Polish Music Center Newsletter Vol. 8, no. 1
Polish Music Highlights of 2001
Polish National Philharmonic Symphony celebrates the 100th anniversary of its founding with a concert featuring Polish-American pianist, Emanuel Ax, in a Piano Concerto by Chopin and Szymanowski’s “Harnasie” ballet. Polish Parliament proclaims the year 2001 as the “Year of Paderewski” honoring the great pianist, composer, statesman and humanitarian on the 60th anniversary of his death.
The Opera Theater in Bytom celebrates its 100th anniversary with programs featuring Polish and German music, and emphasizing Silesian culture. Works by young composers are premiered during a festival of new music.
Polish Arts & Culture Foundation celebrates its 35th anniversary. Congratulations to its founder and director Wanda Tomczykowska.
American Council of Polish Culture Clubs celebrates its 75th anniversary in July. President Marion Winters presents its Cultural Achievement Award to former child prodigy, pianist Ruth Slenczynska-Kerr.
Aleksander Lason celebrates his 50th birthday with a festival of new music where he is a featured composer and gifts from his composition students.
Cantores Minores, the Men’s and Boy’s Choir of the Basilica Cathedral of St. John the Baptist under the direction of American-born Joseph Herter tours the U.S. on its 10th anniversary in 30 concerts in 20 cities in July and August.
Triangiel, founded by Marcin Mazur and Wlodzimierz Soltysik, celebrates its 10th anniversary as a music publishing firm in Poland.
Awards for Polish Composers and Musicians
Krzysztof Penderecki wins a Grammy for his choral work “Credo” commissioned for the Oregon Bach Festival in 2000.
Former USC student, clarinetist Jan Jakub Bokun, is nominated for a “Fryderyk,” the Polish Recording Award, for his latest CD “Duo Guitarinet” in the chamber music category.
Polish pianist and former USC student Piotr Anderszewski receives the “Best Instrumentalist of the Year” Award from the Royal Philharmonic Society in London.
His recording of Beethoven’s “Diabelli Variations” is nominated for the Gramophone 2001 Awards in the instrumental category.
“Slask” the Polish Folk Song & Dance Ensemble wins two top prizes at the World Music Fest in Filizzano, Italy. One for folk dances and one for modern dance for their choreography of Wojciech Kilar’s symphonic work, “Krzesany.”
Jakub Sarwas, 24-year-old graduate of the Music Academy of Katowice, won I Prize in the IX Brahms International Composer’s Competition in Hamburg. He had also won the Panufnik Competition in Krakow in 1999. The prize winning symphonic work, “Ecru” will be premiered by the local Philharmonic under Ingo Metzmacher.
A new prize “Ad Astra” was given this year for the first time in Poland for outstanding artistic achievement to Adam Zdunikowski (vocal), Leszek Mozdzer (jazz) and Marcin Nałęcz- Niesiołowski (conducting).
Winners of the 2001 Kosciuszko Foundation Piano Competition:
- I – Esther Park, 16-year-old student of Yoheved Kaplinsky of the Juilliard School of Music.
- II – Amy Yang, 16-year-old from Texas.
- III – Magdalena Baczewska, 20-year-old student of Jerome Rose of Mannes College of Music, NY.
Winners of the IV International Stanisław Moniuszko Vocal Competition: Monika Walerowicz in the female category and Tomasz Kuk in the male category. II Prize won by Bixia Wu of China.
Winners of the Milosz Magin Int’l Piano Competition in Paris in the concert-pianist category: I. Eri Iwamato of Japan. II. Matylda Rotkiewicz of Poland.
16-year-old Alena Baeva of Russia takes First Prize at the XIIth Int’l Wieniawski Violin Competition in Poznań.
Valerey Voronov of Russia wins First Prize at the Vth Int’l Composer’s Competition for his “Andante luminoso.”
Winners of the V Int’l Paderewski Piano Competition:
- I – Stepan Kos (Czech Republic)
- II – Aleksey Komarov (Russia)
- III – Barbara Sejakova (Czech)
Cezary Skubiszewski, Polish composer living in Australia, receives a second successive award from the Australian Film Institute for soundtrack to “La Spagnola” directed by Steven Jacobs.
Premieres of Polish Music
American premiere of the late Wladyslaw Szpilman’s “Piano Concertino” by the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony led by Noreen Green in Encino in April.
World premiere of Paweł Mykietyn’s opera, “Ignorant i szaleniec” (The Ignorant and the Madman) based on a play by Thomas Bernhard at the Teatr Wielki; the premiere was conducted by Wojciech Michniewski.
World premiere of Krzysztof Knittel’s “El Maale Rahamim” performed by the Camerata Silesia and National Symphony Orchestra of Polish Radio conducted by Wojciech Michniewski in the Evangelical Church in Warsaw, July 10th. The cantata is dedicated to the memory of the victims of Jedwabne.
World premiere of Wojciech Kilar’s first mass, “Missa pro pace” takes place in Warsaw in January with the Polish National Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir.
Premiere of pianist Andrzej Anweiler’s “Concertino for piano and orchestra” by the Connecticut Virtuosi.
Premiere of Hanna Kulenty’s ballet in Holland; the composer also receives a commission from the Warsaw Autumn Festival for 2002 (for a trumpet concerto), and is asked to write music for a new opera based on the last screenplay by Andrei Tarkovsky for Berlin (September 2002).
World premieres of compositions by Paweł Szymański, Eugeniusz Knapik, Aleksander Lasoń and Witold Szalonek take place at the 44th “Warsaw Autumn” Int’l Festival of Contemporary Music.
Festival of Contemporary Polish Operas presented by the Polish Chamber Opera in Warsaw under Stefan Sutkowski feature world premieres of two operas – one by Zygmunt Krauze; the other by Zbigniew Rudzinski. Krauze’s opera Balthazar is based on Stanisław Wyspiański’s play on Biblical themes, Daniel; the play was earlier considered for an opera project by Henryk Opieński.
World premiere of Marta Ptaszyńska’s “Inverted Net” commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra takes place in March at the Chicago Symphony Youth Concerts.
New Publications and Institutions
A new history of Polish music appears. Written by British musicologist, professor and author, Adrian Thomas, the book is entitled “Squaring the Triangle: Traditions and Tyrannies in 20th-Century Polish Music.”
Two new books on Witold Lutosławski are published:
- Bio-bibliography by Stanisław Bedkowski and Stanisław Hrabia from Greenwood Press.
- English edition of Zbigniew Skowron’s collection of essays about the aesthetics and compositional techniques of Witold Lutosławski from Oxford University Press.
New monograph by Krystyna Tarnawska-Kaczarowska on composer Zygmunt Krauze is published by PWM.
Polish Music Publishers, PWM directed by Andrzej Kosowski (former director of the promotion department), expanded its web site, creating new sites about composers, and its promotional efforst, issuing a new, quarterly magazine with news, interviews, announcements, reviews, etc. The “Kwarta” journal appears in Polish and English and is an important tool in the promotion of Polish new music.
Alistair Wightman’s monograph on Karol Szymanowski received a favorable review from Prof. William Smialek of Midway College, Texas in the Slavic Review, Vol. 60 Number 3, Fall 2001.
The publication of the diaries of Zygmunt Mycielski, a count, composer, writer, editor-in-chief of Ruch Muzyczny, music critic, and a one-time president of the Polish Composers’ Union, creates a sensation. The book is praised for its wry observations of an aristocrat working in a totalitarian country, and describing the developments from a distance. Mycielski’s diaries are edited by musicologists Jan and Zofia Stęszewski in whose care Mycielski’s personal archives were entrusted by the late composer.
A new Polish publishing house, RHYTMOS, presents the most recent issue of a new journal, De Musica. This online publication, edited by a board under the supervision of Prof. Michał Bristiger is available at: http://free.art.pl/demusica
The Polish government creates new institutions dedicated to the promotion of Polish culture – Polish Cultural Institutes (or Polish Institutes outside of New York), serve to promote various aspects of Polish culture, including film, literature, fine arts, theatre and music. The institute are modeled on cultural centers such as Goethe Institute (Germany) or the British Institute. These international networks serve to inform the citizens of countries in which they are located about the treasures of culture that need to be discovered to be cherished.
The Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Center of International Cultural Cooperation is established in Warsaw, with the purpose of providing links with foreign scholars and institutions who are interested in Polish culture. The Institute publishes various promotional materials, including an impressive brochure about Ignacy Paderewski. The Institute provides copies of Polish publications free of charge, and has a web site: www.iam.pl.
The long-held monopoly on all matters pertaining to Chopin, by the F. Chopin Society in Warsaw has been broken by the creation of the F. Chopin Institute in Warsaw. At present, the Institute, supported by the Ministry of Culture, is located in the government offices. Its executive director, Grzegorz Michalski, and president, Prof. Irena Poniatowska, hope to organize international scholarly symposia, publish books and increase the number of publications, dissertations, and research projects, dedicated to Chopin and his contemporaries.
