Polish Music Center Newsletter Vol. 9, no. 11
Joanna Bruzdowicz at USC
2003 Paderewski Lecture
USC Bing Theater
Sunday, December 7, 4 p.m.
Polish Music Center presents the eminent Polish composer, now living in France, Joanna Bruzdowicz (b. 1943) in the 2003 Paderewski Lecture, held at the Bing Theater, USC Campus (December 7, 2003; at 4 p.m.). The 2003 Paderewski Lecture will include live music performances (West Coast premiere of Song of Hope and Love for cello and piano, dedicated to Holocaust victims (1997) and of the String Quartet No. 2, “Cantus Aeternus”, for reciting actor and string quartet) as well as screenings of fragments of opera performances (“The Gates of Paradise” and “The Penal Colony”) and films by French avant-garde film director, Agnes Varda (“Vagabond” and “The Gleaners and I”). Ms. Bruzdowicz will give her lecture about her music in English; her son, Jorg Tittel will recite the poetry in “Cantus Aeternus.” In addition to the Paderewski Lecture, Ms. Bruzdowicz’s residency at USC will include film screenings and classes for music students, organized in cooperation with the Film Scoring Department of the Thornton School of Music and the USC Leavey Library.
The Annual Paderewski Lectures commemorate Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941), a pianist, composer, politician (the first prime minister of independent Poland after WWI), humanitarian, and orator, who was greatly acclaimed as a virtuoso musician and a statesman. The Lectures highlight his links to California and to the University, which awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1923. Simultaneously, the lectures spotlight current achievements of Polish music by presenting composers and musicians of international stature to the American public. The first Paderewski Lecture was given in 2002 by composer-pianist Zygmunt Krauze who discussed and performed music by Chopin, Paderewski, Szymanowski, Serocki, Sikorski, and his own works. (In 2002/2003 the Paderewski holdings of the Center provided material for an Exhibition “Paderewski: Portrait of a Musician” held in Alfred Newman Recital Hall Gallery.)
During her visit to USC, Mrs. Bruzdowicz will donate two manuscripts to our collection (she previously gave two scores), thus becoming a Benefactor of the Polish Music Center, along with such distinguished members of the Polish music world as Witold Lutosławski, Wanda Bacewicz, Alina Baird-Sawicka, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, and others. She will also be honored by Mu Phi Epsilon International Music Fraternity.
For more information about this event and others taking place during Ms. Bruzdowicz’s time at USC, please click here.
A Music Fest In Peenemünde
By Paul Moor
BERLIN — After 1945, as things slowly began to return to normal after World War II ended, the world’s major music festivals more or less began and ended with Salzburg and Bayreuth, both of which required several years before they could return to even a semblance of their pre-war selves. Today the International Festival and Events Association (http://www.ifea.com/) lists more worldwide festivals than you can shake several sticks at, and competition for attention (and of course visitors) has become ever fiercer in direct proportion. Few if any of them have the exotic associations of Germany’s annual Usedomer Musikfestival, which has just celebrated its tenth anniversary.
“Usedom?” I hear you cry. You may have less difficulty recognizing the name of that sizable Baltic Sea island’s northern township Peenemünde. The longer of tooth and the World War II buffs will immediately connect it with Wernher von Braun, that great (naturalized) American patriot and gung-ho Cold Warrior, born the son of a Prussian baron, who during his previous incarnation until 1945 did everything in his power to expunge London and the Belgian port Antwerp from the face of the earth with his V-1 flying bombs and then their infinitely more lethal V-2 rockets. The V-1s you could at least hear putt-putt-putting their horizontal way at subsonic speeds, and dive for cover when that putt-putt stopped and the bomb plummeted onto whatever target happened to lie directly below. The V2s flew almost vertically into the stratosphere, the zenith of an arc that then dropped them onto their English and Belgian targets from almost directly overhead—and without even so much as a whisper of warning. In other words, during that hideous period the residents of London and Antwerp had to live, around the clock, with the possibility of annihilation at any moment.
Hitler supported Von Braun’s hand-picked team in Peenemünde—with unlimited financial backing—for several reasons, among them the nearby availability of concentration-camp prisoners, of various sorts, whom the rocket scientists could and did work literally to death. In 1977, Von Braun died in his American bed, covered with the highest American honors for, among other things, beating the Russians to the moon. As the Harvard satirist Tom Lehrer memorably sang it: “‘Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down / That’s not my department,’ says Wernher von Braun.”
So Peenemünde today as the site of a music festival? Well, for one thing, its programming shows an engaging admixture of sincere regret, restitution, and international amity. For another, the V-2 project’s cavernous turbine hall, with a ceiling several storeys high, has acoustics improbably hospitable to the performance of large orchestral and choral works. Last year offered a shining example of what the Usedom Festival aspires to: Benjamin Britten’s conciliatory “War Requiem,” conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich. This year’s programming concentrated on Poland (only a few miles east of Usedom), the hapless neighbor Hitler attacked first, on Sept. 1, 1939, where he constructed all six of his extermination camps.
