzerland and Canada. He recorded for Polish TV (channel 1; Mozart’s Concerto in A major KV 414 with the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra under Agnieszka Duczmal) and recorded his first solo CD “My First Gift” (by Beethoven, Chopin and Rachmaninov) for the Polish label, DUX (the CD may be ordered online from DUX web site: www.dux.pl.

In 1998, Drzewiecki played works by Chopin in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London during the “Poland for Europe” concert under the patronage of British Prime Minister, Tony Blair and Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski. He also gave Chopin recitals at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in Vancouver, Canada, at the “Palacio de Bolsa” in Porto, Portugal, as well as in Paris and a number of cities in Holland. On June 15, 2000, Stas won the X Eurovision Festival for young artists in Bergen receiving the Grand Prix while being the youngest participant in the competition. However, the Eurovision Festival is not his first success: He previously won the European Television Festival “Premios Veo, Veo de Teresa Rabal” organized by Spanish Television TVE; he also received awards at the Young Pianist Competition in Russia and at the Moscow Pianist Competition. At present Stas Drzewiecki attends piano classes with Tatiana Szebanowa at the Karol Szymanowski Music School in Warsaw. Stas is a child with exceptional music talent. With time his interpretation – now very technical and efficient – will become more ripe and more individual. Meanwhile, music lovers may enjoy his recordings. [BS]

Labuda In San Diego

After making her San Diego Opera debut as Mimi last season, Polish soprano Izabela Labuda returns as Marguerite in Gounod’s Faust. Labuda made her United States debut in 1999 with the Cleveland Orchestra singing arias from La Traviata, La Bohčme and Eugene Onegin at the Blossom Music Festival. At the 1998 Winter Olympics in Japan, she was a soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 led by Seiji Ozawa. Recently, Miss Labuda performed Mendelssohn’s Elijah in Vienna, Die Fledermaus in Madrid, the Brahms Requiem in Austria and Germany and Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 in Lithuania. She also sang at the Vienna Staatsoper and the Komische Oper in Berlin and in concerts with the Jerusalem Philharmonic and the Nürnberg Philharmonic.Following her opera debut in Wroclaw, Poland, in 1988, Miss Labuda become a redient artist at the Essen Opera from 1989 to 1991 and the Vienna State Opera and Volksoper from 1992 until 1996. Her recent performances in Europe include the title role in Rusalka in a new production at the Komische Opera in Berlin, Rosalinda in the Munich Gaertnerplatz production of Die Fledermaus and the title role in a New Year’s Eve production of The Merry Widow in Berlin. She has also performed in Essen, Mannheim, Nürnberg, Berlin, Munich, Monte Carlo, St. Gallen, Zurich, Bern and at the Tivoli Festival. For several years she has appeared annually in concert opera performances in Japan and participated in the Austrian Festival in Osaka.

She will be performing in Faust on Saturday, February 17, 2001 at 7 p.m., Tuesday, February 20, 2001 at 7 p.m., Friday, February 23, 2001 at 8 p.m., Sunday, February 25, 2001 at 2 p.m. and Wednesday, February 28, 2001 at 7 p.m.

New Music In New York

A three-hour program of Polish contemporary music organized by Jan Sporek took place on 14 Jan at Avery Fisher Hall. The Academy Choir from the Silesian Polytechnic from Gliwice under the direction of Czeslaw Freund also performed at the NATO headquarters (15 Jan) and St. Patrick’s Cathedral (16 Jan). In this concert the choral group was joined by soloists Sylvia Kowalczuk, harp and Julian Gembalski, organ. Chamber music was performed by Mariusz Monczak, violin and pianists Mikołaj Górecki and Jacek Zganiacz.Renata Pasternak-Mazur gave an excellent review (Nowy Dziennik) of the program which featured the music of composers Jan Hawel, Julian Gembalski, Romuald Twardowski, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Józef Swider (who was present) and Mikołaj Górecki (son of the “big” one, also present in a dual role of composer and performer in the premiere of his violin sonata).