Polish Jazz Society acquires its own web-site: www.polishjazz.com
Festivals and Conferences
An international conference and concerts are held in Kraków on the 10th anniversary of Andrzej Panufnik’s death. The conference, organized by Prof. Jadwiga Paja at the Jagiellonian University, includes presentations of an array of experts on Polish music, including Adrian Thomas, Maciej Golab, Zbigniew Skowron, and Zofia Helman.
An international conference, Chopin – Towards a Search for a Common Language was organized in early December 2001 by the National F. Chopin Institute in Warsaw, Poland.
Tributes to Paderewski in November:
- New York: sponsored by the Kosciuszko Foundation at Carnegie Hall. Originally scheduled concert undergoes changes because of the Sep 11th tragedy in New York, because some Polish artists do not come. Mariusz Smolij steps in for Jerzy Maksymiuk to conduct the Sinfonia Varsovia and Karol Radziwonowicz performs in place of Piotr Paleczny. The program of music by Chopin, Moniuszko, Kilar, Bujarski and Paderewski is repeated at Washington U.
- Toronto: Andrzej Rozbicki presents an all-Polish program featuring the music of Paderewski, Chopin, Moniuszko, Oginski, Kilar and British composer Sir Edward Elgar, who dedicated a concert overture, “Polonia” to Paderewski.
Festival of Polish music is organized by composer and professor William Kraft at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “In Solidarity” New Music from Poland and America features guest composers- in-residence: Zygmunt Krauze and Wlodzimierz Kotonski.
Polish pianist Karol Radziwonowicz is the featured pianist during the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles in March.
Polish Theatre Institute of New York under the direction of Nina Polan presents a recital of all 22 songs composed by Ignacy Jan Paderewski with Pablo Zinger, pianist and conductor.
Zygmunt Krauze’s American tour as a pianist-composer is greeted with critical acclaim praising his contributions to Polish music and innovative use of improvisation in new music. Krauze appeared at the University of California, Santa Barbara, at the Festival “Poland: Music, Lyric, Nation,” at the University of Chicago, and gave concerts in New York. Music critic Mark Swed wrote in the Los Angeles Times that Krauze is one of our times “major composers” and that his music deserves a wider recognition for its quality and originality.
On 10-12 December, the Institute of the Arts, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, presented a conference dedicated to Professor Michał Bristiger on his 80th anniversary and devoted to the interactions between musicology and history. The proceedings will be published in the Polish Musicological Quarterly, Muzyka, at the end of 2002.
A series of concerts dedicated to less known composers was presented in Warsaw by the music publisher, PWM. The Composers’ Portraits presented two composers in each of the concerts: Zbigniew Bagiński and Andrzej Dziadek, Tadeusz Wielecki and Jerzy Kornowicz, Anna Zawadzka-Gołosz and Jarosław Siwiński (see the report below).
Pianist Halina Czerny-Stefanska died in Krakow in July.
Composer Witold Szalonek died at age 74 in Berlin. Several of his manuscripts are now found in the Polish Music Collection at USC.
Polish Music Center in 2001
“After Chopin: Essays in Polish Music” edited by Maja Trochimczyk, No. 6 of the Polish Music History Series is published by the Polish Music Center. The book includes essays by Polish composers about Chopin, studies by musicologists who received Wilk Prizes for research in Polish music, and papers about Polish national issues in music.
The Polish Music Center at USC appeared on Jeopardy, the popular TV show hosted by Alex Trebek. The question was: “Which North American university has the only Polish Music Center in North America?”
Polish conductor Jacek Kaspszyk comes to USC in March. The music director of the National Opera at Teatr Wielki in Warsaw conducts the USC Thornton Symphony in a concert of late-romantic symphonic music.
“Polish Strings: 20th Century Orchestra Classics.” concert at USC on 31 March featuring Jan Jakub Bokun as conductor and Adrianna Lis, flute with the USC Strings. The concert is made available on a CD including compositions by Baird, Górecki, Kilar and Twardowski.
Wanda Wilk’s essay on Ignacy Jan Paderewski on the PMC web-site becomes a hit! It is reprinted by Straż, the official paper of the Polish National Church. Thomas Pniewski of the Kosciuszko Foundation uses it in the souvenir program book of the Paderewski Tribute at Carnegie Hall, and the Chopin Foundation in Miami requested it for its online journal. In addition, an Internet search company adds it to its database, at http://www.searchateer.com/stats.php3?id=21001
Director of the Polish Music Center, Maja Trochimczyk, continues expanding the Center’s collection of Polish manuscripts. Her requests to the composers during two trips to Poland in 2001 bring the total number of manuscripts now in our archives from twenty-two to well over one hundred twenty originals plus dozens of miscellaneous items such as letters, sketches, notes, etc., (see separate article for details).
Negotiations are instituted with the help of the Kosciuszko Foundation to receive the archives of the late Polish composer Zygmunt Stojowski who lived and taught in New York. This project is underway thanks to the efforts in locating the collection by conductor and music writer, Joseph A. Herter.
The summer 2001 issue of the Polish Music Journal is dedicated to Ignacy Jan Paderewski and Polish emigre composers. The issue, vol. 4 no. 1, includes articles about Paderewski, Łabuński, Vars, and Tansman, as well as documents by Paderewski and Stojowski, one of his students, composer and pianist active in the U.S.
The Center receives grants from the Kosciuszko Foundation to catalog the Stojowski Collection. Dr. Barbara Zakrzewska undertakes the cataloging project, and with the help of Henry Stojowski, locates a number of music manuscripts by Zygmunt Stojowski, long thought to be lost. Her catalog of manuscripts will be published in the 2002 volume of the Polish Music Journal.
Another Kosciuszko Foundation grant provides funds for the publication of volume no. 7 in the Polish Music History Series, “The Songs of Karol Szymanowski and His Contemporaries,” edited by Zofia Helman, Teresa Chylinska, and Alistair Wightman. The book, with the publication date 2001, will be available in the early spring of 2002.
Anniversaries of Polish Composers in 2002
by Wanda Wilk
The year 2002 marks the 100th birthday of the late composer Henry Vars (Henryk Wars), known in the U.S. as an outstanding film composer (see the latest issue of the Polish Music Journal) and for the music to the TV seires, “Flipper.” Before coming to the U.S. Henry Vars was one of Poland’s most popular song writers. He can be called the Irving Berlin of Poland. His songs (tangos and fox-trots) were made popular by such great artists as Hanka Ordonowna and Mieczyslaw Fogg and are still sung today. However, he has written some serious classical music, of which the “Concertina for piano and orchestra” is yet to be published.
The year also marks the 120th birthday and 65th anniversary of the death of Karol Szymanowski, whose music Mr. Vars admired and loved so much that, according to his widow, he requested to listen to it at his deathbed.
Two other important birthdays to remember are those of Roman Palester (1907-1989) – 95th; and Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981) – 80th.
Birthdays of living composers to be commemorated in 2002 are: Irena Pfeiffer (90); Andrzej Kurylewicz and Wojciech Kilar (70); Bernadetta Matuszczak and Zbigniew Bargielski (65) and Andrzej Dutkiewicz (60). Happy Birthday to them all!
Prof. Bristiger’s 80th Anniversary
On 10-12 December, the Institute of the Arts, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, was the site of a special conference dedicated to Professor Michał Bristiger and devoted to the topic of interactions of musicology and history. The participants included Prof. Bristiger’s former students and colleagues, as well as two guests from the U.S., Prof. Karol Berger (Stanford University) and Maja Trochimczyk (USC). The program includes sessions dedicated to various historical periods and methodologies, with a particular focus on Polish music and Polish-Italian links (two subjects of interest to the laureate).
The conference began with remarks by the director of the Institute and a welcome from the organizers, represented by Dr. Elżbieta Witkowska-Zaremba. The first presenter, Prof. Karol Berger (Stanford University), discussed issues of the beginning of “modernity” around 1800 and of the “arrow of time” – the awareness of non-recurrence and uni-directionality of time, associated with progress, cult of originality and invention in the arts, and resulting in a change of outlook that was not yet broken by the “post-modern” ideology. of the Ministry of Culture and the Society of Authors, ZAIKS, as well as the media sponsorship of the Polish Radio (Second program).
Several papers dealt with archival studies and the role of document studies in music history, with a particular emphasis on Polish music. Dr. Alina Ćórawska-Witkowska and Dr. Barbara Przybyszewska-Jarmińska focused on newly discovered material as new sources for historical knowledge; the former examined the royal archives of the Saxon kings for information about Polish music and musicians, the latter compared a Polish source with an Italian one – thus demonstrating the difficulties faced by Polish music scholars who had to deal with material ravaged by wars, fragmented and partly destroyed. Other speakers devoted their papers to the main topic of the conference, “History in musicology/ Musicology in history.” Prof. Zofia Helman (University of Warsaw) studied the ideas and impact of two German music historians; Dr. Zofia Fabiańska (Jagiellonian University) talked about Italian music and the ideology of Dahlhaus; and Dr. Paweł Gancarczyk (ISPAN) presented an in-depth analysis of the role of paper and codex studies in music history of the medieval and renaissance periods.
