Polish Music Center Newsletter Vol. 15, no. 3
Wanda Wilk Obituary
An Extraordinary Life Dedicated to Polish Music…
With great sadness we note the passing of Wanda Wilk, a great patron of Polish music, magnificent philanthropist, and dedicated educator. She died in her Los Angeles home on February 18, 2009, after a long illness. A person of many talents and great organizational skills, Wanda Wilk will be remembered chiefly for her extraordinary vision in service to Polish music that led to the creation of the Polish Music Center at her alma mater, University of Southern California. Thanks to the endowment jointly made with her husband, Dr. Stefan P. Wilk (1917-2008), Polish Music Center has operated on the USC campus under the auspices of the Thornton School of Music since 1985.
Appointed by the USC Dean of Music, Wanda Wilk served as Director of the Polish Music Center for the first ten years of its operations. After retiring in 1996, she continued as the Center’s Honorary Director, advising and supporting the two subsequent Polish Music Center directors and the staff. Wanda Wilk’s extensive contacts with many of the most prominent Polish musicians of the twentieth century led to numerous concerts she organized at USC and throughout Southern California. Thanks to her generous support and outreach, artists like Witold Lutosławski, Henryk Górecki, Stanisław Skrowaczewski, Krystian Zimerman, and Piotr Anderszewski, performed and lectured for local audiences.
The Center continues to serve as an important Southern California library with its extensive holdings of Polish music scores, books, periodicals, sound recordings, and other reference materials. With the initial gift of five manuscripts of large-scale orchestral works from Lutosławski and three manuscripts from Skrowaczewski in 1985, the Polish Music Center’s Manuscript Collection grew to currently include well over 100 manuscripts by such composers as Grażyna Bacewicz, Tadeusz Baird, Joanna Bruzdowicz, Krzesimir Dębski, Zygmunt Krauze, Hanna Kulenty, Szymon Laks, Krzysztof Meyer, Roman Palester, Krzysztof Penderecki, Marta Ptaszyńska, Bogusław Schaeffer, Romuald Twardowski, and Lidia Zielińska, among others. Most recently, Wanda Wilk’s efforts led to the donation of manuscripts, correspondence and memorabilia of Zygmunt Stojowski and Henry Vars.
In addition to devoting her boundless energy and considerable resources to expanding the Center to a world-class institution, Wanda Wilk, an active and gifted writer, also wielded her elegant pen in praise of Polish music. Thinking big was her preferred modus operandi, and a series of books on the history of Polish music was introduced with Wanda Wilk’s concise volume commemorating Karol Szymanowski’s centenary in 1982. Since then the book cycle launched and inspired by Wanda Wilk has grown to include ten volumes on such composers as Grażyna Bacewicz, Frederic Chopin, two more volumes on Karol Szymanowski, as well as monographs on Józef Koffler, Maria Szymanowska, and Zygmunt Stojowski. Although experts from all over the world were engaged as authors, Wanda Wilk presided as Editor-in-Chief, keeping the style and substance of the Polish Music History Series at the highest academic level. This she did for the first six volumes and, at the same time authored numerous articles about Polish women composers and other subjects pertaining to the history of Polish music for various Polish-American media.
An early pioneer and believer in disseminating information over the World Wide Web, Wanda Wilk launched the Polish Music Center Website in 1994. Countless visitors who have used this popular site since its inception found comprehensive information on composers, history of concert and folk music, competitions, festivals, and other items of interest to anyone researching Polish musical culture. An online Newsletter—another web-based project that Wanda Wilk initiated that same year—has appeared on the Polish Music Center website on a monthly basis for the past fifteen years.
In 1992, together with her husband, Stefan, Wanda Wilk established Ars Musica Poloniae, a charitable foundation that facilitates a variety of projects in Polish music from publishing and recording to scholarships for Polish students in Los Angeles. The most recent success of the Foundation was its successful partnership in providing grants for author Joseph A. Herter, and publishing his Zygmunt Stojowski—Life and Music, the latest volume of the Polish Music History series. The Wilks were also benefactors of the Kosciuszko Foundation, where they endowed the “Wanda Wilk Polish Music Fund” in 2001. The purpose of the fund is “to provide stipends to music scholars regardless of their ethnic background who are interested in doing research in Polish music with preference given to Polish art song and its promotion.”
For her extraordinary service to Polish music Wanda Wilk was awarded the highest state award of Poland, the Polonia Restituta medal in 1996. Her enthusiasm and far-reaching achievements have encouraged the awareness and appreciation of Polish music throughout the world, and will continue to be an inspiration for generations. Wanda Wilk’s ever-present smile and boundless goodwill towards mankind will chart the course for others to follow her footsteps.
For additional biographical information about Mrs. Wilk, please visit www.usc.edu/dept/polish_music/WandaWilk.html
PMC Spring Concert
First Ladies of Polish Music
Throughout the centuries, the history of Polish music has had a great number of prominent composers, who made significant contributions to the Western Music literature. Yet, for the longest time, among all the long list of names there was only one woman, Maria Szymanowska (1789-1831). A virtuoso pianist and a path-breaking composer, she was an important precursor to Chopin. Her fame extended from Warsaw, London and Paris to Berlin, Moscow and Saint Petersburg, where Szymanowska was a Court Pianist to the Empress of Russia. Szymanowska’s rich social life revolved around the literary world—Goethe was in love with her, Mickiewicz was part of her household (he married one of Szymanowska’s daughters), Gogol and Pushkin were her close friends and habitués of her salon soirees in the capital of Imperial Russia.
Almost a century after Szymanowska’s death had to pass before another Polish woman composer would enter the scene. Grażyna Bacewicz was born in Łódź in 1909. She came from a musical family and studied music in Łódź and Warsaw, later spending two years in Paris. Equally proficient in violin and piano, she gave numerous concerts (mainly as violinist) in the 1930s and served as concertmaster of the Warsaw Radio Orchestra in the mid 1930s. Just like Szymanowska, Bacewicz was also deeply interested in literature and was an accomplished writer, publishing a collection of stories and a theatre play as well as leaving several novels in manuscript. After sustaining serious injuries in a car accident in 1954, Bacewicz devoted the remaining years of her life to composition. She was a prolific writer with a huge catalogue of compositions, which includes four symphonies and various other orchestral works, chamber music (with seven string quartets and numerous sonatas for violin and piano, and solo works for strings), as well as concertos, two piano sonatas, sets of suites and etudes for piano, and a number of vocal works. She died in Warsaw in 1969 after a brief illness.
Bacewicz’s great international reputation included several international awards for composition and opened the door to a new generation of women composers. Following in the footsteps of their illustrious colleagues, the list of Polish women composers is now quite substantial. Among the many names especially prominent are: Krystyna Moszumańska-Nazar (1924-2008), Bernadetta Matuszczak (b. 1931), Marta Ptaszyńska (b. 1943), Elżbieta Sikora (b. 1944), Joanna Bruzdowicz (b. 1943) and Lidia Zielińska (b. 1953), among others.
There is one more among the First Ladies of Polish music. Her name is Wanda Wilk and, as the founder and first Director of the PMC, she was instrumental in bringing Polish music to Southern California. As a part of her mission to popularize all Polish music, Mrs. Wilk particularly focused on women composers. Her projects included recordings by women musicians and of women composers (e.g. Nancy Fierro – “Rags and Riches”), articles (e.g. “An Outline History of Women Composers in Poland”), and book publishing (e.g. Judith Rosen Grażyna Bacewicz: Her Life and Works). Wanda Wilk died in February 2009, but her memory will live on through the continued outreach of the Polish Music Center. Our spring concert on March 28, 2009 will be dedicated to her memory. Fittingly, this concert will present compositions of Grażyna Bacewicz on the occasion of the one hundredth anniversary of her birth and the fortieth anniversary of her death. The admission is free and the music begins at 3 p.m.