Greive’s Violin Recital

Tyrone Greive, Professor of Violin at the School of Music, University of Wisconsin-Madison performs a recital of all Polish music on Saturday, February 17, at 8:00 p.m. in Mills Hall. Ellen Burmeister is the pianist. The program includes the following pieces:

  • Sonata No. 3 for violin and piano, by Grazyna Bacewicz (1909-69)
  • Romance, Op. 23, by Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
  • A Fairy Tale for violin and piano, by Artur Malawski (1904-1957)
  • Stained-Glass Window, by Grazyna Bacewicz
  • Nocturne in C-sharp minor, Op. Post., by Chopin, arr. Nathan Milstein (1903-1992)
  • Chanson polonaise, Op. 12, No. 2, by Henryk Wieniawski (1835-1880)
  • Sonata in A minor for violin and piano, by Zygmunt Noskowski (1846-1909)

Tickets, at $8.00 general, $6.00 for senior citizens, are available in advance by calling (608) 262-1500; they will be sold at the door beginning 45 minutes before the recital. Mills Hall is located in the Mosse Humanities Building on the Madison campus, at the corner of Park St. and University Avenue. For more information, call (608) 263-1900. Web: www.wisc.edu/music. E-mail: rsmumford@facstaff.wisc.edu. We should remind our readers that Prof. Greive is an expert in Polish music for the strings and that won the 1998 Wilk Prize for Research in Polish Music for his study of the collaboration of Kochański and Szymanowski. The article is published online, at: Polish Music Journal – Archives.

International Conference Of Lithuanian Composers

The Lithuanian Academy of Music and the Lithuanian Composers Union have organized the second international conference which will be held in April 5-7, 2001 in Vilnius. The theme of the conference is “The principles of musical composition (arrangement). Theory and practice”. The projected sub-themes:

  • Theoretical expression of compositional principles
  • Historical dispersion of compositional principles
  • Compositional problems of today

The purpose of the organisers of the conference is to give new impulses to the development of musicological thought, which could serve compositional practice and teaching process. Musicologists are invited to participate in the conference, and send the titles of their papers together with abstracts not later than till March 9, 2001. The length of presentation – 30 min. During the conference an international festival of contemporary music Jauna muzika will take place in Vilnius. Questions may be addressed directly to coordinator of the conference, Antanas Kucinskas: antakuci@takas.lt

Lithuanian Composers Union
Mickeviciaus 29, Vilnius 2580
tel. (370) 2 726986
fax. (370) 2 220939

Internet News

Lowiczanie From San Francisco To The Net

Łowiczanie Polish Folk Dance Ensemble of San Francisco, the oldest incorporated, non-profit Polish dance group in California celebrated its 25th anniversary in the year 2000. Łowiczanie, an ensemble of approximately 25 members, presents the music, song, dance and customs of Polish traditional folk culture for audiences throughout the U.S. western states, and has participated in the international Polish dance festival in Rzeszow, Poland. The group belongs to the elite gathering of 6 founding members of the Polish Folk Dance Association of the Americas (PFDAA; founded 1983) and have hosted the PFDAA’s annual festival twice, in 1985 & 1995. Łowiczanie is proud to be an integral part of the Polish National Alliance’s (PNA) Group 7 as well as the Resident Dance Company of the Polish Club in Francisco. The group now has a new website that can be accessed through two addresses: www.lowiczanie.org or www.polishfolk.org.

The Music Lovers’ Corner

If you type the address “http://www.coriolan.com” you will find yourself at a “Music Lover’s” site. This website is entirely devoted to classical music and hosts a monthly competition in the form of a quiz which gives the entrants a chance to win CD sets and CDs. The quiz is both in English and in French. For more information visit the site: www.coriolan.com

Vocal Area Network

www.van.org is the web-site for the Vocal Area Network of Choral Music in the New York area. Over 140 groups are listed with links to their web-sites. Look up the Aria Chorus, #303 of the Polish Singers Alliance of America, based in Wallington, N.J. Dayle Vander Sande is the conductor and they have a new CD of Polish Christmas carols that can be ordered on the internet.

Nowy Dziennik Lists Events Of 2000

Listed among the most important cultural events of 2000 in the Nowy Dziennik, Polish-American daily newspaper from New York:

  • Penderecki’s Midem Award (23 January).
  • Władysław Szpilman died at age 88 in Warsaw (6 July). The composer wrote over 450 songs, many of them popular “hits.” He was closely associated with Polish Radio for years.
  • Krzesimir Dębski received the Philip Award during the Warsaw Festival “Music and Film” for the film music to “Ogniem i mieczem” (With Fire and Sword) based on a novel by Nobel Prize author Henryk Sienkiewicz.
  • Chopin International Piano Competition was held in October in Warsaw, with winner Yundi Lin from China. The Competition takes place every five years.

Polish Radio Hour In The Bay Area

The Polish Radio Hour in the Bay area (KUSF 90.3 FM) has been saved by new hosts Jerzy Dzikowski and Danuta Modzelewska. Local news, events and music for the Polish community in both Polish and English can be heard on Sunday mornings from 9:30 -10:30 a.m.