Two papers dealt with the history of music theory, Dr. Elżbieta Witkowska-Zaremba (IS PAN) discussed issues in music theory of the 15th century, while Prof. Maciej Gołąb focused on his own “meta-theory” of music theory and analysis, the subject of his most recent book. Finally two papers discussed the history of Polish music in the 20th century, Prof. Zbigniew Skowron (University of Warsaw) talked about major composers of the period, while Prof. Trochimczyk presented the subject from and American perspective, touching upon issues of under-representation of Polish music in international scholarly databases (with data from RILM database searches for over 40 composers), the role of popular music studies in musicology as postulated in Poland in the past, practiced in the U.S. in the present, and possible in Polish music, and the dependance of Polish musicology on ideas imported from the West.
Prof. Bristiger thanked all the contributors to his conference; he was touched by the presence and tributes of his students and colleagues and the crowds of current musicology students and scholars. Most of the speakers began their presentations with remarks about the role of Prof. Bristiger in their lives – as a colleague, friend, mentor, and teacher. His impact on the young generation of scholars continues: after retiring from the “official” teaching position at the Institute of the Arts, Polish Academy of Sciences, Prof. Bristiger continues to teach in a less formal setting – for the next two years he will direct an interdisciplinary seminar about Luigi Dallapiccola and his world. Papers resulting from this ongoing project have already started to appear in a new online journal, De Musica.
A different form of personal tribute came from six composers whose works were the focus of the evening concerts in a series of Composers’ Portraits that accompanied the conference. Each of the musicians dedicated a new composition to the great scholar for his celebration and gave him the manuscript of this work. Thus, Prof. Bristiger received six new works, mostly charming miniatures, such as the Muzyka z dedykacją by Jerzy Kornowicz, or Three Thoughts (Bronze, Silver, and Gold) by Anna Zawadzka-Gołosz [MT].
Composers’ Portraits In Warsaw
by Maja Trochimczyk
The Polish Composers’ Union contributed a series of concerts to the ongoing celebrations of the 80th anniversary of Michał Bristiger, musicology professor at the Institute of Fine Arts, Polish Academy of Sciences. The concerts, held between 10 and 12 December 2001, at the concert hall of the Polish Music Publisher (PWM) in Warsaw presented six composers, and were co-sponsored by the PWM, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and the Society of Authors, ZAIKS, as well as the media sponsorship of the Polish Radio (Second program).The first evening brought together the names of Zbigniew Bagiński (b. 1949), currently teaching composition at the F. Chopin Academy of Music and directing the Warsaw Branch of the Polish Composers’ Union, and Andrzej Dziadek (b. 1957), the director of the Silesian branch of the Polish Composers’ Union, and the organizer of the Silesian Days of Contemporary Music festival. Both composers revealed a friendly attitude towards minimalism, colored with structuralist inclinations in works by Bagiński, and enriched with a strong dose of grand-scale romantic gestures in the music of Dziadek. The skillful use of popular and folk music idioms by the former composer in Solo IV for cello (1991), as well as Cake-Walk Rondo for piano (1996) reveal that there is much of interest in Polish music beyond that programmed by the Warsaw Autumn Festivals. Of particular interest are his symphonies – according to Paweł Strzelecki’s study of Bagiński’s symphonic output (in a M.A. thesis).
Andrzej Dziadek boasts a long list of awards and performances at major international festivals, since 1983. His music was heard in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Korea, Romania, and numerous other countries around the world. The brand of post-romantic expressiveness that Dziadek’s music represents seems to have aesthetic roots in the music of Tadeusz Baird, without detailed references or affinities.
The second “couple” – presented on 11 December 2001 – had more in common, if only because of living in the same city of Warsaw, graduating from the same F. Chopin Academy of Music (Wielecki studied with Prof. Kotoński, while Kornowicz was a student of Profs. Baird and Borkowski), and being active in the same institutions (Polish Section of the International Society for Contemporary Music). Another common element was provided by a graphic artist, Tadeusz Wierzbicki, whose “moving-shadow” spectacles of his Laboratorium Zjawisk [Laboratory of Phenomena], accompanied one music work of each of the programs.
Tadeusz Wielecki (b. 1954), after completing studies in Warsaw, received a grant from the Witold Lutosławski foundation to study with Isang Yun in Berlin and Klaus Huberg in Freiburg. As a double-bass player he frequently appears in contemporary repertoire giving concerts across Europe and the U.S. Since 1999 his main position is that of the director of the International Festival of Contemporary Music, Warsaw Autumn. However, he continues in involvement with music for children, promoting music to high school students, and educating the public about contemporary music. Thanks to his efforts, the Warsaw Autumn is now a “must” on the cultural agenda of Warsaw and numerous concerts are sold out.
Despite the popular appeal of his projects, Wielecki’s music does not follow a “minimalist” or “neo-romantic” trend; of the composers of his generation, he remains among the “modernists.” Sound color and the play of sound forms and shapes continue as important aspects of his music – and for this reason, perhaps, the abstract shapes and a play of movement by Wierzbicki have worked so well in the “Ballada Dziadowska” (1994), a performance for which the music was played back from tape. However, already in the very early Listek for string quartet (1972), Wielecki’s interested in the play of sound structures is evident. The three Studies of Gesture, for clarinet, piano and cello (1995), piano (1997), and clarinet, trombone, piano, cello and the double-bass (2000), reveal a continuing thread in the music of Wielecki, whose “structuralist sonorism” remains a strength and a mark of originality. Other works on the program included miniatures for piano and Przędzie się nić for cello solo (1991).
After leaving the Warsaw Academy of Music Jerzy Kornowicz (b. 1959) continued his studies in The Hague, with Louis Andriessen. The “post-modernist” emphasis on quotations and multi-level allusions, as well as the fascination with American pop music and minimalism that characterizes the music of the teacher (explored in my book, The Music of Louis Andriessen forthcoming from Routledge, New York, 2002), also found its echoes in the works of his student. Kornowicz’s recent achievements include a prize at the UNESCO Rostrum of Composers in 2000, and performances at major international festivals. His “good luck” began with the solo piano piece, Warkocz Bereniki (Berenika’s Braid) of 1990, that opened his part of the Warsaw program. Minimalist, repetitive rhythms and figures, apparent in this work, permeate also Nieustanne Rzeczy Wirowanie[Incessant Whirling of Things] (1996) for solo violin, and Muzyka z dedykacją for solo piano. An interest in creative use of the sounds of nature is apparent both in the prize-winning Kształty Żwiołów [Shapes of the Elements] of 2000 and the Renesis of 2001. Both feature repetitive croaking of the frogs, noises of wings, winds, and waves, and other natural phenomena transformed into a musique concrete by the skillful composer. Both pieces struck the present listener as being far too long for their material – but the minimalist aesthetic of this composition, apparent in its repetitiveness and “tape-loop” rhythms, and the modernist expectations of the listener, longing for a work’s perfectly balanced form seldom meet in new music concerts.
Anna Zawadzka and Jarosław Siwiński donate manuscripts to PMC.This encounter was provided by the final concert in the series, presenting the music of Jarosław Siwiński and Anna Zawadzka-Gołosz. The order of their presentation was changed, and this transformation was for the better, as it allowed the concert, and the whole series, to end with the strongest musical material. Siwiński (b. 1964) moved to composition from piano performance and remains an excellent concert pianist, specializing in contemporary repertoire. The extensive presentation of his music for tape (Notari, E.M. and Bebop) and chamber ensembles, ended with the extensive Piano Quintet (1998). The music ranged in style from post-minimalist to post-sonorist, without giving a clear indication of a future direction that this young composer would take. Siwiński revealed his poetic side in the text for his song that opened the program, and was preceded by the recitation of the poetry by the composer.
Anna Zawadzka-Gołosz was the only composer featured in the Composers’ Portraits series who is based in Kraków. The particular nostalgic and whimsical humor – one of the characteristic traits of true “Krakauers” was particularly vivid in her Three Thoughts for piano (and a violinist seated in the audience) dedicated to Prof. Bristiger. The Bronze Thought was evolving slowly and gradually; the Silver Thought reached a fullness of voice and maturity of shape, but the Gold Thought was interrupted and broken when the pianist’s phrase ended with the only note played suddenly by the violinist, hidden among the listeners. The pizzicato “breaking of the string” evoked laughter from the audience; similar subtle musical humor could be perceived in Poco a poco piu for viola and piano (1995). This piece, however, also resembled the remaining “non-humorous” works on the program (Fantasy and chorale for piano, Witraż II for clarinet, cello, accordion, and vibraphone, Cadenza for string quartet and Glissbigliando for oboe and tape).
