Polish Music Newsletter Vol. 17, no. 11
Musical Stars Align Over Paso
November 10-13, 2011
The charming and historic City of El Paso de Robles on California’s Central Coast will once again resonate with music, as the 2011 Paderewski Festival begins on Thursday, November 10. The opening night concert, held at the Vina Robles Winery will feature Cuesta College North Country Chorus and the Frölich Ensemble in a selection of works by Wacław z Szamotuł, Feliks Nowowiejski, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Morten Lauridsen, among others. The ensemble will be led by Cassandra Tarrantino.
On Friday, November 11, the Cass Winery Concert Series hosts a performance by Polish jazz piano superstar, Leszek Możdżer. This celebrated virtuoso will present a solo program dedicated to another great Polish jazzman, Krzysztof Komeda, whose music accompanied a number of Roman Polanski’s films.
Saturday, November 12 features a group of young California pianists—winners of the 2011 Youth Competition organized by the Paderewski Festival—in an afternoon recital at the Ballroom of the historic Paso Robles Inn. Later on that night, the Paderewski Festival Gala Concert will present pianist Eduard Kunz, winner of the First Prize at the 2010 International Paderewski Piano Competition in Bydgoszcz, Poland (pictured at left). Mr. Kunz will present a solo program of works by Paderewski, Chopin, and Liszt.
The 2011 Paderewski Festival winds down on Sunday, November 13 with a performance by the New West Guitar Group and brunch, part of the Epoch Wines concert series.
In addition to these events, an exhibit of Paderewski-related memorabilia will be on view at the Pioneer Museum in Paso during the Festival. Also at the Museum, Professor Kenneth Marcus will present a lecture entitled “Paderewski, Modjeska, and the California Environment” on Saturday morning, November 12. Carnegie Library in the Paso Robles City Park will also feature a display of Paderewski memorabilia.
[Source: Press release, Photo (Możdżer): Nikodem Krajewski]
Polish Music Month in L.A.
Paweł Łukaszewski – 2011 Paderewski Lecturer
The month of October is known as “Polish Heritage Month” and is celebrated throughout the U.S. Indeed, there were several interesting events during this month in Los Angeles celebrating Polish culture, with a particular emphasis on Polish music.
Paweł Łukaszewski—the most important Polish composer of liturgical and vocal music of his generation (and composer-in-residence for the Warsaw Philharmonic this season)—joined the Polish Music Center for the Paderewski Lecture-Recital at USC on October 6. Mr. Łukaszewski’s presentation at the Alfred Newman Recital Hall, entitled “The Composer’s Credo,” was richly illustrated with recorded musical examples and slides, detailing his approach to composition, the use of texts, and ways of settling on the formal design for his musical works.
His lecture was followed by a concert of Mr. Łukaszewski’s music. It opened with baritone Dan Gibbs performing Two Songs to Words by Czesław Miłosz: Gdy wiatr powieje [When the Wind Blows] and W mojej ojczyźnie [In Homeland Mine]. Mr. Gibbs—currently enrolled in a Masters’ Program and studying with Rod Gilfry in the USC Thornton School of Music—gave a heartfelt and warmly-hued performance to Miłosz’s moving lines. Soprano Sewan Howsepian Salmasi—a doctoral student at Thornton in the studio of Elizabeth Hynes—delivered Łukaszewski’s finely-etched Four Haikus with innate musicianship and elegance. Both soloists acquitted themselves admirably in difficult Polish texts and were adroitly accompanied by Grace Chung, a student in Thornton Collaborative Arts program.
The remaining half of the program was devoted to Mr. Łukaszewski’s choral music. Led by conductor and Thornton faculty member, Professor Nick Strimple, the Vocal Ensemble of the Polish Music Center delivered a spectacular reading of O Adonai, Two Lenten Motets, and Angelus Domini. Under the experienced hand of Dr. Strimple, the sixteen-member chorus gave nuanced and sensitive renditions of O Adonai and the two Motets—Memento mei, Domine and Crucem tuam adoramus, Domine. For the final item on the program, Angelus Domini, Maestro Strimple and his singers summoned all of their energy and passion, giving a rousing finale to an evening of beautiful and deeply spiritual music.
Skrowaczewski West Coast Premiere
The October 30 concert of the USC Thornton Wind Ensemble at Bovard Auditorium bookended the month with a premiere of Music for Winds by Stanisław Skrowaczewski (pictured at left). Maestro Skrowaczewski last appeared on the USC campus as Paderewski Lecturer and in concert with the Thornton Symphony Orchestra in 2004. More recently, he was commissioned by the Thornton School of Music and eight other orchestras in the U.S., Germany, Austria, and Japan, to write a work for a wind orchestra. Last Sunday’s performance of the work at USC was the West Coast premiere. The commissioned work is in four spirited movements, filled with very demanding writing for each section. The conductor, H. Robert Reynolds, introduced the piece by stating that the audience was “… in for a treat” and added that this work will soon become a standard concert repertory for high-quality wind ensembles.
Skrowaczewski’s Music for Winds is a work of youthful vigor, imaginative orchestral writing, colorful sound textures and very complex harmonies. The opening Misterioso-Allegro presents a kind of cantus firmus that serves as a wellspring of musical and harmonic ideas for the entire, four-movement composition. The second movement, Aria: Lento, features many elaborate solos for leaders of instrumental sections. Presto tenebroso with chiming bells and scurrying passagework kept in hushed tones by the entire ensemble is an exciting ride for the orchestra and the listener. The last movement, Molto Allegro, like its predecessors, evaporates in a soft and mysterious close and brings the entire Music for Winds to a very satisfying conclusion. The enthusiastic applause by the audience is a great harbinger of future success for this unusual and fascinating composition.