Competitions and Awards

Lutoslawski Composers’ Competition

February 28 marks the deadline for submissions of scores to the Fifth International Lutoslawski Composers’ Competition. The competition is for an orchestral work and there is no limit for age or nationality of the composer (but the work should be unperformed and not awarded any other prizes in the past). The Competition is one of the events celebrating the Centenary of the National Philharmonic and the President of the Jury is Kazimierz Kord, the artistic director of the Philharmonic (which will perform the prize winning works during the Warsaw Autumn Festival in 2001.There will be three prizes (I. – 10,000; II. – 5,000; III. – 3,000) and an Audience Award. In order to ensure anonymity of submissions and impartiality of the jury, the submissions (score lasting between 10 and 25 minutes) should have emblems or code-words and be accompanied by envelopes with personal data from the composers with the same emblem or code-word. There is an non-refundable entry fee of $40. For more information contact the Competition office:

5th International W. Lutoslawski Composers’ Competition
Filharmonia Narodowaul. Jasna, 00-950;
Warsaw, Poland
tel: 011- 48-22-8265617
email: lutos@filharmonia.pl

Fourth Moniuszko Vocal Competition

Preperations are now under way for the Fourth Moniuszko Competition to be held in April 2001, hosted by the National Opera in Warsaw. The first competition was held in June 1992 followed by two others in April 1995 and October 1998. This upcoming competition will feature young singers from around the world. The goal of this competition is to stimulate intresest in Moniuszko’s music, and to also draw attention to the works of Paderewski, Karlowicz, Szymanowski, Lutosławski, Penderecki and Gorecki, know already as some of the world’s leading composers.

Sembrich Vocal Competition

The deadline for the Marcella Kochanska Sembrich Vocal Competition sponsored by the American Council for Polish Culture is 30 April, 2001. Contestants up to age 32 must be United States citizens of Polish descent who have pursued or are currently pursuing higher education study in voice. The winner will receive $2,000 and will perform a full recital at the 2001 convention of the ACPC on 19 July in Chicago. For an application look up the website: www.polishcultureacpc.org.

Kosciuszko Foundation Vocal Competition

The Kosciuszko Foundation Vocal Competition will be held at the Foundation House on 17 March, 2001. It also was called the Sembrich Vocal Competition originally and bass Valerian Ruminski was its first winner. More informtation can be found here.

Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Competition

The Annual Chopin Competition at the Kosciuszko Foundation will be held on April 5-7th. 15 E. 65th St., New York City. (212) 734-2130.

Tadeusz Baird Competition

No one won first prize in the Tadeusz Baird Competition for Young Composers in Poland. Second prize went to Tadeusz Melon for “Introduzzione e rondo variabile” for violin solo. Two other works for violin solo received Honorable Mention: “Pressionata” by Aleksander Kosciow and “Sator” by Tomasz Praszczalek. Composer Krystyna Moszumanska-Nazar served as chairman of the jury for the competition organized by the Polish Composers’ Union, ZKP.

Szymanowski Award

The 2000 Szymanowski Award for promoting Szymanowski’s music was given to Mariusz Trelinski for his “innovative and imaginative” staging of Szymanowski’s opera, “King Roger.”

Calendar Of Events

Feb 11: King Roger by Karol Szymanowski will be performed at George Weston Recital Hall. Toronto Centre for the Arts, Ontario, Canada. $20-50. tel. 416-870-8000

FEB 17: Doctors of the Polish American Medical Society are organizing a Ball in Palmer House, Chicago with composer Marta Ptaszynska, as a honored guest. tel. 773-545-6061.

FEB 17: Tyrone Greive, Violin Recital of Polish Music. Program includes Bacewicz, Szymanowski, Malawski, Wieniawski and Noskowski. Mills Hall, Madison. Tel. (608) 263-1900. Web: www.wisc.edu/music.

FEB 20: John Rea’s piece “Sacree Landowska” performed at Redpath Hall, Montreal, 8 p.m.

FEB 25: Music of Chopin and Brahms. Kimberlite Trio. Kosciuszko Foundation Chamber Music Series. (212) 734-2130 x214.

MAR 3/4: Lutosławski “Concerto for Orchestra.” Westchester Philharmonic, New York. Also Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 performed by Garrick Ohlsson. (www.westchesterphil.org)

MAR 4: “Un Apres-midi chez Chopin.” Faculty and students of Montclair State University recreate the salon of George Sand. Music excerpts from letters, diaries, etc… in costume. Kosciuszko Foundation House. 3:00 p.m.

MAR 9/10: Lutosławski “Dance Preludes.” Gary Gray, clarinet. L.A. Chamber Orchestra, Jeffrey Kahane, cond. Los Angeles.

