October 2003

Polish Music Reference Center Newsletter Vol. 9, no. 10


Krauze To Perform In New York

Zygmunt Krauze (b. 1938) began his studies in composition with Kazimierz Sikorski and piano with Wanda Wilkomirska at the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, and then went to Paris to study with Nadia Boulanger from 1966-67 on a scholarship from the French government. Since 1963 he has been a solo performer. In 1967 he founded the Warsaw Music Workshop, an ensemble dedicated to the performance of new music. Zygmunt Krauze has played with the leading orchestras of the world, conducted by Gary Bertini, Jan Krenz, Leif Sagerstam, Kazimierz Kord, Kazuyoshi Akiyama, Bohdan Wodiczko, Paul Zukofsky, Ernest Bour, Hans Zender, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Wojciech Michniewski and many others.Many of Mr. Krauze’s artistic activities have taken place outside Poland: in the U.S. (where he taught piano at the Cleveland State University and was a visiting professor of composition at Yale University), France (where he was an artistic adviser at IRCAM in Paris), and in Berlin (where he was an artist in residence). He has also given piano master classes at the Jerusalem Music Center, Music Academy in Stockholm, Osaka College of Music, Indiana University in Bloomington, and Music Academy in Basel.When not composing or teaching, Mr. Krauze has fulfilled many public functions: five times as President of the Polish Society for Contemporary Music, in 1987-89 as President of the International Society for Contemporary Music, and currently as the President of the Lutsławski Society. He also served as juror in international competitions for performers and composers.In acknowledgement of his musical accomplishments Zygmunt Krauze was decorated with the Silver Cross of Merit (Poland, 1975), and in 1984 he was awarded the title of Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France. In 1988 he won the annual prize of the Polish Composers Union and in 1989 the Prize of the Ministry of Culture in Poland.This month, Mr. Krauze will perform a free concert of Polish music, sponsored by The Columbia University Music Performance Program and the Moebius Ensemble. The concert will be given on Thursday, October 23rd, 2003 at 8:00 p.m. at Columbia University’s Casa Italiana (1161 Amsterdam Avenue near 118th Street) in New York City.The program of the concert will be:

Frederic Chopin: Mazurka in A Minor, op. 65 (with improvisations)
Karol Szymanowski: Prelude and Fugue (with improvisations)
Witold Lutosławski: Three Pieces from Folk Melodies  (with improvisations)
Zygmunt Krauze: Refrain
Bogusław Schaeffer: Non-Stop
Tomasz Sikorski: View from the Window
Zygmunt Krauze: Stone Music, Chanson du mal aiméGloves Music</em

Mu Phi Epsilon Winner To Tour

Cellist Marek Szpakiewicz, winner of the prestigious 2003 Mu Phi Epsilon International Competition, will perform a cello/piano duo recital with renowned pianist, Kevin Fitz-Gerald, a member of USC faculty Friday. This is the debut recital for Mr. Szpakiewicz’s two year, nation-wide concert tour, sponsored by the Mu Phi Epsilon music fraternity, which just celebrated its centennial anniversary. For more information on Mr. Szpakiewicz and this award, please see last month’s newsletter.The program of the recital includes: Sonata No. 4 by Ludwig van Beethoven, Suite Italienne by Igor Stravinsky, and Sonata in G minor by Sergei Rachmaninov. This recital also features the premiere performance of Nightfall, a piece composed by award-winning composer, Adrienne Albert, and dedicated to Mr. Szpakiewicz in the transcription for cello.The concert will be given on October 10th at 8 p.m. at the Newman Recital Hall, University of Southern California (3616 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles). Suggested donation at the door: $10 for general admission and $5 for students. The recital will be followed by a reception, sponsored by Mu Phi Epsilon’s five alumni chapters in Los Angeles. For more information, call 213-738-9994 or e-mail at kmori@usc.edu.

Lutosławski At The New Disney Hall

The music of Witold Lutosławski has been chosen for the second of the three opening gala concerts that will inaugurate the new home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Walt Disney Hall. The famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma will play Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto on Friday, October 24 at 7:00 pm. The program will also include a piece by the L.A. Philharmonic’s conductor, Esa-Pekka Salonen and a world premiere of a piece by American composer John Adams. For information on this or any other concerts at the new Disney Hall, visit wdch.laphil.com/home.cfm.

