Polish Music Center Newsletter Vol. 13, no. 7
Wit, Szymanowski, and Naxos
Antoni Wit and the Warsaw National Philharmonic have released the first in a series of recordings of the complete catalog of works by Szymanowski for Naxos label. The disc containing Szymanowski’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No 1 (Op. 35), Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No 2 (Op. 61) and Nocturne and Tarantella (Op. 28) is the first of the series and right away received a rave review and Editor’s Choice award from Gramophone magazine (July 2007):
A wonderfully compelling disc from Ilya Kaler and Antoni Wit, in the sense that you never want to stop listening to it. Together they explore Syzmanowski’s fantasy world, with Kaler in particular relishing the melodic sweetness, and the sense of an exploration of a strange yet delightful terrain. […]
– Editor’s Choice (Review by Edward Greenfield, Gramophone, July 2007)
Naxos specializes in classical music recordings and their CDs are available around the world in quality music stores. Naxos releases approximately 200 new titles every year and does not shy away from composers and artists that are lesser known to audiences. Naxos releases are priced lower than most other labels, which is not of the least importance to their success.
After recording the complete Szymanowski catalog, Naxos is planning on recording complete works of Mieczysław Karłowicz, also with Antoni Wit and National Philharmonic. Naxos currently has one of the largest catalogues of classical Polish music; to date they have released ten CDs featuring Lutosławski and seven of Penderecki recordings, two of which have been nominated for Grammy awards.
Recording information: Artists – Ilya Kaler, violin; Warsaw National Philharmonic; Antoni Wit, conductor. Program – Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No 1, Op. 35; Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No 2, Op. 61; Nocturne and Tarantella, Op. 28
Szymanowski Postage Stamp
To commemorate the Szymanowski Year, the Polish Postal Service has released a postage stamp featuring a picture of Karol Szymanowski. The stamp was designed by Andrzej Pągowski and Magdalena Błażków and has value of 1.35 PLN. For collectors, there is also an accompanying envelope with a date stamp and a copy of Szymanowski’s signature (pictured above), to be used by the Zakopane Post Office. These stamps are available on the official postage stamps website of Polish Postal Service, www.poczta-polska.pl .
Days Of Szymanowski’s Music
The 30th edition of the International Days of Karol Szymanowski’s Music Festival will take place in Zakopane between July 14 and 29, 2007. The festival is organized by the Karol Szymanowski Music Association in Zakopane. This year’s program includes solo and chamber recitals as well as symphonic concerts by artists from Poland, USA, Switzerland, France, Ukraine, Japan and Germany. For a detailed schedule of concerts and program of the festival please visit the official website of the Szymanowski Association, www.szymanowski.zakopane.pl
Szymanowski Book Review
by Gary Fitelberg
SZYMANOWSKI ON MUSIC
Selected Writings of Karol Szymanowski
Edited and Translated by Alistair Wightman
1999. Toccata Press. 390 Pages. English.
Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) is now widely acknowledged as the most important Polish composer since Chopin. Szymanowski was also a formidable thinker regarding musical topics, such as: the role of music in society, the goal of musical education, the purpose of criticism, the nature of romanticism, and music as a hallmark of national identity–indeed he was passionately concerned with the emergence of the Polish voice in music, and the role of Chopin in particular.
Szymanowski on Music is the first comprehensive selection of the composer’s writings to be published in English. It contains all of his most important essays and interviews, shedding light on the trying conditions under which he was obliged to work in the 1920’s and 30’s, especially in education, and giving perceptive assessments of the work of some of the major composers of the nineteenth and early twentieth century, including Wagner, Strauss, Stravinsky, Ravel, Satie and others, and the trends they embodied.
A number of pieces of a more biographical nature are also included. Of particular interest are Szymanowski’s touching obituary for his life-long friend, the violinist Paweł Kochański, and Michael Choromanski’s intriguing, but none-too flattering, report of a meeting with Szymanowski towards the end of his career.
Szymanowski on Music provides, in Alistair Wightman’s words, “abundant evidence of the breadth and depth of Szymanowski’s personal culture, and at the same time a telling demonstration of his search for an all embracing humanistic synthesis.”
Dr. Wightman begins his pioneering translations of Szymanowski’s Polish originals with an extensive introductory essay, which places Szymanowski’s literary activities in the context of his life and career. This book is a vital element in the rediscovery of the music of one of the twentieth century’s most appealing but least recognized composers.
Alistair Wightman is a freelance musician, composer and teacher whose particular interest is in Polish music. His study of Mieczysław Karłowicz was published in 1995, and in 2002 he collaborated with Polish musicologists Zofia Helman and Teresa Chylińska on the editing of the 7th volume of the PMC’s Polish Music History Series, The Songs of Karol Szymanowski and His Contemporaries. Wightman is currently working on a study of Szymanowski’s life and works, a translation of his erotic novel Efubo, and for Tocatta Press, a study of his opera Król Roger.
PMHS & Polish Musical Heritage
When thinking of the history of Polish music and the most prominent composers, the name of Frederic Chopin inevitably comes to mind. Even during his life, he was the standard-bearer of Polish music. His nineteenth century colleagues are remembered less well, and perhaps not mentioned in the same breath. Encouraged to reflect on Polish music of the romantic era, we certainly remember Moniuszko and Wieniawski, and maybe even a few other names, like Zarębski, Karłowicz, Noskowski, and Żeleński, for example. Moving on to the first part of the twentieth century, we immediately think of Szymanowski and, following in his footsteps, Lutosławski, Penderecki and Górecki, undoubtedly the greatest composers of the modern era.
Going back to more ancient times, some of us may know that Polish music of the Renaissance and Baroque eras had a rich tradition and considerable repertoire of compositions penned by such masters as Wincenty from Kielce (ca. 1200 – ca. 1261), Tomasz from Sandomierz (d. 1259), Mikołaj from Radom (active in the first half of the 15th century), Wacław from Szamotuły (ca. 1520 – ca. 1560), Tomasz Szadek (ca. 1550 – ca. 1611), Bartłomiej Pękiel (d. 1670), Wojciech Długoraj (1558-1619), Mikołaj Zieleński (ca. 1550 – ca. 1615), Tomasz Szadek (ca. 1550 – ca. 1611), Adam Jarzębski (ca. 1590 – ca. 1649), and Marcin Mielczewski (d. 1651).
