April 2002

Polish Music Center Newsletter Vol. 8, no. 4

Annual Paderewski Lecture

The first Annual Paderewski Lecture, featuring composer-pianist Zygmunt Krauze, with the participation of the Polish Folk Dance Ensemble Krakusy, will take place on 3 May 2002, 8 p.m. Alfred Newman Recital Hall, USC Campus, Los Angeles. The Lecture will be preceded by the opening of a Paderewski Exhibition, featuring scores, manuscripts, and documents from the collection of the Polish Music Center, including Paderewski’s piano rolls, photographs, letters, as well as concert programs of his tours in the 1920s, and numerous publications of his music (recordings and early editions). The Exhibition is prepared by Maja Trochimczyk (content) and Ljiljana Grubisic (presentation); it includes material in 18 display cabinets.

Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI (1860-1941), a pianist, composer, politician, humanitarian, and orator, was greatly acclaimed as a virtuoso musician and a charismatic personality. Throughout his musical career he was actively lobbying for Poland to regain independence; he collected funds for the benefit of the country, soldiers, and the victims of the war. His campaign resulted in Poland returning to the map of Europe; he then became the first Prime Minister of Poland and the first Polish delegate to the League of Nations. In order to celebrate Paderewski’s musical talents and his connection to California (he settled in Paso Robles where he had a vineyard; he also received an honorary doctorate from USC) the Polish Music Center at the University of Southern California presents a lecture series, supported by the Kosciuszko Foundation of New York. These lectures, or lecture-recitals in case of pianists and other performing musicians, will spotlight Polish and Polish-American composers and musicians of international stature. The invited guests (one per year) will give a one-hour lecture about their music and their connection to Polish culture. The lectures will be recorded and published by the Polish Music Center: the texts in the Polish Music Journal and the lecture-recitals on CDs. The events will be widely advertised nationally and internationally. The lecture series – through recordings and publication – will become a permanent tribute to Paderewski and to the vitality of Polish culture.

The selection of Paderewski as the patron of the lectures held at USC highlights both his role in California and his connection to this esteemed University. This eminent composer-statesman received an honorary doctorate from USC in 1923 (from the School of International Relations). During that event held at Bovard Auditorium, Paderewski made a speech, but did not perform; a music program was presented by an international array of artists. Participants in this celebration included USC deans and professors, representatives of Polish-American Community; musicians and a patriotic organization called the Native Sons of the Golden West. The audience consisted of USC faculty members and students, diplomatic corps from L.A. area; journalists and the general public. The same groups of listeners are expected at the 2002 Annual Paderewski Lecture featuring Zygmunt Krauze accompanied by members of the Los-Angeles-based Polish Folk Dance Ensemble Krakusy.

Zygmunt KRAUZE (b. 1939) was recently described by Mark Swed in the Los Angeles Times as a “major composer” of our times. Krauze has been active as a pianist and composer since the late 1950s. His original style of “unistic” compositions was inspired by constructivist Polish paintings by Strzeminski. His music later borrowed material from folk songs of central Europe and Poland. With a keen ear for sonority, Krauze created an original sound world of subtle arabesques and fluid textures. His connection to Polish traditions of piano music may be seen in his interpretations of, and improvisations based on, works by Chopin, Szymanowski, and Paderewski. His lecture-recital will present a unique approach to Polish national style and its place in the international music world.

The Annual Paderewski Lectures are sponsored by the Polish Music Center at the University of Southern California, the Kosciuszko Foundation of New York, and the Consulate of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles. For more information visit the site (after April 15).


Zygmunt Stojowski Presented In Los Angeles

Friends of Polish Music at USC in collaboration with the Helena Modjeska Polish Arts and Culture Club of Los Angeles present an evening dedicated to “The Life and Music of Zygmunt Stojowski (1860-1946).” The program consists of a conversation with Henry Stojowski, the composer’s son and an architect based in New York and a recital of Stojowski’s songs by Beata Balon, soprano, accompanied by Lisa EDWARDS, piano. Saturday, 6 April 2002, 6:30 p.m. Studio City.

Zygmunt Stojowski (b. 14 May 1870 in Strzelce; d. 6 November 1946 in New York), is a fascinating figure in Polish music of the 20th century. A recent revival of interest in this pianist, composer, teacher, and humanitarian activist, has started with conductor Joseph Herter’s search for musical material, including the long-lost cantata “A Prayer for Poland”which will be performed in a concert of Stojowski’s music on 11 November 2002 in Warsaw, Poland. After immigrating to America in 1905, Zygmunt Stojowski became a very active member of New York’s Polish-American community, a role he played until the end of his life. His Polonian activities were many and multifaceted, including cultural, patriotic and charitable endeavors. As a musician and composer, Stojowski was friends with Piotr Tchaikovsky, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Marcellina Sembrich Kochanska, and numerous American conductors with whom he performed as a soloist. He taught piano performance at the Juilliard School of Music and in his private school, that he directed together with his wife, an eminent Peruvian pianist, Louisa Macedo Morales. He published articles about music in the leading music periodicals. Stojowski is widely recognized as an original piano teacher of great stature in his time. Paderewski himself had the following to say about his colleague and one-time student (in a note dated 13 May 1924, New York; PIASA Archives):

“It has been my privilege and my joy to assist Mr. Sigismond Stojowski in his studies as a pianist for a number of years. Remarkable pianist and composer, extraordinary musician, highly educated and refined man, he has done me the honor of adopting my method and style to such an extent that, whenever listening to some young people who had enjoyed his guidance and tuition, I have the impression to hear my own pupils. Among the few really great piano pedagogues of the present day, Mr. Stojowski occupies a very prominent position, for he has no superior.”