This year’s Polish participants in Peenemünde included Cracow’s Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic conducted by Tomasz Bugaj, a program of jazz and traditional Jewish klezmer music by Cracow’s Kroke trio, a joint concert of expatriate Polish-born composers by students and graduates from Poland’s Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw and Germany’s Hochschule für Musik und Theater in nearby Rostock, a concert of avant-garde works in collaboration with the ambitious annual “Warsaw Autumn” of contemporary music, the Szymanowski String Quartet, a program shared by Poland’s ancient-music Hofkapelle “Consortium Sedinum” with dancers from the “Ardente Sole” ballet ensemble, and a choral program by the outstanding boys’ choir affectionately known as the Poznan Nightingales (with a morning rehearsal open to the public free of charge), not to mention a shipboard concert tribute to Lionel Hampton (the 30-Euro tickets included a glass of champagne), and on Oct. 11 a final gala concert by the Polish Chamber Philharmonic conducted by Stanislaw Drzewiecki.
If you read this not too early in the morning, you might enjoy trying to wrap your tongue around some of the splattery consonants involved in such additional names as Mieczyslaw Karlowicz, Eugeniusz Knapik, Rafal Kwiatkowski, and Grzegorz Gorczyca, plus those of the sopranos Bozena Harasimowicz-Haas and Olga Pasiecznik, the contralto Agnieszka Rehlis, the tenor Adam Zdunikowski, and the bass Romuald Tesarowicz, the last five of whom sang the solo parts in Krzysztof Penderecki’s “Credo” with the composer conducting the Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of Hamburg’s Norddeutscher Rundfunk, augmented by the chorus of the Cracow Philharmonia, on Oct. 1, the fourth of this year’s 23 concerts.
Penderecki’s 55-minute “Credo” has an American association: Helmuth Rilling, the indefatigable Stuttgart-based choral conductor, commissioned it for the Oregon Bach Festival, where its 1998 world premiere under his baton presented young Thomas Quasthoff in one of his first important U.S. appearances. (That entire team also recorded the work for Germany’s Hänssler label on CD 98311.)
It has become fashionable among German critics to deplore the almost neo-Romantic direction Penderecki’s still predominantly atonal music has taken during the years when his trail-blazing works (which affected even the Beatles) set the international standard for the avant-garde at its most avant. Well, the same thing happened during Igor Stravinsky’s lifetime, when widespread critical consternation met his several stylistic metamorphoses, such as the “neo-Classical” period that produced such masterpieces as his Symphony of Psalms and Symphony in Three Movements. With a talent as huge and original as Penderecki’s, one might well profitably bide one’s time until an overall assay becomes possible. In recent years he has done more and more conducting, and his left-hand baton brought us a powerful experience that October evening in Peenemünde. He occupies a dominant position among today’s composers of substance whose music communicates immediately to audiences such as the one at the Usedom Festival, which cheered him and his Polish and German cohorts to that improbable location’s rafters.
Ewa Podles In San Francisco
Wednesday, November 5th, Four Seasons Concerts presents Ms. Ewa Podles, with pianist Ania Marchwinska, in her first recital in the U.S. since 1982. She is now world-renowned and known for her richly colored voice and vocal range that easily covers three octaves. The program will include songs by Moniuszko, Rossini, Vivaldi, and Rachmaninoff.
When & Where: 8:00 p.m. – Herbst Theater, Van Ness & McAllister
Tickets: $47, $40, $35
Call Four Seasons Concerts: 1-510-451-0775.
Violist Piotr Jandula In California
The program is “Berlioz and Friends” with the Rio Hondo Symphony in Whittier. Wayne Reinecke is conducting. The Program consists of three pieces by Berlioz (Roman Carnival Overture, Harold in Italy, and the love scene from Romeo and Juliet) as well as Berlioz’s arrangement of Weber’s Invitation to the Dance and Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.
Sunday, November 9, 2003 | 3 p.m.
Vic Lopez Auditorium, Whittier High School
12417 E. Philadelphia Street, Whittier, Ca. 90608
For concert inf. call: 562/947-5907
New Music Festival In Bytom
From the 4th to the 9th of November, Impresariat AKADEMOS is organizing a new music festival in Bytom, Poland. The performance venues are spread throughout the city and the musical formats range from organ music to tango. For more information, contact:
41-902 Bytom Matejki 18/2
tel./fax (032) 282 46 81
Month Of Photography In Kraków
Kraków, October 20 – November 30, 2003
This second edition of the Month of Photography in Kraków will consist of over eighty exhibitions in various galleries, museums, cultural centers, cafés, and pubs located throughout the city under Wawel Hill. A full range of photographic genres will be on view, among them artistic and documentary photography, landscapes, photo reportages, and nudes. The event will include public meetings with artists and critics, lectures, workshops, and film screenings. The inaugural celebration of the festival coincided with the opening of an exhibition of photographs by Sherrie Levine at the Starmach Gallery (October 20, 2003, 6:00 p.m.)
Artistic photography will dominate the program of the Month of Photography in Kraków. Particularly noteworthy individual exhibitions will include those of Stasys Eidrigevicius (a painter, graphic artist and designer of many exceptional theatre and opera posters – at the Artemis Gallery), Marcin Przybylka (Nova Gallery), Joanna Zastrozna (ARS Gallery), Pawel Zak (ZPAF Gallery), and Tomek Sikora (Pauza Gallery).