Such a list proves beyond any doubt that Polish music has a rich and varied tradition, first centered in the ancient royal seat in Kraków, later expanding to Warsaw. Throughout many centuries, there has been a continuum of names great and small emanating out of Poland, some of them recognized internationally, others known only to local connoisseurs and historians. Over the past twenty years, the Polish Music Center at USC has been trying to preserve and highlight the accomplishments of not only the greatest and best-known Polish musicians, but also the lesser-known ones, for it is often a quirk of fate or some historical misfortune that prevented the latter from claiming their rightful place in the spotlight.
To this end, the Polish Music Center publishes the Polish Music History Series—a sequence of volumes that covers the life and works of not only Chopin, Szymanowski, and Bacewicz, but also of such captivating musicians as Józef Koffler, Maria Szymanowska, and Zygmunt Stojowski.
Józef Koffler (1896-1944) was a fascinating composer with close ties to the Viennese avant-garde movement. His music was widely performed throughout Europe in the 1930s, and for many years he was a professor of composition at the Lwów Music Conservatory. His promising career was cut short as he and his entire family perished in the Holocaust. Józef Koffler: Compositional Style and Source Documents by Maciej Gołąb is volume eight of our Polish Music History book series.
Maria Szymanowska (1872-1831) was a pioneering female composer and a touring virtuoso. A friend of Mickiewicz, Pushkin, and Goethe, she was a bright star in the salons of Warsaw, Paris, London, and St. Petersburg. Szymanowska’s brilliant piano playing was admired throughout Europe and her compositions, including Mazurkas, Polonaises, and Etudes, were an important influence on the young Chopin. Maria Szymanowska—Pianist and Composer by Sławomir Dobrzański is the ninth volume in our book series.
Our latest publication—volume ten in the Polish Music History Series—is coming out later this summer. Zygmunt Stojowski: Life and Music by Joseph A. Herter is the first comprehensive biography of this long-neglected and undeservedly forgotten virtuoso pianist and composer. Stojowski was born in Poland in 1870 and studied at the Conservatoire Nationale in Paris. By 1891 he became a student of Paderewski, and later one of his closest and most trusted friends. Stojowski moved to America in 1905 and settled in New York City. He continued to perform throughout North and South America and Europe, attracting highly favorable comments from the world press. Stojowski’s symphonic music was programmed by the most prestigious orchestras, including the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony, and New York Philharmonic. In England, Stojowski’s compositions were performed for Queen Victoria, and the venerable conductor, Sir Charles Hallé was one of many enthusiastic supporters. During World War I, Stojowski lent his considerable influence to rally support for Polish independence, teaming with Paderewski and Sembrich to raise substantial funds for his war-torn homeland. Towards the end of his life, Stojowski once again activated his musical and social connections to help Poland during the dark days of World War II. Mr. Herter’s book provides many fascinating insights and details of Stojowski’s colorful life, his close association with the most important musicians of his era, including Brahms, Elgar, Stokowski, and Tchaikovsky, among many others. The book also traces the careers of Stojowski’s many illustrious students, including Shura Cherkassky, Oscar Levant, Alfred Newman, and Guiomar Novaes, and provides a comprehensive catalogue of Stojowski’s compositions.
All of these titles are available for purchase from the Polish Music Center at USC. It is time to think of promoting the whole spectrum of Polish composers—not only the best-known names. Besides, these titles not only provide a fascinating glimpse of each composer’s world and time but also insights into their music, as CD recordings are attached to the Szymanowska and Koffler titles. Please let us know if you’d like to add these books to your summer reading list! 213-821-1356 or email@example.com .
Szymański Recommended By UNESCO
Trzy pieśni według Trakla [Three songs according to Trakl] by Paweł Szymański can be found on the “Recommended List” of the 54th International Composer’s Tribune organized by the UNESCO International Music Board. The Tribune took place in Radio France Headquarters in Paris between June 5 and 7. Szymański’s work was among 9 other recommended compositions with the highest score shared ex-aequo. The top honor, “Selected Work,” went to Mouthpiece IX by Erin Gee. Both Selected and Recommended pieces will be aired in cultural radio stations around the world throughout the summer. In Poland, Polish Radio Channel 2 will be presenting the winners.
The competition entries for this year’s tribune were proposed by 33 radio stations from around the world. 20 of those entries were by composers younger than 30. The other Polish entry was Fiddler’s Green and White Savannas Never More by Aleksander Nowak. The next Tribune is scheduled to take place in Dublin mid-June 2008.
Polish Radio Orchestra News
Having faced an uncertain future at the conclusion of last season due to Polish Radio’s attempt to restructure its cultural channels and ensembles, it seems that the Polish Radio Orchestra finally reached clear waters. The new artistic director, Łukasz Borowicz is planning on performing regular monthly concerts in Polish Radio’s Lutosławski Concert Studio. During the 10 scheduled concerts for the new season they will play works by Beethoven, Shostakovich, Satie, Ibert, Glass, Madey, Penderecki, Czajkowski, Szpilman, Dobrzyński, Mozart, Salieri, Schumann, Schubert, Berio and Różycki. The orchestra will open the new season on September 9th with the performance of Verdi’s Falstaff in collaboration with the Kraków Radio Choir. All orchestral performances will be transmitted on Polish Radio.
On June 27 Polish Radio Orchestra performed at the Roma nel Cuore Festival in Rome, which is one of the most important summer musical events in Italy. PRO was one of the only two foreign ensembles invited to the festival, the other one being the Berlin Philharmonic. PRO performed Ogiński’s Polonaises by Roman Palester, 2nd Violin Concerto by Henryk Wieniawski and Symphony no. 7 by Ludwig van Beethoven. Łukasz Borowicz was conducting and Patrycja Piekutowska was the violinist.
To find out more about the orchestra, conductor and calendar please visit www.polskieradio.pl/orkiestra.
Preisner’s New Project
One of the foremost Polish film composers, Zbigniew Preisner, has finished recording a project unbounded by the limitations of a screenplay. Silence, Night and Dreams is a cycle written for orchestra, choir, soloists and some electronic elements. The libretto is in Latin and English and is based on fragments from the Book of Job and the Gospel according to Matthew. The prologue was written by Krzysztof Piesiewicz. This work’s orchestration combines elements which are both traditional and classical with those which are very contemporary, such as a Hammond organ, an electric cello and bass, and glass harmonica.