BACEWICZ CENTENARY – Dedicated to Wanda Wilk
March 28, 2009 | 3 p.m
Alfred Newman Recital Hall, USC
Paderewski Festival Grant
Avila Beach, CA—The Central Coast Wine Classic Foundation is pleased to announce the grantees for funds from the 2009 Twenty-Fifth Annual Central Coast Wine Classic, to be held from July 9th through 12th, 2009, in Avila Beach, Shell Beach, San Simeon, Arroyo Grande, San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles. From net proceeds from the Wine Classic, the Foundation funds specific projects for 501(c)3 non-profit corporations in San Luis Obispo County and Santa Barbara County whose missions are in the Healing, Performing or Studio Arts. Over the past five years the Foundation has conferred grants totaling $1,165,000 to over 50 such non-profits. Grants will be conferred in early October in San Luis Obispo.
For 2009, the Board has chosen the following beneficiaries: Community Youth Performing Arts Center of Santa Barbara; Foodbank of Santa Barbara County; Foundation for the Performing Arts Center of San Luis Obispo; Friends of Prado Day Care Center in San Luis Obispo; Friendship Adult Day Care Center of Santa Barbara; Gatehelp, Inc./Gryphon Society in Atascadero; Public Radio KCBX San Luis Obispo & Santa Barbara Counties; Los Padres Forest Watch of Santa Barbara; Morro Bay High School Band; Paderewski Festival of Paso Robles; Santa Maria Philharmonic Society; Senior Volunteer Services of San Luis Obispo and Transitions Mental Health Association of San Luis Obispo. The Annual Fund-A-Need Auction Lot will fund Respite Care for the Central Coast Alzheimer‘s Association.
Svrček Plays Dębski US Premiere
Pianist Susan Svrček (right), a founding member of the Piano Spheres contemporary music series, continues her exploration of new Polish music this year as she returns to Piano Spheres on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 8 pm in Zipper Concert Hall.
Pulling from her intriguing repertoire of Polish composers, Ms. Svrček will play the US Premiere Organismi by Krzesimir Dębski (pictured at left at Zipper Hall, 8 Nov. 2007) and Witold Lutosławski’s Folk Melodies. Also included in this recital program is a collection of pieces written by her friends, Tom Flaherty (Nightstars) and Virko Baley (Nocturnal No. 2″Tears” and Pajarillo) as well as the West Coast premiere of Cyan, a new work written for her by Jeffrey Holmes.
Susan Svrček at Piano Spheres
Tuesday, March 17 | 8 pm
Zipper Concert Hall – Colburn School
200 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tickets: www.pianopheres.org or 323.692.8075
Jaskot: U.S. Premiere at Other Minds
The 14th edition of the Other Minds Festival (March 5-7, 2009) introduces an emerging voice from Poland, Dobromiła Jaskot, as one of nine of the most exciting and innovative composers from around the world, for concerts and artists’ talks. The festival, produced by Director Charles Amirkhanian, continues an annual tradition of presenting the most creative voices from across the musical spectrum.
The U.S. Premiere of two works by Jaskot will be presented during the festival: her Linearia for string quartet and Hannah for cello and electronics. In both compositions, she uses traditional instruments to thrilling effect. Linearia will be performed by the award-winning Del Sol Quartet, and the electro-acoustic Hannah will be performed by cellist Hannah Addario-Berry with Dobromila Jaskot on electronics. The concert will take place on Friday, March 6 –
7pm Panel Discussion, 8pm Concert – in Kanbar Hall at the JCCSF.
Dobromiła Jaskot was born in 1981 in Toruń. In 2005 she graduated with distinction from the Academy of Music in Poznań in the composition class, and in 2007 she completed postgraduate studies in Special Computer, Film, and Theater Composition at the Academy of Music in Wrocław. Her creative interests are centered around multimedia arts, with particular focus on their interactive aspects. Her compositions are deeply emotional, displaying a formal clarity and gestural invention that have made her a popular guest at music festivals throughout Europe, such as the UltraSchall, Warsaw Autumn, Musica Electronica Nova, and Contemporary Music week in Esbjerg. She has been a prizewinner at several competitions for composers and performers. In 2006 her interactive chamber opera Fedora was premiered at the National Opera in Warsaw.
The Other Minds Festival, one of the few Festivals in the United States that encourages contemporary music, fosters cross-cultural exchange and creative dialogue by exploring areas in new music seldom touched by mainstream institutions. Started in 1993, it has featured over 150 composers and 447 guest performers from more than 35 countries.
The roster of composers invited for the 14th Other Minds Festival includes Michael Harrison (USA), Dobromiła Jaskot (Poland), Ben Johnston (USA), Catherin Lamb (USA), Chico Mello (Brazil), John Schneider (USA), Linda Catlin Smith (Canada), Bent Sorensen (Denmark), and Chinary Ung (Cambodia). Featured performers include the Trio con Brio Copenhagen, the Amsterdam Cello Octet, under the direction of Polish cellist and composer Robert Putowski, performing works by Arvo Part (US Premiere) and a special presentation in memory of Mauricio Kagel (1931 – 2008), and San Francisco’s Del Sol String Quartet.
Friday, March 6 – 7pm Panel Discussion | 8pm Concert
US Premiere of music by Dobromiła Jaskot at OM Festival
Kanbar Hall – San Francisco Jewish Community Center
3200 California St., San Francisco
[Source: Polish Cultural Institute NY]
Penderecki’s Sextet – NY Premiere
New York, NY—The acclaimed new music collective Ensemble Π returns to The Cooper Union’s Great Hall on March 7th at 7:00 pm for its annual peace concert, entitled Can You Hear That?. This concert is part of an annual series launched by Ensemble Π in 2005 and features politically evocative and lyrically compelling works from around the world, written in response to war and oppression.
The evening will include the New York premiere of Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki’s masterpiece, Sextet, as well as Berlin-based Austrian composer Peter Ablinger’s Lech Walesa. Also on the program are South African composer Philip Miller’s reflection on the Iraq War, Can You Hear That?, Norwegian-American soprano/composer Kristin Norderval’s moving setting of poems by Mahmoud Darwish and Timothy Donnelly, Elegy, and Benjamin Britten’s Canticle III.
One of Poland’s foremost contemporary composers, Krzysztof Penderecki is internationally renowned for large-scale and often dark-hued works, such as the frightening Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima of 1960. The intensely dramatic Sextet (2000) is undoubtedly one of his most important chamber works to date. Scored for piano, violin, viola, cello, clarinet and horn, it was premiered in Vienna (Musikverein) in June 2002.
Lech Walesa, for piano and tape, is part of Peter Ablinger’s ongoing series, Voices and Piano (1998-), in which the composer takes speeches of well-known figures and creates an exacting piano accompaniment that reinforces the fundamental pitch found in the particular speaker’s voice.
Performers for the evening include Monique Buzzarté, trombone; Karl Kramer, horn; Idith Meshulam, piano; Scott Murphree, tenor; Kristin Norderval, voice; Caroline Stinson, cello; Pavel Vinnitisky, clarinet; Liuh-Wen Ting, viola; Airi Yoshioka, violin.
March 7th at 7:00 pm
Ensemble Π annual peace concert: Can You Hear That?
The Great Hall of Cooper Union: E. 7th Street at Third Avenue, NYC
Górecki Album In English
The Adam Mickiewicz Institute has published an album about Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, which was prepared for Górecki’s 75th birthday celebrations in 2008. This beautifully edited and illustrated book, published entirely in English, is directed primarily at readers from abroad. It bridges an important gap in the Górecki bibliographies available worldwide.
This anniversary edition, edited by Barbara Zwolska-Stęszewska, contains the composer’s biography written by Anna Iwanicka-Nijakowska, an in-depth essay about Górecki’s oeuvre by the distinguished musicologist Krzysztof Droba, an essay by Jakub Banaś about the links between the composer’s music and film, and two interviews with Górecki conducted in 2002 and 2008 by Małgorzata and Marcin Gmys. The book also includes brief personal impressions on Górecki by such famous persons as Adrian Thomas, Eugeniusz Knapik, Louise Lerche-Lerchenborg, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Rafał Augustyn, David Harrington, Wojciech Michniewski, Elżbieta Chojnacka, Antoni Wit, Bohdan Pociej and Grzegorz Michalski. The publication is complemented by numerous photographs and a complete list of the composer’s works, with a detailed discography.