All of Zawadzka’s music featured an imaginative and disciplined use of sound color, texture, and motive. The most impressive and virtuosic instrumental textures were found in the work for oboe and tape (1997); the oboist, Kazimierz Dawidek, presently based in Germany, cancelled his other appearances in order to present this work to the Warsaw public (and record it for the Polish Radio broadcast). He had premiered the piece and is its most impressive performer, enchanting the audience with his skills, including the tricks of circular breathing and the range of colors that he was able to produce, as well as with his musicality – in being able to create and sustain the music’s large-scale form. Zawadzka’s output is not as large as that of many of her colleagues; yet every work is carefully thought out and perfected in its details, leaving room for repeated listenings and interpretations. [MT]
The National Philharmonic on Tour in the U.S.
Between 29 January and 20 February 2002, the National Philharmonic Orchestra will tour the United States of America. During the tour, the orchestra will be conducted by Kazimierz Kord, and will perform with two soloists, both pianists, Ning An, and Ingrid Fliter, who will play the Piano Concerto No. 1 by Chopin. The second Polish work on the program will be Wojciech Kilar’s Orawa. The programs will also include two pillars of international symphonic repertoire, Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 (hopefully on alternating programs). The concerts will begin with the mournful notes of Samuel Barber’s Adagio. The National Philharmonic will perform in the following American cities (no states are given, presumably in Florida, both Carolinas, New York, Massachusetts, and D.C.): Miami, Sarasota, Vero Beach, Orlando, Naples, W. Palm, Charleston, Greensboro, Durham, Columbia, Charlotte, Washington, Wilmington, Bethlehem, Greenvale, New York, Worcester, and New Bedford.
Kiepura’s 100th Birthday In Mississauga
On the 19 January 2002 the Celebrity Symphony Orchestra will present a Grand Carnival Concert and a celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Jan Kiepura, represented by his wife, Martha Eggert. The concert will take place at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. The performers include vocal soloists, among others a coloratura soprano Joanna Wos, soloist at Coven Garden win London and at the New York City Opera. Other performers will include Anna Shafajinskaia and Adam Zdunikowski, soloist of the National Opera, also performing in Prague and Hamburg (recently admired in Japan and in Toronto as one of the three Polish tenors.). The concert will feature ballroom music from Vienna and Brazil, including Strauss, Kalman, Verdi and Puccini, as well as tangoes, waltzes and other dance music. Tel. 905 306-6000 (credit cards). Toll Free 1-888-805-8888.
Calendar of Events
JAN 6: Polish Christmas Carols. Harp Recital. Liliana Osses Adams. Polish Pastoral Center, Martinez, CA. ll:00 a.m. 925-229-9197. Sponsored by the East Bay Polish American Ass’n.
JAN 6: Special Performance by VOX, a legendary Polish Vocal Group of the 80’s and 90’s. Opening of Joanna Turkiewicz-Zajaczkowska’s painting exhibition. Europa Club at 7:30pm, New York. Admission $ 20 for all. Inf. 212-931-6839 lub http://www.nydai.org
JAN 10, 11, 12 & 15: Lutoslawski. Piano Concerto. Leif Ove Andsnes, piano. New York Philharmonic. Andrew Davis, cond. Lincoln Center. 212-875-5030. www.lincolncenter.org
JAN 11, 12: Penderecki. Violin Concerto no. 2. Charles Wetherbee, violin. K. Penderecki, cond. Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Ohio Theatre. 614-228-8600. www.columbussymphony.org
JAN 13: Seasons of the World concert series. Joanna Bruzdowicz: “Seasons Greetings for String Orchestra.” Hilel Kagen, cond. Concertante di Chicago.
JAN 15: Lutoslawski. “Musique funebre.” Cleveland Symphony Orchestra. Christoph von Dohnanyi, cond. Severance Hall. 216-231-1111. www.clevelandorch.comJAN 15: Garrick Ohlssohn’s Chopin Recital. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles, Music Center. 8 p.m.
JAN 27: Gorecki’s “Quasi una fantasia” String Quartet no. 2, used as sound layer for Munich Ballet Theatre, Philip Taylor choreography; in Munich (with works by Kats Chernin, Finzi and Rachmaninoff).
Lutosławski’s Carols in L.A.
Richard S. Ginell reviewed in the L.A. Times the recent L.A. Master Chorale program at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion conducted by Grant Gershon, which included “nine amazing settings of Polish Christmas carols, where the tunes are undercut by his strange, luminous, haunting orchestrations made four decades after his 1946 voice-piano versions.”The Polish premiere of these works took place in 1986, under the baton of Joseph A. Herter. The performers included Warsaw’s Schola Cantorum and the St. Anthonly of Padua Orchestra at St. Anthony’s Church on Senatorska. Anna Gruszczynska and Anna Mackowiak were the soloists. The concert also featured Lutoslawski’s English carol THE HOLLY AND THE IVY (first performance in Poland sung by students from the American School of Warsaw) and his Polish carols for recorder ensemble which Jacek Urbaniak and company performed. A month earlier, Herter traveled to London for the rehearsals and world premiere of the carols with the London Sinfonietta.
Early Polish Music in Minnesota
Music from ancient Poland and Bohemia, newly researched and transcribed from medieval manuscripts, was presented in Minnesota on 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22 December – in St. Paul, Duluth, New Prague and La Crosse, Wisconsin at the St. Wenceslaus Church, St. Rose Convent, Sacred Heart Music Center, Czechoslovak Hall and the Basilica of St. Mary.
Chopin’s Mazurkas in Portland
Pianist Ilya Itin performed Chopin’s Mazurkas in a recital at Lincoln Performance Hall at Portland State University on 8 Dec.
Komeda’s Film Music
A concert of film music by the late pianist and composer Krzysztof Komeda was held in the city of Łódz by the city’s Symphony Orchestra. The program included music from the films, “Knife in the Water,” “Ballad” and “Crazy Girl” as wells as the Oscar-nominated lullaby from the film “Rosemary’s Baby.”
Missa Rorate from Vilnius to Wrocław
Schola Gregoriana Sielsiensis, a 9-voice male ensemble directed by Robert Pożarski (founded in 2000), presented an interesting program on 20 December 2001, at the Museum of Architecture in Wrocław. The concert, entitled “PARTHENOMELICA”, was a reconstruction of a 16th-century service dedicated to the Virgin Mary after the destruction of Vilnius by fire on 1 July 1610 (Missa Rorate). The music was found in a 17th c. manuscript by Walenty Brzozowski, dedicated to Vilnius’s Senate and written in white mensural notation. The manuscript contained various parts of masses and religious chants and provided material for this concert, including selections in Latin and Polish. Surprisingly large portion of this religious repertoire remained unchanged and continues to be used in Polish liturgy. A surprising “rhythmicized” version of the national/religious anthem, Bogurodzica was a rare find in this manuscript.
by Wanda Wilk
Recordings by Composers Honored in 2002
Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)
I looked for recordings of music by the composers whose anniversaries are being celebrated in 2002 and hit the jack-pot with Szymanowski. There were 43 recordings listed in the Schwann Catalog and 127 listings of his music on the Amazon.com website. Suffice it to say, that the British conductor Simon Rattle won special awards with his recent recordings of Szymanowski’s Two Violin Concertos (1997) and his opera, “King Roger” (Best opera recording Gramophone 2000). His oratorio “Stabat Mater” was called the choral masterpiece of the 20th century by a Belgian critic when he heard it in the 1920s. There are several recordings of this, all very beautiful. Then there is the ballet, “Harnasie,” two String Quartets, four symphonies, many piano pieces and many songs. Your local record shop should have a wide selection of these recordings.
Henryk Vars (1902-1978)
Unfortunately, I did not find any of Vars’ music listed in the record catalog, since the bulk of his music composed in Hollywood was film music and is stored in the film studio archives. I looked in the Polish record company, Polskie Nagrania catalog and found MUZA SX 0931 with a picture of the songstress Hanka Ordonowna with the title of the disc bearing the title of one of Vars’s most popular songs, “Milosc ci wszystko wybaczy” (Love will forgive everything). There may be other songs in the various recordings by the popular stars of yester-year, but this will take further research to look up and find those by Vars.
I searched in a vocal music catalog of PWM from 1965 to find the music to any of his songs and found six of them, which had been published by the illustrated magazine “Spiewamy i Tanczymy” (We sing and we dance) from the 1950s. Four of the ones I was familiar with were: “On nie powroci juz” (He will not return), tango; “Juz taki jestem zimny dran” (I’m just that kind of cold rogue), foxtrot; “Umowilem sie znia na dziewiata” (I made a date with her for 9 o’clock). These were extremely popular in the Polish- American communities and I remember singing them at girl and boy scout meetings.