MAR 15: Andrew Russo, winner of the 1996 Kosciuszko Foundation Piano Competition. Kosciuszko Foundation House. 8:00 p.m.

MAR 21: Valerian Ruminski, bass. ’98 Laureate of the Sembrich Voice Competition; currently with New York City and Metropolitan operas. Kosciuszko Foundation House. 8:00 p.m.

Recent Performances

Millennium Celebration In Krakow

Cardinal Franciszek Macharski presided over the Millenium celebration of Krakow’s Bishopry with a concert by the London Philharmonic (80-piece) and Choir (100 voices) directed by Gilbert Levine. The program opened with Poland’s first national anthem “Bogurodzica” sung a capella followed by Gorecki’s Third Symphony and Beethoven’s Ninth.

Inauguration Of Organ Recitals In Warsaw

Joachim Grubich inaugurated the cycle of organ recitals on the newly installed instrument of the National Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw in a program of music by Bach, Franck, Liszt and a Cantata by Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki.

Górecki Conducts In Kraków

On 10 December 2000 a concert of the music composed by the Góreckis (father and son) took place in Kraków. Henryk Górecki served as a conductor of the program that included his cantata dedicated to St. Adalbertus, Salve sidus Polonorum, his Lobgesang and a work by his son, Mikołaj (now faculty member at McGill University, Montreal). The same program was presented at the MIDEM music trade show in Cannes.

Chopin In England

Louis Lortie presented all 27 of Chopin’s Etudes back-to-back in December at St. George’s in Bristol.

Mitsuko Uchida played Chopin, Debussy and Schubert on 21 Jan at the SBC Royal Festival Hall.

At Wigmore Hall Pianist Fou Ts’ong played Chopin, Mozart & Schubert (4 Jan) Pianist Malcolm Binns chose Chopin and Beethoven Sonata (23 Jan). Pianist Anthony Hewitt performed Beethoven, Chopin, Haydn and Schumann.

Polish Music in the U.S.

Michael Sellers performed the music of Paderewski, Milhaud and others in addition to Chopin at the Westwood United Church in Los Angeles (28 Jan).

Polish violinist Anna Karkowska gave a student performance with brief descriptions at Juilliard School in a program devoted entirely to the music of Henryk Wieniawski. Roman Markowicz gave her good grades in his review for Nowy Dziennik (5 Jan).

During his one-year sabbatical leave from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Esa-Pekka Salonen, led the Ensemble Sospeso in Lutosławski’s Chain I and three of his own works at Carnegie Hall last December.

Louis Lortie played Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with James De Priest conducting the Portland Symphony on January 20, 21 and 22.

Piotr Anderszewski performed Szymanowski’s Piano Sonata No. 3 and Bach in Birmingham 28 Jan.

The King’s Singers included music by Penderecki in their concert at Irvine, California on 24 Jan.

In Martinez in northern California Anna Radomska of Warsaw presented a Polish Christmas carols recital during the Holy Mass (28 Jan).


by Wanda Wilk

Fanfare – 2000 List

The reviewers working for the Fanfare magazine were asked to name five releases from the previous year that were of particular interest to them. Here are the Polish composers and performers that appeared among their selections:

  • Royal S. Brown: Chopin Piano Sonatas Nos. 2 & 3. Other works. William Kapell, piano. RCA
  • Peter Burwasser: Godowsky/Chopin Transcriptions on Hyperion and Penderecki Orchestral Musis on Naxos.
  • Adrian Corleonis: Chopin/Godowsky Transcriptions and Godowsky “Java Suite” on Propiano label.
  • Henry Fogel: Szymanowski’s “King Roger” conducted by Rattle on EMI.
  • Bernard Jacobsen: Chopin Piano Concerto No. 2. Rodriguez on Elan.
  • Haig Mardirosian: Virtuoso Organ Music. Andrzej Chorosinski, organ. MDG Gold.
  • Peter Rabinowitz: Chopin/Godowsky Transcriptions and Chopin Piano Music. Richter on BBC Legends.
  • Michael Ulmann: Chopin. Four Ballades. Pollini on Deutsch Gramophone.

BBC Discs Of The Month

BBC Radio 3’s Andrew McGregor’s choice for Discs of the Month include Penderecki’s Symphonies Nos. 2 & 4 on Naxos 8.554492. Polish National SO of Katowice, Antoni Wit, cond.