Strahl Performs Stojowski
The Kielce Philharmonic Orchestra [Filharmonia Świętokrzyska im. O. Kolberga], Tomasz Strahl, cello and Jacek Rogala, conductor, will perform Stojowski’s Cello concerto on March 13. Also on the program is W. Lutosławski – Grave. Metamorfozy, G. Bacewicz – III Symphony and A. Liadow – Kikimora op. 65. This will be the first time that either the Stojowski or the Bacewicz have been performed in Kielce
Rosenblum On Koczalski, Mikuli & Chopin
A paper by Sandra Rosenblum, writer & 1999 Wilk Prize recipient, was presented at the second of the Stanford University music symposia entitled “Reactions to the Record.” This year’s theme was “Early Recordings, Musical Style, and the Future of Performance.” Held from January 14-18, the symposium explored the vivid styles of performance heard on the earliest recordings and player piano rolls. This unique gathering of performers, musicologists, composers, and enthusiasts celebrated with eight concerts, lectures, panel discussions, demonstrations of historic phonographs from the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, an improvisation contest, and world premieres of newly discovered audio and video documents of historic performers.
Ms. Rosenblum’s paper is entitled: “He led me into the wondrous world of his master”: Koczalski, Mikuli, Chopin. The abstract is as follows:
Some musicians have asserted that among his contemporaries and even later, Raoul Koczalski (1885-1948) was one of the best, or even the best representative of Chopin’s desired style of playing. His most important teacher, the one with whom he spent the greatest amount of time in intensive study and whom he revered, was Karol Mikuli, himself a student of Chopin from 1844-1848 and for part of that time his teaching assistant. This paper will attempt to explore the results of Mikuli’s teaching: How did Koczalski play Chopin?
There are several avenues by which we can assess Koczalski’s playing in relation to what has become known about Chopin’s performing style. From 1923-1948 Koczalski recorded a large number of Chopin’s works in many genres, from the quiet Berceuse (recorded four times!) to the great Polonaise in A-flat, Op.53 (recorded twice). How did he regard the scores? What characteristics marked his playing as particularly Chopinesque, and how did it differ from the playing of other noted pianists who recorded Chopin’s repertoire? How did Koczalski’s interpretations change when he recorded a work more than once? His published writings about the performance of Chopin’s works may also offer some relevant information.
[Sources: music.stanford.edu and changes sent by author via email]
Institute Without Mickiewicz
“The Adam Mickiewicz Institute, promoting Polish culture abroad, is to change its name to Polish Culture Institute. Such proposition was included in the new bill prepared by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage” – writes Gazeta Wyborcza (PAP, 22 December 2008).
“Polish Minister of Culture, Mr Bogdan Zdrojewski, explained that the change is necessary because Mickiewicz is not popular abroad and his name is pronounced incorrectly. Zdrojewski added, that the poet could still remain the patron of the Institute. ‘It is important however, that its name be easily translatable’ – he said.
Apart from the name change, the Institute will be equipped with new powers – it will be able to organize events of national institutions abroad. It will become an independent institution, cooperating with the Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The new act will regulate the cooperation between the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the field of foreign cultural policy. ‘I would like the Institute to work in the same manner as the Cervantes, Goethe or the Swedish institute. To follow the aims of Polish culture and Polish raison d’etat, instead of singular interests of various groups’ – said the Minister. ’The Institute will educate cultural diplomats and organize a greater number of bigger projects in the most prestigious venues across the world instead of small-scale events.’”
Wrocław Music Forum
Work will begin soon on the building of a new National Music Forum in Wrocław. The project will cost approximately €75 million and will be partially supported by EU funds. The complex will include 4 halls – one larger and 3 smaller – in order to accomodate concerts, conferences and congresses of all types.
Mykietyn’s New Project
Polish composer Paweł Mykietyn has become the musical director of the “New Theater,” an interdisciplinary project founded by Krzysztof Warlikowski. To celebrate the inception of this new project, Paweł Mykietyn is preparing a special concert in the Theater of Entertainment in Chorzów on March 9.
The program will consist of works by Paweł Szymański, Steve Reich, Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern, and Paweł Mykietyn. The list of performers includes: DAFO String Quartet, Jezry Artysz – baritone, Andrzej Chyra – recitations, Krzysztof Jaguszewski (vibraphone), Viola Łabanow (harpsichord), and Maciej Piszek (piano). The concert will be conducted by Przemysław Fiugajski.
Szymanowski Masterclass: Live Online
Chicago violinist Vincent P. Skowronski will be on hand Friday, March 13, at 3 p.m. (EST) for a live chat to discuss the often-neglected Polish composer Karol Szymanowski. Skowronski will offer tips on playing Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 1, the small-scale work Mythes and the Dance of the Mountaineers. Skowronski’s thoughts about Szymanowski are also available in the Master Class found in the April issue of Stringsmagazine.
In order to take part in the online masterclass, you must sign up for a free membership to the All Things Strings Community. Then, join the chat at March 13, at 3 p.m. (EST), adjusting to your time zone as necessary.
Scottish Tides—Polish Spring
“Scottish Tides—Polish Spring” is a 3 month celebration of Scotland’s vibrant cultural connections with Poland, held at the Perth Theatre and Concert Hall. The roots of this event are four hundred years old and spread across a continent. From Scotland to Poland and back again, centuries of migration have sown the seeds for a shared cultural landscape. And now the fruits of this unique relationship are set to flourish in a whole season of exceptional events. This celebration will kick off the Polska Year in the UK, which officially begins in May 2009 and lasts through May 2010.
Polish Spring adds a 21st Century twist to this artistic alliance by bringing together Poland’s top rock and comedy groups, alongside acclaimed Scots folk, digital art and outstanding classical acts in a celebration of the comings and goings of Scots and Poles through theatre, music, comedy and art. Musical highlights of the festival include: Warsaw Village Band (6 March, with Peatbog Faeries), pianist Aleksandar Madzar (9 March), Piotr Anderszewski with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (18 March), and a concert of Górecki’s music performed by Filhamonia Pomorska and Hebrides Ensemble (5 April). A calendar of events is available at www.horsecross.co.uk/about/polish-spring, and a full, bi-lingual brochure is at issuu.com.
Chopin Int’l Congress: Call For Papers
The Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw is hosting the 3rd International Congress “Chopin 1810-2010. Ideas – Interpretations – Interactions” between February 25 and March 1, 2010, on the 200th birthday anniversary of Frederic Chopin. The Congress will be held under the patronage of Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Bogdan Zdrojewski.
The first Congress took place in Warsaw in 1960 under the aegis of the Institute of Musicology at the University of Warsaw, while the Second Congress, organized in 1999 by the Polish Chopin Academy, was devoted to ‘Chopin and his Work in the Context of Culture.’ The Third International Congress will encompass a broad thematic spectrum, focusing in particular on the ideas that inspired Chopin’s oeuvre, interpretative responses to it, and the influences that it has had on the music of other composers as well as on other forms of artistic endeavor and human activity.
The Ministry is calling for paper/presentation submissions, in the form of the title of presentation and an abstract of approx. 1 typed page. Presentations may be in English, French or German.
The following areas are particularly relevant:
- Chopin’s personality, heritage and milieu
- historical contexts surrounding Chopin’s creative output
- contemporary aesthetics and their influence on Chopin
- Interpretations of Chopin’s music
- sources (including but not limited to performances)
- historical and current performance traditions and styles
- analyses (broadly defined)
- The influence of Chopin and his music
- on the music of other composers
- on literature and art
- in terms of historical and sociological repercussions
Proposals are invited for 30-minute papers and 15-minute research reports in the above categories. There is also limited scope for free papers of the same durations. Proposals may also be submitted for ‘special sessions,’ i.e. round tables, panel discussions or workshops up to 90 minutes in length. Finally, abstracts are invited for posters, to be featured in poster sessions held throughout the conference. The Fryderyk Chopin Institute will provide those presenting full papers, research reports, or ‘special sessions’ with hotel accommodation. Where relevant, a stipend will be paid to speakers for the right to print their papers in the conference proceedings.