For more information, contact:
THE MONTH OF PHOTOGRAPHY IN KRAKOW (MIESIAC FOTOGRAFII W KRAKOWIE)
Foundation for the Development of the Visual Arts (Fundacja na rzecz Rozwoju Sztuk Wizualnych
(+48 12) 296 13 34, tel./fax (+48 12) 423 55 32
Biuro Organizacyjne Festiwalu: clubOKOcafe
Wegierska 1, Krakow
tel. (+48 12) 423 59 79
Chopin Festival In New York
The New York Dance & Arts Innovations is a non-profit organization established with the aim of multi-national creative sponsorship and support of the performing, visual and literary arts. This group is dedicated to helping to spread awareness of Polish culture in particular. This month and next (specifically October 18 – November 16) NYDAI is having their 5th annual International Chopin & Friends Festival, a festival of the arts celebrating the global legacy of Chopin. Through this festival, NYDAI hopes to unite the traditional and the modern as well as the national and the universal. Visit the festival website for more information and a complete list of events and venues.
The final Gala concert of this festival will take place in the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on November 16th. Poland’s Quarrel String Quartet will perform works by Chopin, Brahms & Bacewicz and the programs will include a special performance by pianist Nina Kuzma-Sapiejewska. The Quartet consists of Magdalena Makowska (1st violin), Karolina Weltrowska (2nd violin), Kamila Maslowska (viola), Katarzyna Kamer (cello). The Quarrel String Quartet was formed in 1998 by talented students of the Z. Brzeski Music School in Warsaw. They continued their studies at the Chopin Academy of Music with Professor Miroslaw Lawrynowicz. Since 1999, the quartet has won numerous competitions, including First Prize in the National G. Bacewicz Chamber Music Competition; First Prize and EMCY Prize at the Charles Hennen Chamber Music Competition in Heerlen, the Netherlands; and First Prize in the Max Reger Competition in Sonderhausen, Germany. The Quarrel String Quartet has performed throughout Europe with a repertoire that ranges from baroque to contemporary. Tickets to this special event are $25: call CarnegieCharge (212) 247-7800 or visit www.carnegiehall.org.
Stanisław Drzewiecki In Japan
After his great success in the New York Carnegie Hall, Stanisław Drzewiecki received an invitation to Japan to participate in the masters’ concert series (beside the famous VIII-century Orchestra with Victoria, Hiroko Nakamura, Stanislaw Bunin, Tatiana Shebanova, Yundi Li, Stansław Skrowaczewski, Nigel Kenedy and the Polish Chamber Orchestra) taking place in the most prestigeous halls in Tokyo and Yokohama.
The first time the artist performed for the Japanese was when he was six years old. He gave then a series of concerts with the Sinfonia Varsovia under Volker Schmidt-Gertenbach. Now, after ten years, he is coming back as a 16-year-old boy, having achieved significant local and international artistic success, in order to present his piano artistry in front of a most sophisticated and demanding audience at the Tokyo Opera-City Concert Hall on November 30, 2003. This recital has already been sold out for a month.
The first part of the recital will be devoted to Chopin: two Polonaises, Ballade, Scherzo and Mazurkas. In the second part the artist will present Beethoven’s Sonata Appassionata and Rachmaninov’s Etudes-Tableaux op.39. This program will also be performed in the Yokohama Minato Mirai Hall (11/24/03), in Chiba (11/26/03) and in the Tokyo Bunka-Kaikan (11/23/03). To finish the tour, Mr. Drzewiecki will play the first Piano Concerto in e-minor by Chopin together with the Kyoto Philharmonic Orchestra under Andrey Anikhanov in the exclusive Tokyo Bunkamura Orchard Hall.
The organisers of the tour, in co-operation with Sony Classical, have prepared a special release of a CD with the artist’s recordings made in the last few years.
For more information about Stanisław Drzewiecki, visit www.sdrzewiecki.com.pl.
The “Federation des Eurochestries” has organized—as part of its program for the 2004 Festival—an International Composition Competition for symphonic orchestra, open to all composers of any nationality and of any age. Complete competition regulations are available on the website: http://symphonique.monsite.wanadoo.fr/.
Fédération Française des Eurochestries
7, rue Mozart
17500 Saint-Germain de Lusignan
Tel. 33(0)5 46 48 31 26
Fax. 33(0)5 46 86 12 29
The Molinari Quartet, in collaboration with ATMA Classique, is pleased to announce its Second International Competition for Composition for string quartet. Composers are invited to submit an original work for string quartet. The best compositions will be played in concert during the Molinari Quartet’s Vingtième et plus series to be held in Montreal (Quebec, Canada) during the spring of 2005. Furthermore, the winning compositions will be recorded on CD by ATMA Classique. Complete eligibility and submission information is available on the Molinari Quartet’s website or contact the main office at:
P.O. Box 56536
Canada, H1W 3Z3
Polish Film in L.A.
In his series of films entitled The Decalogue [Dekalog], Kryzstof Kieslowski tells ten riveting tales of profound moral complexity and emotional depth. Inspired obliquely by the Ten Commandments, these occasionally interrelated stories of love and loss, faith and infidelity, chance and fate, jealousy and greed, violence and revenge, are both intimate and universal, painting a portrait less of a specific society than of humanity itself. With the collaboration of many of Poland’s greatest screen actors, and his frequent co-writer Krzysztof Piesiewicz, Kieslowski imbues the minutiae of ordinary lives with a near-mystical significance and works through some of life’s toughest dilemmas with a devastating stealth.
The films will be shown at The Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Boulevard (between Las Palmas and McCadden) from Nov. 14th to Nov. 18th. Each film is about 60 min. in length.
- Friday, 11/14, 7:30 PM—THE DECALOGUE 1 & 2, based on “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” and “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain.”