It behooves us to do more research into the vast treasury of Vars’ Polish tangos and foxtrots and to find their availability in printed and recorded form and also to find what plans are underway in Poland to commemorate the Centennial of this important Polish composer.
Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)
This outstanding co-founder of the “Warsaw Autumn” International Contemporary Music Festival has written several great symphonic works which two song cycles with orchestra, however, the only work known here in the U.S. is his Concerto for Trombone, which was performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic several years ago. His best work is probably “Forte e piano” Music for two pianos and orchestra.
The Schwann catalog lists three recordings of his trombone music. The Concerto (BIS 538); a Suite for 4 Trombones (BIS 694) and Sonatina for Trombone and piano (ADIT 95435). For more on this composer see our composer file.
Roman Palester (1907-1989)
PRO VIVA ISPV 185 has Roman Palester’s “Concertino for alto sax and string orchestra (1938)” with David Pituch, sax. Jerzy Maksymiuk, cond.
Wojciech Kilar (1932- )
Continuing my search in the Schwann catalog, I did not find any recordings of music by Matuszczak or Kurylewicz. Better luck with Kilar, since he wrote for several films produced by Hollywood: Dracula, Portrait of a Lady, etc…
- Olympia Records OLY 602 has his film music: Land of Promise, Balance, Polaniecki Family, The Silence, Taste of Black Earth, Pearl in the Crown, Salto, Jealousy and Medicine, The Leper.
- PLON 55011. Portrait of a Lady.
- ZUK 250332 Sonata for horn. Z. Zuk, horn. Z. Raubo, piano.
- His more serious music has been recorded by Polskie Nagrania: MUZA SX 1136. Musica Polonica Nova. Panorama 1944-74. includes “Diphthongs.” Cracow Philharmonic SO, Andrzej Markowski, cond.
- MUZA SX 1370. Kilar’s symphonic poem “Krzesany” and Lutoslawski’s “Livre pour orchestra.” Nat’l Philharmonic Orchestra, Witold Rowicki, cond.
- MUZA 1514. All-Kilar program. “Koscielec,” “Prelude and Christmas Carol” and the “Bogurodzica.” National Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir, Warsaw. W. Rowicki, cond.
- A 1997 Schwann catalog listed three other CDs: Olympia OCD 308. Angelus for sop., choir & orch. (1984) “Exodus” for orch/choir (1979-80); “Mt. Koscielec 1909” for orchestra (1976); Prelude & Christmas Carol. Polish Radio TV chorus and orch.
- Milan 357792 (distributed by BMG) is devoted to his symphonic music. “Choralvorspiel” for orchestra; “Krzesany;” “Orawa;” “Requiem” for Father Kolbe; Katowice polish Radio TV Orchestra. K. Kord and Antoni Wit, cond.
- Conifer Classics has “Orawa” for 15 instruments recorded in 1992 by Agnieszka Duczmal and her Amadeus Chamber Orchestra.
Bargielski & Dutkiewicz
I found two recordings for Zbigniew Bargielski (1937-)
- PRO VIVA ISPV 173 has “ArnolD SCHonBErG in memoriam for string quartet. Wilanow String Quartet.
- Ambitus 97830 (distributed by Allegro, Portland, Oregon): Neo-Sonatina for violin and piano (1956). Wanda Wilkomirska, violin recorded in 1988 with violin sonatas of Bacewicz and Paderewski and Zarzycki’s “Mazurka.”Pianist, composer and professor of music at the Chopin Academy in Warsaw, Andrzej Dutkiewicz (1942-), came to USC twice as a visiting professor. As a pianist he recorded twice for Polskie Nagrania:
- MUZA SX 0827 which includes his “Suita” for piano and the piano music of Lutoslawski, Serocki, Kisielewski and Borkowski.
- On MUZA SX 1253 he performs the music of Szymanowski, Lutoslawski, Twardowski, Serocki and Zbigniew Rudzinski.
- Dutkiewicz’s compositions can be heard on a Gasparo label GAS 240 (distributed by Allegro) performed by himself. They are: A- la for piano; Music for two for 2 pianos; Sophie’s Music for four for piano trio and electronic tape; Suite for piano and Tango for cello and piano.
Skrowaczewski’s Orchestral Works
Stanislaw Skrowaczewski’s Orchestral Works have just been released by Albany Records TROY 481 with the Saurbrucken Radio Symphony Orchestra. www.albanyrecords.com In addition to composing, this famous conductor (formerly of the Minnesota Orchestra and Halle Orchestra) is busy as guest conductor all over the world. He completed engagements in his home state of Minnesota in October. He is scheduled for a full month in Japan next fall.
Ashkenazy’s Late Chopin
DECCA CD 466 708.2 Valdimir Ashkenazy plays a new recital of late Chopin, including the Ballade No. 4, Op. 52, Polonaise-fantaisie, Op. 61 and Nocturne, Op. 62 No. 1. Reviewed by Bryce Morrison in the Dec 2001 issue of Gramophone magazine: “Familiar territory revisited, but tempered now by the reflections of age and experience.”
Other Recordings of Chopin
Phillips 468 391-2 Chopin. Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2, solo piano works. Claudio Arrau, piano. London Philharmonic Orchestra. Eliahu Inbal, cond.
Jessica Duchen reviews Claudio Arrau’s Chopin. “These recordings date from 1970 to 1984, by which time Arrau (born in 1903) may have been past his days as an outright virtuoso. Nevertheless, he brings much deeper qualities to Chopin’s masterpieces through his exceptional udnerstanding of musical structure in its purest sense.” and ends with “Here is a master at work.”
Heifitz Plays Wieniawski
Allegro Classica D’Oro Masters of the Violin CD0 200. Jascha Heifetz performs Tchaikovsky and Wieniawski Violin Concertos and Sarasate’s “Zigeunerweisen.” “These milestone Heifitz recordings” are reviewed by Jed Distler in Gramophone Dec 2001 issue. “The utter eloquence, drop-dead-centre intonation and soulful perfection throughout the Sarasate have kept many fiddlers humble over the eyars. Ditto Wieniawski’s Second Concerto, highlighted by Heifetz’s rich tone and hauntingly sustained phrasing in the second movement, surrounded by lovely, distinct wind playing.”
A Year At The Polish Music Center
Report by Maja Trochimczyk
The 2001 was a good year for Polish music; it was even better for the Polish Music Center. Its collection was enriched by several large and valuable donations, its online publications received a face-lift and welcomed new contributors, its book series boasted a new volume published and four others in production, new projects were added to the range of earlier ones, including ongoing collection of manuscripts by Polish composers.
PMC Collection: New Donations
The Walter Ossowski Collection of Polish music books, scores, journals, and recordings donated by Mary Buszka Semski provides a substantial enlargement of the Polish Music Center’s holdings. Dr. Zakrzewska’s cataloging work resulted in the addition of over 700 scores from this collection, as well as about 100 books, and numerous other items, such as historical programs of performances by Kiepura, Paderewski, and other artists.
Józef Patkowski, musicologist, historian, writer, former director of the Experimental Music Studio in Warsaw, and the president of the Polish Composers’ Union decided to donate to the PMC his collection of Polish music scores, selected books and journals, as well as some LPs. The collection of about 180 scores, 20 books, five sets of journals, including rare, historical editions of Antena and Ruch Muzyczny, several LPs, and some programs of music festivals. Two manuscripts donated by Patkowski are listed separately.
The Lotte Vetter’s gift of Polish folk music recordings of her late husband, Mr. Victor Maycher (whose mother’s maiden’s name was Nowak), has not been catalogued yet, and is the most recent addition to our holdings related to Polish-American culture. Mr. Maycher directed a radio program dedicated to Polish music in Albany, New York in the 1950s and and collected recordings from various sources – over 1000 records from Poland. A longer report about his collection will be available soon; it was given to the PMC thanks to the assistance of Mr. Matthew Duling.
New Manuscript Donations
On 12 December 2001, after the completion of the final concert in the Composers’ Portraits series, the PWM offices in Warsaw held a celebration. Several Polish composers who had promised to donate manuscripts to the Polish Music collection at the Polish Music Center when the manuscript donation drive began in 2000, were finally able to do so, though not all of them in person. Prof. Włodzimierz Kotoński enriched our collection with the gift of his Sceny liryczne for 9 performers. The works of two composers based in Kraków, Bogusław Schaeffer and Marek Stachowski, were brought to the ceremony and presented by Anna Zawadzka-Gołosz, whose own music is already represented in the collection. Schaeffer’s gift included manuscript copy (handwritten by the composer) of his Symphony in One Movement, sketches for his song to his own text, and an assortment of sketches, diagrams, drawing, paintings, and notes, used for various experimental pieces. Stachowski contributed the score of Madrigali dell Estate for voice and string trio (1984), and sketch material for several works. Aleksander Lasoń’s music is now represented in our collection by the manuscript of his orchestral work, Katedra [The Cathedral], for orchestra, while Krzesimir Dębski brought in the manuscript of his Double Concerto for Violin and Viola.