Recordings Reviewed In Fanfare

ACCORD 018. Leopolita, Mielczewski, Gorczycki. Il Canto Vocal Ensemble.
Brian Robins finds this release “of considerable value in going at least some way toward filling a large gap in our knowledge of European Renaissance and Baroque music. All three composers involved played an important role in the development of a Polish sacred repertoire.” He concludes the six-member ensemble performance as “committed and in general terms highly effective and well-engineered performances of music that is eminently worth investigating.”

CENTAUR CRC 2466. Clarinet Kaleidoscope. Kathy Pope, cl. Jed Moss, piano.
Yet another rendition of the ever-popular Lutosławski Dance Preludes. The first clarinetist of Ballet West is highly praised by Peter J. Rabinowitz for the more contemporary works.

POSTCARDS/ARKADIA 77 2001. Invitation to the Dance. Lara Downes, piano.
The little known Chopin “Bolero” played by Jamaican/American pianist is described by Lynnda Greene as “In Chopin’s obscure little Bolero, probably written as a salon amusemnet, we find all the hallmarks of instantaneous combustion at the keyboard, long passages of Chopin’s inimitable runs, sparkling trills, ever-changing harmonies and rollicking idiomatic rhythms. But for all the brilliant passagework, he keeps slipping irresistibly into his instinctive polonaise form. Downes plays this wonderfully, with just the right sensibility, never trying to make it more than it is – a delightful oddity by a genius, a party trick.”

Szymanowski Praised By BBC Magazine

NAXOS 8.554315. Szymanowski’s String Quartets No. 1 & 2 and Stravinsky’s Concertino, Three Pieces and Double Canon.
Pick of the month in chamber music. Jan Smaczny wrote, “Szymanowski’s rich and highly coloured string quartets certainly bear comparison with many classics of the 20th- century repertoire and deserve to be heard far more frequently… they find the ideal advocate in the Goldner Quartet” whose “performances are a model of conviction and insight; indeed, it would be hard to imagine a more persuasive advocate of this repertoire.” It received 5 stars for both performance and sound.

Choices Of The American Record Guide

Albany Audite 95434
Works for trombone composed during WWII, the early 1950s and more recently. Barry Kilpatrick writes, “This may be the best recording of Kazimierz Serocki’s “Sonatine” (1953) played with appropriate zest by Thomas Horch and spikiness by Fritz Walter-Lindquist.”

DECCA 455488 (2 CDs)
Ida Haendel, legendary Polish violinist plays Szymanowski, Wieniawski and others with Vladimir Ashkenazy at the piano. One of the CDs was recorded in 1996, the other is from recordings from the 1940s. The artist was a child prodigy in the 1930s. She plays Szymanowski’s “Myths” on the new disc. Critic Joe Magil is not too impressed overall, but credits her with having “maintained her technique to a remarkable degree for someone of her advanced age, yet she lacks personality.”
Another view: David K. Nelson gives a different review in Fanfare Nov/Dec 2000. He thinks it is “an unusual release, in many respects even an astounding one!” He concedes that he can’t say that Haendel played every bit as well in 1996 as she did 50 or more years earlier, but he asks, “What other artists that Decca recorded in the 1940s were still capable of making music, much less so beautifully, at the turn of the century?” He recommends both halves of this release.

HARMONIA MUNDI 911701 Szymanowski’s “Nocturne & Tarantella” and music by Ravel and Schnittke. Graf Mourja, Ukrainian violinist of Hungarian extraction with russian Elena Rozanova, pianist. Magil writes, “I just wish that Mourja had an instrument with more tonal resources and allure than the threadbare Testore he plays. This goes for the other works, too, especially the intoxicatingly sensuous Szymanowski… Mourja is a performer with good taste and a commanding presence, if not an unforgettably distinct personality (but who knows what the right violin could do for him – look what it did for Heifetz.)”

ACCORD 11368
Lutosławski. Piano Concerto and Symphony No. 3. Ewa Poblocka, piano. Lutosławski, cond. Polish Radio Symphony.
Here in the Jan/Feb issue Allen Gimbel compares this disc with ACCORD 11912. The piano soloist is the same, but the conductors and orchestras are different.
The critic highly recommends the first, where she performs with the composer conducting in 1992 – “stunning in every way, and she’s given gorgeous detailed sound.” The second recorded in 1996 seems “a bit more heavy-handed, possibly a result of the new orchestral direction, but listeners interested in a program involving more rarely heard Polish piano concerto literature will likely be drawn to the more recent Accord, which includes the works of Andrzej Panufnik and the young Pawel Szymanski…Panufnik recorded his Piano Concerto (1961) with John Ogdon in 1983, but that’s long out of the catalog. this new recording gives the piece as professional a performance as it’s likely to get.”