See another review of this concert in our Performances section below.
Polish Film Music
More Polish music in October was heard and discussed courtesy of the Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles, held on October 11-20. Two prominent young Polish composers—Paweł Mykietyn and Bartek Gliniak—were in attendance, as their recent films were screened during the Festival. Known for his symphonic and chamber works, during the past decade Mykietyn has scored several features, including Małgorzata Szumowska’s 33 Scenes from Life (2008), Andrzej Wajda’s Sweet Rush (2009), and Jerzy Skolimowski’s Essential Killing (2010), which garnered Mykietyn the 2011 Golden Eagle Award for Best Film Score. Bartek Gliniak, known primarily for his scores to one of Poland’s most popular TV series, For Good and Ill, came to Hollywood with his latest full-length feature, Joanna. Gliniak’s scores for the 2006 psychological thriller, Palimpsest and for the 2005 drama The Collector earned him two nominations for Best Music at Polish Film Awards.
Gifts To PMC – October 2011
British pianist and specialist of Polish romantic repertoire Jonathan Plowright has sent us his latest recording, Homage to Paderewski. This disc is Plowright’s ninth recording for the prestigious Hyperion label and features excellent liner notes from another expert on Polish romanticism and friend of the PMC, Joseph A. Herter. Of the twenty-two works on this recording—from composers including Bartók, Martinu and Milhaud—seventeen were intended for the memorial piano album Homage to Paderewski published by Boosey & Hawkes in New York in 1942 (the cover art for the recording features an adaptation of the original B&H album cover). A further six pieces written for the pianist also feature, including a Mazurka for two pianos by Britten, for which Plowright is joined by Aaron Shorr. For recording details, see the October Newsletter and for a recent review, see The Independent.
Thank you, Professor Plowright, for yet again sharing your music with us!
Maestro Romuald Twardowski recently donated the following scores of his compositions to the PMC:
- Alleluja – Аллилуяfor SATB choir (published by Wydawnictwo Muzyczne Polskiego Związku Chórów i Orkiestr)
- Alleluia for SAT choir (published by Éditions A Coeur Joie)
- Regina coeli for SATB choir (published by Edition Ferrimontana)
- Vocalise for SATB choir (published by Edition Ferrimontana)
Thank you, Maestro, for enriching our library with scores of your music!
Paweł Łukaszewski, whose music was featured on the 2011 Paderewski Lecture-Recital, arrived in Los Angeles with a huge suitcase of gifts for the Polish Music Center. Thanks to Maestro Łukaszewski’s very generous gesture, our library was enriched by the following items:
- Paweł Łukaszewski: Angelus Domini for mixed choir a cappella
- Paweł Łukaszewski: Four Haikus for Soprano and Piano
- Paweł Łukaszewski: W mojej ojczyźnie [In Homeland Mine] for Male Voice and Piano to two poems by Czesław Miłosz
- Paweł Łukaszewski: Hommage à Edith Stein for mixed choir a cappella
- Paweł Łukaszewski: Veperae pro defunctis for choruses, organs and large orchestra
- Paweł Łukaszewski: Veni Creator for two mixed choirs a cappella
- Wojciech Łukaszewski: Collected Works, Vol. 1 – Choral Compositions
- Wojciech Łukaszewski: Collected Works, Vol. 2 – Compositions for Voice and Piano
- Wojciech Łukaszewski: Collected Works, Vol. 3 – Solo and Chamber Music Compositions
II. BOOKS, CATALOGUES AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS:
- Wojciech Łukaszewski: Muzyczne Interludia—recenzje, sprawozdania, refleksje, wywiady [Musical Interludes—Reviews, Articles, Commentary, and Interviews]; Edited by Marcin Tadeusz Łukaszewski. Musica Sacra Editions, Warszawa 2009
- Marcin Tadeusz Łukaszewski: Muzyka chóralna o tematyce religijnej kompozytorów warszawskich 1945-2000 [Choral Music on Religious Themes by Warsaw-based Composers 1945-2000]. Polihymnia Publishers, Lublin 2007
- Musica sacra nova, Volume 1, No. 1 (2007). Musica Sacra Editions, Warszawa 2007
- Musica sacra nova, Volume 2, No. 2 (20087). Musica Sacra Editions, Warszawa 2008
- Musica sacra nova, Volume 3, Nos. 3/41 (2009/2010). Musica Sacra Editions, Warszawa 2010
- VI Międzynarodowy Festiwal Laboratorium Muzyki Współczesnej [The Sixth International Laboratory for Contemporary Music Festival], Białystok 1993
- IX Międzynarodowy Festiwal Laboratorium Muzyki Współczesnej [The Ninth International Laboratory for Contemporary Music Festival], Białystok 1996
- X Międzynarodowy Festiwal Laboratorium Muzyki Współczesnej [The Tenth International Laboratory for Contemporary Music Festival], Warszawa 2003
- XI Międzynarodowy Festiwal Laboratorium Muzyki Współczesnej [The Eleventh International Laboratory for Contemporary Music Festival], Warszawa 2004
- XII Międzynarodowy Festiwal Laboratorium Muzyki Współczesnej [The Twelfth International Laboratory for Contemporary Music Festival], Warszawa 2005
- XIII Międzynarodowy Festiwal Laboratorium Muzyki Współczesnej [The Thirteenth International Laboratory for Contemporary Music Festival], Warszawa 2006
- XIV Międzynarodowy Festiwal Laboratorium Muzyki Współczesnej [The Fourteenth International Laboratory for Contemporary Music Festival], Warszawa 2007
- XV Międzynarodowy Festiwal Laboratorium Muzyki Współczesnej [The Fifteenth International Laboratory for Contemporary Music Festival], Warszawa 2008