Slavic Folklore Association

The Slavic and East European Folklore Association, an affiliate of the AAASS (American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies), is a non-profit organization devoted to the exchange of knowledge among scholars interested in Slavic and East European folklore. SEEFA seeks to promote instruction in this subject, to organize panels at national and international conferences, to encourage the preparation of teaching materials and translations, and to foster joint research projects, scholarly exchanges, summer programs, and fieldwork in Slavic and East European folklore.

Individual membership in SEEFA is $20 per year for regular members and $10 for students. For information write to the Secretary-Treasurer, Professor Jeanmarie Routhier-Willoughby, Russian and Eastern Studies, 1055 Patterson Office Tower, University of Kentucky, Lexington KY 40506-0027, USA. Email: jrouhie@pop.ky.edu. Members receive the SEEFA Journal, which is published twice a year. For further information please see the SEEFA web page at http://www.virginia.edu/~slavic/seefa/INDEX.HTM.

Kaper Centennial Unnoticed

The 100th birth anniversary of Polish-American film composer, Bronislaw Kaper took place, unnoticed in February. He was born on February 5, 1902. He was the first Pole to win an Academy Award for film music (1953); his award was for the best song of the year – Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo. [JH].

41st Festival In Lancut

Over 300 eminent artists from Poland and abroad (Great Britain, Czech Republic, Finland, Ukraine) will perform during this year’s Festival at the palace of Łancut. The list of performers includes: Ewa Malas-Godlewska, soprano, Alena Baeva, violin, Belcea Quartet, Lindsay S. Davidson, bagpipes. Eight concerts of the festival will take place in the ballroom of the palace of Potocki and Lubomirski, between 18 and 25 May this year. The artistic director of the Festival is the music director of the Rzeszow Philharmonic, Tadeusz Wojciechowski.

Manuscript Exibition In Krakow

An exhibition of authograph scores by Beethoven, Schubert and Chopin has just been opened at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. The exhibition is located in the new building of the Library and serves as one of the events accompanying the Beethoven Festival held each spring in the city and sponsored by Elzbieta Penderecka’s talent agency. The director of the exhibit is Agnieszka Mietelska-Ciepierska who selected thirty manuscripts for display from the Jagiellonian Library and from the collections of the former Prussian State Library. The holdings of the library are much larger, but there are only six display cases of suitable quality for displaying manuscripts.

Awards and Competitions

Honorary Doctorate For Stuligrosz

The founder of the Poznan Nightingales Boys Chorus, Stefan Stuligrosz recently received a honorary doctorate from the Poznan Academy of Music He is a graduate of this school: in singing and conducting. He also taught there for years, reaching the dignities of professor and rector of the whole school. Prof. Stanislaw Kulczynski stated that Stuligrosz’s tenure of 14 years at the helm of the Academy of Music is a Polish record. Stuligrosz has previously received honorary doctorates from the University of Adam Mickiewicz in Poznan (1995), and from the Pope’s Institute of Sacred Music at the Vatican in 2001. The Poznan Academy of Music has previously awarded honorary doctorates only to two musicians: Ignacy Jan Paderewski i Krzysztof Penderecki.Stefan Stuligrosz was born in August 1920 in Poznan. As a boy he was a member of the Poznan Cathedral Choir. During the war he directed a chamber ensemble; afterwards he completed his education and founded the world-famous “Poznanskie Slowiki.” The ensemble gives about 60 concerts per year and has over 1000 compositions in its repertoire.

Hiolski Awards For Podles, Drabowicz, Cymmerman

Ewa Podles, Wojciech Drabowicz and Anna Cymmerman received awards named after Andrzej Hiolski, for the best operatic performances of the past season. Ewa Podles (contralto) received her prize for Rossini’s Tancredi performed at the National Opera in Warsaw. The same stage presented the prize-winning performance of Wojciech Drabowicz (baryton), who sang the title role in Szymanowski’s King Roger. Anna Cymmerman received her prize in the operatic debut category, she performed Blanche in Poulenc’s The Dialogues of the Carmelitans in Łodz. This was the second edition of the competition.

Chopin For The Youngest In Antonin

First prize winners of the 8th International “Chopin for the Youngest” Competition in Antonin, Poland were:

  • Under age 12: Mariko Nagami (Japan)
  • Up to age 15: Kiryl Keduk (Bialorus)
  • Up to age 18: Katarzyna Wasiak (Poland)

Kociuban Wins Bach Competition

Julia Kociuban won the Grand Prix at the 16th International Piano Competition named after Johann Sebastian Bach and held in Gorzow Wielkopolski and Frankfurt am Oder. The competition is for high school music students and took place between 12 and 16 March, with the participation of over 80 students of music schools from five countries: Poland, Lithuania, Norway, Germany and Belarus. Kociuban also received the special prize for the best performance of Bach’s music and for the best performance in the youngest age group, up to 11 years. The second prize in her age gropu went to Nikodem Wojciechowski. The middle group winner (up to 13 years), Tomasz Stankowski won the first prize.