Applications and queries should be sent by email to email@example.com no later than 31 March 2009. Late submissions will not be accepted.
More information is available here: www.polmic.pl.
Chopin Int’l Congress: Call For Papers
A concert on the occasion of the 199th anniversary of the birth of Fryderyk Chopin will be organized by The Fryderyk Chopin Institute on Sunday, March 1st, 2009 in the Concert Hall of Warsaw Philharmonic. On the same day, Polish pianist Janusz Olejniczak will give a Chopin recital on a historical piano at Chopin’s Manor House in Żelazowa Wola.
Fryderyk Chopin Birthday Concerts, which have been organized since 2002 in cooperation with the Warsaw Philharmonic, combining the masterly interpretations of music with the pursuit of historical accuracy of the presented text and the quality of sound.
The performers present his music playing on the instrument from the period, following the notes of the National Edition of the Works of Fryderyk Chopin. This allows for recreation of the content and sound of his music, so that it becomes comparable to the one from 200 years ago.
Recital of Chopin piano music
Sunday, 1 March 2009, 11:00 a.m.
Chopin’s Manor House in Żelazowa Wola
Żelazowa Wola, 96-503 Sochaczew
tel. (+48 46) 863 33 00
Janusz Olejniczak – piano
Chopin Chamber recital
Sunday, 1st March 2009, 6 p.m.
Concert Hall of Warsaw Philharmonic
ul. Jasna 5, 00-950 Warszawa
tel. (+48 22) 551 71 11
Jakub Jakowicz – violin
Andrzej Bauer – cello
Jan Krzysztof Broja – piano
7th Ochlewski Competition Announced
Polish Music Editions (PWM) has announced the subject and rules for the 7th edition of Tadeusz Ochlewski Conposition Competition. This year the subject is a work for string quartet under 15 minutes of duration. The competition is open to Polish composers who have not yet reached 30 years of age before December 31, 2008. The deadline for composition submission is July 31, 2009 and, as always, the competition is anonymous. The submitted works will be judged by jury members Aleksander Lasoń, Arkadiusz Kubica and Andrzej Kosowski. The winning compositions will receive cash prizes, publication of the piece by PWM, and a professional premiere performance.
For more information, complete regulations and submission address, please visit www.pwm.com.pl
Kuzma-Sapiejewska Lives Music
Nina Kuzma-Sapiejewska, pianist and Chopin expert, lives, teaches and gives concerts in the salon of her apartment in Larchmont, NY. Although the New York Times article discussing Ms. Kuzma-Sapiejewska appears in the “Habitats” column of the “Real Estate” section, the discussion easily flows from living space to her love of, and opinions about, music. Read this charming article/interview by Dan Shaw, entitled “Call Her Style Concert-Cozy,” here: www.nytimes.com.
Kapustka In France
Juilliard School graduate (1992) and Music Academy of the West alumnus (1991) Jozef Kapustka will be soloist in Liszt Piano Concerto No 1 in E flat Major with the Nevers Philharmonic Orchestra in Nevers, France on March 21. The concert will be conducted by Michelle Ambrozetti. Further details are available at: upcoming.yahoo.com.
Jozef Kapustka was born in Poland in 1969 and began his musical studies at the age of 3. Having met Sviatoslav Richter shortly thereafter, his vocation has been set ever since. Upon graduating from the Juilliard School in New York in 1992, he completed a Postgraduate Advanced Studies diploma specialising in piano performance at the Royal Academy of Music in London, having worked subsequently with Dmitri Baskirov in Madrid and legendary Vera Gornostaeva in Moscow. While at Juilliard, Jozef Kapustka was the recipient of the Barbara Piasecka Johnson Foundation and Kosciuszko Foundation Scholarships. Very early Kapustka started to appear in most of New York’s world class venues such as Alice Tully Hall at the Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Museum, the United Nations, Carnegie Hall (“magical, amazing experience” as seen in The New York Times). He has been featured on Voice of America International and New York classical radio WQXR live radio broadcasts and hailed as “one of the most interesting radio programmings on the air” by the New York Village Voice. He currently lives in Paris, France.
Born in 1938, Piotr de Peslin Lachert is a composer, pianist, chamber musician, performer, director, producer, actor, writer, poet, music journalist and professor. He has lived and worked in five countries, creating an enormous artistic legacy in each place. The Lachert Foundation was established in 2007 in Brussels in order to document and promote Piotr Lachert’s musical and literary work. The Foundation has now made several performances of Lachert’s music available online through YouTube:
- Alessandro Deljavan plays Lachert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6gGutYxz3U
- Mireille Gleizes plays Lachert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjIbGK0bKbg
- Justyna Philipp plays Lachert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN23qf3-bIg
Górecki Honored By The Pope
Polish composer Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (pictured at left in his study at home), a leader amongst today’s composers, has been awarded the St. Gregory the Great Medal from Pope Benedict XVI. According to the international news service of Polskie Radio:
The medal is the highest papal distinction that can be bestowed on a lay person. During a ceremony at the Archbishop’s Palace in Kraków, Cardinal Dziwisz said that the medal is “an expression of the gratitude of the universal Church for the composer’s hard work and sacrifice, for his testimony of faith and unbroken spirit, for his wonderful compositions which have a lasting place in the treasure house of sacred music, and also an expression of the church’s anticipation of more pieces that will uplift our hearts to God.”
Cardinal Dziwisz, who was a close aide to Pope John Paul II throughout his long pontificate, said the the [sic] Polish Pope highly valued his friendship with Henryk Mikołaj Górecki and his music…
Recalling his career, Górecki said the most memorable moment in his life was June 6, 1979, the day when his Beatus Vir, written to mark Pope John Paul II’s visit to Poland, was performed in Kraków in the Pope’s presence.
Read the entire article here: www.polskieradio.pl/thenews/culture/?id=101551
Golden Fryderyk Awards
Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Krzysztof Penderecki, Zbigniew Namysłowski and Jerzy Połomski will receive Golden Fryderyks 2009 for lifetime artistic achievement. Henryk Mikołaj Górecki and Krzysztof Penderecki receive the awards in classical music category, Zbigniew Namysłowski in jazz caategory, and Jerzy Połomski in popular music category.
Fryderyk Awards will be announced for the 15th time during the awards gala on April 20, 2009 in Warsaw.
Lutosławski Cello Competition Results
On February 26, during the final round concert, the jury of the 7th International Witold Lutosławski Cello Competition announced the results of the competition. Forty one young cellists from sixteen countries, including European nations as well as Japan and South Korea, participated this year. The four finalists competed for the final ranking at a concert in the National Philharmonic in Warsaw. The award ceremony was hosted by the director of the competition, Bogdan Pałosz. In addition to cash prizes, the laureates also received several concert invitations all around Poland.
The following prizes were given:
- I prize ex aequo – Philip Higham (Great Britain) and Luka Šulić (Croatia)
- II prize – Giorgi Anichenko (Belarus)
- III prize – Janina Ruh (Germany)
- Special Award for the best performance of Grave, founded by the Lutosławski Family – Miłosz Drogowski (Poland). Drogowski also received the Award of the Mazovian Center for Culture and Arts and Łódź Philharmonic Award
- Special Award for the best performance of the Sacher Variation, funded by the Foundation for the Promotion of Young Cellists – Luka Šulić
- Special Award for the best performance of Le cocou pour violoncelle, Funded by Prof. Kazimierz Michalik – Philip Higham
Baird Competition: Round I Results
The results of the first round of the 50th Tadeusz Baird Competition for Young Composers were recently announced on the Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP) website: zkp.org.pl. All compositions are submitted anonymously. The jury, consisting of Zbigniew Bargielski (chairman), Jerzy Kornowicz (secretary) and Cezary Duchnowski, have chosen the following works for the performance in the second round of the competition:
- Summer Dreams for 14 performers and tape
- Iluminacja for instrumental ensemble
- Liście for chamber ensemble and tape
- Tryptyk for wind quintet
- Fuci for chamber ensemble
The 2nd round concert will take place on April 22 in the Poznań Music Academy. All works will be performed by an_ARCHE NewMusicEnsemble.