- XVII Międzynarodowy Festiwal Laboratorium Muzyki Współczesnej [The Seventeenth International Laboratory for Contemporary Music Festival], Białystok, 2010
III. CD RECORDINGS:
- Paweł Łukaszewski: Vesperae pro defunctis (1995); Stabat Mater (1993); Icon (2010); Musica Sacra Edition 029 CD
- Paweł Łukaszewski: Sacred Music—Veni Creator (2004); Messa pro voci e fiatti (2004); Organ Concerto (1996); Gaudium et Spes (1997); Symphony No. 2 (2005). Musica Sacra Editions 013 CD
- Paweł Łukaszewski: Antiphonae (1995-1999); Ave Maria (1992); Beatus Vir (1997). Acte Préalable AP 0029 CD
- Laudate Dominum: Works by Zoltán Kodály, Benjamin Britten, Marian Borkowski, Stanisław Kwiatkowski, Irena Pfeiffer, Stanisław Moryto, Idzi Ogierman Mański, Kazimierz Wiłkomirski, John Rutter, Paweł Łukaszewski, and Łukasz Farcinkiewicz. Performed by Musica Sacra—Warszawa-Praga Cathedral Choir, Paweł Łukaszewski, conductor. Musica Sacra Editions 027 CD
- Łukaszewski & Bembinow—Kolędy i pastorałki [Christmas Carols by Łukaszewski and Bembinow]. Peformed by Girls’ Cathedral Choir, Puelle Orantes and Dafô String Quartet conducted by Rev. Władysław Pachota and Miłosz Bembinow. DUX 0841 CD
- Music by Taduesz Baird, Wojciech Łukaszewski, Marcin Błażewicz, and Marian Borkowski. Performed by Marta Klimasara, Anna Mikołajczyk-Niewiedział, Warsaw University Choir, Musica Sacra—Warszawa-Praga Cathedral Choir, and Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Piotr Borkowski. Musica Sacra Editions 011 CD
- Wojciech Łukaszewski: Nazywam ciebie morze [I Name You the Sea], Tysiąclecie [Millenium], Nike, Mazowsze, Oda na Gdańsk [An Ode for Gdańsk]. Performed by Polish Chamber Choir—Schola Cantorum Gedaniensis, conducted by Jan Łukaszewski, and Częstochowa Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Tomasz Bugaj. Musica Sacra Edition 004 CD
- Marcin Błażewicz: Harmonia walki [Harmony of the Struggle], including Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra (2010); Concerto for Flute and String Orchestra (1999); Concerto for Marimba and String Orchestra (2006/2007). Performed by Tadeusz Domanowski, piano; Agata Igras-Sawicka, flute; Marta klimasara, marimba, and the Open Mind Orchestra conducted by Monika Wolińska. Musica Sacra Edition 031 CD
- Arcydzieła muzyki chóralnej [Masterpieces of Choral Music]. Works by John Taverner, Arvo Pärt, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Péteris Vaskas, and Wojciech Kilar. Performed by Musica Sacra—Warszawa-Praga Cathedral Choir, Sebastian Gunerka, baritone, and Paweł Łukaszewski, conductor. Musica Sacra Editions 003 CD
- Benedykt Konowalski: Trzy formy [Three Forms]. A 2 CD set featuring Symphony Concertante no. 8 for Piano, 2 Sets of Percussion and String Orchestra (1999); Concerto for Double Bass and String Orchestra (1998); Symphony No. 9 “Pastoral” for Orchestra (2002), Concerto for Two Violas and String Orchestra (1999); Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra (1997); Oratorio Ecce Homo—Filius Dei for Soprano, Alto, Baritone, Mixed Choir and Symphony Orchestra (2000). Musica Sacra Editions 024/025 CD
- Stanisław Moryto—Muzyka wokalna i organowa [Vocal and Organ Music by Stanisław Moryto], including Toccata for Organ (2000); Three Psalms for Mixed Choir a cappella (1994); Veni Creator for Organ (1998); Antiphones for Soprano and Organ (1992); Verset for Organ (1979); Msza Legnicka [The Legnica Mass] (2002). Musica Sacra Edition 033 CD
- Paweł Buczyński—Muzyka opadających liści [Music of Falling Leaves]. Musica Sacra Eidtions 021/022 CD
- A copy of the coin commemorating Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, which has been released by the Cresovian Mint on behalf of the Musica Sacra Association
Thank you, Professor Łukaszewski, for adding so much new and exciting material to our collection!
PWM Music Publishers and Director Andrzej Kosowski donated the following scores of Paweł Łukaszewski to be used in our October 6 Paderewski Lecture-Recital:
- Two Lenten Motets for mixed choir
- Adonai for mixed choir
This is yet another example of extraordinary support Director Kosowski and PWM Music Publishers extend to the Polish Music Center. Thank you!
A long-time friend of the Polish Music Center, Vladek Juszkiewicz (above right, with PMC Director Marek Zebrowski) recently delivered to us from Poland a very important package and a letter from the President of the Professor Marek Jasiński Society, Dr Iwona Charkiewicz, and Vice-President Madame Alina Jasińska. Their generous gift featured music composed by Marek Jasiński, including the following items:
- MUZYKA JESIENNA na kameralną orkiestrę smyczkową (1988) – [pictured above]
- Exsultate Deo omnis terra for mixed choir (2002) – copy of the manuscript
- Kyrie [for double choir] – copy of the score
- Gloria for mixed choir (2003) – copy of the manuscript
- Psalm 100 [for mixed choir] (1994) – copy of the manuscript
- Alleluia [for mixed choir] – copy of the manuscript
- Dona nobis pacem [for mixed choir] (1993) – copy of the manuscript
- Stabat Mater for mixed choir (1999) – copy of the manuscript
- 3 sets of 2-disc CD recordings of music by Marek Jasiński: Soundscapes—Przestrzeń dzwięku
We are greatly honored with this donation and will make it available to students, faculty, performing artists and researchers worldwide. Dziękujemy!
