Polish Music Center Newsletter Vol. 7, no. 3
Penderecki Wins A Grammy Award for “Credo”
The 2001 “Grammy” awards given by the American Academy of Recording Arts for best recordings of popular and classical music have recently been announced. The jurors confirmed the high standing of Krzysztof Penderecki, whose Violin Concerto No. 2 in a rendition by Anne-Sophie Mutter was the winner in recent years. In the choral category this year, Penderecki’s Credo took the top honors. The performance is that of the original first: the work was commissioned by the Oregon Bach Festival and the awarded recording is that from the Festival itself. The Oregon Bach Festival Chorus and Orchestra are led by Hemuth Rilling. According to Mark Swed’s commentary in the Los Angeles Times, “for all the criticism Grammys get for not being quite up-to-date, the eleven classical awards this year have a remarkable feature. Every winner but one – Cecilia Bartoli’s Vivaldi disc – is for music written in the 20th century. In one category, that meant that four superb Bach recordings lost to the fifth nominee, Credo, a recent work by Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki.”Indeed, it is very remarkable that Penderecki won over Bach in the Bach Year. Congratulations!!!
Penderecki – Fourth “Man Of The Millenium”
According to the PAP (Polish Press Agency) based article in Nowy Dziennik composer Penderecki placed 4th as “Man of the Millenium” by readers of Nowiny in Poland, after General Sikorski who won the title. comedy writer Aleksander Fredro placed second and petro-chemist Ignacy Lukasiewicz placed third. The Top Ten also included poet Ignacy Krasicki and rector of the Jagiellonian University and the 15th c. humanist Grzegorz from Sanok.
Kaspszyk Conducts In Los Angeles
Jacek Kaspszyk, artistic and music director of the Grand Theatre – National Opera in Warsaw, will conduct a concert of late-romantic symphonic music with the USC Thornton Symphony on 9 March 2001. The program consists of Anton Bruckner’s Symphony no. 7 and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 (with the soloist USC piano student, Xin Xin). For more information about the concert, visit the Thornton School of Music web page.The following biographical information is cited from Kaspszyk’s official web page at: www.teatrwielki.pl. Kapszyk studied conducting, theory and composition at the Warsaw Academy of Music, graduating in 1975 – and that same year made his conducting debut at the Grand Theatre in a new production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The following year he made his debut at the Düsseldorf Opera where he returned for the next two seasons as Principal Guest Conductor.
In 1977, he won III Prize at the celebrated Karajan Competition and made his debut in Berlin and New York. The same year he was appointed Principal Conductor of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, becoming Music Director in 1980, and together with the orchestra making several European tours which included his Royal Festival Hall debut in London.
In 1982, Jacek Kaspszyk moved to London, and made his debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra and the following year with Capital Radio’s Wren Orchestra of London, whose Principal Conductor he subsequently became. Since then he has worked regularly with the Philharmonia, London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, and London Philharmonic orchestras as well as regional UK orchestras including the Scottish National, BBC Scottish, BBC Welsh (with whom he made his Henry Wood Promenade Concert debut), Halle, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Bournemouth Symphony, Ulster Orchestra and English Sinfonia whose Principal Guest Conductor he became in 1992.
Jacek Kaspszyk has conducted major European orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, RSO Berlin, Bavarian Radio, Stuttgart Philharmonic, French National, La Scala Milan, Czech Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe with whom he made an extensive tour of Australia. Between 1991-95 he held the post of Principal Conductor and Music Advisor of the North Netherlands Orchestra.
He has given performances in North America with among others the San Diego Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic and Winnipeg Symphony orchestras. Recent seasons have also included two successful tours with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra in Japan and his first visit to the Tokyo Philharmonic as well as engagements with the Hong Kong Philharmonic and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
Kaspszyk is also in demand in the field of opera and has conducted new productions of: Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades (Dusseldorf Opera – 1977), Moniuszko’s Haunted Manor (Detroit Opera – 1982), Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Lyon Opera – 1983), Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (Bordeaux Opera – 1985), Mozart’s Magic Flute (Opera Comique Paris – 1985), Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins (Lyon Opera – 1987), J. Strauss’s Die Fledermaus (Scottish Opera – 1988), Wagner’s Flying Dutchman (Opera North Leeds – 1989), Rossini’s Barber of Seville (English National Opera – 1992), and, at the Grand Theatre – National Opera: R. Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier (1997), Mozart’s Don Giovanni (December 1998), Bartók’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle and Miraculous Mandarin (April 1999), the revival of R. Wagner’s Die Walküre (November 1999), Viva Moniuszko, Viva Verdi… – Opera Choral Masterpieces (December 1999), Szymanowski’s King Roger (March 2000), Verdi’s Don Carlos (October 2000) and Moniuszko’s The Haunted Manor (February 2001). He has also prepared several symphony concerts with the Grand Theatre Orchestra. He regularly performs abroad, recently at the Zurich Opera where he prepared the premiere of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. He has also had an extremely successful tour of Japan with La Traviata performed by the Warsaw opera ensemble. In September 1998, Jacek Kaspszyk was appointed Artistic and Music Director of the Grand Theatre – National Opera in Warsaw.