Musica Sacra Competition Results
De caritate by Emil Bernard Wojtacki was crowned the winner of the 5th International Composition Competition “Musica Sacra”. In addition to a cash prize, the winning composition will be premiered and recorded on May 3, 2009 during the International Gaude Mater Festival in Częstochowa.
Second prize went to Łukasz Urbaniak for Exaltabo te Domine, and the third prize was given to Adria Barbosa Torregrosa from Spain for O Magnum Mysterium. These works will also have their premieres at the Gaude Mater Festival.
The competition is open to composers of all nationalities who are younger than 35 years of age. It is organized by the Musica Sacra Society and Gaude Mater Festival. The subject of the competition is a composition for a capella mixed choir, up to 16 voices, with Latin text and duration of 4 to 10 minutes. This year, 31 compositions were accepted for competition from Argentine, Belgium, France, Spain, Ireland, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Hungary and Italy. The jury included: Marian Borkowski (chairman), Vaclovas Augustinas (Lithuania), Stephen Dayton (Great Britain), Paweł Łukaszewski (Poland), and Walter Marzilli (Italy).
Grammy For Cheng
Pianist Gloria Cheng has won a 2008 Grammy Award in the “Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without Orchestra)” category for her album Piano Music of Salonen, Stucky & Lutosławski. This album was released on July 22, 2008, on TELARC Records. According to Los Angeles Times classical music reviewer Mark Swed, “…Cheng’s disc contains terrific pieces, fabulously played and in great sound—a very smart choice for Grammyland.” (Los Angeles Times Calendar – February 9, 2009)
Gloria Cheng is a member of Piano Spheres, a highly-lauded performance series in Los Angeles dedicated to explorations of contemporary music for solo piano. Works by Polish composers are often included on the Piano Spheres programs, including premieres.
Watch a Pre-Telecast video of her acceptance speech, available for 30 days at: www.grammy.com/grammy_awards/GRAMMY_Live.aspx. Her speech takes place at 1hr54min into the video feed.
Prynda Nominated For Gaudeamus
The jury of the International Gaudeamus Music Week 2009, consisting of Huba de Graaff (Netherlands), Akira Nishimura (Japan), and Julia Wolfe (USA), has nominated 15 compositions to compete for the 2009 Gaudeamus Prize. Among the nominated compositions is Polish composer Michał Prynda’s Untitled 3 for piano and electronics, which was nominated in the electronic music category. These works, selected out of a total of 366 submissions, will be performed during the Gaudeamus Music Week in Amsterdam between May 7 and 13, 2009. At the end of the festival the winner will be announced.
Award For Kuźniar In Belgrade
Marcin Kuźniar, a young Polish guitarist, has received First Prize at the 10th International Festival of the Professional Guitar in Belgrade, Serbia. Kuźniar was in the category for players under 17 years old, along with 15 other world class players. He also triumphed in the under-14 category in this same competition 3 years ago.
Kuźniar is a student in the Żeleński Music High School in Kraków, studying with Włodzimierz Lerner. He already has already had success in other international competitions, including the previous win in Belgrade and honors at the Citta di Barletta International Competition in Italy.
Anderszewski Documentary Honored
Piotr Anderszewski – voyageur intranquille, a documentary about the Polish-Hungarian pianist Piotr Anderszewski, has won an award in the category of art films at the International Festival of Audio-Visual Programmes in Biarritz, France. This production was a collaboration between France and Poland, including Director Bruno Monsaigeon and Cinematographer Adam Rozanski, production studios Ideale Audience (France) and Ozumi Films (Poland), and TV stations Arte France and Polish Television.
According to the news service of Polish Radio:
[T]he documentary takes viewers on a train journey across Poland and on to Budapest in the company of the pianist. The train serves as his rehearsal and work space, and the place where he receives his friends and where he ponders his career. The film retraces the highlights of Anderszewski’s career, including the recording of a new album and his recent recitals in Paris and Tokyo.
Born in 1969, Piotr Anderszewski is, next to Krystian Zimerman, Poland’s most famous pianist. He studied at the Conservatories in Lyon and Strasbourg, the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and the Music Academy in Warsaw.
Read the entire article here: www.polskieradio.pl/thenews/culture/?id=101434.
Opera Book Honored
Piotr Kamiński has received the annual Wojciech Bogusławski Awardfor his opera guide entitled Tysiąc i jedna opera [A Thousand and One Operas], which was published by PWM in 2008. The Wojciech Bogusławski Award for book publication was established in 2002 by the polish chapter of the International Society of Theatre Critics. This year’s jury consisted of Estera Żeromska (chairman, 2004 laureate), Jarosław Kilian, prof. Lech Sokół, Maciej Wojtyszko, prof. Andrzej Żurowski and Tomasz Miłkowski.
Jazz Blizzard Competition
The LOTOS Jazz Festival-Bielska Zadymka Jazzowa, or the ‘Jazz Blizzard’ Festival, takes place every year at the foot of the Beskid Mountains in Bielsko-Biała. Nigel Kennedy and his fellow (Polish) jazz musicians inaugurated the Festival on February 18 and it ended on February 22. In addition to all of the festival music and glamour, there was also the annual competition for young jazz ensembles. The finalists this year included: Marek Kadziela Off-Quar-Tet, Vitalyi Ivanov Quartet and Witold Janiak Mainstreet Quartet. The winner was announced on February 20 during the final round concert, the prize went to the Witold Janiak Mainstreet Quartet.
Bielska Zadymka Jazzowa started in 1999 as a widening of the concert activity of “Piwnica Zamkowa” – a club run by Sztuka Teatr Association. Soon it became one of the most important jazz festivals in Poland. The unique atmosphere, world jazz stars coming to Bielsko-Biała to give their only concerts in Poland or even in Europe are like magnets, attracting jazz fans from all over the country and from abroad. So far, during the 10 editions of Festival, 541 musicians from 27 countries have performed.
Eagle Nominations For Film Music
On February 11th, the nominees for the 2009 Polish Film Awards, the “Eagles,” were announced via press conference. Nominated artists were chosen by the members of the Polish Film Academy [Polskie Nagrody Filmowe] through an anonymous voting system. In the category of Original Soundtrack, the nominees are:
Paweł Szymański for the music to Grzegorz Pacek’s Środa, czwartek rano [Wednesday, Thursday morning]
Paweł Mykietyn for the music to Małgorzata Szumowska’s 33 sceny z życia [33 Scenes from life]
The award ceremony for the “Eagles 2009” will take place in the National Theater in Warsaw on March 9, 2009 and will be broadcast by the Channel 2 of the Polish Television.