Another long-time friend of the PMC, Dr. Ewa Muchnick, recently donated the following 45 rpm recordings of music by Henry Vars:
- Two songs from the film Freckles, featuring music by Henry Vars, lyrics by B. Dunham, performed by the Lennon Sisters on the DOT 45-16131/MB15192-15193 recording: Freckles and I Walked with the Wind.
- Let the Chips Fall, featuring music by Henry Vars, lyrics by B. Dunham, performed by Carol Bennett with Earl Sheldon’s Orchestra & Vocal Group on the Capitol 45-21298/F3693 recording.
In addition to music by Vars we received a rare recording featuring vocalist Steve Henry. Born Henry Czarnecki to Polish parents in Cleveland, OH, Steve Henry began his singing career at the age of three. He studied voice in New York, was a protégé of Maestro Artur Rodziński, and appeared in various roles in musicals including: Plain and Fancy, Carousel, Kismet, and Oklahoma. On the recording, Henry performs two songs:
- To the End and Je Vous Aime with Monte Kelly’s Orchestra on the Ronk Records Label (45-R100/R101).
Thank you, Dr. Muchnick!
Meyer World Premiere
The World Premiere of the new work by Polish composer Krzysztof Meyer, entitled Imaginary Variations, will take place at the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago, IL on Wednesday, November 9 at 6:00 pm. The piece was commissioned by American violinist Janet Packer (pictured at right), an ardent champion of new music for the violin, who will perform the premiere with pianist Geoffrey Burleson. The concert will also include works by Szymanowski and Wieniawski. The program will be repeated on the following day at the Polish Museum of America in Chicago at 6:30 pm.
Funded under the auspices of the Pro Violino Foundation, Inc., Meyer’s Imaginary Variations will receive many performances throughout the United States and abroad during Ms. Packer’s 2011-2012 concert touring season. This will include a performance in Los Angeles, CA at USC’s Alfred Newman Recital Hall during the PMC’s Festival of Premieres on March 23-24, 2012.
King’s Singers Premiere Łukaszewski
Although it has already been performed in Poland, the official World Premiere of Responsoria Tenebrae for 6 male voices by Pawel Łukaszewski will take place in London’s St. James Church on Thursday, November 10 at 7:30pm. Performed by the Grammy award winning ensemble, The King’s Singers, this free concert will present and all-Polish program of music from the 13th to 21st centuries. Along with the premiere of music by one of the most important sacred composers of the current generation, works from outstanding Polish composers of previous generations—including Bartłomiej Pękiel, Miłosz Bembinow, Wacław of Szmotuł, Mikołaj Zieleński and Henryk Mikołaj Górecki—will also be heard.
Comprised of David Hurley (countertenor), Timothy Wayne-Wright (countertenor), Paul Phoenix (tenor), Philip Lawson (baritone), Christopher Gabbitas (baritone) and Jonathan Howard (bass), The King’s Singers is one the world’s most appreciated vocal ensembles on stage today. The King’s Singers have a packed schedule of concerts, recordings, media and education work that spans the globe. Championing the work of young and established composers, they remain consummate entertainers; a class-act with a delightfully British wit. From Gesualdo and György Ligeti to Michael Bublé, The King’s Singers are instantly recognizable for their spot-on intonation, their impeccable vocal blend, the flawless articulation of the text and incisive timing.
Composer and conductor Paweł Łukaszewski was born in 1968 into a family of musicians in Częstochowa, Poland. His compositions—especially his extensive catalogue of sacred choral music—have their roots in the neo-mediaeval tonality and spiritual tradition espoused by such composers as Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Wojciech Kilar, Arvo Pärt, John Taverner and Morten Lauridsen. Working within what the composer describes as a “renewed tonality,” Łukaszewski achieves surprisingly rich and subtle expressive results. The use of major and minor modes in Łukaszewski’s music serves only as a point of departure for his highly subjective musical style which, especially in the realm of vocal compositions, is inspired by texts he is setting to music.Łukaszewski’s highly individual musical language, rhythmic vitality, careful formal layout in all of his works, as well as his profound understanding of the liturgical texts in the Catholic rite combine to produce music that is strikingly traditional yet fully modern.
This concert forms part of the four concerts comprising the series “Polish Sacred Music Gaude Mater 2011” taking place in London, Paris, Moscow and Kiev. The concerts are promoted by the Culture Programme of the Polish Presidency of the E.U. and co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland
Bruzdowicz World Premiere
Polish composer Joanna Bruzdowicz will conduct the world premiere of her latest work, Lella-Oratorio Profane at the Opera House in Bastia, Corsica, on November 9. The subject of Bruzdowicz’s composition is a Corsican native by the name of Danielle Casanova (1909-1943),who was a trained doctor, feminist, leader of the French Communist League of Youth and a member of French resistance during the early years of World War II. Arrested in France in January of 1943, she was taken to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where she died four months later. This event is part of the 13th edition of the “Rencontres musicales de Méditerranée,” held from November 8-16, 2011 in Bastia and organized by the Association des Jeunesses Musicales de Méditerranée.