The CD recording of Silence, Night and Dreams was performed by Aukso Chamber Orchestra, Camerata Silesia Vocal Ensemble, Thomas Cully (boy soprano) and Teresa Salgueiro, conducted by Marek Moś. The CD will be released worldwide on EMI Records in September 2007.
The Pianist On Stage
Mikhail Rudy is an award-winning concert and recording pianist who was trained at the Moscow Conservatory. As a musician whose family was persecuted by Stalin, Rudy was deeply and personally touched by the similar story of Wladyslaw Szpilman as it was presented in the 1999 book, The Pianist. The book inspired Rudy to create a stage version of The Pianist, which is playing through July 15th in the stark venue of a warehouse attic at the Museum Of Science And Industry as part of the Manchester International Festival in England. The production is an intimate reworking of Szpilman’s text presented alongside the music of Chopin and Szpilman. It is directed by Neil Bartlett and narrated by Peter Guinness. The creator, who is also performing at the piano, says this of his vision: “My goal was to find an original way of putting the music and text together. I had to find the right balance between the two, but I also wanted the dramatic line to continue. Here, the music should not come as an illustration of the text but as a major component of the dramatic development.” [Quote and other information taken from Mikhail Rudy’s post on the Theatre & Performing Arts blog of The Guardian, posted 29 July 2007]
Director For Rzeszów Phil
After over half a year under temporary management, the Rzeszów Philharmonic has finally chosen the new director. Beginning July 1, Marek Stefański will be the new director of the Philharmonic. He was considered before but did not want to take the position due to the range of responsibilities it included. To accommodate his candidacy, the board has re-written the statue of the institution and appointed some of the administrative duties to the vice-director, who will be chosen by Stefański at a later time. This will allow Stefański to concentrate on the artistic part of the position as well as continue his own performance career.
Marek Stefański was born in Rzeszów and is a well known organist. He graduated from Kraków Music Academy and has won many accolades at international festivals and competitions. He has performed all around the world and currently holds the position of the organist in Bazylika Mariacka in Kraków.
Kowalski In LA
Polish violinist Robert Kowalski will be performing with Young Artists International in their International Laureates Festival in Los Angeles again this year. His 3 performances will be at UCLA (July 22), at Walt Disney Hall as a member of the iPalpiti orchestra (July 26), and at the Bing Theatre (July 29). Visit www.youngartists.orgfor performance details and to buy tickets.
Robert Kowalski was born in Gdańsk, Poland in 1985. He began his music education at the age of 7. In 2003 he graduated from the Academy, and continues at the Mannheim University of Music and Performing Arts, also participating in master courses with renowned violin instructors.
As a soloist, Robert is a winner of numerous awards and scholarships from regional and national competitions such as the Alexander Tansman International Competition in Lódź, Poland (2004), First Prize winner of the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage’s Young Artist and Scientist Award, and has received support from the government-sponsored National Foundation for Gifted Children throughout the years.
At home and abroad, he gives recitals and has performed with orchestras such as the Capella Gedaniensis and the Baltic States Opera House, at music festivals in Switzerland and Italy, and has made numerous recordings for television and radio. Winner of the First Prize in the International Contessa Tina Orsi Anguissola Scotti Chamber Music Competition in Italy (2005), Robert has played chamber music with such artists as Bernard Greenhouse, Michael Flaksman, Joshua Epstein, and Jose Gallardo. 2007 highlights include solo appearance with Kurpfalzisches Kammerorchester in Zagreb which was live-broadcasted by Croatian Radio, and a recording of his debut CD in Poland. Selected by Young Artists International in 2004, he was featured in chamber ensembles, and performed with iPalpiti on tours to Israel and Austria, at Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and Carnegie Hall in New York.
Festival Spirit For Piotr Anderszewski
Corks will soon be popping at the Festival del Sole, which takes place in the wine growing area of California’s Napa Valley. Anderszewski returns to perform [the Bartók Piano Concerto No. 3] in the festival’s closing concert with the Russian National Orchestra under Antonio Pappano on 22 July.
Afterwards it’s off to the South of France for an open air recital at the Festival de la Roque d’Anthéron (27 July). Anderszewski then heads north to the Snape Proms in Suffolk and to the Robeco Summer Concerts in Amsterdam, for a programme of concertos by Haydn and Beethoven with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (1 & 2 August).
The festival season concludes for Anderszewski with a week-long residency at the Torroella de Montgrí music festival on the Costa Brava (3-7 August). Anderszewski will give three concerts as the festival’s principal guest artist. As well as a recital and a performance with the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, he will be joined by the Belcea Quartet and the extraordinary Polish soprano Iwona Sobotka in a programme of Schumann and Szymanowski. See www.anderszewski.net/performances/index.cfm for details of all these events.
[This article was posted on the official website of Piotr Anderszewski, www.anderszewski.net , on 28 June 2007]
Szczecin Philharmonic Building
A conceptualization by Spanish architects has won the contest for the design of the new headquarters of the Szczecin Philharmonic. The competition, announced last fall, has attracted over 40 projects. The winning architects will receive a 40.000 PLN [approx. $14,000 USD] cash prize and will be invited to cooperate with the execution of the actual construction of the building and surrounding landscape. The new building will stand on the former site of the Konzerthaus, which was destroyed during World War II. The administration estimates the cost of the construction to be around 80 million PLN [approx. $26 million USD] and they hope to cover part of the cost with money provided by the European Union.
Baird Competition Results
The 48th edition of Tadeusz Baird Young Composer’s Competition, organized by Polish Composer’s Union [ZKP], has concluded. The jury was comprised of Zygmunt Krauze (chairman), Szablocs Esztenyi, and Krzysztof Knittel. The following prizes were awarded: first prize to Wojciech Blecharz for dim for female voice, cello, accordion and piano; second prize shared ex-aequo by Sławomir Krupczak for Lament for female voice, cello, piano and tape and Artur Zagajewski for Glassmusic-motet for female voice, cello, accordion, piano and tape. Special Distinction was given to Zofia Dowgiałło for Triptych for baritone, cello, accordion and piano. The awards ceremony will take place during the Warsaw Autumn Festival in September 2007.