Jacek Kaspszyk has recorded for several companies and has to his credit such recordings as the critically acclaimed, first complete recording in Italian of Rossini’s Il Signor Bruschino with the Warsaw Chamber Opera, theaward winning (Edison Prize) Baird’s Concerto Lugubre with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, as well as many acclaimed recordings with all four major London orchestras for Collins Classics.
Roman Maciejewski In Los Angeles
The Helena Modjeska Polish Arts and Culture Club of Los Angeles invites its members and their guests to an evening dedicated to the music and life of Roman Maciejewski, a Polish composer who spent a considerable part of his life in California. The program of this evening will include a lecture by Maja Trochimczyk, film fragments from a TV film realized by Stefan Szlachtycz, and the American premiere of Maciejewski’s String Trio “Matinata” composed in 1948 and performed by USC String Trio. Maciejewski’s music is unique in style and the Polish Music Center is proud to present this introduction to the art of one of Poland’s greatest 20th-century composers. The evening, held on Saturday, 17 March 2001\ at 7 p.m. will be complemented by an informal conversation with several and prominent members of the Polish American community residing in California who knew Maciejewski during his time here. For more information please contact Ms. Yola Zych, the president of the Modjeska Club, or visit the Club’s web site at: www.modjeska.org.
Polish Strings – 20th Century Orchestra Classics
Polish Music Center at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles presents: Polish Strings: 20th Century Orchestra Classics ,
featuring: Jan Jakub Bokun, conductor, with soloists Radoslaw Materka, piano and Adrianna Lis, flute, and USC Strings.The concert will take place on Saturday, March 31, 2001, 7:00 p.m., at the United University Church; Los Angeles, USC Campus, 817 W.34th St.tel:213-740-9369 (free admission).
The program includes the following works:
- Romuald Twardowski: “Triptych of the Virgin Mary”
- Henryk Gorecki: “Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra”
- Tadeusz Baird: “Colas Breugnon”
- Rafal Augustyn: “Stela”
- Wojciech Kilar: “Orawa”
All of these composers have web sites at the Polish Music Center and for more information our readers may visit these sites at PMC Composers.
Schaeffer Speaks About His Work
Professor Boguslaw Schaeffer, music critic and composer, gave an interview for Nowy Dziennik with Janusz Paluch about his work as a composer and theatrical producer. He spoke of his last two works: “Leopolis,” a Violin concerto commissioned by the Society of Friends of Lwow, his birthplace and his two hour “Sinfonia Concerto” for 15 soloists and great orchestra. The score is 442 pages long.
Magdalena Adamek – Young Pianist
Born in 1976, Adamek received a diploma at the Music Academy in Warsaw in the class of Barbara Hesse-Bukowska in 2000. Her successes up till now include: Second place at the Milosz Magina International Piano Competition in Paris (1997), Third place in the piano trio category at the K. Bacewicz International Chamber Music Competition in Lodz, Poland (1998), she received a Rector’s Scholarship at the Fryderyk Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw to participate in the Chopin Competition in Darmstadt, Germany (1999), finally, she represented Poland in the European Piano Forum at Hochschule der Kunste in Berlin, Germany (1999). The tournee associated with the promotion of her first CD took place in February in Canada and the United States. She is also working on promoting her CD in France.
Social Realism In Central European Music – A Conference
Central European Music Research Centre (CEMRC), Department of Music, Cardiff University, in collaboration with the Department of Music, Bristol University presents a conference on “Socialist Realism in Central European Music: 1945-1955.” This even will be held at Cardiff University, on Saturday 10 March 2001, 11.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.The provisional program is as follows:
10.30-11.00 REGISTRATION & TEA/COFFEE
11.00 Welcome & Introduction: Adrian Thomas (Cardiff) and Christopher Norris (Cardiff)
11.35 Mikulas Bek (Brno): ‘Socialist Realism and the Tradition of Czech National Music: Czech Music of the 1950s’
12.00 Rachel Beckles Willson (Bristol): ‘Realisms and Realities between text and music in Kurtag’s pieces for the young’
12.25 Discussion session led by John Tyrrell (Cardiff)
13.45 Lorant Peteri (Budapest): ‘Official and Unofficial Patronage of Musicology in Hungary under State Socialism’
14.10 Adrian Thomas (Cardiff): ‘Hide and Seek: Lutoslawski’s concealed cantatas as paradigms of a creative dilemma’
14.35 Discussion session led by Malgorzata Szyszkowska (Cardiff)
15.30 Toby Thacker (Cardiff): ‘Relatively Content? Musicians and Republikflucht in the early GDR’
15.55 David Tompkins (New York): ‘Composers’ Unions in Poland and the GDR, 1948-1956: Comparing Methods of Composer Self-Organisation and Political Control’
16.20 Discussion session led by Jonathan Osmond (Cardiff)
16.45 Respondent to the Day: Jim Samson (Bristol)
During the conference, ‘The Hidden Composer: Witold Lutoslawski and Polish Radio’, an exhibition first seen in January 1997 at the Barbican Centre in London as part of the BBC’s Lutoslawski festival ‘Breaking Chains’, will be on display. For further enquiries and details contact Prof. Thomas at:
tel: +44 (0)29-2087-6626
fax: +44 (0)29-2087-6025
CEMRC, Department of Music, Cardiff University,
Corbett Road, Cardiff, CF10 3EB, Wales, UK
A Musical Perk
Among the musical anniversaries being observed this year in Poland is the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late composer Piotr Perkowski, who was born in March 1901. An orchestral concert marking the centennial of his birth is being organized on the initiative of a former student of Perkowski, the well-known composer Piotr Moss. The concert takes place on Sunday, March 25, at six o’clock in the evening in the Lutoslawski Concert Studio at Polish Radio on ulica Woronicza 17. Conducting Warsaw’s Polish Radio Orchestra is still another illustrious student of Perkowski’s, conductor and composer Jerzy Maksymiuk. The program consists of works by Perkowski as well as music by composers with whom Perkowski studied, Karol Szymanowski and the Frenchman Albert Roussel.