- Saturday, 11/15, 8:00 PM—THE DECALOGUE 3 & 4, based upon honoring the Sabbath and “Honor thy father and thy mother.”
- Sunday, 11/16, 5:00 PM—THE DECALOGUE 5 & 6, based on “Thou shalt not kill” and “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
- Monday, 11/17, 7:30 PM—THE DECALOGUE 7 & 8, based on “Thou Shalt Not Steal” and “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness.”
- Tuesday, 11/18, 7:30 PM—THE DECALOGUE 9 & 10, based on “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife” and “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.”
As part of the American Film Insitute’s 2003 International Film Festival, Jan Jakub Kolski’s film Pornography [Pornografia] will be shown at the Arclight Theater at 6360 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. Jan Jakub Kolski and Krzysztof Majchrzak will be featured guests at the screenings.
- Saturday, November 15, 2003, 7:00 P. M.
- Sunday, November 16, 2003, 3:30 P. M.
American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre presents Jacquot de Nantes (1991, 118 min) by Agnes Varda, with music by Joanna Bruzdowicz. Jacquot Demy is a little boy at the end of the thirties. His father owns a garage and his mother is a hairdresser. The whole family lives happily and likes to sing and to go to the movies. Jacquot is fascinated by every kind of show (theatre, cinema, puppets). He buys a camera to shoot his first amateur film… An evocation of French cineast Jacques Demy’s childhood and vocation for the cinema and the musicals.
- Wednesday, November 19, 2003: 8p.m. (a discussion with director Agnes Varda will follow the screening)
For more information on either of these events, visit www.polishfilmla.org
USC Composer Honored
Stephen Hartke, member of USC’s composition faculty, is the 2003 recipient of the $225,000 Charles Ives award. His Symphony No. 3 was premiered at the opening of the New York Philharmonic’s 2003 season. The award, known formally as the Charles Ives Living, is conferred by a committee of five composers from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and is intended to free a promising American from devoting time to any employment besides music composition for three years. The recipient receives $75,000 annually and agrees to forgo all salaried employment during that time, although nothing restricts acceptance of composing commissions.
Link to PMC @LA
A link to the Polish Music Center’s site has been added to @LA (www.at-la.com), the most complete and up-to-date guide to sites relating to Orange County and the greater Los Angeles area:
site added: Gorale Polish Folk Dancers
on @LA page: Dance/Dancing/Performing Arts/Entertainment
category: European Ethnic / Cultural / Historical
There is a new website devoted to life and work of the recognized Polish composer Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz (d. 1998). The webste address is www.paciorkiewicz.pl. This composer was one of Poland’s important composers in the second half of the 20th century.
Web Site Of American Polish Advisory Council
California Events on PAC Site
The Polish American Congress, Southern California, has a web site (www.poloniacal.org) where the “master calendar” of Polish American events for the year of 2003 may be consulted. The Congress invites submissions from Polish American institutions, organizations, and individuals planning events, such as festivals, meetings, film screenings, balls, dances and other events. This way, there will be no conflict of interest. The Polish American Congress of Southern California co-sponsors two annual festivals “Proud to be Polish” featuring Polish food, folk art, competitions for youth, folk dancing, singing, and other manifestations of the Polish spirit. The spring festival is scheduled for Yorba Linda, the fall for Los Angeles. For more information contact the Congress, 3919 Myrtle Ave, Long Beach, CA 90807-3517, Phone 562-426-9830, Fax 562-426-9845 or 1700 Laurel Canyon Way, Corona, CA 92881-3475, Phone 909-278-9700, Fax 909-272-4548; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.
Calendar of Events
NOV 1: Lutosławski: Concerto for Orchestra. Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Andrey Boreyko, cond. Roy Thomson Hall. Toronto, Canada. 416-598-3375. www.tso.on.ca.
NOV 1: Chopin: Piano Concerto. Horatio Gutierrez, piano. San Francisco Symphony. Alan Gilbert, cond. Davies Symphony Halll, San Francisco. 415-864-6000.www.sfsymphony.org.
NOV 2: Chopin: Piano Concerto No.1 (Rondo). Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra. Daniel Warren, cond. Leslie De’Ath, piano. Center in the Square, Kitchener, Canada. Matinee. www.kwsymphony.on.ca.
NOV 2: Chopin: Four Scherzos. Emanuel Ax, p. Symphony Center, Chicago. Matinee, 3 p.m.. www.cso.org.
NOV 2: Szymanowski: Stabat Mater. BBC Radio 3. 90-93 FM. 6:30-8:00 p.m. Live from St. David’s Hall, Cardiff. BBC National Orch. & Chorus. Tadaaki Otaka, cond.
NOV 2: Duo-pianists Magdalena Baczewska & Jacek Zganiacz. Carnegie Hall, NY. 2:00 p.m. 212-247-7800. www.carnegiehall.org.
NOV 2: “Polka Concert.” Ania Piwowarczyk, Pic-a-Polka Orch. Joe Macielag, cond. Kyle Kohan, cl. Villa Maria College. 3:00 p.m. 240 Pine Ridge Rd. Cheektowaga, NY. 716-896-0700. www.polamjournal.com.
NOV 7: Chopin: Nocturne, Op. 27/2. Lang Lang, piano. Carnegie Hall. 212-247-7800.www.carnegiehall.org.