In return, the composers received gifts from the Polish Music Center – including copies of the most recent book in the Polish Music History Series, and documentary CDs with recordings from PMC-sponsored concerts, as well as various materials about the Center and the University of Southern California. The guests at the ceremony included composers whose works have already been donated to the collection: Krzysztof Knittel, Tadeusz Wielecki, and Jarosław Siwiński. A special role was reserved for the guest of honor, Józef Patkowski, who had donated the largest gift to the PMC this year: in May, Mr. Patkowski donated to the Center his collection of Polish music scores (almost 200), books, LP recordings, and two original manuscripts: the composer’s copy of Lutosławski’s Trois poemes with the cover page in Lutosławski’s hand, and Krzysztof Penderecki’s String Quartet.
Also present at the ceremony in Warsaw were Mr. Wojciech Maciejewski, the brother of composer Roman Maciejewski (who donated a manuscript score to the collection in 2000), and musicologists Prof. Michał Bristiger, Prof. Maciej Gołąb, Dr. Elżbieta Witkowska-Zaremba, Dr. Barbara Przybyszewska-Jarmińska, Ms. Krystyna Tarnawska-Kaczorowska, and many others. All the musicians and audience members were invited to a reception of California wine and Polish sweets – a perfect menu for a winter evening. While the Manuscript Donation Ceremony was much smaller than the one organized in September 2000 within the framework of the Warsaw Autumn Festival, it still attracted the attention of the Polish media: TV Polonia recorded a report about this event and broadcast it nationally and internationally on Tuesday, 18 December 2001. Thanks to the assistance from Warsaw’s PWM offices, the event was graced with a Christmas tree providing a suitable background for gifts of music; thanks to the U.S. Embassy the decorations included a large American flag. The reception was hosted by student-volunteers: Marlena Wieczorek, Katarzyna Miszta, Błażej Wajszczuk, and Ewa Grzegrzułka.
Finally, it is important to mention other “works-in-progress” in terms of manuscript donations. The manuscript holdings have been enriched by gifts from composers Rafał Augustyn (Monosonata) and Witold Szalonek (several scores, as well as various research papers, CDs, and other articles).
Henry Stojowski, the son of the composer/pianist Zygmunt Stojowski made available for study and cataloging the holdings of his family collection, partly sponsored by the Kosciuszko Foundation, also supported by the Ars Musica Poloniae Foundation of Los Angeles. The collection, reviewed and catalogued by Dr. Barbara Zakrzewska and Joseph Herter, is currently considered for a donation to the PMC. The holdings are much larger than it was expected and the collection is a substantial discovery for the history of Polish music. I hope that this project will be finalized by the spring of 2002.
Polish Music History Series
The Polish Music History Series has resumed its appearance after a hiatus of 7 years. The 2000 volume (no. 6) consisted of essays and studies dedicated to Polish music of the 19th and 20th centuries. Entitled, After Chopin: Essays in Polish Music, the volume gathered essays by Polish composers, from Noskowski to Lutosławski, who discussed the role of Chopin as a national composer, as well as studies awarded prizes in the Wilk Prize competition for researchers (on Chopin, Szymanowski, and Lutosławski). The final part of the book included studies of various aspects of “national” Polish music – in its relationship to universal/national concerns (Prof. Zofia Helman), in its dependance on constructed images of pure “folk” exemplified by the Tatra górale (Dr. Timothy Cooley), and in national anthems (Maja Trochimczyk).
The 2001 volume of the series, no. 7, contains studies by an international array of scholars, including Roman Vlad, Alistair Wightman, Stephen Downes, Zofia Helman, Teresa Chylinska, Paul Cadrin, and other specialists in Szymanowski’s music. Entitled The Songs of Karol Szymanowski and his Contemporaries and edited by Profs. Helman, Chylińska, and Wightman, the volume is in production and will appear early in the spring, with the financial support of the Kosciuszko Foundation.
The following volume, no. 8, is a monograph of a Polish-Jewish composer, Józef Koffler. Written by Poland’s foremost expert on 12th-tone music and music theory, Prof. Maciej Gołąb, this study – the first ever dedicated to this subject – will be accompanied with a CD of Koffler’s music, thanks to the assistance by the Polish Radio. The foreword for this volume will be written by Prof. Anthony Polonsky of Brown University, one of the foremost experts on the Holocaust and its impact on the world’s culture.
Also in 2002, a long expected volume of studies and interviews dedicated to Henryk Mikołaj Górecki will be issued as no. 9 in the series. This volume, gathering materials from the 1997 symposium about the composer’s music, enriched by studies contributed by Martina Homma of Germany, and Anna Masłowiec of Australia. In addition, a CD will present Górecki’s Symphony no. 3 conducted by the composer in its American premiere version under the composer’s baton.
Further titles, planned for 2003 and 2004 include: a collection of studies and essays about the music of Krzysztof Meyer; a translation of an abridged version of Martina Homma’s magisterial study of the music of Witold Lutosławski; the monograph of Maria Szymanowska penned by Slawomir Dobrzynski’; and a fascimile edition of the manuscript of Paroles tissées by Witold Lutosławski, in a critical edition by Martina Homma and Maja Trochimczyk.
Another important publication to appear in the next two years is the Catalog of our Manuscript Collection, now second only to the Polish Composers’ Archives at the University of Warsaw in the scope and quality of holdings of 20th-century music.
An agreement reached with the Pendragon Press allows for a speedier distribution of our publications via this publishing house. All standing orders for the series as well as the majority of individual orders are now directed to Pendragon Press. Reviews of vol. 7 will appear in several musicology journals in 2002 and the series is finally “back on track.”
Vol. 4 of the Polish Music Journal
The 2001 volume of the online musicology journal, Polish Music Journal is dedicated to Ignacy Jan Paderewski. The first issue of 2001 is available at the PMC site and includes articles about Paderewski and Polish émigré composers written by Maja Trochimczyk, Linda Schubert, James Wierzbicki, and Anna Granat-Janki, as well as texts by-and-about Paderewski and Stojowski, a pianist and his student. The second issue of the PMJ, now in production, will focus solely on Paderewski and will present articles by Polish experts: Małgorzata Perkowska, Andrzej Piber, Małgorzata Woźna Stankiewicz, and others. In addition numerous documents and speeches by Paderewski and about him will be translated and reprinted.
Polish Music Events at PMC
In 2001, the PMC did not host any national or international conferences. Instead, as its director, I contributed to a number of conferences held in the U.S. and in Poland (see below).
In March 2001 the Center’s yearly concert took place: conductor Jan Jakub Bokun presented a recital of 20th Century Orchestral Classics for string orchestra; the concert was recorded and issued on CD; an internet “streaming audio” version will be available in the future.
In October 2001, the Center sponsored an appearance by Jakub Omsky (cello) and Omar Sangare (actor), who offered an afternoon concert of music and poetry. The concert, entitled “Nothing twice…” featured the poetry of Wisława Szymborska, and an array of solo pieces, from Bach, through Lutosławski, Penderecki, Bacewicz, and Omsky. The program was repeated at the Beverly Hills Library in December 2001.
In the spring of 2002, the Center will initiate a new, high-profile project – the Paderewski Distinguished Lectures will open with a lecture-recital on Polish music by Zygmunt Krauze in May. The subsequent speakers include Krystian Zimerman, Stanisław Skrowaczewski and other eminent musicians, artists, and politicians. The lectures, held at the University of Southern California, will be partly supported by the Kosciuszko Foundaton. Each lecture will be recorded and published, either in print form in the Polish Music Journal, or in electronic form, on a CD-ROM or DVD. The purpose of the lectures is to present the greatest achievements of Polish culture in an academic context and to hightlight the presence of Paderewski at USC. The Polish pianist/composer/statesman received a doctorate honoris causa from USC in 1923.