During his life, Perkowski worked in several capacities: as a composer, pedagogue and administrator. Among the many hats he wore were those of composition professor at the music academies of Wroclaw and Warsaw, and artistic director of the Cracow Philharmonic, the Polish Radio Orchestra in Katowice and the Warsaw Musical Society. In view of this month’s commotion in Warsaw that is being caused by the filming of Roman Polanski’s latest movie The Pianist, based on the wartime memoirs of the late Jewish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman, it should be pointed out that Perkowski is mentioned in Szpilman’s book. It was Piotr Perkowski, who was involved in underground activities against the Nazi occupiers, that first gave shelter to Szpilman after he escaped from the Ghetto in 1943 and sought refuge in Perkowski’s fifth floor artist’s studio on ulica Noakowski. It will be interesting to see whether or not Polanski includes this episode in his film.
The Polish Tenors
Celebrity Symphony Orchestra (40-pice) presents The Polish Tenors (Boguslaw Morka, Ryszard Wroblewski, Adam Zdunikowski) Kinga Mitrowska-soprano, Boguslaw Kaczynski-MC, Andrew Rozbicki, Music Director Saturday Feb., 17 at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00p.m. at Living Arts Centre, Mississauga Tickets: (905) 306-6000, or Toll Free 1-888-805-8888
Boguslaw Kaczynski- has been delighting audiences for years with his various projects. Author of many best-selling books, host of numerous shows and performances and winner of countless awards, he is a perennial favorite in the Polish community for his wit, charm, and endless anecdotes. Voted ‘Polityk’ magazine’s Greatest Television Personality of the Century, Boguslaw Kaczynski was presented by President R.P. with a prestigious award for his contributions in preserving Polish culture and heritage. He has been a guest of the Celebrity Symphony Orchestra on numerous previous occasions entertaining audiences and drawing rave reviews.
Boguslaw Morka- a highly successful tenor with countless major opera, operetta, and musical roles on his repertoire, he performs with some of the greatest orchestras in Poland and the world. In 1992, he was invited to take part in the tremendous concert “Heart to Heart” where he sang with Placido Domingo the duet of Malcolm and Macduff from the opera Macbeth by Donizetti. Boguslaw Morka has performed all over the world on great stages in France, Belgium, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, Germany, Greece, the United States, Canada and Australia, transporting audiences with his spirited and gifted performances.
Ryszard Wroblewski- is an incredible tenor that can bring tears to his audience with his enchanting voice. Winner of numerous awards including the Jan Kiepura Vocal Festival in Krynicy, he has been a soloist of the ‘Teatr Wielki’ and the ‘Teatr Muzyczny ROMA’ in Warsaw. He has performed all over the world including previously in Toronto with the Celebrity Symphony Orchestra and brought audiences to their feet and critics to rejoice with his moving, entrancing renditions of some of the most beautiful arias in history.
Adam Zdunikowski- will be joining us straight from Japan where he is performing the role of ‘Alfredo’ in Verdi’s La Traviata. A highly talented tenor, he has performed with numerous companies, including the ‘Teatr Wielki’ in Warsaw, the ‘Chamber Opera’ in Warsaw, and the Hamburg Staatsopher. Recently, he has worked with ‘Narodni Divadlo’ in Prague and appeared in Penderecki’s works, composer conducted. He has delighted audiences throughout Europe and the world and is sure to thrill here in Toronto.
Kinga Mitrowska- well known Canadian soprano will be joining The Polish Tenors. Andrzej Rozbicki, an accomplished and experienced conductor is organizing the event and will conduct the entire ensemble.
The newest publication from British musicologist, professor and author specializing in Polish music, Adrian Thomas, is called “Squaring the Triangle: Traditions and Tyrannies in 20th century Polish Music.” The book is published by the School of Slavonic Studies, London. 2000. Paperback: $15. For more information contact www.ssees.ac.uk.
New Site For Polish Jazz
There is a brand new website with information about Polish jazz: www.polishjazz.com.
Competitions and Awards
A new Andrzej Panufnik Young Composers’ International Competition has been announced for Cracow 2001. It is open to all composers born after 30 May, 1971. Deadline for submissions is 30 May, 2001 and results will be announced 31 July. Chairman of the international jury is Boguslaw Schaeffer. The winners will be awarded at the Festival of Andrzej Panufnik’s Music in November (22-25). Three categories include: 1) composition for solo instrument and string instruments. 2) Chamber piece for 3 to 6 instruments of composer’s choice. 3) Solo instrument or vocal. Main prize: $1,000.00.