2009 Fryderyk Award Nominations
The Polish Society of Audio and Video Producers has announced the nominations for the 15th Annual Fryderyk Awards for 2009:
Album of the Year – Choral and Oratorio Music
- Stanisław MONIUSZKO – Msze [DUX]
- Music of the Polish Baroque [DUX]
- Pueri Cantores Olivenses – Japanese Tour 2007 [Musica Sacra Edition]
- Zygmunt STOJOWSKI: Suita Es-dur, Wiosna, Modlitwa za Polskę [DUX]
- ZEIDLER, WAŃSKI, KOPERSKI – Musica Sacromontana vol. 2 [Polskie Radio SA]
Album of the year – Early and Baroque Music
- Kaspar FÖRSTER JR.: Mistrzowie i uczeń [Polskie Radio SA
- Cudownych uzdrowieniach – Ars Nova [TRAVERS]
- Mikołaj ZIELEŃSKI: Offertoria et Communiones Totius Anni (1611) [DUX]
Album of the Year – Chamber Music
- Arcydzieła Polskiej Muzyki Kameralnej  SACD&CD; CHOPIN: Trio op. 8, Polonaise Brillante op. 3 Grand Duo Concertante, Sonata op. 65 [BeArTon]
- Witold LUTOSŁAWSKI: Opera Omnia. Muzyka Kameralna [CD Accord]
- Apolinary SZELUTO – Camerata Vistula [DUX]
- Karol SZYMANOWSKI: Utwory na skrzypce i fortepian: Kaja Danczowska, Justyna Danczowska [Polskie Radio SA]
- Karol SZYMANOWSKI: Utwory na skrzypce i fortepian: Piotr Pławner, Wojciech Świtała [DUX]
Album of the year – Solo Music
- Fryderyk CHOPIN: Janusz Olejniczak [DUX]
- Fryderyk CHOPIN: Polonezy – Barbara Hesse-Bukowska [Polskie Radio SA]
- HAYDN, BEETHOVEN, MOZART – Rafał Blechacz [Deutsche Grammophon / Universal Music Polska]
- Polish Music. Łukasz Kuropaczewski [Polskie Radio SA/Ponte Art Production]
- Karol SZYMANOWSKI: Utwory na fortepian – Joanna Domańska [DUX]
Album of the year – Symphonic and Concerto Music
- CHOPIN. Halina Czerny-Stefańska [Polskie Nagrania “Muza”]
- KARŁOWICZ: Koncert skrzypcowy A-dur op. 8, Odwieczne Pieśni op. 10, SACD & CD, [BeArTon]
- SEROCKI, BAIRD, KRENZ: Koncerty fortepianowe [DUX]
- Karol SZYMANOWSKI: 4 Symfonie [Polskie Radio SA]
- Karol SZYMANOWSKI: Pieśni z orkiestrą [Polskie Radio SA]
Album of the year – Contemporary Music
- Marian BORKOWSKI: Hymnus [Musica Sacra Edition]
- Henryk Mikołaj GÓRECKI: String Quartets [EMI Music Poland]
- Krzysztof MEYER: Concertos [DUX]
- Młodzi kompozytorzy w hołdzie Fryderykowi Chopinowi [DUX]
- Paweł MYKIETYN: Speechless Song [Polskie Wydawnictwo Audiowziualne]
Album of the year – vocal recital, opera, operetta
- CHERUBINI – Lodoïska [Polskie Radio SA / Stow. im. Ludwiga van Beethovena]
- Karol SZYMANOWSKI: Król Roger (DVD) [Polskie Wydawnictwo Audiowizualne]
- Karol SZYMANOWSKI: Pieśni op. 5, 7, 32, 41, 54 [DUX]
Phonographic Debut of the Year
- CHÓR OPERY I FILHARMONII PODLASKIEJ – DYR. VIOLETTA BIELECKA (album GÓRECKI, MORYTO, SZYMANOWSKI – Pieśni kurpiowskie)
- Jacek KORTUS (album CHOPIN, LISZT: Sonaty)
- SILESIAN GUITAR OCTET (album Silesian Guitar Octet – Oct.opus)
Composer of the year
- Marian BORKOWSKI
- Henryk Mikołaj GÓRECKI
- Stanisław MORYTO
- Paweł MYKIETYN
- Paweł SZYMAŃSKI
Outstanding recording of Polish Music
- Marian BORKOWSKI: Hymnus [Musica Sacra Edition]
- CHOPIN. Halina Czerny-Stefańska [Polskie Nagrania “Muza”]
- KARŁOWICZ: Koncert skrzypcowy A-dur op. 8, Odwieczne Pieśni op. 10, SACD & CD, [BeArTon]
- Paweł MYKIETYN: Speechless Song [Polskie Wydawnictwo Audiowizualne]
- POLSKI CHÓR KAMERALNY [Musica Sacra Edition]
Jazz Album of the year
- Piotr BARON: Sanctus Sanctus Sanctus [Celestis]
- HERDZIN, PODKOWA, WEGEHAUPT, KONRAD: Belcanto Semplice[4everMUSIC]
- MARCIN WASILEWSKI TRIO: January [ECM / Universal Music Polska]
- Grzegorz NAGÓRSKI: Dedication [BCD Records]
- Aga ZARYAN: Live at Palladium [COSMOPOLIS / 4everMUSIC]
Jazz Musician of the year
- PIOTR BARON
- GRZEGORZ NAGÓRSKI
- ADAM PIEROŃCZYK
- MICHAŁ TOKAJ
- MARCIN WASILEWSKI
Jazz Phonographic Debut of the Year
- GRZEGORZ NAGÓRSKI
- RAFAŁ SARNECKI
- ANIA STĘPNIEWSKA
For a detailed list of performers, composers and producers on each recording please visit the official website of the awards, where you can download the nominations list.
Jazz Nad Odrą Festival
The “Jazz on the Odra River” Festival will take place in Wrocław between March 5 and 8. There will be over 20 events during this 45th edition of the festival, including large-venue concerts and smaller club jam sessions all around the town. Some of the invited stars include: McCoy Tyner, Joshua Redman, Ronnie Cuber, Gary Smulyan, Howard Johnson, Jason Moran, Lars Danielsson and Guru’s Jazzmatazz. The Polish jazz community will be represented by Zbigniew Namysłowski, Ewa Bem, Henryk Miśkiewicz, Lora Szafran, Włodzimierz Nahorny, Krzysztof Kiljański, Grzegorz Nagórski, Marek Bałata and Piotr Baron, among others.
As always, the festival includes a competition for young and upcoming jazz musicians to prove their individuality. For more information please visit the official website of the festival.
Możdżer In Jerusalem
On January 30th, Polish pianist Leszek Możdżer was joined by Swedish jazz bass player/cellist Lars Danielsson and Israeli percussionist Zohar Fresco in a program entitled “Improvising Chopin” at the Israeli Opera. These musicians has been bringing their unique, multi-cultural blend of musical styles together for years, performing throughout Europe and recording 3 albums. According to Jerusalem Postreviewer Barry Davis in his article “Chopin and changin’”:
It offers an alluring mix of the romantic yearnings of Chopin and jazz explorations seasoned with ethnic percussion colors and textures – courtesy of Fresco – from this neck of the woods…
…Chopin remains one of his musical and emotional mainstays. “We’ve got Chopin in our minds and fingers,” Mozdzer has said. “It comes out subconsciously in improvisation. He frequently quoted folk phrases and rhythms, although he considered them just an inspiration.”
Following that path so conscientiously, one might think that Mozdzer has become his country’s quintessential jazz pianist. The 37-year-old is not sure. “How to achieve ‘Polishness’ in music, to that question I have no answer,” he says frankly. Perhaps we will all be more enlightened in that department after next Friday’s concert.
Lutosławski In Memoriam
Polish Radio 2 held a concert in the Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio on January 25 in memory of this great composer. The concert featured mezzo-soprano Jadwiga Rappé with the Polish Youth Orchestra “Sinfonia Iuventus,” Jan Krenz conductor. The program for the evening was Lutosławski’s Muzyka żałobna, 5 Songs in the words of Kazimiery Iłłakowiczówny, and the 3rd Symphony.
Beczała At The Met
According to New York Times reviewer Anthony Tommasini’s article “A Smitten Teenager’s Letter Is Returned to Sender All Over Again” (2/1/09), “The fast-rising Polish tenor Piotr Beczala brought his bright, healthy voice and impassioned delivery to the role of Lenski, Onegin’s decent but fatally hotheaded friend, who is engaged to Tatiana’s winsome sister, Olga, here the dusky-toned mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk.” The article is a review of the Metropolitan Opera production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, which ran during January and February. During the Met’s 2008-2009 season, Piotr Becała has also appeared in Lucia di Lammermoor as Edgardo and Rigoletto as Duca.
Kaler Commemorates Karłowicz
Russian pianist Ilya Kaler joined the Warsaw National Philharmonic and Antoni Wit, conductor, in a concert commemorating the 100th death anniversary of Mieczysław Karłowicz on February 6 and 7. The all-Karłowicz program included the symphonic prologue for the Muzyka do białej gołąbki Op. 6[Music to the White Dove], the Symphony in E-minor “Revival” Op.7, and the Violin Concerto in A-major Op. 8. It was organized under the patronage of the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Bogdan Zdrojewski. Ms. Kaler and the National Philharmonic will also be recording a disc of works by Karłowicz.