Up And Coming Composer Bettina Skrzypczak

Polish composer Bettina Skrzypczak was born on January 25th, 1962 in Poznań, Poland. She studied piano, musicology and composition at the Music Academy in Poznań. Ms. Skrzypczak has had compositions commissioned by, among others: the Venice Music Biennale, the Warsaw Autumn Festival, Radio DRS, the Swiss cultural foundation Pro Helvetia, the Gesellschaft für Kammermusik in Basle, the Basle Sinfonietta, the Basler Madrigalisten, the Tage für neue Musik in Zurich, and the Migros-Genossenschaftsbund in Zürich. She is the author of numerous radio programs and journal articles on contemporary music and music in Poland. She lives in Riehen, near Basle (Switzerland).There were several exciting performances of Ms. Skrzypczak’s music in the last month:

  • Sep. 13, 2003, Lucerne Festival: Weissagung [Prophecy], a composed improvisation in the form of a ritual for the improvisation group “quartet noir” (Urs Leimgruber, sax; Marylin Crispell, piano; Joëlle Léandre, bass; Fritz Hauser, percussion)
  • Sep. 23, 2003, Festival Warsaw Autumn: Miroirs, a song cycle for mezzo-soprano and chamber ensemble, with Mireille Capelle (who sang the first performance in 2000) and a young German-Polish ensemble, cond. Rüdiger Bohn.
  • Sep. 24, 2003, opening concert of the Festival Milano Musica: Phototaxis for string orchestra with the Zürcher Kammerorchester, cond. Howard Griffiths. (The piece was premiered on July 4, in Zurich, in a concert to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Balzan Foundation.)

Visit Bettina Skrzypczak’s website at www.bettina-skrzypczak.com

Wratislavia Cantans Festival

Evangelical Church of Peace in Swidnica, 350th anniversary of the Westfalian Peace (9/12/98); Photo: Tadeusz Szwed

The International Festival Wratislavia Cantans has been celebrating music in Wrocław since 1966. The festival has been shaped and transformed by the many artists who have touched it, extending its original oratorio-cantata formula with chamber music concerts, recitals, presentations and art exhibitions. Today, the festival spans several months and several venues in Wrocław and the surrounding area, bringing a limitless program of music of various periods, styles, and cultural spheres.

In 1996 the festival’s role and significance for Polish culture was recognized by Wrocław Voivode Prof. Janusz Zaleski, who granted th event independent status by founding the State Institute of Culture called the International Festival Wratislavia Cantans. Lidia Geringer d’Oedenberg was appointed as its general director at that time. She was the first of many women to rise in the ranks of this international institution. In the world of music, this is no easy feat. Pictured at the right is another woman who was influential to the Festival, the third conductor in the history of Wratislavia Cantans, Ewa Michnik, who is also general and artistic director of the Wrocław State Opera. She served as conductor for the festival until 2002.

The program for this year’s edition of the Festival has spanned early music, contemporary works, oratorical music, religious works of various creeds, as well as the art of song performance. The headline event on September 9th was a concert celebrating the seventieth birthdays of two outstanding Polish composers, Henryk Mikolaj Górecki and Krzysztof Penderecki. There is only one more concert left in this year’s Festival series, but it promises to be an exciting one. On Friday, October 24th at 7 p.m., the Wrocław Philharmonic Orchestra will play a work commissioned for this final event by British composer Roxanne Panufnik (daughter of the late Polish composer Andrzej Panufnik). Also on the program is music of F. Danzi, S. Rachmaninov, and S. Prokofiev. For full details for this performance and the Festival Wratislavia Cantans in general, visit www.wratislavia.art.pl.

Polish Premiere Of Liszt’s Polish Oratorio

Dr. Jerzy Barankiewicz, Polish activist in San Diego, wrote a long article for Nowy Dziennik about Liszt’s Oratorio to Poland’s patron saint, St. Stanislaus. Hungarian composer Franz Liszt was a friend of Chopin’s and visited and performed in Poland, specifically at the Royal castle in Kraków. It was here that he probably learned about the archbishop of Kraków, who died a martyr’s death in 1079 just because he dared to criticize the King. Liszt never finished the oratorio because of poor health.

Paul Munson, professor of music history at Union College in Jackson, Tennessee, chose the oratorio for his doctoral dissertation in the 1990s at the University of Michigan. After finding 35 lost manuscripts in Weimar and Washington, D.C., Dr. Munson completed the oratorio. He then turned to his friend John Conlon, director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, who selected it for its world premiere for the special occasion of the 125th anniversary of its orchestra.

Liszt began composing the oratorio after the Uprising of 1830 and made use of two patriotic songs: “Boże, coś Polskę” that became a national hymn after the uprising and Poland’s national anthem “Jeszcze Polska nie zgineła.” The oratorio finishes with “Niech żyje Polska” [Long Live Poland].

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.

Moniuszko Opera In Szczecin

Over the course of the season (October-June), the Szczecin Opera Company will be performing six of Stanisław Moniuszko’s operas. Each opera will be in “semi-stage” format, concert performances with some staging, costumes, stage directions, and ballet, but none will be fully mise-en-scène. The operas that will be performed are Verbum NobileFlisHalkaStraszny DwórHrabina, and Paria.