[Sources: correspondence, corsematin.com]
World Premieres for M. Górecki
The month of November will feature several World Premieres of music by Mikołaj Górecki in relation to commemorations of the death of his father, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki. First, on November 3, the Silesian Quartet will perform Mikołaj Górecki’s Overture for String Quartet in Katowice. This concert will take place as a part of the Silesian Composers’ Tribune (see more below).
Next, on November 15 at the Katowice Cathedral, the Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra will perform his Nocturne for Orchestra on the occasion of naming his father as the Orchestra’s official patron. Finally on Nov. 20 at the Concert Hall of the Mickiewicz University in Poznań, the Amadeus Orchestra of the Polish Radio under the baton of Anna Mróz will perform Mikołaj Górecki’s Pożegnanie [Farewell] for string orchestra.
Remembering H.M. Górecki
There is no one who can replace Henryk Gorecki in the world of music. Many others have created beautiful, passionate, even exalted music. But Henryk found a way forward and beyond, through thickets of styles and fashions, that resonates of the single human being in communion with the power of the Universe. I miss him immensely.
– David Harrington (Kronos Quartet), November 12, 2010
TVP Kultura series
November 12, 2011 marks the first anniversary of the passing of one of the most important composers of Polish contemporary music, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki. In commemoration, TVP Kultura plans a series of special programs about Górecki’s musical legacy. His famous Third Symphony—performed by the National Opera Orchestra conducted by Jacek Kaspszyk with soloist Aleksandra Kurzak—was rebroadcasted on Nov. 1. Every Saturday during the month of November, TVP Kultura will present morning programs of Górecki’s works, including: choral works and String Quartet No. 2 (Nov. 5); a documentary film about Górecki as well as his Harpsichord Concerto and Beatus vir (Nov. 12); Ad matrem, Scontri, Totus tuus and the Second Symphony (Nov. 19); and Third Symphony with guest soloist, Zofia Kilanowicz (Nov. 26).
In Memoriam in NYC
The Polish Cultural Institute in New York and (Le) Poisson Rouge present “In Memoriam Henryk Mikołaj Górecki” honoring the Polish composer on the first anniversary of his death. This all-Górecki program held on Tuesday November 8, 2011 at (le) Poisson Rouge in New York will be free and open to the public and will be performed by internationally acclaimed ensembles, Ensemble Signal, led by Music Director and Conductor Brad Lubman, and the JACKQuartet.
Although Górecki was known most especially for his immensely popular Symphony No3, “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs,” this concerts showcases extraordinary chamber works from his later compositional period: Kleines Requiem für eine Polka (1993) – performed by Ensemble Signal, led by Brad Lubman; and Quasi una Fantasia: String Quartet No. 2, Op. 64 (1990-91) – performed by the JACK Quartet
“Kleines Requiem” offers an enigmatic memorial mass; “polka” can refer to a Polish girl or woman, as well as the Central European dance, and the cryptic Górecki never explicitly stated his intent. The work, in four movements, does not seem to contain any dancing levity but is instead somber, manic, and starkly beautiful.
The Second String Quartet, subtitled Quasi una Fantasia, invokes Beethoven, whose piano sonatas and strong quartets influenced Górecki in the compositional structure of his first two quartets. In Quasi una Fantasia, Górecki employs three major “Beethovian” triads which appear throughout the work, leading to the folk-influenced last movement, and a final return to the solemn opening statement.
In both these works, Górecki’s persistent, uncompromising communion with his artistic vision is paramount. Taken together, and performed by two truly vanguard ensembles of the new music scene, this program offers a personal, finely etched portrait of a great artist.
Concert details are available at www.polishculture-nyc.org
Silesian Composers’ Tribune 2011 – Henryk Mikołaj Górecki in Memoriam
During October and November, Silesia will become the musical capital of Poland thanks to concerts dedicated to Henryk Mikołaj Górecki. It began on October 24 with the first of three concerts under the framework of the Silesian Composers’ Tribune 2011. This concert, held at the Karłowicz State Music Academy in Katowice, featured performers Anna Górecka (piano) – daughter of the composer, Aneta Pawlik (flute), Joanna Piszczelok (piano), and Anna Szabelka (violin). The program was dedicated to works by the composer’s son, Mikołaj Górecki, including the World Premiere of his Piano Sonata, and performances of Variations for flute and piano Sonata No. 2 for violin and piano.
The second of the concerts on November 3 will present two world premieres—Mikołaj Górecki – Overture for String Quartet and Piotr Radek – Henryk Mikołaj Górecki im memoriam. Largo for clarinet and string quartet—as well as Henryk M. Górecki’s String Quartet No. 2 “Quasi una fantasia…” These will be performed at Katowice’s Teatr Korez by the Silesian Quartet and clarinetist Roman Widaszek.
The final concert on November 14 will be dedicated entirely to music by Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, including: Recitative and Aria “Lerchenmusik” for clarinet, cello and piano; Genesis I: Elementi per archi for violin, viola and cello; and Kleines Requiem für eine Polka [Little Requiem for a Polka]. This program will be performed in the Concert Hall of the Katowice Music Academy by Orkiestra Muzyki Nowej with pianist Stanisław Bromboszcz and conductor Szymon Bywalec.
Silesian Philharmoic to be named in his honor
As of Monday November 14, 2011, Henryk Mikolaj Górecki will be named the official patron of the Silesian Philharmonic in Katowice, per a resolution of the Silesian Provincial Assembly to be read in the Hall of Silesian Parliament. In connection with this great honor and commemorating the one-year anniversary of his death, the Silesian Philharmonic has prepared a short festival of concerts in Górecki from November 13-15.