Koprowski Wins Telemann Competition

Wojciech Koprowski won the first prize at the Third National Competition named after Georg Philipp Telemann and held in Poznan. This is a violin competition for musicians under 15 and one of the prizes is a possibility to participate in master classes of Prof. Adam Kostecki in Krzyzowa. The competition, as well as the Bach competition and Beethoven, indicates a recent resurgence of interest in German culture in south-western Poland.

Horovitz Competition

Winners of the IV International Competition for Young Pianists in memory of Vladimir Horovitz were presented in a concert on 24 March at the Lyceum in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. First prize winners Mariya Kim (Senior group), Dmytro Onischenko (Intermediate group) and Kyrylo Keduk (Junior group) performed music by Chopin, Kosenko, Liszt, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky.

Rachmaninoff Finals

The final round of the Rachmaninoff Piano Competition held in Pasadena, California, includes one pianist from Poland, Jan Krzysztof Broja (age 29), who is regarded as one of the two popular favorites of this event. The competition began on March 22 and the final round will take place on Tuesday, and Wednesday 2-3 April. Other finalists are from Russia, the U.S., Italy, and Japan.

Internet News

New Web Site Of A Katowice Ensemble

Students Folk Ensemble KATOWICE of the University of Silesia in Poland now has a web site in Polish (http://katowice.us.edu.pl) and in English (http://katowice.us.edu.pl/english/).

Polish Bookstore Site

“Polish Bookstore – Ksiegarnia Literacka” in New York has a web site where one may order books and music from Poland. This site is a recent addition to their traditional mail order business: www.polbook.com The Bookstore assures us that “without costly and time consuming travels, at convenience of your own home, you can now browse through our rich collection of Polish books (including new bestsellers), music on CD’s and educational multimedia programs.” More information may be received from promocja@polishartgallery.com.

New Publications

Lutoslawski Studies Reviewed

Oxford University Press has just released a new book on the late Polish composer, Witold Lutoslawski, called “Lutoslawski Studies.” Edited by Zbigniew Skowron, professor of musicology at the University of Warsaw, the book (Library of Congress catalog no. ML410 L965 L87) consists of fourteen academic essays by several Polish music scholars: Steven Stucky, John Casken, Charles Bodman Rae, Martina Homma, Adrian Thomas, James Harley and Irina Nikolska, among other Polish musicologists, and Maja Trochimczyk. Her “study of works relating to night and death can also be recommended, not least for her insights into Lutoslawski’s seldom discussed attitude toward religion.” This is what Nick Reyland wrote in his review of the book for the March 2002 issue of BBC Music magazine. He called the book “an indispensable read for specialists and students of his music.” Reyland concluded his favorable review with “What a pity that the book’s drab cover and startling price tag do little to convey the passion, diversity, colour and accessibility of Lutoslawski’s music – nor of the writing it inspires.” [WW]

Recent Performances

Grella-Mozejko’s Music

Piotr Grella-Mozejko provided us with the following list of his recent performances:

  • 2002, March 31 muziek voor van Zoelen (coloratura) for bass saxophone & electronics; Andreas van Zoelen; Hervormde Kerk, Oisterwijk, The Netherlands
  • 2002, March 29 Ave verum corpus for mixed choir; Robertson-Wesley United Church Choir; Stillman Matheson (cond.); Robertson-Wesley United Church, Edmonton, AB
  • 2002, March 9 Numen version for clarinet & piano; Katarzyna Marczak, clarinet; Slawomir Kokosza, piano (members of the Ara Ensemble); Florianka concert hall (Jagiellonian University), Kraków, Poland (Write & Play Festival and Seminar)
  • 2002, March 7 Lachrymae (in Memory of September 11, 2001) for organ; Carson P. Cooman; Rochester Christian Reformed Church, Rochester, N.Y.
  • 2002, February 20 Walzer (für Joseph Matthias Hauer) for piano; Gabriela Szendzielorz, piano; Wroclaw, Poland (Musica Polonica Nova Festival)
  • 2002, February 3 Orion (Music for Franz K.) for saxophone & electronics; Jennifer Wardle, saxophone; Toronto, ON (earshot concerts)
  • 2002, February 2 Credo for orchestra; Scarborough Philharmonic, Jerome David Summers (cond.); Scarborough, ON
  • 2001, December 2 zapada zmrok (it.s getting dark) . Giacinto Scelsi in memoriam for chamber ensemble; Onyx Wind Quintet & John Kameel Farah, piano; Toronto, ON (earshot concerts)
  • 2001, November 19 Strumienie snu (Streams of a Dream) for string quartet; The Penderecki String Quartet; Toronto, ON (NuMusFest) Composed in 1995 especially for the Penderecki [String Quartet], Grella-Mozejko’s String Quartet No. 1, subtitled Strumienie snu (Polish for Streams of a Dream), emerged as a strikingly individual sounding piece by virtue of its primarily soft dynamics and hyper-active textures of whispery high harmonics and double stops. A veritable beehive of activity, the music demanded playing of intense concentration and careful calculation and this is exactly what it received from the Waterloo-based foursome. William Littler (The Toronto Star).
  • 2001, October 28 Voces intimć (Music for David Roxburgh) for chamber ensemble; The Roxburgh Memorial Ensemble, George Andrix (leader); Edmonton, AB
  • 2001, October 20 Voces intimć (Music for David Roxburgh) for chamber ensemble; Hermes Ensemble, Koen Kessels (cond.); Antwerp (Flanders Festival)