Paderewski Piano Competition
V International Paderewski Piano Competition will be held in Bydgoszcz from 6 Nov to 17 November, 2001. In commemorating the great Polish pianist and composer, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, the competition hopes to encourage and promote the music of the great maestro. It is open to pianists of all nationalities under age 27 (born after 1 Nov, 1974). Application deadline: 31 July 2001. www.konkurspaderewskiego.pl
San Francisco Competition
The VI Annual San Francisco Chopin Competition for Young Pianists will be held 2 June, 2001 at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. For brochure contact the sponsoring organization, the Chopin Foundation Council of San Francisco at www.chopin.org or e-mail: ChopinSanFrancisco@aol.com
Nominations to “Fryderyk” Awards in Poland
The Polish recording awards, “Fryderyk” have been controversial and criticized for focusing on recordings made in Poland, rather than those prepared by Polish artists for an international array of companies. However, this year’s nominations have not been criticized yet; the results will be announced on 18 March. Please note the large number of recordings by Malgorzata Polanska; as last year, she seems to have dominated the specialized fields of classical music recordings (seven nominations in two categories listed below).
In the area of early music five recordings are competing:
- Bal renesansowy w Warszawie (Orkiestra Zlotego Wieku, recorded by Malgorzata Polanska, Marcin Domzal);
- Imeneo (Georg Friedrich Handel, Warsaw Chamber Opera and various ensembles, cond. Wladyslaw Klosiewicz, recorded by Malgorzata Polanska, Marcin Domzal);
- Piesni Maryjne – Ave Mater, O Maria (Alfonso el Sabio, “Dekameron” ensemble; recorded by Malgorzata Polanska, Marcin Domzal);
- Alessandro Scarlatti: S. Casimiro – Re di Polonia (cond. Jerzy Zak, recorded by Malgorzata Polanska, Lech Tolwinski);
- Jan Sebastian Bach: Goldberg Variations (Wladyslaw Klosiewicz – klawesyn, recorded by Lech Dudzik, Gabriela Blicharz).
In the chamber music category, USC Thornton School of Music is proud to note the presence of its student, Jan Jakub Bokun:
- Duo Guitarinet (Astor Piazzolla, and other composers; Jan Jakub Bokun – clarinet, Krzysztof Pelech – guitar; recorded by Malgorzata Polanska, Lech Tolwinski);
- Jan Sebastian Bach: Piano Concerti (Waldemar Malicki, Tamara Granat; Kwartet Prima Vista; recorded by Malgorzata Polanska, Lech Tolwinski);
- Haydn: Seven Last Words of Christ (Kwartet Prima Vista, recorded by Malgorzata Polanska, Lech Tolwinski);
- Magia Fugi (composers: L. van Beethoven, F. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, E. Grieg, M. Rimski-Korsakow, A. Liadow, M. Ciurlionis, J. Sibelius, A. Glazunow; Kwartet Slaski, recorded by Beata Jankowska-Burzynska);
- Micro Piezas (kompozytor L. Brouwer, M. de Falla, J.P. Rameau, C. Debussy, G.P. Telemann, M. Giuliani, R. Pignoni, S. Assad, I. Albeniz; Michal Nagy, Marcin Siatkowski, guitars; recorded by Malgorzata Polanska, Lech Tolwinski);
- Antonio Vivaldi – 6 Bassoon Concertos (soloist Andrzej Budejko with “Amadeus” Chamber Orchestra, cond. Agnieszka Duczmal, recorded by Andrzej Sasin, Andrzej Lupa).
Calendar Of Events
MAR 11: Chamber Music Series: Avalon String Quartet. Kosciuszko Foundation House. NYC. 3:00 p.m.
MAR 15: Andrews Russo, winner of the 1996 Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Piano Competition. KF House. 8:00 p.m.
MAR 17: Kosciuszko Foundation Vocal Competition. Kosciuszko Foundation. NY.MAR 17: “Roman Maciejewski” An evening at Modjeska Club of Los Angeles; with film screening and the American premiere of his String Trio.
MAR 21: Valerian Ruminski, bass. Laureate of the 1998 Sembrich Voice Competition. Kosciuszko Foundation. NY 8:00 p.m.
MAR 24: Paderewski “Dream Concerto for Youth. Part of the Paderewski Festival. Latter-Day Saints Church, Paso Robles. 2:00-4:00 p.m. Free.
MAR 25: Karol Radziwonowicz, piano. Featured soloist at the Paderewski Festival. 1:30-3:30. Paso Robles Golf Club. $12. 805-238-1847. www.paderewskifestival.org.
MAR 30: Karol Radziwonowicz, piano. “Grand Romantic Concert.” La Petit Trianon, San Jose. 75 N. 5th St. 408-391- 3229.
MAR 31: POLISH STRING MUSIC: 20th Century Orchestral Classics; USC STrings, Jan Jakub Bokun, cond. United University Church, Los Angeles 817 West 34th St. 7 p.m. Program includes works by Baird, Gorecki, Kilar, Augustyn, Twardowski.
Chopin All Over
The Chopin Foundation Council of San Francisco presented a Chopin Birthday Concert in February at the Old first Concerts featuring USC pianist Hiroko Kunitake, Lauerate of the 2000 National American Chopin Piano Competition in Miami, Florida.