The city’s three major philharmonic ensembles—the Silesian Philharmonic, the Silesian Chamber Orchestra, and the Silesian Philharmonic Choir—will perform, along with conductors Jan Wincenty Hawel, Jarosław Wolanin and Mirosław Jacek Błaszczyk, mezzo-soprano Joanna Iwaszkiewicz, sopranos Iwona Hossa and Elżbieta Grodzka-Łopuszyńska, and saxophone soloist Bartłomiej Duś. In addition to H.M. Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 and Three Pieces in an Old Style, audiences will hear the World Premiere of Mikołaj Górecki’s Nocturne for Orchestra, the Polish Premiere of Jarosław Mamczarski’s Psalm 119 dedicated to the memory of H.M. Górecki, andPergolesi’s Stabat Mater.
Jacaranda honors Górecki in Los Angeles
From the Jacaranda website:
In the annals of popular culture, Gorecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs is the unprecedented chart-busting Classical crossover hit of all time. Yet, the Polish composer was exceedingly private. Each work distils his personal intensity without losing the tragic longing and wry humor evident in the films, theatre and literature — in the national character of Poland. One year after his death, this evocative program brings together early piano music with two strikingly different string quartets. The first is a one-movement tone poem, the second a four-part journey. A unique instrumental requiem closes the celebration with the haunted serenity that is Gorecki’s trademark, as well as brash drama, a sense of absurdity and his fervent spirit of consolation.
On November 19 and 20, the second concert in the 2011-2012 Jacaranda Music Series season will celebrate “SONGS OF STONE: Music of Gorecki” at the First Presbyterian Church in Santa Monica, California. Performers include: Mark Robson – piano, the Calder Quartet, the Lyris Quartet, Jacaranda Chamber Orchestra, and Mark Alan Hilt – conductor. The all-Górecki program for both concerts will feature: Four Preludes Op. 1 (1955), Quartet No. 2″Quasi una Fantasia,” Op. 64 (1991); Quartet No. 1″Already it is Dusk,” Op.62 (1988); and Kleines Requiem für eine Polka [Little Requiem for a Polka], Op. 66(1993).
Concert details and tickets available at jacarandamusic.org.
[Sources: Press release, jacarandamusic.org]
Górecki immortalised on a coin
A coin with the image of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki has been released by the Cresovian Mint, on behalf of the Musica Sacra Association. The Musica Sacra Association wishes to pay tribute to a composer who in his oeuvre has works of a deeply religious nature, such as the famous Beatus Vir, Totus Tuus, Genesis I-III and Ad Matrem.
2012 Musica Sacra Competition
The submission period for the 8th ‘Musica Sacra’ International Composers Competition has begun. The competition is open to composers of any nationality, up to 35 years old as of Dec. 12, 2012. Composition subject: unaccompanied mixed choir (maximum of 16 voices) to a Latin religious text. Composition duration: 3-10 minutes. More than one score per composer is permitted, with a maximum of three. Submitted compositions must be unpublished, should not have been previously performed in public, and should also not have been awarded a prize at any other competition. Competition organizers reserve the rights for the first performance of the prize-winning compositions. For greater details on rules and prizes, visit www.competition.waw.pl.
The absolute deadline for submission of scores is January 31, 2012. Results will be announced by the end of February 2012.
The Musica Sacra Competition is organized by the Musica Sacra Institute in Warsaw and the Gaude Mater International Festival of Sacred Music in Częstochowa. Co-Organizers include Erzbistum Köln – Germany, Hochschule für Musik und Tanz – Köln,Germany, Trinity College Choir – Cambridge, UK, Jauna Muzika Vilnius Municipal Choir – Vilnius, Lithuania, and the Polish Chamber Choir – Gdańsk, Poland.
100 Years of Polish Musicology
The 100th anniversary of the Institute of Musicology at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków continues later this month with the Conference of Polish Musicology, which takes place November 23-25. Co-organized by the Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP) and the Institute of Musicology, the conference’s title, “Sto Lat Muzykologii Polskiej: Historia—Teraźniejszość—Perspektywy” [One Hundred Years of Polish Musicology: History—The Present—The Future] will examine a number of interesting topics presented by several leading academicians.
The program committee and main conference organizers include Dr. Małgorzata Woźna-Stankiewicz and Dr. Renata Suchowiejko. During the three-day conference, sessions will be led by: Maciej Gołąb, Sławomira Żerańska-Kominek, Zygmunt M. Szweykowski, Paweł Gancarczyk, Elżbieta Witkowska-Zaręba, Katarzyna Dadak-Kozicka, Ryszard Wieczorek, and Alicja Jarzębska. An evening concert at the Collegium Novum Auditorium is scheduled for November 23 and an exhibit devoted to the legendary Polish musicologist, Zdzisław Jachimecki (1882-1953) will be officially opened at noon on November 24.
[Sources: Press release, muzykologia.uj.edu.pl]
Happy 110th, Warsaw Phil
This month the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra celebrated its 110th anniversary. Founded in 1901, this venerable ensemble gave its first concert on November 5, 1901, under the baton of then artistic director Emil Młynarski. The soloist for the occasion was Ignacy Jan Paderewski, who performed his own Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 17. According to a review dated November 6, 1901from the Kurjer Warszawski, Paderewski gave a number of encores well into the evening. Finally, around midnight, the soloist, conductor and about 500 invited guests went to a sumptuous banquet at the palace of the Warsaw Philharmonic’s founder, Baron Leopold Kronenberg.
During the century and a decade that passed since that gala evening, a number of distinguished maestros have led the Orchestra, including Bohdan Wodiczko, Witold Rowicki, Kazimierz Kord, and (since 2002), Antoni Wit. Since its inception, the Philharmonic made well over one hundred concert tours worldwide.