Sweden Celebrates E. Europe
On February 12, Polish pianist Ewa Kupiec joined the Swedish Chamber Orchestra – Örebro, Mika Eichenholz conductor, for a concert entitled “Made in östeuropa.” The program was as follows: Zoltán Kodály – Sommerabend; Frédéric Chopin – Piano concerto no. 2 in F-minor; Jan Hugo Voricek – Symphony in D-major.
Szymanowski In TX
Pianist Oscar Macchioni performed a selection of Preludes op. 1 by Karol Szymanowski during his faculty recital at the University of Texas at El Paso on February 7th. You can hear a recording of these preludes at: www.oscarmacchioni.net
Auguscik Tour Honors Kurylewicz & Warska
Polish vocalist Grazyna Auguscik, now living in Chicago, toured her homeland in February with American guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel and their trio: Jarek Bester – accordion, Jon Deitemyer – percussion, Matthew Scott Ulery – bass. They performed in Szczecin, Opole, Jelenia Góra, Kraków and Katowice.
The news service of Polish Radio reports the following:
The concerts feature numbers by the Polish composer Andrzej Kurylewicz, who died two years ago, aged 75. Auguscik sees the tour as a promotion of Kurylewicz’s achievements in jazz (one of the many strands of music pursued by this versatile composer and performer) as well as of the vocal art of his wife, Wanda Warska.
Read the entire article at www.polskieradio.pl.
Kwiecień In Kraków
Although Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecień’s successful career has taken him all over the world, he was welcomed back with open arms in his native town of Kraków when he was featured in the title role of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. This performance took place in the newly-opened Kraków Opera House on February 20-21. Music Direction was provided by Lukasz Borowicz, and Stage Direction by Michał Znaniecki.
Reviews in the Polish press can be seen here: www.opera.krakow.pl.
Folk In Classical Music: Reviewers Discuss
The use of folk themes in the setting of formal classical music is a compositional technique that has been particularly prevalent amongst contemporary Polish composers since Karol Szymanowski. While this practice is very popular, its use is also rather contentious, and has recently come under scrutiny in several reviews, and compositions.
First, in his article “Powerful performances with an undercurrent of dissent,” reviewer Matthew Guerrieri of the Boston Globe discusses the Boston Philharmonic’s recent performances of Witold Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra with Benjamin Zander, conductor, and Gabriela Montero, piano.
The family resemblance to Bartok is easily heard in Lutoslawski’s 1954 Concerto, but so is the edge in Lutoslawski’s compositional voice, the impatience with the Polish folk-music material adopted to appease official Communist circles; within the decade, Lutoslawski would unveil a new vocabulary, atonal and aleatoric. Hints of that later style abound – the fluid shifts between instrumental families, the divergent paths to a common arrival point. But most striking are the musical transformations simply by change of assignment: The opening’s thudding timpani becomes a quietly tolling celesta, the Capriccio’s violin rustle ends up a whispered conspiracy between basses and percussion.
The performance was one of the best things the Philharmonic has done in recent seasons. The group coupled their traditional strengths – energy and rhythmic drive – to a constant, vibrant delight in Lutoslawski’s polished, resourceful orchestration. Galvanized by its undercurrent of dissent, it was a nationalist showpiece of dark, furious sparkle. [2/24/09]
The evening’s most overtly comic note came from Boston composer Lee Hyla, whose septet “Polish Folk Songs” was touching, lovely, unpredictable and gigglingly funny all at once. In this 15-minute score, Hyla takes on the centuries-old tradition in which urban, educated composers turn vernacular music into “high art,” and treats it with both the affection and insolence it deserves.
As the piece makes clear, the whole notion of “folk songs” has become so fragmented in the 21st century that it has to encompass the whole ragtag world of popular culture. So Hyla leads his listeners on a discombobulated tour of a strange but eerily familiar musical landscape, racing distractedly from percussion-driven dance episodes to Balkan-sounding drones to cheesy pop songs. [2/25/09]
Jakubczak In London
Young Polish organist Rafał Jakubczak performed on Saturday, February 21 at Grosvenor Chapel in London. According to the Polish Radio news service, “The concert also feature[d] the Choir of the 21st Century under Howard Williams and the programme, which, except for Bach’s Jesu meine Freunde, consist[ed] solely of Polish organ and choral music by composers including Mikołaj Zielenski, Zygmunt Noskowski, Andrzej Panufnik and Krzysztof Penderecki.” Read the entire article here: www.polskieradio.pl.
Łukaszewski On Hyperion
Paweł Łukaszewski: Via Crucis
Polyphony, Britten Sinfonia, Stephen Layton – conductor
Stephen Layton’s first disc of Lukaszewski’s choral works(with The Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge) was widely praised by listeners entranced by the composer’s unique yet accessible musical language. For this new release Layton and Polyphony, together with the Britten Sinfonia and a team of world-class soloists, have taken on a major work which is destined to become a modern classic in the vein of Tavener’s The Veil of the Temple or Pärt’s St John Passion. Via Crucisis a dramatization of the Stations of the Cross, a musical reading of this most solemn journey that evolves through its 55-minutes in an arc of culminatory ritual power.
Eugeniusz Rudnik Monography
Polskie Radio PRCD 1173-1176
This 4-CD monographic album of Eugeniusz Rudnik’s works is the first ever large presentation of the music created in the legendary Experimental Studio of Polskie Radio.
The creator, sound engineer and composer of this CD is one of the pioneers of Polish electronic music, known and respected in the world as a composer responsible for hundreds of compositions, collages, soundtracks and effects for radio broadcasts, television and theater. For half a century he has been a collaborator for the Experimental Studio as producer and composer, using traditional editing techniques, magnetic tape and scissors. Eugeniusz Rudnik has been honored with several international awards and is an authority in the field.
This box-set contains 19 of Rudnik’s works, which were created between 1959 – 2002. These works represent different genres including those created by the composer himself, like radio ballet, radio documentary ballad, linguistic sound poetry, or “ars acustica.”