Paderewski: Album de Mai; Intermezzo; Humoresque; Variations & Fugue. Adam Wodnicki, piano. Harold C. Schonberg reviewed this disc. Some of his quotes: “all of his piano music is virtuoso-oriented..harmonic language is early romantic nationalism … Wodnicki is a very strong virtuoso… incontestable brilliance…Minuet in G still is cute.”

Praised By Gramophone (February)

Chopin. Transcriptions for cello by the artist and Glazunov, Piatigorsky and Davidov. Peter Wispelwey, cello. Dejan Lazic, piano. Duncan Druce calls it “brilliant, imaginative cello playing.”

AMIR. Miscellaneous violin pieces by Bacewicz, Beriot, Brusilovsky, Paganini, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Viuxtremps and Wieniawski. “Another hugely talented young violinist steps into the limelight with a mixed programme and plenty of enthusiasm” says Duncan Druce. He identifies Amir, the soloist, as a “highly talented, 14-year old Kazakh player” who plays an “unsettling mixture of styles…but there’s plenty to enjoy… the two-violin items are beautifully played, with Amir and his uncle (and teacher), Marat Bisengaliev, perfectly matched in tone and approach. The Bacewicz duets follow on from Bartok’s in their idiomatic extension of folk style.”

A Polish Connection

This recording has nothing to do with Polish composers, but has a Polish connection and one to the Polish Music Center @ USC. Conductor Gisele Ben-Dor leads the Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra and the Choral Society in the “most challenging of Villa Lobos’s symphonies,” his Symphony No. 10 – “Amerinda.”

So, where is the Polish connection? According to Fanfare (Nov/Dec 2000) the conductor was born Gisele Buka in Montevideo, Uruguay of Polish parents who emigrated shortly before WWII. The recording has three soloists who “make their contribution on the same exalted plane of energetic advocacy and sheer professionalism.” One of these soloists is baritone Nmon Ford-Livene, who graduated from the USC School of Music. While studying at USC Nmon was still a tenor, his voice not having yet settled and I remember teaching him Polish arias as a tenor. His diction was superb! His rendition of Moniuszko and Szymanowski songs was unforgettable! [WW]

Remembering Lutosławski

by Wanda Wilk

This is the time of year to remember the great Polish composer Witold Lutosławski, for he was born in January eighty-eight years ago and died in February seven years ago. His ties to L.A. are very close in more ways than one. He came to USC for the inaugural ceremony of the Polish Music Center in 1985 and came four times (`83,`89,`91,`93) to conduct the L.A. Philharmonic in his works and once (Nov `93) for a one-week rest on his way to Japan from Montreal. All in six visits.

Photo by Betty Freeman, Los Angeles, 1993.

When he came to USC in 1985 he brought five original manuscripts as his gift to the PMC (thus enriching its archives with prestige and importance), and spent two weeks at the university leading the USC student orchestra in his works and in one-on-one interviews with composition students. Several music professors said it was the greatest thing that could have happened to the university. When he first came to the Philharmonic in 1983 it was to conduct the American premiere of his “Les Espaces du Sommeil,” the west coast premiere of “Novelette” and the first Music Center performance of his Cello Concerto with cellist Daniel Rothmuller. The following year Esa Peka Salonen conducted the west coast premiere of his Third Symphony, which had been commissioned by Georg Solti and the Chicago Philharmonic.

The composer returned in 1989 to conduct his Symphony No. 1, Chain III for orchestra and the Cello Concerto, but this time with Professor Lynn Harrell of USC as the soloist. This program was held at UCLA as part of the L.A. Philharmonic Institute, in which the composer took part. In 1991 Lutosławski conducted the west-coast premiere of the Piano Concerto which he wrote for Krystian Zimerman, with the Polish pianist as soloist, in a program that also included two of his other works, “Funeral Music” and Third Symphony.

For his fifth visit to Los Angeles in February, 1993 he conducted the world premiere of his Fourth Symphony commissioned by the L.A. Philharmonic and funded by philanthropist Betty Freeman. The world premiere of the Fourth Symphony was described by the Philharmonic itself, as “one of the most highly acclaimed world premieres of an orchestral work within recent memory.” Rodney Oakes wrote of this performance, “The standing ovations were more than transplanted Polish patriotism. The reaction was a sincere appreciation of hearing great music performed by great musicians.” In October of the same year Esa Pekka Salonen conducted the same symphony in one of the first concerts of the new season. This symphony has been recorded on the Sony label.