The Tadeusz Baird Competition for Young Composers (formerly the Youth Competition of Polish Composers’ Union) has been organized annually since 1958. Its aim is to help young Polish composers launch their careers and to encourage their independent activity. Till 1990, the Competition rules stated that its subject was any piece lasting more than 5 minutes. The participants obtained a 3-month scholarship from the Ministry of Culture and Art for work on this composition. The 1st prize was a scholarship in a Western country, the 2nd prize – participation in a music festival in some country of the Eastern block, the distinction – free stay and participation in the “Warsaw Autumn” Festival in Warsaw. After 1990, the Ministry ceased to grant artistic scholarships. Since then, the main prize – the Tadeusz Baird Award of 2,500 dollars for further composition study – has been funded by Alina Sawicka-Baird, wife of the late composer. The two 2nd prizes and the distinction are financed by Polish Composers’ Union Management Board. Since 1990, the Tadeusz Baird Competition is open to all Polish composers who did not turn 35 until the closing date (earlier, it was reserved only for graduates from State Higher School of Music composition classes). The subject of the competition is different in each year. [Competition history information was taken from the ZKP Baird Competition page.]
Twardowski Honored With Padarewski Award
On June 19, 2007, renowned Polish composer Romuald Twardowski (b. 1930) was presented with the esteemed Ignacy Jan Padarewski Award for Contributions to Society and Culture at a special ceremony in Warsaw, Poland. The award was presented in a special ceremony at Polish Music Publishing House in Warsaw. Prof. Charles H. Borowsky personally presented the award to Prof. Twardowski as a representative of the International Tribute to Paderewski Committee. The award ceremony also included a concert of Twardowski’s compositions performed by the acclaimed American Virtuosi: Prof. Cecylia Barczyk (cello), Frances Borowsky (cello), Emmanuel Borowsky (violin), and Elizabeth Borowsky (piano).
Twardowski, a prolific composer whose compositions have inspired people world-wide for over 50 years, has demonstrated his love of and commitment to music and people through his tenure as Professor at the Frederic Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw. As a distinguished member of the Polish Composers Association, he promoted and supported great music and talented young musicians for the benefit of Polish culture and society. His immense output of such diverse range – from children’s songs and exercises through religious, vocal, opera, and orchestra works – have been performed worldwide.
The Paderewski Award was established in 1998 by The International Friends of Music Association (IFMA), in collaboration with UNESCO, and in affiliation with the International Tribute to Ignacy Jan Paderewski Committee. The Paderewski Award is awarded to selected individuals and/or organizations in recognition of their extraordinary achievements or outstanding contributions to society and culture. The Laureates are selected from among highly qualified nominees exclusively nominated by National and Regional Branches of the International Friends of Music Association.
Annual Minister Of Culture Awards
On the 23 rd of June 2007 in the Royal Castle in Warsaw, the awards ceremony for the Annual Awards of Polish Minister of Culture took place. This award was given to 21 highly deserving artists and institutions in different cultural fields. The following cultural contributors were awarded: in the film category – Krzysztof Ptak and Jadwiga Zajiček; in the theater category – Erwin Axer, Anna Seniuk, Jerzy Stuhr, and Wojciech Tomczyk; in the literature category – Andrzej Bartyński, Marek Nowakowski, and Roman Śliwonik; in the music category – Roman Berger, Ewa Michnik, and Paweł Szymański; in the culture preservation category – Jacek Purchla; in the culture propagation category – Maria Baliszewska and Andrzej Chłopecki; in the plastic arts category – Inez and Andrzej Baturo, Eugeniusz Mucha, and Witold Skulicz; in folk art category – Władysław Kulawiak. Also, the Honorary Award for lifetime achievement went to Polskie Stowarzyszenie Jazzowe [Polish Jazz Society].
Maria Fołtyn Honored
Maria Fołtyn was chosen as the first recipient of the Jan Kiepura Award. The award was established in April by the Mazovian Music Theatre Operetta. The candidates are chosen by directors and artistic boards of Polish music theatres. Maria Fołtyn will receive the award “…for outstanding achievements in promotion of Polish culture around the world…”
Maria Fołtyn is a singer and opera director. Since her debut on stage in 1949 she has been a successful performer and laureate of two international vocal competitions. As a director she debuted in 1971 in Havana, Cuba, directing Moniuszko’s Halka. She has devoted her artistic life to the promotion of Moniuszko’s music in Poland and abroad, serving as the chairman of Moniuszko Music Lovers Society and, between 1978 and 1998, as the director of the Moniuszko Festival in Kudowa Zdrój. She is also the director and juror of the International Moniuszko Vocal Competition in Warsaw.
Wołek Awarded In Bourges
Krzysztof Wołek received first prize ex-aequo for his Mobile Variations in the category of “Formal Electro-acoustic Compostition” at the International Electro-acoustic Music Competition in Bourges, France. The other first prize went to Antonio Chiaramonte from Italy for Reflessioni. In the “Mixed” category, two Polish compositions were also included in the final round: Opalescences by Katarzyna Głowicka and Changing Lanes by Krzysztof Wołek.
Having completed his primary and secondary musical education in Poland and the Hague, Krzysztof Wołek (b. 14 April 1976 in Bytom, Poland) is currently a Doctoral stipend recipient at the University of Chicago, studying composition with Marta Ptaszyńska and electronic music with Howard Sandroff. He also teaches sound synthesis at Columbia College in Chicago.
The C.K. Norwid Award was created by the Mazovian government in 2001 to honor deserving artists from the Mazovian region who help to promote region and Poland through their artistic output. This year, Jan Ekier will receive the Norwid Award for Lifetime Achievement. He is a famous pianist, composer, musicologist and editor-in-chief of National Edition of F. Chopin Works. In addition to the Lifetime Achievement special award, there are four award categories of honorees: music, literature, theater and visual arts. Artists nominated in the category of music are: Krzysztof Baculewski – composer, nominated for Etiudy na fortepian [Etudes for Piano] and for his ZKP commission to celebrate the 60th anniversary; Stanisław Leszczyński – musicologist, critic, publicist, manager, nominated for organization of the II International Music Festival “Chopin i Jego Europa” [Chopin and His Europe]; and Olga Pasiecznik – singer (soprano), nominated for performance of a rare Mozart song cycle.