International Music Fraternity, Mu Phi Epsilon, reported on member actress-pianist Leigh Kaplan, who joined with pianist/conductor Lincoln Mayorga to present “Chopin and Candlelight.” The two presented George Sand and Fryderyk Chopin in a production drawn from diaries and letters and takes place on the island of Majorca during the winter of 1838-39, interspersed with readings and masterpieces composed by Chopin during that time.
In Washington, D.C.: pianist Garrick Ohlsson appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra in Chopin’s First Piano Concerto at the Kennedy Center on February 8, 9 and 10th.
In Purchase, NY Garrick Ohlsson paired off with award-winning Polish contralto, Ewa Podleś, to perform again in a duo- recital. Ten Chopin Songs and Chopin’s Barcarolle and Fantaise in f minor were on the program.
Pianist Adam Makowicz presented a recital “Jazz, Chopin and Swing” at the Polish Cultural Foundation in Clark, New Jersey (18 Feb).
Pianist Mimi Solomon presented a recital of music by Chopin, Beethoven and Rachmaninov sponsored by the Chopin Foundation of New York at the Polish Consulate.
Violinist Agata Manka and pianist Nina Kuzma-Sapiejewska presented a program at the Polish Consultate in New York as part of the New York Dance & Arts Innovations Series.
In New Britain, Connecticut pianist Adnrzej Anweiler premiered his own composition “Concertino for piano and small orchestra” with the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, which he founded and also performed Chopin’s “Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise” with Adrian Mackiewicz from Poland conducting.
Chopin In the L.A. area: Steven Hall at the Community Church in Altadena (11 Feb); Pasadena Conservatory faculty program at the Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Pasadena (16 Feb); Dang Thai Son at the La Mirada Theatre (18 Feb) and Karina Sabina at the Beverly Hills Public Library.
Chopin heard on BBC Radio 3: Polish pianist Piotr Anderszewski performed the Bach Partitas and music by Chopin at the Lunchtime Concert 1-2 p.m. 23 Feb.
A review of the gala concert “Polish Contemporary Music” presented last January at Avery Fisher Hall in the Lincoln Center was reviewed (in Polish) by Roman Markowicz in the Nowy Dziennik. His chief complaint was the length of the program (almost three hours). Organized by Jan Sporek it featured pianist Jacek Zganiacz, organist Julian Gembalski, Sylvia Kowalczuk, harp, Mikolaj Gorecki (son of Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki) who performed his father’s “Fantasie” with violinist Mariusz Monczak, as well as his own sonata for violin and piano. The Polish Academic Choir from the Politechnic in Gliwice performed music by Jozef Swider, Jan Hawel and Romuald Twardowski and concluded the program joining the Esprit de Chorus under the direction of Sporek.
Other Polish Composers Heard
Robert Shulgold, flute and Kenton Youngstrom, guitar performed music by Szymanowski and Spanish composers at Sundays Live at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
The Poznan Philharmonic conducted by French conductor Louis Langree performed Lutoslawski’s “Music funebre” and Szymanowski’s First Violin Concerto with Stefan Czermak, violin.
In a program commemorating the 10th anniversary of Panufnik’s death, the National Philharmonic performed his 6th Symphony “Sinfonia Mistica” and Canadian violinist Chantal Juillet performed his Violin Concerto under the baton of British conductor Mark Stevenson.
by Wanda Wilk
Paderewski (1860-1941) and His Recordings
Information on recordings of Paderewski’s music and his performances, with the year 2001 being the official Year of Paderewski, seems to be warranted at this time.The Schwann Catalog, a resource for classical music records, has eighteen listings for Paderewski, which means that they should be easily available from your local record shop. Ten of these are devoted to the music that he composed and eight are of his legendary performances as the greatest pianist of his time.
However, these listings did not include any of the CDs of Karol Radziwonowicz, who was the first to record the Complete Piano Works of Paderewski in 1992. So I went on the internet to check out the Tower Records and Amazon.com web-sites, and the only Radziwonowicz I found was of him playing a new piano quintet arrangement of Chopin’s piano concerto. The good news is that I found not eighteen but forty-one CDs of Paderewski and his music that are available at this time on the Amazon site. I was also very impressed with the site. Amazon not only provides you with the full contents of each disc, but also has editorial and customer reviews and lets you hear samples of the disc. Customers are invited to write their own review. If it is the first review of a recording, then one has a chance to win a $50 gift certificate. The CDs also have ratings and what impressed me the most was that the Paderewski CDs had five-star ratings and rave reviews!
Not to worry, however, about the Radziwonowicz. He recorded the four volumes of Complete Works on the Polish label Selene and these are available from Poland or here in California by mail or internet: Edmund Lewandowski’s “Music From Poland” mail order is the official distributor for Selene Records. Ela Andrysewicz’s EA Trading in Santa Barbara can also supply you with them. I am sure that they will also be available at the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles this month, where Radziwonowicz is the principal soloist.