Szymanowski On Sony
Britten, Szymanowski violin concertos
Karol Szymanowski: Violin Concerto no.1 op. 35; Violin Concerto no. 2 op. 61; Benjamin Britten: Violin Concerto in D Minor op. 35
Frank Peter Zimmerman – violin, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Antoni Wit – conductor; & Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Manfred Honeck – conductor
Sony BMG 88697439992
Polish Music On Naxos
Szymanowski: Harnasie/Mandragora/Prince Potemkin
Karol Szymanowski: Harnasie, op. 55; Mandragora, op. 43; Prince Potemkin: Incidental Music to Act V, op. 51
Wiesław Ochman – tenor; Alexander Pinderak – tenor; Ewa Marciniec – mezzo-soprano; Ewa Marczyk – violin solo; Kazimierz Koślacz – cello solo; Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir; Antoni Wit – conductor
Lutosławski complete music for violin and piano
Witold Lutosławski: Recitativo e arioso; Subito; Myths, op. 30; Partita; Violin Sonata, JW VII/7
Ariadne Daskalakis, violin; Miri Yampolsky, piano
New from DUX
Fantasy – Beethoven, Schuman, Chopin
Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata quasi una fantasia in C sharp Minor, op.27 no. 2; Robert Schuman: Fantasiestücke, op. 12; Frederic Chopin: Fantasy in F Minor, op. 49
Kevin Kenner, piano
Grażyna Bacewicz. Works for Chamber Orchestra vol. 1
Grażyna Bacewicz: Divertimento for String Orchestra; 1st Piano Quintet (1952 transcription for piano and string orchestra); and Concerto for String Orchestra
Polish Harpsichord Music vol. 1
Józef Elsner: Sonata, 1805 no. 1 in B Major; Sonata II, 1805 no. 3 in D Major; Sonata III, 1805 no. 6 in F Major; Polonaises, 1805 nos. 5 in C Major, 7 in C Major, 7 in E flat Major, 11 in B flat Major, 11 in D Minor, 12 in B flat Major, 12 in E flat Major; Rondo a la mazurka, 1803 no. 11 in C Major; Rondo a la krakowiak, 1803 no. 5 in B flat Major
Urszula Bartkiewicz, harpsichord
Polish Harpsichord Music vol. 2
Antoni Weinert: Theme and Variations from the opera “Seven times one”; Józefina Andrychowicz (Weinert): Polonaise in B flat major; Waltz in A flat Major; Polonaise in E flat Major; Polonaise in C major; Theme from opera “ Telemach” with variations in C Major; Polonaise in C Major; Polonaise in B flat Major; Tomasz Grem: Andante with variations; Unicki: Polonaise in E flat Major; Polonaise in D Major; Polonaise in E flat Major; Antoni Morawski: Andante with Variations in F major; Maciej Kamiński: Duma na kształt Ronda [Duma in the form of rondo]; Andante in F Major; Karboski: Polonaise in F Major; Emilia Potocka: Andante with variations in C Major; Mazurka in G Major
Urszula Bartkiewicz, harpsichord
Fantaisie. Agata Igras-Sawicka
Philippe Gaaubert: Fantaisie; Gabriel Fauré: Fantaisie, op. 79; Georges Hue, Raymond Guiot: Fantaisie; Albert Franz Doppler: Fantaisie pastorale hungroise op. 26; Francois Borne: Fantaisie Brilliante sur Carmen; André Jolivet: Fantaisie-Caprice; Howard J. Buss: Fantaisie
Agata Igras-Sawicka – flute; Mariusz Rutkowski – piano
Mickiewicz Presents Chopin
Chopin. The Early Years
F. Chopin: Piano Concerto in F minor Op. 21
Janusz Olejniczak, piano and Sinfonia Varsovia
This Adam Mickiewicz Institute publication includes a DVD with a film about the composer early years before 1830, a CD, and a trilingual (Polish-English-French) booklet features the basic information on the life and oeuvre of Chopin. The viewers can see Chopin’s life against the backdrop of an epoch, the culture of the Polish Kingdom as well as the sources of the artist’s inspiration – recent musical discoveries as well as premieres, the world of manor houses and local musicians. The DVD features maps of the Polish Kingdom and Europe with itineraries of the composer’s numerous trips. The CD gives an exceptional opportunity to listen to the Piano Concerto in F minor while looking at the score in which the piano part was written in hand by the composer himself. “Chopin. The Early Years” will also be released in Russian, Japanese and Chinese.
Olenka and the Autumn Lovers: Olenka Krakus – lead vocal, guitar; Kevin Brazier -Upright Bass; Shawn Clark –Saxophone; Sara Froese – Violin; Paterson Hodgson – Cello; Andrew James – Accordion; Pete Lebel – Glockenspiel; Aaron Simmons -Accordion
According to James Reaney of the London Free Press, “Olenka and the Autumn Lovers blends songs from Polish-born singer-songwriter Olenka Krakus with roots music from all over Eastern Europe. The Autumn Lovers bring cellos, glockenspiels, djembes, violins, accordions, ‘general merriment’ and more to the mix.” [Jan. 17, 2009]
Olenka (Alexandra Krakus) started her life in an environment rich in tenderness and turmoil, conditions which left their indelible mark on her character and eventually her music. Her earliest memories of Poland, the Communist Poland of the early 80s, consist of experiences typical to most children – swings and sandboxes and teddy bear confidantes – but inflected by the melancholy instability of the time, a spirit revealed in the gypsy folksongs she inherited from her grandparents and parents. It is the images within these early songs to which she often returns in her own music: apparitions isolated in poverty, loneliness, heartache, disconnected from a society that is nevertheless converging on them. [from the band’s CD Baby webpage]
Franciszek Woźniak, a well known composer, pianist and teacher, died on Thursday, January 15th, aged 77. He was the laureate of many competitions for composers. He was also a long-time lecturer and vice-chancellor of the Music Academy in Bydgoszcz, president of the Polish Composers’ Union’s Poznań Branch, and member of the “Poznań Music Spring” Repertoire Committee. [Reported by the Polish Music Information Center]
Krystyna Kobylańska, musicologist and specialist of Frederic Chopin’s music, passed away on January 30 in Milanówek at the age of 84.
Ms. Kobylańska was born on August 6, 1925 in Brześć. She studied piano in Warsaw Conservatory and musicology at the Warsaw University. Between 1951-66 she worked for the F. Chopin Society in Warsaw. Her Chopin research led to several publications about this great composer, the most recognized Rękopisy utworów Chopina [Manuscripts of Chopin’s Works]. The funeral took place on February 4, 2009 at the Old Powązki Cemetery in Warsaw. [Reported by the Polish Music Information Center]
Bogdan Trochanowski, cellist and composer living in Caracas, died Tuesday, February 3rd at the age of 62, said Venezuelan journalist Justyna Zun Dalloul, Wednesday. Trochanowski was born in Warsaw and he studied in Warsaw and Krakow, southern Poland. He was a soloist of the National Philharmonic Concert Hall. In 1977, he went to the Venezuela, where he stayed there until his final days. He performed under his stage-name Dan Savicha. His concerts were recorded by both Polish Radio and Television, as well as many broadcast stations in Germany, France and Venezuela. Trochanowski received numerous prestigious international prizes, including a medal and metal plaque in Cumana in 1981. [ Reported by Polish Radio]
Born This Month
- 1 March 1810 – Fryderyk Chopin, virtuoso pianist, Poland’s greatest composer
- 2 March 1927 – Witold Szalonek, composer (d. 2001).
- 3 March 1922 – Kazimierz Serocki, composer, co-founder of the Warsaw AutumnFestival
- 6 March 1785 – Karol Kurpinski, composer, father of national opera
- 6 March 1835 – Ludwik Grossman, composer, pianist, and piano merchant (d. 1915)
- 7 March 1911 – Stefan Kisielewski, composer, essayist, writer
- 10 March 1937 – Bernadetta Matuszczak, composer
- 14 March 1913 – Witold Rudzinski, composer
- 17 March 1901 – Piotr Perkowski, composer
- 17 March 1925 – Tadeusz Prejzner, composer, pianist active in popular music
- 18 March 1961 – Hanna Kulenty, composer
- 21 March 1936 – Marek Stachowski, composer
- 23 March 1933 – Andrzej Trzaskowski, composer, jazz pianist and conductor
- 23 March 1888 – Lidia Kmitowa, violinist and teacher (d. 1980)
- 27 March 1927 – Joachim Olkusnik, composer
- 28 March 1954 – Pawel Szymanski, composer
Died This Month
- 1 March 2004 – Janina Garscia, composer of music for children and teacher
- 2 March 1887 – Wilhelm Troschel, singer and son of piano maker
- 4 March 1939 – Józef Sliwinski, pianist, composer (b. 1862)
- 4 March 1925 – Maurycy (Moritz) Moszkowski, composer and pianist (b. 1854)
- 4 March 1895 – Stanislaw Niedzielski, singer (baritone), choral conductor.
- 14 March 1954 – Ludomir Rogowski (b. 3 Oct 1881)
- 15 March 1883 – Karol Studzinski, violinist (b. 1828)
- 15 March 1948 – Konrad Neuger, conductor, active in the U.S. since 1931 (b. 1890)
- 19 March 1876 – Józef Stefani, composer, conductor, violinist, son of Jan (b. 1800)
- 21 March 1973 – Antoni Szalowski, composer
- 22 March 1893 – Adam Herman Hermanowski, cellist, child prodigy and virtuoso (b. 1836)
- 29 March 1937 – Karol Szymanowski, composer, pianist (b. 1882)
- 29 March 1959 – Zdzislaw Szulc, curator of music instruments museum in Poznan
- 31 March 1880 – Henryk Wieniawski, composer, virtuoso violinist (b. 1835)
- 31 March 1946 – Aleksandra Stromfeld-Klamzynska-Szuminska, soprano (b. 1859)