Polish Dance Show Awarded In Prague
Walk@ karnawału z postem [The Fight Between Carnival and Lent] won the Czech Television Prize at the 44th International Television Festival “Golden Prague” in the Czech Republic. The show was choreographed by Ewa Wycichowska and was produced by the Poznań Chapter of Polish Television for TVP Culture channel. According to the official award press release: “This imaginatively visualised recording of a performance of Polish Dance Theatre deals with the eternal struggle between the carnival and lent, wealth and asceticism and restraint and plenty, wonderfully in tune with music from various ages and of different genres, classical and modern dance, simple ways and geysers of ideas, all of which results in a consistent and impressive creative testimony.”
The Golden Prague Festival is the oldest and most prestigious festival dedicated to theatre, dance and music TV productions. In three main competition sections there were over 150 entries from around the world. In addition to the prizewinner, Poland also presented Muzyka w Raju [Music in Paradise] – a documentary by Monika Górska; Pomiędzy nami a światłem [Between us and the light] – a concert of Leszek Możdżer, Lars Danielsson and Zohar Fresco; and Ca Ira – an opera by Roger Waters, directed by Janusz Józefowicz.
For the official website of the festival please go to: www.ceskatelevize.cz/specialy/zlatapraha/en/.
Jazz At The Old Town Square
Festival Jazz at the Old Town Square is one of the most popular and most attended jazz festivals in Poland. 3000 to 4000 people gather each Saturday for a concert during July and August. Each summer the Festival attracts 50 thousand jazz enthusiasts.
Jazz at the Old Square is one of the longest European Jazz Festivals as well. It is open to the public, which has a chance to enjoy performances of the best and the biggest jazz musicians. Jazz at the Old Town Square is a cultural representation of both Warsaw and Poland in Europe.
The main idea of the Festival is to present outstanding artists who represent various jazz trends and styles: mainstream, swing, fusion, modern jazz, klezmer jazz, latin, “third set” and world jazz. Admission to all the concerts is free.
Past and present guests include stars of both European and American jazz, including:
Dino Saluzzi, Tomasz Stańko, Michał Urbaniak, Scott Hamilton, Bill Evans, Bobby Watson, James Weidman, Pierre Blanchard, Dave Liebman, Leszek Możdżer, Paul Brody, Kevin Mahogany, Ron Jackson, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Dean Brown, The Avishai Cohen, Richard Galliano, Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor.
For the program of the festival and more information, please visit www.jazznastarowce.pl .
[Text from: www.jazznastarowce.pl]
Toruń – Music And Architecture
The musical events take place in the most cherished historical buildings of Toruń ‘s Old Town quarters: Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Old Town Hall, Teutonic Knights’ Castle, Dambski Palace, St. Johns ‘ Church, St. James’ Church, Youth Culture Center, Holy Spirit Church, the Scientific Society in Toruń, and the Artus’ Court. All of the event locations are mapped out here. For more information about the festival please visit the official website, www.tos.art.pl .
[Text from: www.tos.art.pl]
Internat’l Organ Festival At Oliwa
First held in 1957, the International Organ Music Festival at the Oliwa Cathedral is Poland ‘s oldest festival of its kind. It is organized by the Polish Baltic Philharmonic and the Pomeranian Society “Musica Sacra.” The 2007 edition marks fifty years of the Oliwa organ resounding the music of both old and new masters on Tuesday and Friday nights in the months of July and August. The festival will open on June 29 with a concert of two world premieres: Koncert Oliwski [Oliwa Concerto] for organ and orchestra by Elżbieta Sikora and Struny Zycia[Strings of Life] by Jerzy Maksymiuk, who will be conducting the Polish Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra with Roman Perucki on organ.
This year’s edition will host many artists from Poland but also excellent soloists from Urugway, Australia, Switzerland, France, and Germany, among others. These performers will be presenting a wide spectrum of organ repertoire, from well known works to composers unknown in Poland. Of special importance is the fact that Jean-Pierre Leguay – the blind organist of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris – will be performing at the festival.
For more information about the festival and the detailed program, please visit the website of the Polish Baltic Philharmonic: www.filharmonia.gda.pl .
Chopin Festival In Nohant
The “Rencontres Internationales Frédéric Chopin” Festival was first organized in 1997 to pay homage to the composer, whose name is intertwined with the house of George Sand. Nowadays, the festival is organized each year and lasts through eight consecutive days of the second half of July – this year the dates are 20-27 July. Festival events include concerts, master classes and conferences conducted by experts from all over the world. The Festival always begins with a concert – lecture in the house of George Sand. Young soloists from fine French and foreign musical schools participate in master classes during the week and give a closing concert at the end of the Festival.
For the program of the 11th edition of the festival please visit the official website .
[Text from: www.infochopin.pl]
24th Chopin Festival In Paris
Chopin’s composing genius often makes us forget that he was also a talented pedagogue. This year’s festival in Paris will emphasize his achievements in this area, by paying tribute to both Chopin-pianist and Chopin-pedagogue. Besides traditional piano recitals, candlelit concerts and appearances of young pianists, the festival will feature three conferences devoted to Impromptu no. 2by Chopin, his pedalling technique and the history of Prelude from Bach to Chopin and beyond.
On Saturday, June 16 the festival will kick off with a recital by Cyprien Katsaris, whose performance will include a piece by Jean-Michel Damase dedicated to the late Germaine Mounier, a distinguished French pianist and pedagogue. On Saturday, July 14 the festival will conclude with an appearance by Bruno Rigutto. The program will feature music by Chopin, Bach, Schumann and Ravel.
Performers will include, among others, Akiko Ebi, Abdel Rahman El Bacha, Jean-Marc Luisada, Igor Tchetuev, Philippe Cassard, Roustem Saitkoulov and Laurent Cabasso.
[Text from: www.infochopin.pl]
“Three Baroques” Festival
The fourth edition of the festival will take place in Wrocław betweenJuly 1 and 22. This year the focus is more monographic and is set on French Baroque composers. During the 9 festival days there will be 16 concerts performed by artists from Europe, Asia, Canada, and South America. As before the main orchestra and the host of the festival will be the Arte Dei Suonatori Orchestra. To find out more about the festival please visit www.3baroki-wroclaw.pl .