During his last visit (November `93) the composer heard his own Fanfare written for the L.A. Philharmonic’s 75th anniversary, seated in the audience. He was enjoying a much needed rest between trips and did not realize that he was sick. The LA Philharmonic has recorded both symphonies on two separate CDs. The one with the Third Symphony won several prizes: a Grammy, the Cecilia Prize, the Koussevitzky Award and the Gramophone Award for Best Contemporary Recording in 1986.

Witold Lutosławski died soon after returning home in Poland on February 7, 1994. Four days later the L.A. Philharmonic honored the composer by beginning the concerts on Feb 11, 12, and 13 with a performance of Lutosławski’s “Grave: Metamorphoses” for cello and piano with the Philharmonic’s principal cellist, Ronald Leonard, and pianist Peter Frankl, At USC the Polish Music Center joined the School of Music in a Lutosławski Memorial in November, 1994. The program included “Five Songs” based on the poems of Kazimiera Illakowicz sung by Kathleen Roland; Epitaph (James Issacs, oboe), Grave (Nadine Trudel, cello) and Chain I performed by the USC Contemporary Music Ensemble conducted by Donald Crockett. They also included “Boston Fancies” by Steven Stucky, professor at Cornell U., who was the first to write a book in English on Lutosławski.

The Dean of Polish composers had received many awards and prizes during his life-time from many countries ranging from honorary memberships in music organizations, prizes from institutions and governments, as well as honorary degrees from universities all over the world. He was the first recipient of the presitigous Grawemeyer Award for his Third Symphony and creativity in general. Originating at the University of Louisville, KY, it is one of the largest ($150K) prizes in composition. The last prize that he received was the Kyoto Prize from the city of Kyoto, Japan, the equivalent of a Nobel Prize, which does not have a music category.

If Lutosławski had lived, he would have been 88 years old this year. but as it is seven years have passed since his death. So, as far as anniversaries go, the numbers are not too conducive to any “special” celebrations. In 2003 the music world will celebrate his 90th birthday and in 2003 there will be commerations of the 10th anniversary of his death. We can look forward to new recordings making their appearance and to symphony orchestras programming Lutosławski’s music at that time.

In the meantime, the L.A. Chamber Orchestra has scheduled the “Dance Preludes” for clarinet and orchestra with Gary Gray as soloist for March 9th and 10th. This is a great fun piece, one of his most popular. At one time I had counted thirteen different recordings of this particular piece. The composer originally wrote it for clarinet and piano in 1954 and a year later arranged it for clarinet, harp, piano, percussion and string orchestra. This particular composition is standard repertoire for clarinetists and has been used as a required work in an exam by the Associated Board of Royal Schools. On March 3rd and 4th the Westchester Philharmonic of New York has scheduled to perform Lutosławski’s “Concerto for orchestra.”

I found this last bit of information on the internet. Typing in the name Lutosławski on the search engine Yahoo, I learned that there are 481 websites pertaining to the great maestro! Can you imagine how fortunate students are today! They don’t need to go to the library to find enough material to write a paper for a class assignment. In addition to numerous biographies, one can find schedules of performances of his works by looking through the various orchestral web sites with programs listed. One can find reviews of these performances, such as, Anne-Sophie Mutter’s 8-day residency with the New York Philharmonic last January where she played his music and gave interviews of her relationship with the composer, whom she credits for her love for contemporary music. She called him “such a pure man. A man of incredible nobility.” There was mutual admiration here. The composer and his wife were even invited to attend Ms. Mutter’s wedding. The composer has been quoted as saying that he created Chain II for violin and orchestra as “a new version following the very strong impression that Anne-Sophie Mutter’s performances of my Partita for violin and piano left on me. Her extraordinary talent truly inspired my compositional efforts.”

I also found essays on his many works, lists and reviews of recordings of his music, information on international competitions named after him (Cello, Composers’), on his winning the Polar Music Prize in 1993, an annotated bibliography, quotations by him, seminars and symposiums on his music. You can see actual paintings inspired by his music and even free music downloads from the Philharmonia Orchestra with Christoph von Dohnanyi conducting. There is even a web- site that provides a list of Lutosławski web-sites. How much easier can research get, I ask. I only wish I had the time to visit all these sites. I can only say that I am thankful for having been so lucky as to have personally known this great man, whom LA Times music critic Mark Swed called the Third Polish composer – Chopin and Szymanowski being the first two!

On a personal note: I remember how difficult it was for me to call him by his first name, as he wanted me to and not just Witold, but Witek. I was brought up in the old school of respect and I kept calling him Mister Lutosławski. I agree with Ms. Mutter that he was a pure man, a man without a big ego. He was very humble and very devoted to his wife of 48 years. Danuta had given up her career as an architect to lead the life of an obedient wife, as she described herself. She had a heart problem and “Witek” would read aloud to her in the afternoons during their stay at our house. She always traveled with him. And as most extremely devoted couples who do not survive each other for very long, Danuta died just a couple of months later, right after she had completed the task of arranging all of his material things and shipping them off to Switzerland to the Paul Sacher Museum where most of his manuscripts are kept. He was indeed a giant of a man!