The Jazz Era Series

Over the last few years, the city of Poznań has become a center of jazz in Eastern Europe. This is due mainly to the dedication of the organizers of the Jazz Era [Era Jazzu] concert series. It began as a small effort to bring world-class jazz to the jazz backwater of Poznań.Jazz Era has now expanded to a year-round celebration of international jazz, featuring concerts in clubs as well as concert halls, solo artists as well as jazz orchestras. Audiences have enjoyed performances from Wynton Marsalis, The Kronos Quartet, and the Jazz Institute of Chicago, as well as local Polish groups.

The month the featured performance will be given by The Lost Chords, a group headed by Carla Bley and Steve Swallow, featuring Andy Shepard and Billy Drummond. They will be giving a limited tour of Poland before continuing on their world tour. To learn more about this group, please visit their website, www.wattxtrawatt.com. For more information about Jazz Era, visit www.jazz.pl.

Polish Avant-Garde Film Before 1945

The Polish Cultural Institute, in co-presentations with on-site institutions, is continuing a North American tour of eight rare avant-garde films made by Polish artists and filmmakers before 1945. Most of these films have never been seen in the United States before. These rare films, which include reconstructions of works destroyed during the war, are exciting examples of early efforts by Polish artists to find a purely filmic language, even when done in the service of commercial advertising or anti-Fascist propaganda. The retrospective was curated by Marcin Gizycki, a Polish art historian and critic who has been teaching at the Rhode Island School of Design since 1988 and is a Vice President of Poland’s recently established, innovative new School of Visual Arts and New Media in Warsaw. He is the author of an incisive collection of essays on animated film called Disney Was Not the Only One [Nie tylko Disney]. This collection began its tour on the West Coast, in Berkeley and Los Angeles; subsequent showings include:

BUFFALO, NY: Friday, October 3, 7 pm
Market Arcade Film and Arts Center (as part of “Kino Polskie V”, organized by Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center)

SEATTLE, WA: Saturday, October 18, 8 pm
University of Washington, Seattle

NY, NY: Saturday, October 25, 6 pm and Sunday, November 2, 2 pm
Museum of Modern Art Film, at The Gramercy Theatre (as part of a major film series, “A Short History of Polish Avant-Garde and Experimental Film”)
The Eye and the Ear, by Stefan and Franciszka Themerson


  • Pharmacy, a re-make by American artist Bruce Checefsky (USA, 2001) of the film Apteka, by Stefan and Franciszka Themerson, 1930.
  • Europa 2, a film inspired by a 1932 film of the same title by Stefan and Franciszka Themerson, directed by Piotr Zarebski, 1988.
  • O.R. Rhythmical Calculation [O.R. (Obliczenia Rytmiczne)], re-make of a 1934 film by Jalu Kurek, directed by Ignacy Szczepanski, screenplay by Marcin Gizycki (professor, Rhode Island School of Design), 1985.(fragment of a documentary Jalu Kurek).
  • There is a Ball Tonight [Dzis mamy bal], by Jerzy Zarzycki and Tadeusz Kowalski, 1934.
  • Boots [Buty], by Jerzy Gabryelski, 1934.
  • The Adventure of a Good Citizen [Przygoda czlowieka poczciwego], by Stefan and Franciszka Themerson, Warsaw 1937.
  • Calling Mr. Smith, by Stefan and Franciszka Themerson, London 1943.
  • The Eye and the Ear, by Stefan and Franciszka Themerson, London 1945.

Chopin—Desire For Love

* * * * *CANCELLED* * * * *

Chopin—Desire for Love (2002, 110 min.), a blockbuster hit directed by the Academy-nominated Polish director Jerzy Antczak, depicts the composer’s eight-year, turbulent relationship Georges Sand. The movie stars Piotr Adamczyk, Danuta Stenka, Jadwiga Baranska, and Janusz Gajos. It will be showcased in “American Cinématheque” at the Egyptian Theatre.

    Where: Egyptian Theatre (1800 N. Highland Ave. in Hollywood)
    When: Screenings on weekdays at 5, 7 and 9 pm.; on weekends on 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 pm.
    Admission: $ 10.00. For information please call the Egyptian Theatre at 323-467-0414 Reservations: call 818-982-8827.
    Dates: from October 24th to October 30th (except for Oct. 27th )
    The movie is in Polish with English subtitles. This event is organized by the Society for Arts.

* * * * *CANCELLED* * * * *

Chopin—Desire for Love has been replaced with another Polish film for the “American Cinématheque” screening. The new film is When the Sun was God—An Ancient Tale [Stara baśń. Kiedy słónce było bogiem], directed by Jerzy Hoffman (2003, 107 min.). The movie is in Polish with English subtitles. It is a film about crime and punishment, love and jealousy, life and customs of old Slavs and the beginnings of the Polish statehood. The story takes place in the 9th century, a century before Poland’s baptism. For more information about this film, visit www.starabasn.pl.

All the above information about the theater and screening times is still correct.