Director’s Publications and Projects
In 2001, I have worked on several publications and research projects related to Polish music. Some of the projects were in proofs and needed only the final corrections, others required extensive research and or rewriting, still other ones are just being initiated. The list of projects includes:
- Image, Number and Space in 20th-Century Polish Music. Research project in progress, sponsored by the American Council of Learned Societies in the year 2001/2002. The project builds up on my doctoral dissertation about “Space and Spatialization in 20th Century Music” as well as my projects about Witold Lutosławski’s concepts of sound plane, Polish school of sonorism, the music of Bacewicz, and sketch studies of Xenakis and Andriessen;
- Polish Dance in Southern California. Book based on a 1999 research project sponsored by the Southern California Studies Center at USC; expanded version completed in 2001 and submitted to the SC2 Center at USC. A copy of this project is available on order from USC (over 300 pages, including 130 pages of text, as well as a research report with numerous tables and diagrams);
- “Dans la Nuit: The Themes of Night and Death in Lutosławski’s Oeuvre,” in Lutosławski Studies , ed. Zbigniew Skowron (London: Oxford University Press, 2001): 96-124;
- “Passion, Mourning and Black Angels: Ewa Demarczyk as the Voice of the Nation,” at Symposium on Polish (post)modern music during a festival “Poland: Music, Lyric, Nation,” University of Chicago, Franke Institute for the Humanities, 21 April 2001; forthcoming in conference proceedings, ed. Philip Bohlman;
- “Musical Poetry of Cracow: Ewa Demarczyk and “Piwnica pod Baranami” presented at an interdisciplinary panel, “Socialist or Magic Realism? Artist and State in Post-war Krakow” during the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies” in ARlington Virginia, 17-20 November 2001; forthcoming in special issue on Kraków of The Polish Review;
- “Paderewski in Poetry: Master of Harmonies and Poland’s Savior,” in “From Poland to America: Paderewski and Polish Emigre Composers;” special issue of the <../PMJ/index.html”> Polish Music Journal vol. 4 no. 1 (Summer 2001);
- “Towards National Musicology: Scholars and Polish Music,” paper presented at a commemorative conference “History in Musicology – Musicology in History” dedicated to Prof. Michal Bristiger, Institute of Arts, Polish Academy of Sciences; 10-12 December 2001, Warsaw; forthcoming in Polish Musicological Quarterly, Muzyka, no. 3-4, 2002.
- “Chopin and the ‘Polish Race’ – On Nationalism and Chopin Reception” chapter for Halina Goldberg, ed., Chopin and His Era, book of essays, forthcoming in 2003;
- “Folk Song and the Polish Nation: A 20th Century History” presented at a symposium during Polish Music Festival “In Solidarity”, University of California, Santa Barbara, 29 April 2001.
- Occasional reports and reviews appearing in Ruch Muzyczny (a report from the music festival in Tanglewood), Musicworks (a review of the Warsaw Autumn Festival 2000), and Polonia Kalifornijska.
In addition, I completed a volume of studies and interviews about the music of Dutch composer, Louis Andriessen (a teacher of a number of young Polish composers, including Hanna Kulenty and Jerzy Kornowicz), which will be issued in the summer of 2002 by the well-known book publisher, Routledge in New York. An essay, “From Circles to Nets: on the Signification of Spatial Sound Imagery in New Music,” appeared in a special issue on sound and space of Computer Music Journal 25 no. 2 (2001): 37-54. Finally, my live reports from Los Angeles may be heard every two weeks on the national cultural news program of the Polish Radio, Program 2 (with about 5 mln listeners). I usually talk about current concerts, art exhibits, with a special focus on Polish music and on the peculiarities of American music culture, such as 14 different versions of the Nutcracker ballet performed in December.
Our Friends and Supporters
The Polish Music Center continued to receive financial support from the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York, as well as the Ars Musica Poloniae Foundation in Los Angeles. Other grants came from the Polish University Club, the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland, and the Helena Modjeska Arts and Culture Club. While small in overall terms, these grants represented a major expenditure for some of the smaller organizations and we are greatly thankful for that. We are also grateful for buying the Ossowski library for us by Mary Buszka Semski of Buffalo, N.Y.
Several individual supporters, through their donations “in kind” – of their manuscripts – have reached the level of PMC Benefactors. Ms. Alina Baird-Sawicka, the widow of Tadeusz Baird also contributes financially to our activities; Ms. Wanda Bacewicz, the sister of composer Grazyna, has significantly increased the number of her sister’s manuscripts in our collection. Our academic and musical supporters now include numerous Polish composers, scholars and musicians, who have agreed to become our Honorary Members: Henryk Górecki, Jacek Kaspszyk, Zygmunt Krauze, Marta Ptaszyńska, Krzysztof Penderecki, Stanisław Skrowaczewski, Adrian Thomas, Teresa Zylis-Gara, and Krystian Zimerman
Some changes were also made to our Advisory Board: Prof. Karol Berger of Stanford University has kindly agreed to become its member. Prof. Bryan Simms and Janet Johnson of the Thornton School of Music have completed their service and are sincerely thanked for their contributions.
Elgar’s “Polonia” Revisited
by Joseph A. Herter
In November 2001, Elgar Editions in Great Britain issued a new book entitled Oh, My Horses! Elgar and the Great War, edited by Lewis Foreman. The book, which deals with the life, times and music of the composer during World War I, includes an essay by Joseph A. Herter, Edward Elgar’s ‘Polonia,’ which appeared in the August 1999 issue of the PMRC Newsletter, a reprint of the same article that appeared in the July issue of the Elgar Society Journal of that same year. In Oh, My Horses!, however, the article has been re-entitled Solidarity and Poland – Elgar’s Opus 76. The new book, Volume 2 in the series The Music of Elgar, has a nearly 90-page reference section and is accompanied with a CD containing musical examples of works mentioned in the text.Since the 1999 printing, several things regarding Elgar’s Polish masterpiece have come to light, including an original copy of the 6 July 1915 program for the premiere performance of Polonia, found in the Elgar Birthplace Museum in Broadheath near Worcester and included as an illustration in the latest edition of the paper; clippings of reviews of the first American performance of the work, found in the Paderewski Files in the National Archives (Archiwum Akt Nowych) in Warsaw; and two articles which appeared in the 1995 Volume I of Musica Jagellonica in Cracow: Jadwiga Paja-Stach’s ” Polish Themes in ‘Polonia’ by Edward Elgar and Robert Anderson’s “Paderewski and Elgar’s ‘Polonia.'”
Ms Paja-Stach identifies Śmiało podnieśmy sztandar, one the Polish melodies used in the symphonic prelude, as being derived from an earlier song known as Marsz zuawów(March of the Zouaves). The original term of Zouave refers to the French infantry units which fought in Algeria. In its Polish connotation, though, the Polish zuawi were formed by the French officer François de Rocherbrune to take part in the Polish insurrection of January 1863 [see the entry in Encyklopedia Powszechna; Warszawa: Panstwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, vol. IV, p. 10, 1987]. This earlier version of the march is printed in the 1915 program and the theme’s melodic contour and dotted second-beat rhythms can now be compared to the later version, also known as the 1905 Warszawianka and given in its entirety as well.
The earlier edition of the article only mentioned part of the original program given as a benefit for Paderewski’s Polish Victims Relief Fund: The world premiere of Elgar’s Polonia, Ignacy Paderewski’s (1860-1941) Polish Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra and the second movement of Emil Młynarski’s (1870-1935) Symphony which also bore the nickname Polonia. As can be seen from the reproduced program in the Elgar book, the program was much longer, and, in addition to several other symphonic pieces, it also included solo violin works by Henryk Wieniawski (1835-1880) performed by Albert Sammons (1886-1957), a Polish folk song and two art songs – one by Mieczysław Karłowicz (1876-1909) and the other by Paderewski – sung by baritone J. Campbell McInnes (ca. 1871-1947), and three Chopin piano works performed by a former pupil of Clara Schumann, Leonard Borwick (1868-1925), the soloist for Paderewski’s Polish Fantasy. Although Elgar, himself, conducted Polonia, the other orchestral works on the program were directed by the young conductor Thomas Beecham (1879-1961). These not-earlier-mentioned works included Zygmunt Noskowski’s (1846-1909) symphonic poem, The Steppe, Stanislaw Moniuszko’s (1819-1872) Dance of the Polish Mountaineers from his opera Halka and Zygmunt Stojowski’s (1870-1946) Suite in E-flat for Orchestra, Op. 9.
Fate would have it that Stojowski’s music would also share the program that featured the American premiere of Elgar’s Polonia at Carnegie Hall on 2 March 1916, with the New York Symphony Society under the direction of Walter Damrosch (1862-1950). This time the concert would present still another work dedicated to Paderewski to compliment Elgar’s: Stojowski’s own Concerto No. 2 in A-flat Major (Prologue, Scherzo and Variations), op. 32. The score’s dedication to Paderewski, Stojowski’s teacher and mentor, reads, “Au Maitre Paderewski Homage d’affection reconnaissante.” The performance took place with Stojowski’s master performing as soloist.
Originally, there was only one performance of the concerto scheduled for 4 March. However, Paderewski’s appearance as soloist caused quite the sensation in New York. There was such a demand for tickets for the concert on 4 March that an open rehearsal had to be added on 2 March. At the concert on the 4th, the audience refused to leave. It was only after innumerable bows, accompanied by tremendous applause, that the hall once more dimmed its lights and let Paderewski, who was breaking the Symphony Society’s rule forbidding soloists to play encores at orchestral concerts, return to the piano and play Stojowski’s Chant d’amour. [See “Paderewski in Concert – Appears as Soloist with New York Symphony Society,” review of 4 March 1916 concert in The Brooklyn Citizen]. A week later in Boston, Paderewski would be brought out a dozen times following the playing of his pupil’s concerto and also break the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s rule of no encores for orchestral soloists. These facts were reported by Fred J. McIssac in his review of the concert held on 10 October 1916. [“Symphony Gets Precedent Blow from Paderewski,” in The Boston American].