Paderewski’s Songs

“The Complete Songs of Paderewski” (23 at last count) were performed by the Polish Theatre Institute, Nina Polan, artistic director in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York on 23 March. Soloists were soprano Monika Krajewska, mezzo Eugenia Roszczenko-Kurianowicz, tenors Robert Dingman and Gregorio Rangel accompanied at the piano by music director, Pablo Zinger.

Moniuszko’s Halka

The non-profit Polish Theatre Institute, dedicated to the promotion of Polish culture in the U.S. through musical and theatrical performances, has recently performed The Cabaret of the Great Three and the opera “Halka” by Moniuszko in Poland and Ukraine, as well as in New York and Washington, D.C. CD’s and videos of these performances are available from: (212) 724-9323 or via e-mail: Poltheatreinst@aol.com.

Knapik At Carnegie Hall

Maria Knapik, who made her soprano debut at the age of three-and-a-half in her native Poland was heard in her debut in the US on March 26, 2002, at New York’s Carnegie Hall. The soprano was featured in an all-Bethoven program with the New York Grand Orchestra and a two-hundred-ten voice chorus conducted by Vincent La Selva on the 175th anniversary-to the day-of the composer’s death. For that evening, the Opera Orchestra was augmented by the Shrewsbury Chorale, the Metropolitan Greek Chorale directed by Constantine Kitsopolous, and by the Dalton Alumni Chorale directed by Stephen Michael Smith. At Carnegie Hall on March 26, the Orchestra, Chorales, and soloists will present Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the composer’s final symphony, as well as his Coriolan Overture in C Minor for Orchestra and also the Sanctus and Benedictus from the Missa Solemnis.

On The East Coast

Pianist Nina Kuzma-Sapiejewska presented a Chopin recital at Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall.

“Celebrating 20th Century Poland” was the name of the concert presented to a full house at the Kimmel Center on 8 March. Orchestra 2001 was conducted by James Freeman. The first half of the program featured the music of Grazyna Bacewicz (Divertimento) and Marta Ptaszynska (La novella d’inverno) and Witold Lutoslawski (Venetian Games). Henryk Gorecki’s famous Third Symphony with soprano Maureen Flynn completed the program. [WW]

A program of Polish music produced by Jan Sporek, choir director of the Paderewski Festival Singers, featured the Mary Washington College Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on 20 March performing Gorecki’s Third Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, Kilar’s Angelus and Zdrowas Mario (Hail Mary) and Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Poland’s prime pianist, Piotr Paleczny, was the soloist along with other artists, soprano Tiffany Cam Sante and conductors James Baker and Slawomir Chrzanowski.

The Penderecki String Quartet performed at the Skalny Lecture and Artist Series at Kilbourn Hall of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester on 17 March. The quartet is currently featuring one of Szymanowski’s two string quartets.

International Chopin Competition winner Kevin Kenner presented a program “15 Scenes from the Life of Chopin” with Anthony Hofmann as narrator at El Camino College in Torrance, California on 15 March.

Ann Schein played all 24 Preludes by Chopin in a recital at Pasadena City College on 7 March.

Duo-pianists Vatche Mankerian and Polil Chambers-Salazar presented music for two pianos by Chopin, Brahms, Lutoslawski, Infante and Babajanian at the Altadena Community Church on 10 March.

International Chopin Competition winner Lang Lang included the music of Chopin in his recital on 10 March at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido, California.

Gorecki And Chopin In Poland

Conductor Gilbert Levine lead the London Symphony Orchestra in a PBS special, “A Thousand years of Music and Spirit” on 31 March. The program was taped in Krakow’s 500-year-old Basilica of Saint Mary and features Gorecki’s Third Symphony and Beethoven’s Ninth. (From the Field of the American Symphony Orchestra League at www.symphony.org).

Pianist Lidia Grychtolowna performed a Chopin recital at the Radziwill Hunting Palace in Antonin on the 192nd birthday of Poland’s greatest composer.


by Wanda Wilk

Stojowski’s Piano Concerti

Hyperion has just released Sigismond Stojowski’s two Piano Concertos (CDA 67314) with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra led by Martyn Brabbias and soloist Jonathon Plowright at the piano. The Second Concerto was dedicated to Ignacy Jan Paderewski, his teacher and friend. www.hyperion- records.co.uk.This recording of Stojowski’s piano concertos has been named “record of the month” by the Polish music monthly “Muzyka 21.” Not only have they given it a review that takes up an entire page, but they also have the CD cover as part of the magazine’s front cover. The review is for the most part a translation of the liner notes by Joseph A. Herter. It also includes abundant praise of the pianist Jonathan Plowright, the orchestra and – above all – the music. They call the release of the recording, “A great (musical) event of world-wide proportions.” [WW and JH].