An anniversary gala concert on November 5, 2011, featured a repeat of the inaugural concert in 1901. Led by conductor Antoni Wit, the evening opened with Władysław Żeleński’s Żyj pieśni [Long Live the Song], a cantata for mixed choir and orchestra. Zygmunt Stojowski’s Symphony in D minor, Op. 21 was next on the program, followed by two favorites—Stanisław Moniuszko’s concert overture Bajka [A Fairy Tale], Zygmunt Noskowski’s symphonic poem Step [The Steppe]. Paderewski’s Piano Concerto in A minor ended the official part of the program. Following the precedent set by Paderewski in 1901, pianist Dang Thai Son (pictured at right)—the 2011 anniversary gala soloist—added the encores of Chopin’s Ballade in A-flat major, Op. 47, Nocturne in G major, Op. 37 no.2, Mazurka in F-sharp minor, Op. 59 no. 3 and the A-flat major Polonaise, Op. 53.
During the intermission, a commemorative plaque honoring Ignacy Jan Paderewski was unveiled in the main lobby of the Philharmonic by Poland’s President, Bronisław Komorowski, under whose patronage this gala concert was held. The President also decorated Antoni Wit with the Commander’s Cross of the Polonia Restituta, recognizing maestro Wit’s meritorious service to Polish culture and education. Bogdan Zdrojewski, Minister of Culture and National Heritage, presented a number of medals to various orchestra members for their many years of dedicated work for the Warsaw Philharmonic.
“Polish Contemporary Music Across Europe”
International groups of contemporary musicians are presenting works by some of Poland’s most illustrious composers as a part of the series “Polish Contemporary Music Across Europe with Friends.” In this series, four concerts celebrating the Polish Presidency of the E.U. will be held in four European capitals: Minsk (Oct 5), London (Oct 25), Moscow (Nov 17) and Brussels (Dec 14).
Selections from Szymanowski’s oeuvre provide the theme for each concert, with works by other contemporary Polish composers following suit. Programs also include works by local composers associated with the ensembles and musicians performing the concerts, and friends and partners of the organizing body:the Polish Music Information Centre (POLMIC) in Warsaw. The project is possible thanks to the international contacts cultivated by POLMIC for many years, and its participation in various joint endeavors. This project co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.
Among the works that were presented on October 5 in Minsk were: Karol Szymanowski’s Pieśni kurpiowskie and Prince Potemkin, Paweł Strzelecki’s Summer Dream, Jerzy Kornowicz’s Sceny z Bułhakowa, Witold Lutosławski’s Mała suita and Dmitry Lybin’s Classic-Avantgarde Symphonie. The evening was performed by the Belarusian group Classic-Avantgarde, and held in the Hall of the State Philharmonic of Belarus.
Pieces by prominent Polish composers Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Witold Lutosławski and Karol Szymanowski formed the repertoire for Cadogan Hall concert in London on October 25. In particular, Górecki’s Three Pieces in Old Style (1963) was featured, as well as Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto, commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society in London and written for Mstislav Rostropovich in 1970. The concert closed with Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No.2 (1933), a work characterized by Polish folk themes and an infinitely inventive solo violin. Also on the program was English composer Peter Maxwell Davies’s St. Francis of Assisi Overture, which premiered in 2009. Performers were Jakob Kullberg (Denmark) – cello, Giovanni Guzzo (Italy/Venezuela) – violin, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (UK) and Christopher Austin (UK) – conductor
In Moscow, works by Polish and Russian composers will be performed, some for the first time in Russia, in the Rachmaninov Hall of the Moscow Conservatory on November 17. The evening’s performers are the Studio for New Music Ensemble (SNM), under the baton of Igor Dronova. This group, which specializes in classical music of the twentieth century, is formed largely of graduates from the Moscow Conservatory. These talented musicians are known for many premiere performances of works by both Russian and foreign composers, including Louis Andriessen and Helmut Lachenmann. The program will include: Szymanowski’s String Quartet No. 2, Andrzej Panufnik’s String Sextet “Trains of Thought” (Russian premiere), Alfred Schnittke’s Dialogue for cello and instrumental ensemble, Edison Denisov’s DSCH, Witold Lutosławski’s Łańcuch I for 14 performers and Przeźrocza [Slides] for 11 soloists (Russian premiere), and Aleksander Nowak’s Ciemnowłosa dziewczyna w czarnym, sportowym samochodzie [The dark-haired girl in a black sports car] (Russian premiere).
The final concert in the series will be held on December 14 in Brussels at the Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles. This event is structured around two workshops where students in chamber music classes will try their hand at Szymanowski quartets, led by the Polish ensemble Akademos, and more recent pieces by Krzysztof Penderecki and Pierre Bartholomée with the members of Ensemble ON. A concert-conference on Penderecki’s early chamber music will also be held. The day draws to a close with successive performances of the following repertoire: Karol Szymanowski – String Quartet No. 1and Paweł Szymański – 5 pieces for string quartet played by Akademos, and Krzysztof Penderecki – Quartet for clarinet and Pierre Bartholomée – Mezza voce presented by Ensemble ON.
Details for all performances can be found at www.czterykoncerty.polmic.pl
I, Culture Euro Tour
Conductor Sir Neville Marriner and soloist Arabella Steinbacher teamed up with Poland’s I, CULTURE Orchestra European youth orchestra to play an unforgettable concert at the Berliner Philharmonie. The youth orchestra had already received praise from the resident conductor, Sir Simon Rattle, during their rehearsal that afternoon just after the resident Berliner Philharmonie symphony orchestra wrapped up their rehearsal.