First, let us look at his compositional output. Although he was not a prolific composer, he did manage to write three orchestral works, one opera, several songs and many piano pieces. His last opus, no. 24, was his “Polonia” symphony, which took him 6 years to complete in 1907. The other orchestral works are the “Polish Fantasie on Original Themes” (1893) for piano and orchestra and a piano concerto (1888). He composed six Songs to Mickiewicz poems, four to those of poet A. Asnyk and twelve to the French poems of Catulle Mendes. He also wrote words to “Hej, Orle bialy” for men’s chorus with piano or band. His single opera, “Manru” received its Metropolitan Opera debut on the same day that he performed at Madison Square Garden. Both were filled to capacity. He also wrote a Sonata for violin and piano. He wrote numerous pieces for piano to which his publisher (Bote- Bock of Berlin) gave exotic names (which he hated), such as “Dans le Desert, Album de mai, Chants du voyageur.” He preferred a simple title, like Elegy, Intermezzo, Prelude or Menuet. After the Menuet in G the most popular of his piano miniatures are the Cracovienne Fantastique and the Legend and Nocturne from opus 16. The most difficult, and what he considered his best, were the Sonata Op. 21 (1910) and Variations and Fugue in A minor (1885). Three of his compositions were never published: an unfinished violin concerto, a Suite for orchestra, a Cantata for choir and orchestra and an opera, “Sakuntala.”
In looking at a list of old vinyl Long Playing records (LPs) I found out that his compositions had been recorded on more than a hundred of them by at least nineteen pianists and other artists in the past. Paderewski’s most popular piano piece was the Minuet in G and it had been the recorded at least fifty times in various arrangements. Among the pianists performing this famous Minuet we find the famous Russian composer and pianist Rachmaninov, Josef Hofmann, Ignaz Friedman, Jose Iturbi, Szpinalski and Alicia de Larocha. More recently, we find pianists Stephen Hough, Philippe Entremont, Peter Nagy, Adam Wodnicki.
The famous violinist Fritz Kreisler made an arrangement for violin and piano that has been performed and recorded by Henryk Szeryng, Candela and Campoli among others. (Kreisler also made an arrangement of the Melodie, Op. 16 No. 2 for his performances). A cello version was recorded by Gaspar Cassado, Marcelli-Herson and Vladimir Orlov. The Hamburg Philharmonic made a recording in 1954 with Willy Stech at the piano. Eighteen arrangements of the Minuet for full orchestra had been released by 1975 with famous conductors Andre Kostelanetz, Eugene Ormandy, Carmen Dragon and Marek Sewen among them. Recently, an arrangement for flute accompanied by strings and harp received a top rating for Don Bailey.
Other piano pieces besides the Menuet have been arranged for orchestra and the Krakowiak has also been recorded as an arrangement for violin and piano. Polskie Nagrania now has Krzysztof Jakowicz playing Paderewski, Szymanowski, Wieniawski and Lutoslawski on a disc called “Polish Violin Music.” A new CD released in April 2000 by Koch-Schwann consists of only orchestral arrangements of Paderewski’s piano miniatures, as well as excerpts from his opera “Manru.” There is no revue of this CD on Amazon.com so here’s a chance for someone to earn $50.
If you wish to hear what Paderewski composed for orchestra, you can look for his Piano Concerto, which had been recorded by pianists Barbara Hesse-Bukowska, Earl Wild, Zbigniew Drzewiecki, Felicia Blumenthal in the past and more recently by Janina Fialkowska, Ewa Kupiec and Piers Lane. Ewa Kupiec is on the Koch-Schwann label with the Frankfurt Radio SO with H. Wolff also conducting the Fantasie Polonaise, Op. 19 on this disc. Polish conductor Jerzy Maksymiuk presents the piano concertos of Paderewski and Moszkowski featuring pianist Piers Lane and the BBC Scottish SO on a Hyperion label. Maksymiuk also conducts Paderewski’s Symphony in B minor, Op. 24 “Polonia” on another HYP CD. It is the only work on the disc, as it is 76 minutes long. Locally, our premiere pianist Wojciech Kocyan has performed this concerto for the opening of the last International Paderewski Piano competition in Bydgoszcz. Hopefully, a recording will follow.
Paderewski also wrote a chamber work, a Sonata for violin and piano. The Belgian label Pavanne released it with Polish artists Robert Szreder and Boguslaw Strobel performing. Some readers may remember these musicians from the big event at Forest Lawn in 1993 honoring Sir Hubert Eaton and Ignacy Jan Paderewski, where they performed this sonata. The violin and piano sonata was also released by DUX 0231 in 1995 with Beata Halska, violin and Barbara Halska, piano. They also perform works by Tansman, Wieniawski, Twardowski, Wielecki and Zarzycki.
Only a few recordings of Paderewski’s songs are available. There had been several recordings on the Polish Muza LPs with artists Maria Drewniakowna, Kazimierz Pustelak, Elzbieta Jaroszewicz, Alina Bolechowska, Jozef Koralkiewicz, Alfred Orda, Aniela Szleminska. The famous Metropolitan opera star Marcella Sembrich sings “My Own Sweet Maiden” from Op. 18 No.3 in a collection of operatic arias on Romophone taken from the Victor Recordings 1908-1919, which is available now. The most recent CD of songs has just been released Jan ’01 and it features four songs by Paderewski and 17 by Chopin. Soprano Teresa Zylis-Gara and pianist Waldemar Malicki recorded for the new Polish DUX. The tenor solo from his opera was first recorded on LP by Guiseppe Anselmi in 1910 on a Fonotipia label. Wieslaw Ochman recorded it with the Polish Radio and TV Orchestra on MUZA in 1975. You can also find a Paderewski song on Olympia OCD 629 with Felicja Blumental accompanying her daughter, soprano Annete Celine in a recording of Chopin’s nineteen songs and songs of Moniuszko, Niewiadomski and Szymanowski.