Anderszewski’s Mozart

Piotr Anderszewski, a “pianist of inspirational brilliance” (The Guardian) is at it again. This time, his rendition of Mozart’s Piano Concertos is again calling attention to him. David Fanning writes in the April issue of Gramophone, “Anderszewski treats Mozart’s most operatic concerto to a romantic and superbly involving reading.” I, personally, am waiting for his recording of Szymanowski’s piano music, which he desperately wants to do: if only he can convince Virgin Classics to do so!

Panufnik’s Sinfonia Sacra

Unicorn Kanchana UK CD 2020. Andrzej Panufnik’s “Sinfonia Sacra” with the late composer conducting the Monte Carlo Opera Orchestra in one of his nine symphonies was favorably reviewed by Daniel Jaffe in Gramophone April 2002. Panufnik wrote it to “celebrate Poland’s Millenium of Christianity and Statehood.”

Moravec’s Chopin

Also reviewed in Gramophone by Bryce Morrison: Hanssler Classic 98 399. Chopin’s Preludes and music by Debussy, Haydn and Janacek recorded live during the Spring Festival in Prague 2000 with pianist Ivan Moravec.

Penderecki’s Cello Concerti

Finlandia 8573-85575-2. Penderecki: Cello Concerto No. 1 & 2 and Viola Concerto. Arto Noras, vc. The composer directs Sinfonia Varsovia in a “stylish performance of Penderecki’s most dramatic and satisfying concertos,” according to Arnold Whittall, who reviewed this disc in Gramophone March ’02. According to the critic only the second concerto was originally designed for the instrument. “Cello Concerto No. 1 began life as a work for 5-stringed-violin…there are at least six versions of the Viola concerto, including the option of playing the original viola part on the cello.” Whittall further compliments the “composer doubling as an efficient conductor” and the cellist on his performance of this “exhilarating” music.

Godowsky By Hamelin

Hyperion CDA 67300. Godowsky: Passacaglia and Piano Sonata. Marc-Andre Hamelin, piano. The pianist’s previous recording of the 53 Chopin- Godowsky Etudes won him a Gramophone Award in 2000. This time “Godowsky’s only two large-scale works” received a “lavish if often sombre pendant or supplement to the former,” according to Bryce Morrison who describes “peerless probing pianism from Hamelin” as a “magnificent achievement” over his earlier recording on CBC and concludes that “all lovers of Godowsky’s magic (more wide-ranging than is commonly considered) will snap up this finely recorded album.”

Daedalus Music – Winter Sale

Rare treasures found in the Winter Music Sale 2002 Catalog of Daedalus Music (1-800-395-2662), which specializes in discounted CDs: Two Chopin CDS: one of the 51 Mazurkas and one of the 21 Nocturnes played by the late pianist Andrzej Wasowski, whom Time magazine called “the greatest Chopin interpreter of modern times” in 1946 and whom Artur Rubinstein called a “brilliant pianist.” He was lauded for his lyrical singing tone and poetic interpretations. The New York Times wrote “a noble performance…an almost epic treatment.” Priced at only $9.98 each, these CDs, “especially the previously unreleased 1989 recording of Wasowski playing Chopin’s 21 Nocturnes is a true revelation and a collector’s item.”

Also available from them:

Ewa Kupiec performing Lutoslawski’s and Szymanowski’s Piano concertos with the Bamberger Symphoniker and

Czeslaw Marek on the Koch-Schwann label at $5.98 & $6.98.

Folk Songs of Poland by Mazowsze ($5.98).

The Piano Rolls Series. “These recordings are made from the master paper rolls of a reproducing piano…today, CDs made from master roles on historic instruments provides us with authentic sounds of many performances and much repertoire never recorded via phonograph.” Here we find pianists Josef Hofmann playing Chopin, Paderewski playing Beethoven, Liszt, Schubert and Debussy and the Young Arthur Rubinstein. Priced at only $5.98 each.

Reviewed in “Fanfare”

TACET 100. Etudes for Piano, Vol. II. Erika Haase, piano. Music of Scriabin, Ligeti, Debussy and two Lutoslawski Etudes . Peter Burwasser wrote, “she plays with power and style, if not much coloristic variety.”

Hanssler CD 93.034. Bacewicz: Piano Works. Ewa Kupiec, piano. An extensive review by Barry Benesal, who says that Hanssler classic has “performed a service to classical music lovers in releasing a CD of this material – recondite not because of any perceived lack of quality, but because factors of geography and politics have placed Bacewicz outside the mainstream of 20th century performance. Dare we hope for the complete string quartets, or some of her preserialist concertos?” This is something to look forward to! Bacewicz wrote seven string quartets, seven violin concertos, one cello and one viola concerto and two piano quintets.

New Chopin Releases

Vladimir Ashkenazy on DECCA 289 466 708-2.