Review Of Chopin’s Funeral

A new book by Benita Eisler, Chopin’s Funeral, was reviewed in the Los Angeles Times on June 1st by Ted Libbey, author of The National Public Radio Guide to Building a Classical CD Collection. Mr. Libbey wrote, “Benita Eisler’s skills are definitely those of a historian and biographer rather than a musicologist, and Chopin’s Funeral, notwithstanding its rather novelistic title, is clearly intended to be a “life” portrait of its subject rather than a thorough exploration of his life and works. In its sensitive re-creation of the time and place in which Chopin lived, and its painstaking and detailed observation of events—as though Eisler were writing about things she had seen—this elegantly slim volume takes its place at the head of, yet apart from, a long list of biographical tributes to the Romantic era’s most elusive and hermetic composer.” This book is published by theAlfred A. Knopf company.

Polish Music Journal

Vol. 6 No. 1, Summer 2000: Polish Jewish Music

The summer 2003 issue of the Polish Music Journal will be available on October 10.The volume presents selected papers from the International Conference “Polish/Jewish/Music!” held in November 1998 at the University of Southern California as well as translations and reprints of material from the collection of the Polish Music Center. The 1998 conference attempted to fill some of the larger gaps in Polish music history by: (1) highlighting the richness of achievements of Polish composers of Jewish descent and Jewish music in Poland, and by (2) emphasizing the complexity of cultural relationships between the two ethnic groups, including both assimilation and coexistence. The conference included lectures, lecture-recitals and panel discussions as well as two concerts-presenting rarely-heard solo and chamber music. One of the goals of the conference was to demonstrate that one cannot write a history of Polish music without acknowledging the contribution of musicians and composers of Jewish descent. The conference’s program (reproduced in the documentation segment of the Journal) included sessions on individual composers (Karol Rathaus and Aleksander Tansman), surveys of Jewish musicians, composers, performers, and publishers in Poland, various aspects of concert life, and folk music.

The following papers are included in the Journal:

  • Editorial by Maja Trochimczyk: “Separation and Belonging: Polish Jews, Jewish Poles and Their Music”
  • Articles:
    • Michael Beckerman: “Neuro-Nationalism, or Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?”
    • Marian Fuks: “Musical Traditions of Polish Jews”
    • Maciej Gołąb: “Józef Koffler: The First Polish Composer of Twelve-Tone Music”
    • Martin Schüssler: “‘Karol Rathaus—An American Composer of Polish Origin:’ The Development of an Americanized View of Rathaus and its Consequences for the Reception of His Music”
    • Hankus Netsky: “Three Twentieth-Century Jewish Musicians from Poland: Frydman, Rosner, and Bazyler”
    • Bret Werb: “Majufes: A Vestige of Jewish Traditional Song in Polish Popular Entertainments”
  • Source Readings (selected by Maja Trochimczyk):
    • Józef Hoffman: “The Proper Musical Education of Children” (1901)
    • Wanda Landowska: “The Interpretation of Bach’s Works” (1906)
    • James M. Tracy: “The World’s Greatest Pianists” (1907)
    • Moritz Rosenthal: “Chopin’s Masterly Valse in A-Flat, Op. 42: A Detailed Lesson Analysis by the Eminent Virtuoso” (1934)
    • Józef Koffler: “Alban Berg: An Obituary” (1937)
    • Roman Ryterband: “Contemporary Music: Yes or No” (1963)
    • Aleksander Tansman: “Letters to Tadeusz Kaczynski (1971-1985)”
    • Aleksander Tansman: “In Praise of Szymon Laks” (1984)

New Fiction: The Clarinet Polka And Tales Of Galicia

In The Clarinet Polka, a Vietnam-era non-combatant vet named Koprowski returns in 1969 to his blue-collar Polish-American hometown, where nothing much happens beyond working at the steel mill and going to Mass. He sleeps off hangovers in his parents’ attic and drifts into a destructive affair with a married woman. But things change when his younger sister Linda decides to start an all-girl polka band, and Jimmy falls for the band’s star clarinetist, Janice, whose young life is haunted by tragic events that happened before she was born. The threads of Jimmy’s family life, the legacy of WWII Poland, and the healing power of music, language, and tradition all begin to converge. According to Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, this book is, “Deeply and authentically rooted in Polish-American culture… brilliantly resonates into the universal human condition.” The Clarinet Polka was written by Keith Maillard.

A high-school expellee, pacifist, army deserter, and contributor to underground journals, Andrzej Stasiuk is now one of Poland’s most highly regarded contemporary writers. Tales of Galicia, perhaps his most intriguing book, is a portrait of an imaginary village in a depressed economic backwater whose inhabitants have been largely reduced by economic reforms to unemployment and drink. But Stasiuk has a Hrabalian flare for language and description that turns the banality and drudgery of their lives into poetry. And he brilliantly blurs the line not only between the short story and the novel, but between life and death, dream and reality, civilization and nature. Tales of Galicia was written by Andrzej Stasiuk and translated from the Polish by Margarita Nafpaktitis

These reviews have been reprinted from the Polish Cultural Institute of New York’s website.