As was mentioned before, Radziwonowicz was the first to record the complete piano works. Prof. Adam Wodnicki of the University of North Texas, Benton has just completed two volumes for Altarus. Here Wodnicki plays Op. 16, the Tatra Album and the Piano Sonata, which is well-known to the Friends of Polish Music at USC and Paderewski Festival attendees from the performances of Prof. Lorenzo Sanchez. In addition to the Piano Concerto Ewa Kupiec has also recorded the piano works for Koch Schwann, on which she plays the Danse Polonaises, Humoresque, Nocturne, Variation & fugue and the Tatra Album. Prof. Andrzej Stefanski of Krakow has also recorded the Sonata for Polskie Nagrania.
Fortunately for us his piano artistry has also been preserved, even though he lived before the invention of the record player. Some of the historical re-releases came from the duo-art piano rolls and some from live concerts from the 1930s when he returned to the concert stage. So we are fortunate to be able to listen and understand why he was so popular. He was actually the first great “celebrity” in the same sense as Elvis.
In two volumes of the Philips “Great Pianists of the 20th Century” series we have Paderewski performing his famous Menuet and works by other composers. The “Art of Paderewski” is in three volumes and is a re-release of recordings from 1911 to 1930 and a 1938 broadcast. Here we find him performing the music of Couperin, Liszt, Schelling, Stojowski, Wagner, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Anton Rubinstein, Debussy, Brahms and Strauss. Paderewski was highly regarded for his Beethoven renditions, especially the Moonlight Sonata (which he also performed in a movie of the same name) and the Liszt Hungarian Rhapsodies. Paderewski performs in four volumes of the Nimbus Grand Piano series taken from Duo-Art piano rolls from 1922-31 and this has the Hungarian Dances as well as the famous Beethoven Sonata.
There are other recordings featuring Paderewski as the soloist. One by Klavier (KCD 11018) vol. 1; one by RCA Victor gold Seal “Legendary Performers” simply called “Paderewski” and the Genesis Recordings of Legendary Pianists, Vol. 2 (Orchard #1040). There are also three volumes of Paderewski playing Chopin. There is also a recording from Pearl Opal entitled, “The Pupils of Leschetizky. A Gallery of Great Pianists.” Paderewski was one of them, as were Mme. Leginska and Moisewitsch. Paderewski plays Liszt’s virtuosic transcription of Chopin’s song, “Maiden’s Wish.”
In summary, what is easily available from a local music record shop at this time are two recordings of his piano concerto, the symphony, the violin and piano sonata and solo performances by pianists Ewa Kupiec, Adam Wodnicki and Earl Wild and some of the historical releases mentioned above.
All in all there are more than fifty recent CDs to choose from. A fine legacy from Paderewski described by some listeners as “incredible recordings,” “his Chopin playing is incomparable” and “listen…and you’ll know what the legend was all about!”
I will have a list of all recordings (alphabetically by Label) added to the Essay that I wrote on Paderewski in the near future.
BBC Discs Reviewed
Two Chopin Discs Reviewed in Feb 2001 BBC Music Magazine:
Virgin Classics VM 5 61836 2
Chopin Piano Sonata, 4 Nocturnes, Scherzo & Barcaralle.
Mikhail Pletnev, piano.Disky DCL 705712
Chopin Polonaises & Nocturnes. Garrick Ohlsson, piano.
Critic Adrian Jack compares these two CDs with Adam Harasiewicz Polonaises on Phillips and Ohlsson’s earlier performance on Arabesque. He begins with describing Mikhail Pletnev as “One of the most brilliant pianists around.” The critic prefers Ohlsson on Arabesque, because the Nocturnes there were “the most imaginative.” He also believes Harasiewicz is “more aristocratically stylish in the Polonaises.”
Available From Daedalus Music
Available now from Daedalus Music (Washington, D.C./Baltimore area): Their order #09077: Geza Anda, piano, playing Chopin’s 12 Etudes, Op. 25. Ermitage CD from Hungary $5.98. (www.salemusic.com) and order #09676: “Masques” Polish Piano Works by Lutoslawski, Szymanowski and Zarebski, Elzbieta Wiedner-Zajac, piano. $14.00
Recordings Reviewed In Fanfare
Reviewed in Fanfare Nov/Dec 2000:
CRI CD 853.
Stanislaw Skrowaczewski: String Trio. Also works by Tartaglia & Davidson. Ensemble Capriccio. The String Trio was commissioned by the Twin-Cities based ensemble formed in 1982. Robert Kirzinger wrote “The 5 movement Trio (1991) employs a chromatically saturated, European-sounding style, like Dohnanyi or some of Hindemith. The five movements are contrasted in musical approach and mood, from tense to darkly lyrical to humorous.” He summarizes with “These are three well-written pieces, performed definitively by the empathetic and style-conscious Ensemble.” Recommended.