Samson Francois and Pierre Barbizet, pianists. Piano Concertos with the Monte Carlo National Opera Orchestra, Louis Fremaux, cond.

Mischa Maisky, vc. and Martha Argerich, piano. Live from Tokyo, Nov. 2000 in Chopin’s Cello Sonata and Polonaise brillante and Liszt and Franck’s Sonatas. DG 289 471 346-2.

Simon Barere, piano performing Chopin’s Scherzo and Ballade and Liszt. Cambal D’Amour ADD 114.

Penderecki’s Saxophone Quartet

BIS CD 1153. Collection: Europe. Works by Xenakis, Penderecki, Hindemith, Norgaard and Halffter. Rascher Saxophone Quartet. This disc presents Penderecki’s Quartet for Clarinet and String Trio in an arrangement for saxophone quartet – “a subtle exercise in neo-Romanticism minus its composer’s usual rhetoric,” which Nicholas Williams called an “interesting find” in the BBC Music Magazine.

Piotr Moss: Between Two Cities

by Joseph A. Herter

Born in Bydgoszcz in 1949, raised in the medieval city of Torun and educated at the Warsaw State Higher School of Music (today’s Chopin Music Academy), for the past 25 years the distinguished and award-winning composer Piotr Moss has been dividing his time between two cities which he calls home: Paris and Warsaw. Next month Mr. Moss celebrates his 30th anniversary as an artist.

Joseph A. Herter: How did the sharing of your life between two European capitals come about?

Piotr Moss: It’s almost as though I had been predestined to go to Paris. My professor at the Warsaw Academy Piotr Perkowski (1901-1990), who had studied with Karol Szymanowski in Paris, kept telling me that I must go and continue my studies in Paris after I finish my studies in Warsaw. And, thanks to a French Government Scholarship, I became the last Pole to study with the legendary Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979).

JH: What was Nadia Boulanger like as teacher?

PM: When I went to study in Paris, Boulanger was almost completely blind. Lessons would consist of my playing my own compositions for her at the piano and then listening to her criticisms and suggestions. Since I was already a trained composer, much of our lesson time would be spent talking about music, especially about musical aesthetics. Boulanger believed that the ability to compose was a gift from God and that the composer in humility gave thanks for this divine gift by composing. Following my studies with Boulanger in 1977, I received the award named for Boulanger’s younger sister, Prix de l’ Association des amis de Lili Boulanger.

JH: Where do you find the most success with your music – in France or in Poland?

PM: I have to say that my work as a composer is quite different in Paris than it is in Warsaw. In Paris, I am better known as a composer of “classical” music. While in Warsaw, though, I’m known better as a “commercial” composer for the music I write for the radio, television, theater and documentary films. My activity as a composer, though, is not just limited to these two countries. I have been very successful with my music in Germany as well, where my Meditations und Psalm was recently performed in the Berlin Philharmonic Hall for the 100th anniversary of the Berliner Sängerbund.

JH: When martial law was declared in Poland, you were in Paris. How long did you stay there before you returned to Poland, and did you make any musical statements to reflect the political situation in your native land?

PM: Martial law certainly had an effect on my life, but more of a personal effect rather than a musical one. In Warsaw, I was always getting commissions to write pieces. In Paris, I suddenly had a crisis to face – that of starting life anew. It was I who had to go around knocking on doors to see if I could write anything for anybody. I was there for ten years before I came back to Poland. I really didn’t make any political statements in my music during martial law. However, you could say the shock of its declaration did show its way both dramatically and intimately in my Cello Sonata which I was writing at that time.

JH: Was it hard to get back into the Warsaw musical scene once you returned?

PM: Yes and no. I never lost my contacts in Warsaw, but finding a free place in the business upon my return was difficult. The troubles I had when I returned, though, were the same ones that my colleagues who stayed in Warsaw were having: finding work. In democratic Poland, music no longer played the same role in society as did under the Communists and so there was no longer the same amount of money allotted to the budgets of musical institutions which once flourished under the old system.

JH: What compositions are you currently working on?

PM: At the moment I am working on pieces to be performed in both Paris and Warsaw. For example, I am writing the music to a documentary film about the writer Tadeusz Konwicki, directed by Andrzej Titkow. Also, there’s a new work for four French horns and electronic sounds, and I’m making sketches for a new piano concerto that will be called Portraits and premiered in Slupsk at The Polish Pianistic Festival in 2003. I’m also writing a Stabat Mater for mezzo-soprano and eight cellos for the Cello Festival in Beauvais as well as a symphony with choir for the Festival Paris de la Musique. And there’s also an oratorio that I’m writing for the French City of Lille, which will be named the Cultural Capital of Europe for the year 2004.

JH: Where in Warsaw can we hear your music performed in the near future?