Cyprian Norwid Competition

Nominations for the Cyprian Norwid Prize were announced in Nowy Dziennik. In the field of music the nominees are: Maciej Małecki for Nie-boska symfonia [Un-Divine Symphony], Krzysztof Knittel for his cycle of songs to poems by Norwid (a well-known Polish Romantic poet and philosopher, 1821-83) and Władysław Kłosiewicz for preparing and presenting Baroque operas for the Warsaw Chamber Opera Company.

Internet News

Lutosławski Society Website

The Witold Lutosławski Society, formed in 2000 in Poland, now has a web page dedicated to the great composer: www.lutoslawski.org.pl

The Society offices are located at the National Philharmonic in Warsaw. The purpose of the Society is to protect and promote the artistic and spiritual heritage of Witold Lutosławski and to promote performance of his works. These goals are realized through publications, inspiring research projects, collecting archival material, coordinating various cultural centers and persons therein, supporting activities leading to the creation of the Lutosławski Museum, supervising copyright activity, consulting scholars, working on Lutosławski’s behalf, and awarding the Witold Lutosławski Prize. Membership is open to Poles and foreigners who would like to contribute to the realization of the Society’s mission.The founding members of the Lutoslawski Society included: Andrzej Bauer, Michał Bristiger, Andrzej Chłopecki, Julia Hartwig, Tadeusz Kaczyński, Ryszard Kapusciński, Kazimierz Kord, Ewa Krasińska, Zygmunt Krauze, Jan Krenz, Elżbieta Markowska, Grzegorz Michalski, Stanisław Olędzki, Józef Patkowski, Ewa Pobłocka, Zbigniew Skowron, Anna Szaniawska, Jerzy Tchórzewski, Mieczysław Tomaszewski, Andrzej Wajda, Antoni Wit, and Krystyna Zachwatowicz-Wajdowa.The current board consists of: Zygmunt Krauze – president; Andrzej Bauer – vice-president; Marcin Gmys – secretary; Andrzej Woźniakowski – treasurer; Ewa Krasinska, Stanisława Chyl – members of the board. Lech Dzierzanowski serves as office director.

Polish Folk Music Site

There is a new web site dedicated to the Polish folk music scene. It provides links to several folk composers and performers as well as a collection of some of the most popular songs.

Web Site Of American Polish Advisory Council

The APAC website, www.apacouncil.org, includes a Polonia Database with information about various Polish American organizations. For more information contact jskoczek@cympak.com.

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: richpna@earthlink.net; poloniacal@cs.com.

Calendar of Events

OCT 3: Polish Avant-garde Film before 1945. 8 films shown at Market Arcade Film and Arts Center, Buffalo, NY, 7 p.m. see above article for details.

OCT 10: Cellist Marek Szpakiewicz and pianist Kevin Fitz-Gerald will perform a cello/piano duo recital at Newman Recital Hall, University of Southern California (3616 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles). 8 p.m. Suggested donation at the door: $10 for general admission and $5 for students. see above article for details.

OCT 15: Chopin, Beethoven, Brahms & Liszt. Peter Donohoe, piano. Symphony Hall, Birmingham. http://www.necgroup.co.uk/visitor/symphonyhall/.

OCT 16: Romance and the Romantics: The Liaison of George Sand & Frederic Chopin. Illustrated lecture by Ruth Albert Spencer. Music performance by Magdalena Baczewska, piano. Kosciuszko Foundation. 15 E. 65th St., NYC. 212-734- 2130.

OCT 17: Music of Chopin & Beethoven. Mikhail Rudy, piano. St. George’s, Bristol, England. www.stgeorgesbristol.co.uk.

OCT 18: Polish Avant-garde Film before 1945. 8 films shown at University of Washington, Seatle, WA. 8 p.m. see above article for details.

OCT 21: Chopin, Haydn, Beethoven, Schumann. Leon McCawley, piano. Lynton Parish Church, Drewsteignton. England. www.thetwomoorsfestival.co.uk.

OCT 22: Cello Recital. Thaddeus Brys, cello. Susan Brys, piano. Kosciuszko Foundation, 15 E. 65th St., NYC. 8:00 p.m. $25.

OCT 23: Zygmunt Krauze will perfom a concert of his and other Polish composer’s piano music. Columbia University’s Casa Italiana (1161 Amsterdam Avenue near 118th Street, NYC). 8:00 p.m. see above article for details.

OCT 24: Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto will be played by Yo-Yo Ma at the new Walt Disney Hall in the 2nd Inaugural Gala concert. See above article for details. 7:00 pm. 111 S. Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

OCT 24: Chopin Etudes, Op. 25 & Beethoven. Freddy Kempf, piano. Norden Farm Center, Maidenhead, England. www.nordenfarm.org.

OCT 24-30: When the Sun was God—An Ancient Tale is playing at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. See above for more details.