Reviewed in Fanfare Jan/Feb 2001:
Accord 011 314-2
Szymanowski. Violin Concertos 1 & 2, Concert Overture. Kaja Danczowska, v. Nat’l PO, Kazimierz Kord, cond. Recommended by Adrian Corleonis. Speaking of the Overture: “Rarely recorded, it has never sounded more persuasive.”
Interview With Kazimierz Kord
By Joseph Herter
Not only does 2001 mark the centennial of the Warsaw Philharmonic, but it also marks Mr. Kord’s 24th year as music director of the orchestra. In addition to being at the helm of the Warsaw Philharmonic for nearly quarter of a century, Mr. Kord has held a distinguished career as both an opera and orchestral conductor on both sides of the Atlantic. Joseph A. Herter interviews Mr. Kord on the upcoming centennial celebration of the Warsaw Philharmonic.
Joseph HERTER: Mr. Kord, the actual 100th anniversary concert takes place on November 5 and includes one of the works which was played by the orchestra on its first concert: Ignacy Jan Paderewski’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, op. 17. Are there any plans to include the other works which were performed on that historic first concert in the coming season’s repertoire? They include Zygmunt Stojowski’s Symphony in D Minor, op. 21; Zygmunt Noskowski’s tone poem Step; Stanislaw Moniuszko’s overture Bajka and a cantata by Wladyslaw Zelenski entitled Zyj, piesni.
Kazimierz KORD: In the concert program, inaugurating the 100th anniversary of the Warsaw Philharmonic, we only included the Piano Concerto in A Minor by Paderewski. The tone poem Step by Noskowski and the fabulous overture Bajka by Moniuszko belong to the basic repertoire of probably every orchestral ensemble in Poland. Bajka will get played after all on October 1 by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy in the Philharmonic Hall. Maybe the important thing to take note of is that the conception of our jubilee concert conforms to that of the first concert of the Warsaw Philharmonic. At that time, this work of Paderewski accompanied compositions of esteemed and active composers of that epoch: Noskowski, Zelenski and Stojowski (the “historical” exception being the Moniuszko overture). On our jubilee concert, the same piece by Paderewski will be encompassed by works of our most famous contemporary composers: Lutoslawki and Penderecki.
H: Will the Warsaw Philharmonic’s first music director, Emil Mlynarski, a famous conductor and well-known composer, as well as such eminent musicians as Henryk Opienski, Grzegorz Fitelberg and Pawel Kochanski, who were violinists playing in the orchestra’s first season, be remembered for their contribution to the birth of the Warsaw Philharmonic?
K: These outstanding musicians will be honored in an extensive monograph on the Philharmonic in Warsaw, which will soon appear on the market.
H: How has the Philharmonic been doing financially since Poland’s change to democracy and working in a capitalistic system? What percentage your operating expenses is covered by the Ministry of Culture, private and corporate sponsorship and ticket sales?
K: The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage covers the financial needs of the National Philharmonic for which we are truly grateful. But since the Ministry does not wallow in wealth, they cannot cover the amount that we need in order to achieve our rich and ambitious goals. The Ministry’s donation more or less covers 70% of our needs. The missing portion we have to find ourselves. Thus, we search for sponsors, rent our halls, sell tickets, etc.
H: One of the things lacking in the capital’s cultural life during the summer months is a series of open-air symphonic orchestral concerts. Are there any thoughts of possibly extending the Philharmonic’s work year, and thus increasing salaries, by providing an orchestral concert series in the summer?
K: The Polish climate is not conducive to outdoor concerts. During the last Warsaw Autumn Festival in the third week of September, we performed in the courtyard of the Royal Castle in Warsaw. Because of the nasty cold weather, the concert was not satisfying to either the performers or the audience. In 2001, we are organizing a summer music festival. Several of these concerts will be held in the open air. They will be, of course, chamber music concerts.
H: I first had the opportunity of hearing the Warsaw Philharmonic play when I was in primary school – sometime around 1956 or ’57 – when the orchestra performed in Detroit’s Masonic Temple Auditorium. Are there any plans in the near future for another American tour?
K: We enjoy concertizing in the USA very much. That is because of the excellent concert halls and lively responsive audiences that are there. Our next concert tour of the United States is scheduled for February 2002.
NOTE: This interview was first published in the March issue of Warszawa – What, Where, When. The Magazine’s URL is http//www.inter.com.pl. Used by permission.
Born This Month
- 1 March 1810 – Fryderyk Chopin, virtuoso pianist, Poland’s greatest composer
- 3 March 1922 – Kazimierz Serocki, composer, co-founder of Warsaw Autumn Festival
- 6 March 1975 – Karol Kurpiński, composer, father of national opera
- 7 March 1911 – Stefan Kisielewski, composer, essayist, writer
- 10 March 1937 – Bernadetta Matuszczak, composer
- 17 March 1901 – Piotr Perkowski, composer
- 18 March 1961 – Hanna Kulenty, composer
- 21 March 1936 – Marek Stachowski, composer
- 28 March 1954 – Paweł Szymański, composer
Died This Month
- 21 March 1973 – Antoni Szałowski, composer
- 29 March 1937 – Karol Szymanowski, composer, pianist
- 31 March 1880 – Henryk Wieniawski, composer, virtuoso violinist