NOV 9: Szymanowski: Mythes. Midori, violin. Robert McDonald, piano. BBC Radio. Swetzingen Festival.
NOV 12: Chopin: Polonaise-Fantaisie in Aflat. John Lill, piano (60th birthday celebration tour). Symphony Hall, Birmingham, U.K. www.symphonyhall.co.uk.
NOV 13: Chopin: Ballade in F, Impromptu & Fantaisie. Mikhail Kazakevich, piano. St. George’s concert hall. Bristol, England. www.stgeorgesbristol.co.uk.
NOV 18: Penderecki: Sextet, 70th Birthday Tribute. Russian Chamber Orchestra of London. St. John’s Square, London. www.sjss.org.uk.
NOV 21&22: Penderecki: Piano Concerto, “Resurrection”. Emanuel Ax, piano. Pittsburgh Symphony, Mariss Janns, cond. Heinz Hall, Pittsburgh. 412-392-4900.www.pittsburghsymphony.org.
NOV 24: Chopin: Scherzo in Bb minor, Op. 31. Alex Slobodyanik, piano. Wigmore Hall, London. 1 p.m. Live on BBC Radio 3.
NOV 28: BBC Radio 3 “Lunchtime Concert” 1:00-2:00 p.m. Chopin: Fantaisie in c minor, 2 Nocturnes & 2 Ballades. Nikolai Lugansky, piano.
Australian Chamber Orchestra In England
The Australian CO under the direction of Richard Tognetti has been performing an orchestral arrangement by Tognetti of Szymanowski’s String Quartet No. 2 at Wigmore Hall in London.
BBC Phil Performs Polish Music
Conductor Gianandrea Noseda led the BBC Philharmonic in Mieczyslaw Karlowicz’s tone-poem, “Odrodzenie” (Rebirth) and orchestral arrangements by Stravinsky of Chopin’s Waltz in E flat and Nocturne in A flat, Op. 32/2 at Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, England.
Górecki’s 70th In Poland
The Polish premiere of Henryk Gorecki’s cantata, “Salve Sidu Polonrum” took place at the Musica Antiqua Europae Orientalis, the 13th International Festival and Musicological Congress in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
For the second time the Festival of Polish Composers honored composer Henryk Mikolaj Górecki. The National Symphony Orchestra of Polish Radio in Katowice performed “Beatus Vir” and a cantata about St. Adalbert under the baton of the composer. The final concert, entitled “My 70 years”, was the official celebration which featured works by Szymanowski and Górecki performed by the Silesian Philharmonic.
Lutosławski At Disney Hall
The music of Lutosławski was selected for presentation in the Inaugural Gala Concerts at Disney Hall in Los Angeles. The programs of these concerts were designed to show off the new hall, designed by Frank Gehry, at all dynamic levels. The Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Esa Peka-Salonen, performed Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto with soloist Yo Yo Ma. Public television channel KCET presented a one and a half hour tape of highlights from the first three inaugural concerts on 28 Oct. L.A.’s NPR station, KCRW 89.9, presented a series on the history and creation of the new hall leading up to the opening, and broadcasted the Inagural concerts live.
Polish Pianist Carnegie Debut
According to Nowy Dziennik, New York pianist and teacher Janusz Sporek, organized three concerts at Carnegie Hall featuring Polish artists in October and November. Beata Bilinska from Katowice, pupil of famed teacher Andrzej Jasinski (teacher of Krystian Zimerman) made her debut recital. Renata Pasternak-Mazur of the New York-based Polish-American newspaper wrote a very favorable review of the young artist, who started with the Bach English Suites, Chopin Mazurkas, Op. 50, Tarantella, Andante Spianato & Grand Polonaise, followed by Szymanowski’s five Preludes and the famous Etude, Op. 4 No. 3 and finishing with Rachmaninoff’s Second Sonata in b minor. Note: The Polish label DUX has released an all-Rachmaninoff recording played by Beata Bilinska.
The following day a special seminar regarding interpretaion of Chopin’s music was held at the Polish Consulate with Beata and Mr. Jasinski.
Penderecki at Columbia U.
Penderecki’s Piano Sextet, String Trio, Cadenza for viola solo and Quartet for Clarinet were performed by the Walden Chamber Players of Boston at Columbia University. www.millertheatre.com.
25th Anniversary Of The Pope
Numerous programs and concerts were held throughout the U.S., Canada and Poland to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the pontificate of the Polish Pope. According to the Polish American Journal (Buffalo, NY) the entire month of October was being dedicated to the Holy Father.
- Over 200 internationally renowned artists performed at the Toronto Air Canada Centre on 12 Oct. The 150-voice World Youth Day choir with a symphony orchestra was led by Michael Newnham. Some of the better known artists included: Tony Melendez of the U.S., Malgorzata Walewska of Poland, Helmut Lotti of Belgium and Georgh Zamfir of Romania.
- The Polish Museum of America presented a “Papal Exhibit” of artwork depicting the Pope by students participating in a contest “The Many Roles of Pope John Paul II.” The artwork showed the Pope as a soccer player, hiker, skier, stonecutter actor, poet, author, traveler, priest, bishop, cardinal and pope. Various books, stamps and paintings with the pope as the subject are in the exhibit which is open daily from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. except on Thursdays.
- Radio station WFMT 95.9FM aired the papal anniversary concert presented by the Lira Singers and Lira Chamber Chorus in September.