Polish Folk Music

by Wanda Landowska (1877-1959)

In spite of what may people think, I am not a musicologist: my love of old music derives not from the curiosity of a scholar, but from its sheer beauty. To me research has only been a path to this beauty, an aid to its discovery. The fact that this or that music is old never made it dearer to me. I love and play Bach, Mozart and Couperin because they are young and beautiful.Out of this same love of beauty, out of this craving for pure perfect music, was born my love for folk music. I love it not because of its peasant character, but because it is true music; I love it just as I love Bach and Couperin.

Polish folk music is a magic store. It taught Chopin as much as he learned from his great predecessors. It crooned over his cradle in Zelazowa Wola and he listened to its pristine strains, as he listened to Mozart’s music; later to create his own, his peculiarly Polish art. These songs, sung in my native province, as in all Poland, enchanted me from earliest childhood. I still remember many unblemished melodies and many lines equally simple, experssive, perfect, finished works of art, as inseparably linked with their melody as are the best Schubert cycles. Then I became acquainted with Kolberg’s contribution. I grew to know him very well. And on many occasions life has offered, I discovered unknown songs in different variations from all parts of Poland.

I wonder whether we are fully aware of the artistic wealth, of the sum of beauty contained in Polish folk songs, I wonder how many of us, even the enlightened and artistically sensitive, know theworth of those thirty volumes of Kolberg’s “Lud” [Pieśni ludu polskiego The Songs of Polish Folk]. I feel sure many of us do not even suspect how many little masterpieces – mirroring the Polish soul, expressing the very essence of Polish temperament, Polish emotions, so subtly different from others – are recorded on the yellowed pages of this ethnographical work. Like the various rhythms of Polish dance music, Polish folk songs reflect the Polish soul, so contradictory yet so uniform, where melancholy mingles with pride, humor with poetry, chivalry with meditation, swagger and fantasy with faith and devotion. Chopin it is who comes to mind when one recalls these simple melodies.

The Polish nation, growing out of its early Slavonic stem, invigorated by the warm breath of East and West, played upon by a constant interaction of many motifs, which the genius of the common folk assimilated and made Polish, lent to Polish folk songs all the variety and originality of the many regional cultures expressed in variants of texts almost intagible yet often very real.

Whenever I think how popular and well known Russian folk music is, I feel sorry our Polish folk msuic is still a joy reserved for us alone. What a pity it is that so many of its treasures slumber, awaiting as in a fairy tale the day when they will come to life for us and all the world.

No words, no raptures, nothing save listening to their pure melodies can give an idea of the beauty of Polish Christmas carols, the purest expression of Polish religious feeling, so confident, poetic, simple, instinctive; all that enchants us in the art of Giotto or Beato Angelico [Fra Angelico], has been put by Polish peasants into these religious melodies and texts, that like masterpieces of Italian primitives seem, by their simplicity, akin to the most exquisite of flowers. While listening to them does not the thought occur that the were created by some supersensitive artist, weighing every word, measuring every effect, so as to leave unmarred and inviolate the ideal impression of naive faith? And hearing such melodies as “To Beethlehem Came the Shepherds” or “All the World Today is Happy,” does not one think of the French masters of the 17th century who knew this same secret of uniform simplicity?

It is obvious that the form peculiar to folk songs, their outer garment, as it were, so plain in comparison with the splendor that enrobes the music of individual creators, requires special presentation to reveal all the beauty hidden in rustic songs, ceremonial chants, tavern music, in which little Chopin undoubtedly steeped himself and of which Mickiewicz wrote so beautifully in Pan Tadeusz.

Certain instruments, such as flutes and bass fiddles, are more suited than others to Polish folk songs, being able to render all the longing and plaintiveness of this music. And there are doubtless ways of singing these tunes to be discovered by study and intuition, so as to make Polish carols, Polish songa and the marvelous peasant wedding ballads, known to the world and establish them in the heart of the Polish nation itself, increasing thereby its feeling of participation in great creative art, of whcih tehre are onl two sources:t he genius of simple folk and the simplicity of genius.

NOTE: This text is reprinted from Tatrzanski Orzeł [Tatra Eagle], vol. 53 no. 3 (2000), p. 2. Data about original publication and translation are missing.


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)