It is important to note at this point that, though neglected, Stojowski’s works are not entirely forgotten. For the first time, Zygmunt Stojowski’s piano concertos are due to be released as a commercial recording by the British company Hyperion Records this late winter. The brilliant British pianist Jonathan Plowright is the featured soloist on the CD.
Musically speaking, the month of March in 1916 was an incredibly busy one for Stojowski. Not only did Carnegie Hall ring with the sound of his second piano concerto on 2 and 4 March, it also heard the world premiere of his cantata A Prayer for Poland or Modlitwa za Polskę, performed on Tuesday, 7 March, with the Schola Cantorum and the Symphony Society of New York under the direction of Kurt Schindler. On the weekend of 10 and 11 March, Stojowski was in Boston for Paderewski’s repeat performances of his concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Finally, on 15 March at Carnegie Hall, Stojowski would join forces with Paderewski, Enrique Granados, Lucien Muratore, George Barrere, Ernest Schelling and the Flonzaley Quartet and perform to benefit the musicians and members of the Paris Conservatoire who had been injured in the defense of La Patrie.
The New York press went wild with praise for Stojowski, Elgar and Paderewski. At the end of my article I include some excerpts from the reviews of Polonia found in Paderewski Scrap Books that are part of the Paderewski Files at the National Archives in Warsaw. The press clippings are not dated, but all of them are reviews of the 4 March concert. In addition to the ones given below, there are also cuttings from an unidentified Brooklyn paper, The New York Journal, The Brooklyn Citizen, the local NYC German paper Staats Zeitnung, and the New York Evening Post.
Elgar’s “Polonia” and Paderewski Charm at Concert
With a sign displayed in the lobby of Carnegie Hall “All Seats Sold,” which is the concert version of “S.R.O.,” yesterday afternoon’s first of two gala concerts given by the New York Symphony Society, with Ignace Paderewski as soloist, was a success. On Thursday there had been a public rehearsal of the concert, but critical comment was not invited by the management, so yesterday was the first official public performance in the city of Sir Edward Elgar’s “Polonia,” a symphonic prelude on Polish themes, written for a Polish benefit concert. It employs some typical Polish themes, including the national air, “Poland is Not Yet Lost;” a quotation from Chopin’s G minor nocturne and a fragment from Mr. Paderewski’s “Polish Fantasy.” It is a brilliant writing, but rather a composition to fit the occasion of a Polish benefit than a piece which will remain in the concert repertoire for time to come…
[From The New York Herald]
Gala Concert: Mr. Paderewski Appears at the First of the Symphony Society’s Series
There was also distinction added to the occasion by the first performance in this country of a new orchestral work by Sir Edward Elgar, “Polonia.” This was written and produced in England last year to help the Polish fund, as Sir Edward’s “Carillon” was written to help the Belgian; also, as the composer states, in the hope of that it “might be a practical and perhaps useful tribute to my friend Paderewski for the concert in aid of his countrymen.” So its appearance on this program had a special appropriateness. “Polonia” is an “occasional piece,” but it has more than the usual value of such pieces. It is based largely on Polish national tunes… The composer has contributed a “chivalric theme” of his own; a theme worthy of a place with the others. These themes are used with a true constructive skill in building up a composition of strong fibre and stirring power. It is by no means a “fantasia” on Polish airs; the composer has used his chosen material with the resources of a creative artist, making of it something new, with a new value of its own. There is the suggestion, in the dirge-like opening, of Poland’s present sorrow; there are passages that recall past glories. The theme of Chopin – coming as Mrs. Newmarch says, in her skilful analysis of the work, as an apparition, a shadow from the past – is followed by Paderewski’s making apparent “the presence of a vivid and living personality;” and for a slow moment the two themes united show the “two patriotic souls linked in musical communion.” There is a brilliant climax of “Poland is not yet lost,” a regenerated Poland.
All of this is accomplished with the skill of a master craftsman in the manipulation of the thematic material and the imaginative power of an artist in evoking a vision. The orchestra has the glowing richness of Elgar’s palette, with perhaps in some places an overemphasis of brass. The piece, even if it be no lasting contribution to modern literature, is impressive…
[From The New York Times ]
Symphony Society with Paderewski: Elgar’s “Polonia” Given
The programmes of both concerts were the same. The first number was Sir Edward Elgar’s new symphonic poem, “Polonia.” After this Mr. Paderewski was heard in the Schumann concerto. Florent Schmitt’s little humorous suite “Pupazzi” followed, and then Mr. Paderewski and the orchestra played the prologue, scherzo and variations of Sigismund Stojowski, a Polish resident of this city and a pupil of the famous pianist.
Elgar’s symphonic poem was written for a concert in aid of the Polish Victims Relief Fund given in Queen’s Hall, London on July 6, 1915. It rests largely upon popular Polish melodies, which are used with skill and effectiveness to be expected from a composer of Elgar’s ability. Possibly the Polish heart is most stirred by hearing the melody “Poland is not yet lost”… But no portion of the work is more beautiful than that which consists of a skilfully treated quotation from Paderewski’s “Polish Fantasia” for piano and orchestra…
[From The New York Sun]
N.Y. Symphony and Paderewski Heard
The programme began with Sir Edward Elgar’s symphonic Prelude “Polonia.” The work is intended as the great English composer’s tribute to suffering Poland. He has based the Prelude on Polish themes, ingeniously interweaving with them musical quotations from Chopin (signifying the past), and Paderewski (the present). It represents Elgar in his most eloquent and majestic moods…
[From The New York American ]
Pianist Plays with Damrosch: Interprets New Elgar Music, Aided by Symphony Society’s Orchestra
The Elgar symphonic prelude made a pleasing if not profound impression. It was written for Mr. Paderewski’s London concert in aid of the Poles, and employs three national themes, to which is added a fourth of chivalric character, in which the composer expresses his admiration for Poland… Sir Edward in the climax made very effective use of (“Poland Is Not Yet Lost”), and this climax is perhaps the most interesting moment of the prelude. It is, however, throughout a very workmanlike and musicianly production, and in its use of the various national themes exceedingly clever…
[From The New York Tribune]
Born This Month
- 1 January 1927 – Juliusz ŁUCIUK, composer, musicologist
- 1 January 1872 – Tadeusz JARECKI, conductor (d. 1955)
- 2 January 1894 – Artur RODZIŃSKI, conductor, music director (d. 1958)
- 2 January 1907 – Henryk GADOMSKI, composer and conductor (d. 1941, Auschwitz)
- 3 January 1885 – Raoul KOCZALSKI (d. 1948), pianist and composer
- 13 January 1921 – Wanda WILK, founder of the Polish Music Center
- 17 January 1898 – Jerzy LEFELD, pianist and piano professor
- 23 January 1888 – Jerzy GABLENZ, composer (d. 1937)
- 25 January 1913 – Witold LUTOSŁAWSKI, composer (d. 1994)
- 25 January 1928 – Andrzej CWOJDZINSKI, composer and conductor
- 28 January 1717 – Just Franciszek KASPER, priest, composer, conductor (d. 1760)
- 26 January 1886 – Artur RUBINSTEIN, pianist (d. 1981)
- 31 January 1926 – Stanisław PRÓSZYŃSKI, composer
Died This Month
- 1 January 1953 – Ludomir RÓŻYCKI (b. 1884), composer, pianist, member of the group Young Poland
- 9 January 1842 – Józef KROGULSKI (b. 1815), pianist, conductor, voice teacher
- 9 January 1981 – Kazimierz SEROCKI (b. 1922), composer, co-founder of the Warsaw Autumn Festival
- 11 January 1935 – Marcellina SEMBRICH – KOCHAŃSKA (b. 1858), singer – coloratura soprano
- 12 January 1934 – Paweł KOCHAŃSKI (b. 1878), virtuoso violinist, Szymanowski’s collaborator
- 17 January 1969 – Grażyna BACEWICZ (b. 1909), composer, violinist, pianist
- 19 January 1951 – Stanisław GOLACHOWSKI (b. 1907), musicologist
- 21 January 1618 – Krzystof KRAIŃSKI [Crainscius], preacher, author of a song collection (b. 1556)
- 23 January 1946 – Feliks NOWOWIEJSKI (b. 1877), composer, conductor, organist
- 23 January 1921- Władysław ŻELENSKI, composer (b. 1837)
- 26 January 1946 – Ignacy FRIEDMAN, composer and virtuoso pianist (b. 1882)