- The Paderewski Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Wojciech Niewrzol-Victor presented a new oratorio, The Lord Calls Us by Włodzimierz Korcz with lyrics by Ernest Bryll at Orchestra Hall in Chicago.
- In the “American Polonia at a Glance” October issue of the Polish American Journal, the Polish Philharmonic Resovia, a 48-piece orchestra and chorus performed at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts with Tadeusz Wojciechowski, conducting. The concert featured special guest Leopold Godowsky III, nephew of George Gershwin. www.northshorecenter.org.
November: Month Of Paderewski
by Wanda Wilk
November is the month of Paderewski, because November 6th marks the 143rd anniversary of the birthday of the most famous and popular pianist of all times: Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941).
Some of our readers may have been as fortunate as I was to have seen him perform live in concert. The year was 1938 and I was a high school student in Detroit, Michigan. I remember I had to take two streetcars to get to the concert hall. It was long past midnight when I finally arrived home to be greeted by very worried and relieved parents. The concert was fabulous. The audience simply wouldn’t stop applauding and the great pianist kept playing encore after encore. This was truly a great event – a most memorable night. Not only were seats sold out, but people sat in the aisles and on the stage. Paderewski never allowed anyone who came to the box-office to be turned away because of the disappointment he experienced when as a young student he went to Paris to hear Anton Rubinstein play and was turned away.
Justice Harlan Fiske Stone once wrote, “Why do we wait?…We linger not only because Paderewski is the world’s greatest pianist, but because he is perhaps the greatest living man.” Arthur Woods said, “Genius is a quality of the soul. Whether Paderewski plays, composes or speaks in any of the various languages he is such a master of, his is the genius of a great soul.”
Recently I browsed the internet to see what I could find about Paderewski. The search engine Yahoo listed 22,600 web-sites, while Google had 36,800. I was pleased to see that the first site to be listed in Yahoo was my essay on Paderewski which is on the Polish Music Center’s website. I can’t believe how popular this article proved to be. The newspaper Straz featured it some time ago, giving me full credit and adding new information. The Polish American Journal of Buffalo, NY also put it on its website and improved it by adding music to it. Ambassador & General Rowny, who was responsible for shipping Paderewski’s body to Poland, has a website devoted to Paderewski and requested permission to have the speech that I gave at Forest Lawn in 1993 put on his site. He had seen it on the Chopin Foundation of Miami internet journal last year.
Also listed at the top in Google is the first online Polish Music Journal initiated and edited by the Polish Music Center’s director, Maja Trochimczyk. She devoted both issues of the 2001 Polish Music Journal to Paderewski, because 2001 had been declared the “Year of Paderewski” by the Polish government to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Paderewski’s death (June, 1941). The summer 2001 issue deals with Paderewski and Polish émigrés to America, while the winter 2001 issue is called “The Unknown Paderewski.”
You will find Dr. Trochimczyk’s editorial “Rediscovering Paderewski” extremely interesting and informative. She also wrote an article about “Paderewski in Poetry: Master of Harmonies or Poland’s Savior”. She begins the chapter with, “Poetry is just one of the ways in which the intense public fascination with “the immortal” pianist-composer-statesman, Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941) was expressed during his lifetime.” She goes on to “examine the range of these responses and the image of Paderewski that was constructed in selected works by American and Polish poets.” You can also find out where Paderewski manuscripts are located in the U.S. in this Summer 2001 issue. There is more information on Paderewski in the Winter 2002 issue which is devoted to “Stojowski and his Times”. Stojowski was a pupil of Paderewski and they did many musical events for the Polish cause together in New York.
Of the thousands of websites on the subject of Paderewski, I noticed one reprinted from the Smithsonian Magazine which said, “When Polish pianist Ignace Paderewski toured America he became a celebrity – and boosted Steinway.” The article was about Paderewski and how he only played on a Steinway and how he travelled with his own piano in a railroad car.
The websites listed are in various languages; some are Paderewski societies or clubs. One of the Polish ones gives information on the International Paderewski Piano Competition held in Bydgoszcz. Our local concert pianist and teacher, Wojciech Kocyan was awarded first prize in 1986. The first competition was held in 1961 and others were held in 1994, 1998 and 2001.
Although many books have been written about Paderewski, they are very hard to find outside of a library these days. However, Amazon.com has a paperback book written by Charlotte Kellogg for only $5.00. They also have a link to a video of the movie that Paderewski starred in, called the “Moonlight Sonata” from www.belcantosociety.org for only $19.95. In this British made movie of 1936 Paderewski played the “Heroic” Polonaise, Liszt’s Second Hungarian Rhapsody, his own famous Minuet in G and Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,” which was the film’s title. This is a great way to see and hear the legendary maestro play!
We also have good news about his recordings. Early examples of his playing has been preserved on piano rolls and long playing records. These are being reissued on CDs. Nimbus Records has transferred Paderewski’s piano rolls, recorded from 1922- 1931 for the Aeolian Duo Art company, into a 2-volume CD set. The first volume includes several of Liszt’s piano works, especially the Second Hungarian Rhapsody that Paderewski made famous. Pianist David Dubal of New York wrote descriptive notes for Nimbus. He writes that the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 was recorded in 1923 and it, “Shows Paderewski to be in top dramatic form after returning to the piano after his premiership (of Poland), dispelling the myth that he was no longer a pianist of importance.” He also quotes William Mason, a foremost American piano teacher, who had studied with Franz Liszt: “It seems strange that the best Liszt performer today should be Paderewski, who was not a pupil of Liszt and never even heard him play.” Music by Schumann, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Beethoven and Wagner are on this CD.