The 4th edition of the “Piano Festival” organized by the Ludwig van Beethoven Association will take place between July 25 and 29. The concert venues for the festival are Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, Warsaw Philharmonic Chamber Hall and the Royal Castle in Warsaw. This year the piano music will be presented from various perspectives; on one hand there will be a recital of 11 year old Julia Vaniuszyna and also Alexei Volodin and Berenika Zakrzewski, all very young artists, and on the other hand there will be recitals by international masters such as Cyprien Katsaris, Garrick Ohlsson and Boris Berman. The festival maintains a close relationship with many international competitions and offers concert invitations for the laureates. For specific information about this year’s program, please visit the official website of the festival, www.beethoven.org.pl.
Internat’l Percussive Arts Festival
This year’s edition of Crossdrumming 2007 – Percussive Arts Festival will take place in Warsaw between July 5 and 11. The concerts will be in several locations: Warsaw Old Town, Warsaw Fortress, Dziekanka dormitory and Chopin Music Academy among others. As always the organizers have invited a fantastic lineup of international artists, such as: Alex Acuna, John Beck, Gary Husband, Hakim Ludin, Linda Maxey, Heinz von Moisy, Philippo Lattanzi, Mathias Reumert, Percussions Claviers de Lyon, Pavel Guinter Trio and Grig Percussion Ensemble. Poland will be represented by, among others: Bernard Maseli, Krzysztof Herdzin, Zbigniew Wegehaupt, Paweł Pańta, Ryszard Bazarnik, November Project and Warszawska Grupa Perkusyjna [Warsaw Percussion Group] conducted by Piotr Dąbrowski. The spectrum of music presented spans from classical to jazz and ethnic as well as instrumental theatre.
Between July 9 and 11 there will also be an International Percussive Arts Conference, providing an international forum for exchange of knowledge and experiences between professionals. The conference will take place in the “Le Regina” Hotel and the Chopin Music Academy. Special guest this year will be Krzysztof Zaleski, director of Channel 2 of Polish Radio, who will speak about “Contemporary Aspects of Media Promotion.” It is the tradition of this conference that participating artists perform recitals and this year is no exception, with scheduled recitals by prof. Marian Rapczewski, prof. Jacek Wota, and prof. Stanisław Skoczyński from Poland as well as international artists John Beck (USA), Heinz von Moisy (Germany), Filippo Latanzi (Italy), Gerard Lecointe (France), and Linda Maxey (USA).
Throughout the festival and conference, there will be an open exhibition of percussion instruments by Polish and international manufacturers presenting their latest products in the Music Academy.
To find out more, please visit www.crossdrumming.pl.
Gorecki Documentary DVD
Tony Palmer’s masterpiece, The Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, a documentary about Gorecki’s 3rd Symphony, will be released on DVD by Digital Classics on July 9th. The following is excerpted from the promotional text on the British classical music distributor website, MDT Classics, where you can purchase the DVD:
Tony Palmer, director of music-related documentaries and films, went to Poland to shoot this work in 1992. It involves a complete, uninterrupted, performance of the 3rd Symphony, with camera attention moving between the orchestra, Dawn Upshaw the soprano, and the Composer interviewed in his home setting and silently wandering through the empty camp at Auschwitz, which is near to his home… “I wanted to express a great sorrow”, Górecki says. “The war…the rotten times under Communism…our life today…the starving. What madness! This sorrow, it burns inside me. I cannot shake it off.”… Tony Palmer says: “My film is a personal view of a great Symphony which is itself a towering monument to all that we have done and are continuing to do in the name of humanity.”
Polish Tenors for Remembrance of Jan Kiepura
Performers: Wiesław Ochman, Aleksandra Stoklosa, Renata Dobosz, Piotr Friebe, Patrycy Hauke, Leonard Pietraszak, Arnold Rutkowski, Dariusz Stachura, Andrzej Wiśniewski, Leon Pokorski OFM, The orchestra of the MMT Operetka, Agnieszka Nagórka – conductor
DUX 9574 (DVD + CD + Booklet)
Capriccio for Violin & Orchestra (1967); De natura sonoris No. 2 (1971); and Piano Concerto “Resurrection” (2001/2002)
Patrycja Piekutowska – violin , Beata Bilińska – piano , National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra (Katowice), Krzysztof Penderecki – conductor
The range of compositions on this CD is indicative of the generalization-defying nature of Penderecki’s compositional output. According to the promotional material written by Tomasz Jeż for this CD, “One of the most prominent Polish musicologists, Mieczysław Tomaszewski, describes the phenomenon of Penderecki’s music in the category of the ‘aesthetics of fullness’. According to Tomaszewski, it comprises the fullness of technical devices, the full range of styles and timbral and compositional devices meticulously ‘gathered’ from the abundantly rich treasure-trove of musical history. It also comprises the fullness of the explored sound material, which includes not only the complete historical experience in this area but also his never-ending sonoristic explorations.”