OCT 25: Polish Avant-garde Film before 1945. 8 films shown at the Museum of Modern Art Film, at The Gramercy Theatre, NYC. 6 p.m. (also, NOV 2 at 2 p.m.) see above article for details.

OCT 26: Music of Chopin & Schubert. Copernicus Ensemble. Inaugural concert of the Chamber Music Series. Kosciuszko Foundation, 15 E. 65th St., NYC. 3:00 p.m. $30.


Chopin In England

There were two performances of Chopin in England this past month: Pianist Malcolm Rimms performed Chopin at Wigmore Hall on the 14th and Christian Blackshaw played Chopin at St. George’s in Bristol on the 19th. Four recitals with Chopin’s music are scheduled for October (see Calendar of Events).

Piano Duos In England

On September 4th, the Saxel Piano Duo performed Moszkowski’s Aus aller Herren Länderalong with music of Beethoven, Brahms and Ravel at the Nordem Farm Center in Maidenhead, England.

Chopin In Poland

In a recent Chopin cycle, pianist Janusz Olejniczak performed Chopin’s music on an historic 19th century Erard piano at the Royal Castle in Warsaw.

Kilar’s September Symphony

The world premiere of Wojciech Kilar’s September Symphony, written in honor of the tragic events of September 11th, opened the music festival of the European Union in the Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw. The National Philharmonic led by Antoni Wit also performed Wieniawski’s First Violin Concerto with violinist Piotr Plawner and Grzegorz Fitelberg’s Pieśń o sokole [Song about the Falcon]. Artists and music from Austria, Italy, Ireland, Holland, Spain, Germany, Great Britain, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Belgium and France were featured in the other concerts that followed.

Penderecki Conducts Benefit Concert

Krzysztof Penderecki led the National Symphony Orchestra of Polish Radio of Katowice in a benefit concert in Poznań. The composer’s recent work, a Concerto Grosso for 3 cellos, featured Andrzej Bauer, Rafal Kwiatkowski and Bartosz Koziak. (See Discographyfor a review of this work by other soloists.)

Wilkomirska Master Class

Violinist Wanda Wilkomirska held a Master Class in honor of Karol Szymanowski in the Radziwiłł Palace in Jadwisin in August. Her accompanist was Grzegorz Gorczyca. Talented violin students came from Warsaw, Gdańsk, Toruń, Kraków, Koszalin and Szczecin.

Music In A Castle On The River

The II International Music Interpretation Course took place in the 16th century castle in Janowiec on the Vistuła River. Fifty young students of violin, viola, cello, string bass, accordion and chamber ensembles performed in concert halls in Kazimierz Dolny, Nałęczów and Puławy. Lectures were presented by American musicologist Prof. Charles Borowsky and Polish lute maker Jan Bobak, while master classes were led by violinist Konstanty Kulka, violist Stefan Kamasa and cellist Cecylia Barczyk. During the inaugural concert the world premiere of Benedykt Konowalski’s Chanson Triste for trio took place. The course ended on August 24th.

Drzewiecki Open Festival In Słupsk

The 37th Piano Festival in Słupsk was opened by the star of this year’s event, 16-year-old Stanisław Drzewiecki. The world premiere of a piano concerto Portraits by Polish composer Piotr Moss was specifically written for the occassion. There were 3 symphony concerts, 2 chamber and 2 solo recitals. There also was a competition for six young pianists.

Polish Premiere Of Górecki

The Polish premiere of Górecki’s Salve Sidus Polonorum opened the 13th International “Musica Antiqua Europae Orientalis” festival in Bydgoszcz in September. There were almost two thousand performers, among them a male choir from Moscow, “La Primavera” from Spain, “Hortus Musicus” from Estonia, the Lithuanian National Chamber Orchestra and the State Classical Sufi Music Choir from Turkey. During the musicological congress, papers were presented on Slavicism and sacred music by leading scholars from Europe, the USA and Israel.

Polish Music in L.A.

An excellent concert of Polish music was presented by Irena Lawyer for the Polish Club of Leisure World in California on September 14th. Los Angeles pianist, Dr. Wojciech Kocyan, cellist Jakub Omsky, mezzo-soprano Agnieszka Lejman-Norris and violinist Wojciech Kardewicz gave splendid performances of music by Chopin, Moniuszko, Penderecki, Wieniawski and Różycki.