The Pearl label has also issued a series called “The Art of Paderewski” vol. 1-3. These are recordings from 1911-1938. In Vol. 2 Paderewski plays music by Stojowski, among others. These recordings, along with the companion video, are important for the history of piano music for they have immortalized his piano playing for posterity.
After browsing through my files, I am once again filled with awe and fascination for this great man – a piano virtuoso, composer, statesman, humanitarian – called a “modern immortal.” So, I would like to conclude with some highlights from my notes:
- that great man of the piano…when he appears on the stage he becomes an event.” (Edward Moore, Chicago 1932).
- “instead of a pianist, an inspired poet took possession of the keyboard…unforgettable interpretations of Beethoven, Schumann, Bach (Alfred Cortot).
- “gifted with a brilliant wit, fascinating in conversation, posted on every subject (Helena Modjeska).
- certain things of Chopin he is inapproachable: F minor concerto, Eflat minor scherzo (Phillips).
- The history of his conquest of America has hardly been paralleled in the history of music (Richard Aldrich).
- “Only a heroic people could produce the miracle of such a man.” (Brussels newspaper).
- “Not since Liszt has a pianist been received as Herr Paderewski.” (Leipziger Zeitung).
- “The public did not applaud, it raved.” (Tagelblatt).
- “So perfect is his pedaling that he never by any accient blurs his harmonies and passages, while at the same time he produces tone-colors never before dreamt of in a pianoforte.” (Finck).
- “His Beethoven is unequal.” (Edward Baughan, English critic).
- “Paderewski is one of the greatest Bach exponent of his time.” (Mason).
- “Paderewski is one of very few people to whom the word genius can be applied.” (Lord Balfour).
The following were taken from Rom Landau’s biography on Paderewski:
- “first virtuoso to give a recital alone in the vast newly- built Carnegie Hall, which held almost 3,000 people. Previously artists appeared in groups. It was unheard to be a single soloist in a program.
- “To hear him is a spiritual experience.”
- “He became considered as the greatest exponent of Chopin.”
- “Rare technique…played crescendo in one hand, while the other faded away in a diminuendo.”
- “The behavior of the crowds, the crowned heads, of statesmen, of artists who all pursued him and sought his company, openly admitted that their love for the man equalled their admiration for the artist.”
- “Sir Edward Elgar, a great admirer of Paderewski, used in his own symphonic Prelude, “Polonia,” various motives taken from the Fantaisie Polonaise by Paderewski.”
- “In Texas whole schools marched miles to hear him; sometimes crowds would line the streets from his hotel to the concert hall.”
- “His speeches considered among the finest oratorical achievements of the League of Nations.”
- “stayed at the White House, as guest of President Hoover,”
- “In Rome—guest of the King, Prime Minister and the Pope.”
- “In Brussels the King and Queen went to the station to meet him (an unprecedented royal gesture).”
Here are a few extra facts:
Paderewski gave many benefit concerts raising money for various causes, even into his seventies: In 1932 he gave a concert at Madison Square Garden before 16,000 (the largest crowd in the history of music) for the benefit of unemployed American musicians. The largest contribution at that time to the American Legion Fund for disabled veterans came from Paderewski ($28,000). He gave benefit concerts in France for Jewish refugees from Germany and gave 2 million francs for French War relief.
Add to this some of his many other accomplishments, such as, editor of the 20-volume Century Encyclopedia of Music and editor of the Complete Works of Chopin in 1932. He also became famous as an orator when, as a delegate to the League of Nations, he was the only one who did not need a translator, delivering his own speech in both fluent English and French, for which he received a standing ovation. “He also knew English history better, perhaps, than any other member of the League of Nations, and because of his extraordinary memory he had facts always ready for use.” He once addressed an American crowd, “I have to speak to you about a country which is not yours, in a language which is not mine.”
Before World War I he worked tirelessly to help form an army of Polish and Canadian Americans to fight in Europe. Few know that a document was signed by all the Polish Societires in the U.S. in 1916 giving Paderewski the power of attorney (unique in history). During roll call each day, Paderewski’s name was called and the entire army answered “Present.” Paderewski’s influence on then Secretary of State Colonel House and U.S. President Woodrow Wilson played a major role in Poland becoming a free nation (after 125 years of occupation) after World War I.
Paderewski made a permanent home in Switzerland with a second home in California, a ranch at Los Robles. During WWII he again saw the land of his birth lose its freedom. Large contingents of the Polish Army were interned in Switzerland after the fall of France during WWII. Paderewski gave access to his personal library to them. He also did not hesitate to come back to the U.S. in 1940 to help raise money for his homeland. To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Paderewski’s first concert in the U.S. (New York, November 17, 1891), the President proclaimed a Paderewski Week and sent him the following message: “In gratitude for all that we have received thanks to your talent you have been deservedly named, ‘A modern immortal’…I send my most sincere wishes to an artist, a patriot and a zealous defender of freedom, to which you have devoted your entire life.”