Organ Music from Gdańsk – Roman Perucki (re-release)
Organ of St Maria’s Basilica (Tabulatura Gdańska – Fantasia primi toni, P. Siefert – Nun komm der Heidem Heiland); Organ of St Mikolai’s Basilica (Tabulatura Oliwska – Veni Redemptor gentium, Tabulatura Oliwska – resonet in laudibus, Tabulatura Oliwska – Fuga in F, D. M. Gronau – Christ ist erstanden – Christ fuhr gen Himmel, F. Ch. Mohrheim – Trio G, F. Ch. Mohrheim – Wer nur den lieben Gott, F. Ch. Mohrheim – Wer nur den lieben Gott, J. Gottelib Goldberg – Polonezy 1 i 2); Organ of St Brygida’s Church (Bloch – Fantasia, Z. Zuchowicz – Kalejdoskop, Z. Zuchowicz – Mgła, E. Rymarz – Toccata); and Organ of the Cathedral in Oliwa (H. H. Jabłoński – Aforyzmy, S. Kwiatkowski – 3 preludia, S. Kwiatkowski – Ite missa est)
Roman Perucki , organ
Music of Ancient Europe (re-release)
V. Haussmann – Polnischer tantz; V. Haussmann – Polnischer tantz; V. Haussmann – Polnischer tantz; H. Albert – Aria Polonica; H. Albert – Aria Polonica Hochzeitlied; H. Albert – Tantz nach Art der Polen; G. Neumark – Klagelied Kancjonał z Brzegu; J. R. – Psalm 28; J. R. – Psalm 24; J. R. – Psalm 62; J. R. – Psalm 12; J. Stobaeus – Psalm 128; Gdańska Tabulatura Lutniowa; Anonim – B. P.; Anonim – Variatio; Anonim – Balletto Dantichano; Anonim – B. P.; Anonim – B. P.; J. Kremberg – Aria 9; J. Kremberg – Aria 15; J. Kremberg – Aria 27; J.Kremberg – Aria 1; J. Kremberg – Aria 6
Camerata Cracovia, Ireneusz Trybulec – Director
Media Vita – Polish Passion Songs (re-release)
Vinea mea Jezusa Judasz przedał, Jezus Chrystus Bóg człowiek, Pamiętajmyż wszyscy wierni, Stała Matka żałościwa, Krzyżu Święty i chwalebny, Krzyżu Święty nade wszystko, Wszyscy mieszkańcy dworu niebieskiego, Bądź pozdrowion, Krzyżu Święty, Media vita
Polskie Radio Presents Maciejewski
Roman Maciejewski – composer and pianist
Roman Maciejewski: Lullaby, 9 Mazurkas, Mazurka for two pianos, Oberek for two pianos, Lullaby for two pianos, Tarantella for two pianos, Concerto for two pianos, Negro Spirituals for two pianos
Roman Maciejewski, piano; Jerzy Lefeld, piano (tracks 11-19)
This is a CD with archival recordings of Roman Maciejewski, the great composer and pianist. The recording session for Polish Radio took place in 1960 and contains Maciejewski’s performance of his solo piano literature as well as recordings of his Concerto for two pianos and other miscellaneous duets. For liner notes from the recording, please visit the website of PWM.
Nikolai Demidenko – Chopin
Frederic Chopin: Rondeau op. 1, Rondeau op. 16, Rondeau op. 73, Barcarolle op. 60, Nr.1 from Trois Polonaises op. 71, Grand Polonaise Brillante op. 22
Nikolai Demidenko, piano
“Nikolai Demidenko may be a mere 52, but his sound comes from the golden age of Russian pianism, reflecting the rigorous technical, intellectual and emotional discipline which lay at its heart.” Quoted from the Michael Church review in BBC Music Magazine, July 2007.
Penderecki at DSO
During a program entitled “Music Rebuilds,” the Detroit Symphony Orchestra dedicated day 6 of their “8 Days In June” festival mostly to music inspired by the tragic events of September 11, 2001. The 9/11-themed pieces on the program were New York, Tears and Hope by Bechara El- Khoury (b. 1957), Falling Dream by Kevin Puts (b. 1972) and Largo for Cello and Orchestra by Krzysztof Penderecki (b. 1933).
Mark Stryker, music critic with the Detroit Free Press, has the following to say about the concert: “Charged with a rare excitement and catharsis, as the DSO, conducted by Peter Oundjian, played with fierce commitment, and the small audience of 400 roared back with robust energy. This was the vital sound of the DSO wrestling with the art of its own time.” To read the whole review, please visit www.freep.com.
Kwiecien Sweeps SF Opera
Throughout the month of June, San Francisco Opera presented three rotating productions, including Mozart’s Don Giovanni, with Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecien (pictured at left) in the title role. Regarding Kwiecien’s “riveting” performance, Associated Press reviewer Mike Silverman writes, “[South-African singer Elza van den Heever] was a worthy foil for Kwiecien, who brought the Don to life with a combination of swaggering charm and brutality that made the character electrically alive and dangerous. No one else in the cast was quite on their level […]”
Kudajczyk: Concert Pianist/Janitor
Aleksander Kudajczyk, a 28-year-old janitor at the University of Glasgow, has taken the Scottish classical music scene by surprise. When overheard practicing on the piano in the University chapel while he was on break from his job as a university janitor, his talent as a piano virtuoso trained at Poland’s prestigious Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice was discovered. Through a series of fortuitous events, he was given the opportunity to perform at Glasgow’s West End Festival and International Organ Festival, as well as playing concerts in the University chapel. He hopes these performances will lead to a position as a teacher or even as a professional performer, as he had only dreamed of when he first immigrated to Scotland.
The Kreutzer Quartet Inspires
The Dante Quartet presented an interesting and varied musical program, framed by a narrative performed by actor John Sessions, during the City of London Festival on July 2nd. The music/narration combination of “The Kreutzer Sonata” proved tenuous connections and an abundance of drama amongst various string pieces by Haydn, Janácek, Beethoven, Glazunov, and Stravinsky, as well as an arrangement of a completely unknown song by George Bridgetower, the virtuoso violinist son of a Polish servant-woman and an escaped slave from Barbados.
Ivan Hewett of the London Telegraph gives the following overview of the evening’s events: “Weaving the pieces together were two overlapping narratives… The first was Bridgetower’s extraordinary story: he grew up in the same household that employed Haydn, became a virtuoso violinist, settled in Britain, and later met Beethoven. Together they gave the première of Beethoven’s mighty Kreutzer Violin Sonata.” Apparently, according to Nick Kimberley of London ‘s Evening Standard, “The sonata’s original dedication was to Bridgetower, but after [he and Beethoven] fell out over something Bridgetower said about a woman, Beethoven rededicated it to Kreutzer, a French violinist.” The drama continues as, “the Kreutzer later inspired Tolstoy’s famous novella about the dangerously intoxicating effects of music, which in turn inspired the tumultuous and yearning First Quartet by Janácek that ended the concert.”
Correlating narrative aside, the music was masterfully performed by the Dante Quartet, whose members include Krysia Osostowicz – violin, Matthew Truscott – violin, Judith Busbridge – viola, and Pierre Doumenage – cello. Pianist Simon Crawford-Phillips joined the Quartet for George Bridgetower’s ballad Henry, in piano quintet arrangement. He and violinist Krysia Osostowicz also performed the Kreutzer Sonata; according to Nick Kimberley, “Crawford-Phillips gave the piece a solid rhythmic profile, allowing Osostowicz to show the range of her tone, roughhewn one moment, sweetly lyrical the next.”