Opening Of L.A.’s Piano Spheres

The first concert of the Piano Spheres Series 10th season led by Prof. Leonard Stein, was opened on Tuesday, September 20th with pianist Mark Robson performing works by Karol Szymanowski, Boulez, Busoni, Liszt and one of his own compositions. Zipper Concert Hall, Colburn School of Music, UCLA.


by Wanda Wilk

American Record Guide Review

Reviewed in American Record Guide Sep/Oct issue:

Penderecki, Meyer, Lutoslawski: Concerto Grosso; Mass, Op. 68; Mi-Parti

Barry Kilpatrick favorably reviews this Polish release and praises the Warsaw Phlharmonic for “rich sounds and virtuoso readings” and “captured vivid sound.”Lutoslawski’s Mi-Parti was new to the critic and he found it “quite fascinating, an amazing complexity and clarity where blizzards of notes all seem to have a purpose and make sense, where harmonic density has structure and is an aural treat, and where instrumental groups are handled with consummate skill.” Krzysztof Meyer’s Mass, Op. 68 (1996) also meets with Kilpatrick’s approval, especially the “Sanctus,” “where the full-throttle opening leads to a wild ‘hosanna in excelsis.'” According to Kilpatrick, Penderecki’s massiveConcerto Grosso written in 2000 for three cellos and orchestra also contains “magic moments” as performed by Ivan Monighetti, Adam Klocek and Kazimierz Koslacz, as soloists.

Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater

DUX 349
Szymanowski: Stabat MaterLitany to Virgin MaryDemeter.
Jadwiga Gadulanka, sop.; Jadwiga Rappe, alto; Andrzej Hiolski, bar.; Katowice Symphony, Antoni Wit, cond.

Carl Bauman calls this Polish release as “one of the finest” of the eight recordings of Szymanowski’s choral masterpiece. He takes issue with the shortness of the CD, only 43 minutes, as compared to mid-priced (Muza) or budget-priced (Naxos), where you get additional music, such as Veni CreatorPenthesilea, or his favorite, Simon Rattle’s combination of Third Symphony, Litany and the Stabat Mater. He calls Rattle’s sound “absolutely stunning, with a solid low bass that adds thrilling support to the spectacular music making.” He says all the recordings (all but one in stereo) are “very good both as performances and recordings” and gives additional praise for this Polish one for its excellent notes.

Polish Piano Music

Philip Marin, piano.

24 selections of piano music of the 19th and 20th century with the title, The Maiden’s Prayer by Tekla Bądarzewska, which according to Donald Vroon is “probably the best selling piano piece of all time” and sounds a lot like “what Gottschalk was writing around the same time.” Other gems on this CD are Moszkowski’s Serenade and Paderewski’s Minuet in G.

Polish Violin Duos

DUX 398
Polish Violin Duos by Henryk Górecki, Marta Ptaszyńska, Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil, Rafał Augustyn and Piotr Drożdzewski.
Urszula Krygier, mezzo-soprano, Katarzyna Jankowska, piano.

According to Mark Lehman “this anthology of second-half-of- the-twentieth century Polish violin duos offers brilliant performances and vivid recorded sound. The music is fairly tough going, though, and makes little concession to a less-than-devoted audience.” He concludes his description of the music with a review of Drozdzewski’s 1983 Sonata, calling it “an oddball item, in four compact movements, somehow both retro and modern.” He likes the inner two movements best and its for them that he is “most likely to return to this adventurous and demanding program.”

Noted In The BBC Music Journal

Murray Perahia’s CD of Chopin’s Etudes is still in the Top 20 Classical CD Chart.

Szymanowski String Quartets

DUX 0366
Szymanowski: String Quartets No. 1 & 2.
Camerata Quartet.

A Polish release reviewed by Jan Smaczny, who rates this one “excellent”! He says that “although by no means flawless in delivery, the Camerata Quartet gives splendidly idiomatic performances of both works and is excellently recorded in an appropriately resonant acoustic. The odd lapses in intonation and ensemble are more than compensated for by the passion these performers generate, a quality which takes them to the head of the disappointly small list of competitors.”


Hyperion CDA 67399
Szymanowski. Mazurkas, Valse Romantique, 4 Polish Dances.
Marc-Andre Hamelin, piano.

Again an excellent rating from Jan Smaczny who states that Marc-Andre Hamelin, “is a near-ideal advocate of this repertoire; alive to every nuance in these scores, including the occasional, near-improvisatory moments, he externalises the rich variety of these remarkable pieces.”

Mieczyslaw Horszowski Collection

Collection: Mieczyslaw Horszowski, piano.

This is taken from a BBC Radio 3 recording of a recital Horszowski gave at Wigmore Hall in 1990 at the age of 98. Max Loppert gives it five stars, outstanding! He describes Horszowski as, “a child prodigy, pupil of Leschetizky, recital partner of Casals, profoundly sensitive soloist as well as chamber-pianist, teacher of Perahia and Goode—a Methuselah figure who went on delighting audiences into his late nineties and who died in 1992 in his 102nd year. His greatness will be affirmed by anyone who attended his concerts in the 1980s and early 1990s, when a miraculous Indian summer ‘second career’ was in full swing – and by anyone who acquires this sublime BBC Legends issue.”

Polish Radio Release

Nowy Dziennik reported (as per the Polish Press Agency) on the 22nd of August that Polish Radio released a new CD featuring Polish jazz singer Wanda Warska. Six Polish composers (Górecki, Kilar, Penderecki, Kurylewicz, Konieczny and Preisner) were selected to write music to texts of Stanisław Wyspiański. The title of the album is “Jakżeż ja się uspokoję” [How will I calm myself]. For a full report on this album, see the News section of the September issue.