PM: On April 12 and 13, my orchestral piece Fresque will have its Polish premiere with the Warsaw Philharmonic with Tomasz Bugaj conducting. This is the piece which had its world premiere in Paris with the Orchestre National de France, Leonard Slatkin conducting. Also, on May 15, at the Lutoslawski Studio at Polish Radio on Woronicza Street there’ll be the world premiere of my solo cantata Dzien – Noc (Day -Night) which was commissioned by the station Polish Radio II. It’s set to the poetry of futuristic Polish poets and will be performed by Jadwiga Rappé and the Polish Radio Orchestra, conducted by Krzysztof Slowinski. Should you be in the vicinity of the Indian Ocean in July, however, the French island of La Réunion will be the venue for the world premiere of my Suite LA that’s based on Latin American dance music. A youth orchestra of 700 musicians (!) from all over the Indian Ocean islands will give its first performance.

NOTE: This interview first appeared in the April 2002 issue of Warszawa – What, When, Where.”

A Chopin Recording?

While doing construction work in France, the workers dug up an old metal box. Inside the box they found a near faded letter and a glass cylinder. Not knowing what they had found, they turned it over to a local historian who was able to make out the writing. What he discovered wasTHE FIRST KNOWN AUDIO RECORDING !!The letter was written by one Hippolyte Sot, resident of the area in the 1840s. The letter described the techniques he had devised to record audio sounds using a glass cylinder. It went on to say that despite his efforts he was unable to obtain any interest nor recognition for his work. He therefore buried the details of this invention in the metal box along with one sample recording. The recording was none other than FREDERICK CHOPIN playing his own Waltz in D flat major!

The magazine says that the recording was made about 20 years earlier the those created by Leon Scott, the person normally attributed with the invention of audio recording. It also gives additional detail about the inventor and how the information was retrieved from the glass cylinder. And what’s particularly interesting is that H. Sot had NOT invented a playback technique, and it took 20th century technology to recover the audio information recorded on the cylinder.

To get all the details, get a copy of the latest issue of CLASSIC CD magazine. And yes, the CD included with the magazine includes the recording. Its the only recording of Frederich Chopin, and he displays some pretty fantastic playing ability.

That the text above is a hoax you may find out from the following rebuttal:

“The recording of Chopin performing the “Minute Waltz” is a now world-famous musical hoax that was equisitely executed by the editors of a music magazine devoted to reviews of classical CD’s about four-or-five years ago. To be precise, the hoax appeared on a CD that was sent as a free gift to all subscribers of the magazine, arriving with the April issue on April 1.

Now in hindsight, it is easy for those who never heard the CD or read the accompanying “historical” material to laugh at the obvious falsity of the “discovery.” However, this hoax was so meticulously researched (it was based on a great deal of esoteric historical evidence that was in fact true)–and the recording itself was so brilliantly faked–that many musicians and musical experts were taken in, at least initially. I first heard the recording broadcast on the radio on the day it appeared. It introduced with great fanfare by an announcer who read about 15 minutes worth of the liner notes, and who called the recording “the musical equivalent of the discovery of the tomb of King Tutankamen.” Was I fooled? Absolutely!

The original recording was not claimed to have been made on a cylinder. The basis of the hoax was Sot’s experiments in recording sound on disks of glass covered with smoke. His experiments were amazing for their time. He understood the relationship of sound to the wavy lines traced on smoked glass with a diaphragm and a cactus needle. And evidently it was he who first came up with the idea of inscribing sound on a rotating disc–decades before Emil Berliner and Charles Cros were to patent their techniques. However, Sot never got beyond the inscribing stage; he could not figure out a way to play back the vibrations he had inscribed on the smoked glass disks.

The magazine’s hoax took it from there, claiming that Sot had buried one of his smoke-covered disks in a sealed glass container in the hope that some day in the future science would have by then figured out a way to play back his precious vibrations. They claimed that the container had been recovered during a subway excavation at Nohant-sur-Seine (near Georges Sand’s chateau), and that the sound had been reproduced and transfered by a prestigious French national scientific laboratory using optical lasers and digital conversion techniques.

Moreover, Sot was indeed a neighbor and acquaintance of Georges Sand during the period of her long affair (menage) with Chopin. What could be more natural than for him to have prevailed upon one of the world’s two most famous living pianists who just happened to be living next door to play a little something for posterity?

The recording is absolutely fabulous!. First, what little musical sound that is audible is almost entirely covered by a loud continual banging, crashing, gritty surface noise of a kind one has never heard before–ostensibly the pits in the surface of the glass disk. Far in the distance, one can barely hear the tiny but very clear sound of a piano, playing the Minute Waltz from start to finish (in the correct key, of course.)

The most amazing thing about the performance is the tempo–which is insanely fast. Indeed, the piece is played in less than a minute. (BTW, I have read– elsewhere–that the only pianist to have ever recorded the Minute Waltz in a minute was Liberace–even though the French word “Minute” did not here refer to a minute, but rather ‘minute’ as in small.) In any event, it is indeed humanly possible to play the piece at that speed. And if not Chopin, who then?”

NOTE: This news item was submitted to us by Dr. Barbara Milewski, a noted Chopin specialist, in response to a request from one of our readers who thought that an original chopin CD may actually exist.

Calendar of Events

APR 2: Lutoslawski: Cello Concerto. Lynn Harrell, vc. Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Symphony Center, Chicago, Il. www.cso.org (312) 294-3000.

APR 4,5,6: 53rd Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Competition. Auditions open to the public @ 2:00 p.m. each day. Thurs. & Fri. free. Saturday Finals: $15. Reservations: (212) 734- 2130. Kosciuszko Foundation Townhouse. New York city.