Thaddeus Brys, cellist, educator, and a longtime resident of Baton Rouge, died at his home on the morning of June 12, 2007 of acute myelogenous leukemia. At his bedside were his wife of 50 years, Susan Brys (a pianist – they often performed together and are pictured together above), and children, Valerie Kilpatrick of Marietta, GA, and Thaddeus Brys Jr., of Long Beach, CA.
Thaddeus Brys was born in 1929, a native New Yorker who played the cello from boyhood. He received his education at the Mannes and Juilliard Schools of Music in New York City , and studied with the legendary cellist Pablo Casals in Prades, France. He was a soloist with the Little Orchestra Society of New York, gave recitals at Town Hall, Carnegie Recital Hall and The Kosciusko Foundation in New York . He was an active recitalist in much of the United States, giving concerts also in Europe, South America, Canada, and Mexico. For 25 years Brys was professor of cello and chamber music at LSU, where he also taught string bass for some years as well as music history. He was also conductor for 10 years of the LSU Summer Symphony. Thaddeus Brys was a lover of ideas, often immersing himself in the philosophical and religious works of Spinoza and Thomas Merton. He delighted in poker, politics and baseball. He adored his grandchildren, Jimmy, Katherine, Charlie and Mary Kilpatrick, and his newest granddaughter, Sofia Brys.
There will be a memorial service at the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge, 8470 Goodwood Blvd., on Saturday, June 30, at 4 p.m., with visiting from 3 p.m. Burial-at-sea in the Atlantic Ocean is arranged for the following week. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the LSU Foundation in memory of Thaddeus Brys, or to the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge.
[Excerpted from the obituary published in The Advocate (6/14-6/17/2007)]
Thaddeus M. Biernat
Music teacher and performer Thaddeus M. Biernat, age 84, passed away on May 28, 2007. A native of Buffalo, NY, “Ted” was a graduate of Rochester ‘s prestigious Eastman School of Music. A clarinetist, he was an instructor and director of the Army band at Ft. Dix, NJ, and was a music teacher at several local schools and also gave private piano lessons. Ted was also a church organist and directed many choirs, including the former Arion Singing Society of North Tonawanda. Members of the Polish Singers Alliance of America, they included such well-known soloists as Valentina Swierczynski and Dorothy Budnik .
His wife of 50 years, the former Dorothy Zazycki, performed with Ted at many local venues. As twin pianists, they accompanied the former Paderewski Singing Society in the world choral premiere of Karol Prosnak’s Polonez Uroczysty.
A Memorial Mass was celebrated at 11 am on Thursday June 28 at Our Lady of Czestochowa Church in North Tonawanda , NY .
On Monday, January 8, 2007, Rudolf Frick passed away in Dornach, Switzerland where he is interred. Rudolf Frick was born on September 20, 1939, in Switzerland, near Arbon on Lake Constance. He was very much involved in the promotion of Polish artists, as well as the dissemination of knowledge about the role of the harp in Polish music history. He was an economist and journalist by trade, authoring a collection of stock exchange wisdom, Sammlung von Börsenweisheiten. He was a musician by avocation, playing harp, guitar and violin. He was an intellectual, erudite, linguist, liberal, and non-conformist.
From 1991 to 2000 Rudolf Frick was publisher and editor-in-chief of HARPA Magazine, an academic quarterly Harp Journal in three languages – English, German and French. HARPA Magazine contained a unique compilation of contributors on harp history, music and harp archaeology, and present-day practices. Some topics included the harp position in the world, its musical status, compositional, structural, therapeutic, and literary aspects, including the harp in Eastern Europe, currently drawing closely to the West.
He also owned the press agency Odilia Publishing LTD. He was the Vice-President of the Swiss Harp Association and created the International Erard Society, organizing the first-ever Erard Congress at the Michaelstein Institute in Blankenburg, Germany (1994).
He left silently in a snowy day. The strings of the harp had come to the end. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
[Excerpted from an article by Liliana Osses Adams (Poetry Editor of HARPA ), California, March 26, 2007. Part of this tribute appeared in the Summer 2007, Vol. 21, No.1 issue of The American Harp Journal and in the Spring 2007 issue of The Swiss Harp Journal.]
Born This Month
- July 04, 1904 – Artur MALAWSKI, composer (d. 1957)
- July 06, 1837 – Wladyslaw ZELENSKI, composer (with a doctorate in philosophy, d.1921)
- July 09, 1931 – Eugeniusz KNAPIK, composer
- July 10, 1936 – Jan Wincenty HAWEL, composer and conductor
- July 10, 1835 – Henryk WIENIAWSKI, violin virtuoso & composer (d. 1880, Moscow)
- July 10, 1929 – Tadeusz STRUMILLO, musicologist (d. 1956)
- July 13, 1775 – Antoni Henryk RADZIWILL, composer, cellist, patron of arts (d. 1833)
- July 14, 1926 – Jan KRENZ, conductor & composer
- July 16, 1947 – Grazyna PSTROKONSKA-NAWRATIL, composer
- July 17, 1932 – Wojciech KILAR, composer
- July 22, 1930 – Leoncjusz CIUCIURA, composer
- July 23, 1884 – Apolinary SZELUTO, composer (Young Poland group, d. 1966)
- July 26, 1928 – Tadeusz BAIRD, composer (d. 1982)
- July 26, 1922 – Andrzej KOSZEWSKI, composer (choral music)
- July 29, 1943 – Marta PTASZYŃSKA, composer & percussionist
Died This Month
- July 1, 2001 – Halina CZERNY-STEFANSKA (b. 1922), pianist
- July 6, 1911 – Kazimierz HOFMANN (b. 1842), pianist, composer, father of the renowned virtuoso and director of Curtis Institute, Józef Hofmann
- July 8, 1906 – Franciszek BORNIK (b. 1870), priest, conductor, writer
- July 21, 1964 – Zygmunt SITOWSKI (b. 1906), musicologist
- July 23, 1829 – Wojciech BOGUSŁAWSKI (b. 1757), the first theatre director in Poland, the author of several opera libretti (set by J. Stefani and J. Elsner)
- July 25, 1831 – Maria SZYMANOWSKA(b. 1789), pianist & composer