Górecki and Kurylewicz accompany Warska in their songs. Other artists performing with the singer are pianist/composer Andrzej Kurylewicz, pianist Leszek Mozdzer, violist Ryszard Duz, bass Adam Cegielski, percussionist Stanisław Skoczyński, as well as the Wilanów Quartet.

Polish Viola Concertos

by Wanda Wilk

The August 10th issue of Ruch Muzyczny featured an article by Poland’s foremost violist, Stefan Kamasa, on how the Polish viola concertos came into being. He informed the readers that in Polish music before 1936, the only work for viola was a miniature piece written by Wieniawski.

Alexander Tansman, who left his native country before WWII to live in France, began writing a Concerto pour alto et orchestre, which he completed in 1937 and soon the Belgian Charles Foidart, to whom it was dedicated, performed it in Brussels. A year later the same soloist performed it in the U.S. with the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy.

Mr. Kamasa first found out about this concerto in 1957 when he studied in Paris. He received the music in 1960, but it was not until 1979 that it was recorded by Polish Radio in Cracow under the baton of Wojciech Michniewski. This constitutes an important historical documentation of the first viola concerto in the history of Polish music, especially since there is no commercial recording of it, as of yet.

Thirty years had passed after Tansman wrote the first viola concerto when Grażyna Bacewicz began working on her viola concerto. In 1965, Stefan Kamasa was a member of the Warsaw Quintet, and they were performing the Bacewicz Piano Quintets. Kamasa asked Bacewicz to write a concerto for him and the premiere was set for June 1969. Unfortunately, Grazyna suddenly and unexpectedly died in January and never heard her beautiful work performed.

The premiere was followed by performances in Katowice, Wrocław, Moscow, Berlin (East and West), Havana, Liverpool and at the Warsaw Autumn Festival in 1970, where it won the Orpheus Award for the best work performed during the festival.

The violist continued his article by giving historical details about viola concertos (and his role as soloist for them) written by Tadeusz Baird, Roman Palester and Krzysztof Penderecki. He ended the article mentioning concertos by Tadeusz Natanson, Jan Wieczorek and Marek Stachowski. The latter was premiered in 1999 with the Amadeus Orchestra conducted by Agnieszka Duczmal and received excellent reviews.

We learn from this article that internationally famous violists Helmut Koch, Kim Kashkashian and Nabuko Imai perform the Baird Concerto, and that the Penderecki Concerto was played by Kashkashian, Tabea Zimmermann and Grigori Zyslin, while the Polish violist Kamasa performed each and every one of them.


Born This Month

  • 3 October 1882 – Karol SZYMANOWSKI, composer, pianist, (d. 29 March 1937) – see his Page at PMC
  • 3 October 1923 – Stanisław SKROWACZEWSKI, composer and conductor
  • 4 October 1910 – Eugenia UMIŃSKA, violinist
  • 9 October 1924 – Regina SMENDZIANKA, pianist
  • 10 October 1910 – Henryk SWOLKIEŃ, music critic, composer
  • 16 October 1867 – Ferdynand HOESICK, music critic, publisher (d. 13 April 1941)
  • 18 October 1879 – Grzegorz FITELBERG, conductor, violinist, composer (d. 10 June 1953)
  • 20 October 1819 – Karol MIKULI, pianist, composer, conductor, Chopin’s student (d. 21 May 1897)
  • 25 October 1868 – Michał ŚWIERZYŃSKI, composer, conductor (d. 30 June 1957)
  • 30 October 1904 – Alfred GRADSTEIN, composer, activist (d. 29 September 1954)


Died This Month

  • 1 October 1990 – Andrzej KRZANOWSKI, composer, accordion player (b. 1951)
  • 1 October 1861 – Tekla Justyna KRZYŻANOWSKA, pianist, Chopin’s mother (b. September 1780)
  • 7 October 1854 – Adolf CICHOWSKI, Chopin’s friend, officer and civil servant (b.1794)
  • 17 October 1849 – Fryderyk CHOPIN, composer and pianist (b. 1 March (also listed as February 22) 1810)
  • 17 October 1938 – Aleksander MICHAŁOWSKI, pianist, composer, Tausig’s student (b. 5 May 1851)
  • 18 October 1962 – Maria SZCZEPAŃSKA, musicologist (b. 13 May 1902)
  • 21 October 1837 – Michał Józef GUZIKOW, folk musician (b. 1806)
  • 27 October 1991 – Andrzej PANUFNIK, composer and conductor (b. 24 September 1914) – see his Page at PMC
  • 30 October 1912 – Jan Karol GALL, composer and conductor (b. 18 August 1856)
  • 31 October 1952 – Adolf CHYBIŃSKI, musicologist (b. 29 April 1880)