APR 4,5,6: Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1. Martha Argerich, p. Philadelphia Orchestra. Charles Dutoit, cond. Kimmel Center. 8:00 p.m. (4 & 6) 2:00 p.m. on the 5th. (215) 893- 1999. www.philorch.org

APR 6: Penderecki: Passion according to St. Luke. Philadelphia premiere at Girard College Chapel. Mendelssohn Club. Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. Boys’ Chorus, Alan Harler, cond. Soloists: Kristine Ciesinski, sop. Kurt Ollmann, bar., Wilbur Pauley, bass. 8:00 p.m. (215) 893- 1999.

APR 8: Penderecki String Quartet. Second string quartets of Bartok, Szymanowski & Ligeti. Leo S. Bing Theatre, LACMA, Los Angeles. 8:00 p.m.

APR 14: Music of Chopin and Schubert. Murray Perahia, p. Symphony Center. 3:00 p.m. (312) 294-3000.

APR 15: Chopin: Ballade, Barcarolle & Scherzo. Cristina Ortiz, p. Concert Hall, Melbourne, Australia. 8:15 p.m. 61 3 9281 8000.

APR 15: Lutoslawski: Variations. Kathryn Stott and Noriko Agawa, pianists. Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, England. www.bridgewater-hall.co.uk 0161 907 9000.

APR 17, 18, 19, 20: Lutoslawski: Musique funebre. Sydney Symphony Edo de Waart, cond. Opera House, Sydney, Australia. www.soh.nsw.gov.au 61 2 9250 7777. 8:00 p.m. except 1:30 on the 18th.

APR 18, 20: Szymanowski: Violin Concerto No. 1. Cleveland Orchestra, Oliver Knussen, cond. 8:00 p.m. Severance Hall, Cleveland, OH. www.clevelandorch.com.

APR 20: Liadov: Polonaise in C. Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Temirkanov, cond. Meyherhoff Symphony Hall. 11:00 a.m. (410) 783-8000. www.baltimoresymphony.org.

APR 21: Chopin and Beethoven: Murray Perahia, p. Carnegie Ha

APR 22: Krystian Zimerman, p. National Arts Centre, Ottawa, Canada. 8:00 p.m. (613) 947-7000 www.nac.cna.ca

APR 25, 26: Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1. Masako Ezako, p. Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Dvorak Hall, Prague, Czech Republic. www.czechphilharmonic.cz

APR 28: Krystian Zimerman, p. Carnegie Hall.


Born This Month

  • 1 April 1872 – Tadeusz JOTEYKO, composer (d. 20 August 1932)
  • 3 April 1904 – Maria WIŁKOMIRSKA, pianist professor of piano in Lodz and Warsaw
  • 4 April 1941 – Aleksander GLINKOWSKI, composer active in Katowice (d. 1991)
  • 8 April 1890 – Zbigniew DRZEWIECKI, pianist and professor of piano, organizer of Chopin Competitions, president of Chopin Society
  • 9 April 1880 – Stanisław LIPSKI, pianist and composer (d. 6 October 1937)
  • 9 April 1951 – Andrzej KRZANOWSKI, composer (d. 1990)
  • 13 April 1890 – Ludwik BRONARSKI, musicologist (d. 1975)
  • 18 April 1903 – Tadeusz KWIECINSKI, composer (d. 11 July 1960)
  • 21 April 1907 – Antoni SZAŁOWSKI, composer (d. 21 March 1973)
  • 29 April 1880 – Adolf CHYBINSKI, musicologist, professor of universities in Lwow and Poznan (d. 31 October 1952)


Died This Month

  • 5 April 1935 – Emil MŁYNARSKI, conductor, violininst, composer, music director of the Warsaw Opera, (b. 18 August 1870)
  • 9 April 1944 – Bolesław WALLEK-WALEWSKI, conductor and composer, active in Krakow, Warsaw and Poznan (b. 23 January 1885)
  • 11 April 1938 – Bronisława WÓJCIK-KEUPRULIAN, musicologist, professor of Lwow University, specialist in Chopin and Armenian music (b. 6 August 1890)
  • 12 April 1956 – Tadeusz STRUMIŁŁO, musicologist, professor of Jagiellonian University, with Z. Szweykowski discovered over 200 compositions of 18th, 19th c. (b. 10 July 1929)
  • 15 April 1945 – Feliks WRÓBEL, composer and music theorist (b. 15 May 1894)
  • 18 April 1854 – Józef ELSNER, composer, founder of Warsaw Conservatory, teacher of Chopin (b. 1 June 1769)
  • 24 April 1845 – Anna WOŁKOW-STANIUKIEWICZ, soprano, singer of Warsaw Opera (b. 26 August 1808)
  • 25 April 1951 – Jerzy FITELBERG, composer, son of conductor Grzegorz, since 1933 lived in Paris, 1940 in New York (b. 20 May 1903)
  • 28 April 1928 – Henryk MELCER-SZCZAWINSKI, pianist, teacher, conductor, professor and chair of the Warsaw Conservatory of Music (b. 21 September 1869)