In June 1941 he took part in a parade for the Polish Army veterans in very hot weather in New York city at which he gave his last speech. Three days later he died of pneumonia. His funeral mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NY with 4,000 mourners inside and 35,000 outside included statesmen and leaders of the world and in music. He was buried at Arlington National cemetery by presidential decree in an action taken only once before. The U.S. Army gave 19 salvos, the highest any chief of state can receive. His heart was enshrined at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. His wish to be reburied in Poland “when his homeland was again free” was granted on June 28, 1992, when his body was returned and laid to final rest with full honors from the American and free Polish governments. Paderewski wrote in his memoirs, “America, the country of my heart, my second home.”
Moyseowicz’s Music On CD
A CD of music by the Polish composer Gabriela Moyseowicz has recently been released by Westend Classic of Berlin. The CD is comprised of five compositions, written between 1972-96. These compositions characterize the composer’s sincerity of invention and profound emotionality. The quality of the recording is excellent. Moyseowicz alone executes the Piano Sonata and plays the piano accompaniments for the chamber pieces. Generally Ms. Moyseowicz’s style combines certain classical traditions with the language of contemporary music. Her music is worthy of a much wider audience. Ms. Moyseowicz has been living in Berlin since 1974.
The CD includes: 1. Shadensymphonie for grand orchestra (The St.Cross Philharmonic, conductor-Szymon Kawalla), 2. Sonata for cello and piano (Gudrun Eckle – cello). 3. Sonata for piano “Concatenatio” 4. Polish Sonata for violin and piano (Daniel Stabrawa – violin), 5. Stabat Mater (Choir and Orchestra of the St. Cross Philharmonic, conductor: Szymon Kawalla, soloists: Petra Haleberg – mezzosopran, Yong-Hee-Han – tenor).
It’s not too early to think of Christmas shopping. A full-color album about Chopin and his birthplace, Zelazowa Wola, is available from the Polish American Journal, P.O. Box 328, Boston, New York or 1-800-422-1275.
They also have six CDs of Polish Christmas carols at $15.95 each:
- POL 1989: Most beautiful Polish carols by Mazowsze, Slask & Poznan Boys Choir.
- POL 1198: Irena Santor sings.
- GMM 235: Polish Army Choir.
- JRD 214: Jan Lewan. Holiday polkas.
- F013: Warsaw Children’s Group.
- PNCD 641: Polska Wigilia (Polish Christmas Eve) Hanna Samson, Stanislaw Jopek, Patrycja Jopek and Wiktor Lejak.
There are two new releases from Acte Préalable
- Acte Préalable AP0090
composer Romuald Twardowski (b. 1930)
performed by the Academic Choir of the Silesian University of Technology Czesław Freund, director Missa Regina cæli and Laude Sion, Hosanna I, Alleluia, Hosanna II, Jubilate Deo
- Acte Préalable AP0082
composer Bolesław Woytowicz (1899-1980)
Monika Sikorska-Wojtacha, piano
Douze Etudes (Capriccio, Siciliana, Scherzino, Berceuse, Polonaise, Rondo Rustico, Scherzo, Toccata, Recitativo, Intermezzo, Notturno, Canon enigmaticus), Recitativo e Arietta, Deux Mazurkas (Moderato: à M. G. Żurawlew, and Moderato: à Mlle M. Karklin), Trois Dances (Prestissimo: à M. Z. Pachniewski, Presto: à M. G. Żurawlew, Vivo: à M. A. Rubinstein), and Little sonata [Mała Sonata] (Quasi cadenza, Moderato molto – Alla menuetto, Moderato – Rondo rustico, Vivace con brio)
Born This Month
- 1 November 1901 – Szymon LAKS, composer, violinist (d. 1986)
- 2 November 1876 – Eugeniusz MORAWSKI, composer, conductor (d. 1948)
- 3 November 1915 – Henryk JABLONSKI, composer
- 4 November 1857 – Stanisław NIEWIADOMSKI, composer (d. 1936)
- 6 November 1860 – Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI, pianist, composer, statesman (d. 1941)
- 23 November 1933 – Krzysztof PENDERECKI, composer, conductor
- 24 November 1932 – Andrzej KURYLEWICZ, composer, jazz pianist
- 24 November 1899 – Jan MAKLAKIEWICZ, composer, teacher (d. 1954)
- 26 November 1896 – Józef KOFFLER, composer (d. 1944)
- 27 November 1893 – Stanisław WIECHOWICZ, composer, choral conductor (d. 1963)
- 28 November 1928 – Jan FOTEK, composer
Died This Month
- 1 November 1947 – Władysław POWIADOWSKI, choral conductor,teacher (b.1865)
- 2 November 1929 – Stanisław BARCEWICZ, violinist, teacher (b.1858 )
- 2 November 1881 – Jan Nepomucen BOBROWICZ, guitarist (b.1805)
- 3 November 1888 – Józef BRZOZOWSKI, composer, cellist, conductor, teacher (b.1805)
- 6 November 1946 – Zygmunt STOJOWSKI, composer, pianist, teacher (b. 1870)
- 9 November 1856 – Aleksander MARTIN, composer, violist (b. 1856)
- 11 November 1912 – Józef WIENIAWSKI, pianist, teacher, composer (b.1837)
- 15 November 1853 – Józef NIEDZIELSKI, voice and violin teacher (b.1793)
- 15 November 1986 – Aleksander TANSMAN, composer, conductor, pianist (b. 1897)
- 14 November 1860 – Feliks NOSKOWSKI, pianist,teacher (b.1874)
- 26 November 1855 – Adam MICKIEWICZ, romantic poet (b.1798)