The evening concert began with Voyevoda [Symphonic Ballad], Op. 78 by Tchaikovsky, Arabella Steinbacher then performed Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 35 by Karol Szymanowski, followed by Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op.36 of Tchaikovsky. For the encore, Sir Neville Marriner invited Paweł Kotla, the ICO’s artistic director, to take the stage and conduct a fragment of Stanisław Moniuszko’s opera Halka—a surprise which the Berlin audience welcomed with enthusiasm.
The I, CULTURE Orchestra performed in Germany’s largest city before going on to conclude their European tour with concerts at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels (Nov. 4), Royal Festival Hall in London (Nov. 6), Teatro Real in Madrid (Nov. 8), and the National Philharmonic in Warsaw (Nov. 11).
Sinfonia Varsovia & Blechacz In Paris
After the success of last year’s performance at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra will perform in Paris once again, this time at the prestigious Salle Pleyel. Pianist Rafał Blechacz—winner of the 2005 Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw—will be accompanied by the orchestra conducted by Grzegorz Nowak. The evening’s program consists of Szymanowski’s Concert Ouverture op. 12, Chopin’s Piano Concert nr 2 and Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’s 4th Symphony “Italian”. The evening is organized by the Polish Institute in Paris and will be transmitted live on France Musique radio.
In Memoriam Andrzej Markowski
October 30, 2011, marked the 25th anniversary of Andrzej Markowski’s passing. During the years 1971-1977 Markowski served as conductor of the National Philharmonic Orchestra in Warsaw and deputy of the Orchestra’s artistic director, Witold Rowicki. To mark this anniversary, on October 28 and 29 the National Philharmonic presented a weekend of concerts featuring Andrzej Markowski’s favorite repertoire. The program included Symfonia w kwadracie [A Square Symphony] by Stefan Kisielewski—marking also 100 years since Kisielewski’s birth—as well as the Violin Concerto of Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Claude Debussy’s Nocturnes for Orchestra. The National Philharmonic was joined by violinist Boris Brovtsyn and led by Chilean conductor Maximiano Valdés.
Kraków Philharmonic is also commemorating Maestro Markowski with a November 5 program featuring the late conductor’s beloved Adagio for Strings and Organ by Albinoni and Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony in B minor. Markowski’s championship of large-scale works by leading Polish contemporary composers will be remembered in the performance of Lutosławski’s Symphony No. 3, which represented one of the late conductor’s interpretative triumphs on the concert stage. The Kraków Philharmonic on this occasion will be led by José Maria Flôrencio and a fragment of a documentary film made in 1984, presenting Andrzej Markowski’s concert with the Łódź Philharmonic, will also be shown.
National Phil In London
On November 21, the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra performs a program spanning Moniuszko, Panufnik, Bruch and Beethoven as part of Cadogan Hall‘s prestigious Zurich International Concert Series. The concert opens with music from two revered Polish composers: Moniuszko – Overture from the opera Paria, and Panufnik – Sinfonia Rustica. The former composer, Moniuszko, is generally accepted as the father of Polish opera, and is recognized for work filled with patriotic folk themes. The latter, Panufnik, was instrumental in the re-establishment of the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra after the Second World War. Also on the program are Bruch’s Violin Concerto and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.
The Orchestra will be led by one of the most highly regarded Polish conductors and an enthusiastic champion of Polish music, their Artistic Director Antoni Wit, and joined by Warsaw-born violinist, Kuba Jakowicz.
Monday 21 November, 2011 | 7:30pm
Warsaw Philharmonic in London
Legends Of Central Europe In Alberta
The Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies (University of Alberta), the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences of Alberta, and Mazurka Musik and Art present a classical chamber music concert entitled “Legends of Central Europe,” featuring piano duos and trios. Held on November 13 at 3 p.m., the concert will be performed by renowned Polish-Canadian pianists, Mikołaj Warszyński and Zuzana Warszyński-Simurdova, Polish-Canadian violinist for the ESO, Tatiana Warszyński, and the Edmonton cellist, Joanne Yu. This concert is a tribute to the great Czech composer, Antonín Dvořák, on the occasion of the170th anniversary on his birth—it will feature pieces by Dvořák, Smetana and Brahms, as these three masters of the Romantic Era in Central Europe were strongly interconnected and influenced by folklore and each other’s music.
Sunday, November 13, 2011, at 3 P.M.
Legends of Central Europe
Muttart Hall – Alberta College, 10050 MacDonald Drive
Tickets: $25 / $15, available from Gramophone (+780-428-2356), Camelot Travel (+780-477-8747) and at the door
[Sources: Press release, simurdova.com]
Polish Music At Music@MIMODA
On November 16, Mimoda studio will present an evening of live music and physical theatre that will include a performance of the latest program of Polish music prepared by PMC Director and pianist Marek Żebrowski, and cellist Lars Hoefs. Part of the Music@Mimoda series, the evening will also feature performances by the Composers’ Ensemble of Los Angeles (CELA), Richard Grayson, Cheri Cole, Gera D’Or and Maksim Velichkin, as well as “Aesthetic Biomechanics” by Yasha & Mimoda Jazzo. The evening is presented by Maksim Velichkin and Yasha Michelson of Mimoda studio
Wednesday, November 16 | 8:00 p.m.
Paper or Plastik Cafe and Mimoda studio & theatre
5772 W. Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA – enter through Paper or Plastik Cafe
Blecharz & What’s Next? Ensemble
On November 23, the What’s Next? Ensemble will present their newest program entitled “Fighting Music” in Los Angeles at the Royal-T Café. The program will include Polish composer Wojtek Blecharz’s work for flute, oboe,clarinet, bassoon, 2 violins, viola, cello, bass, trombone, percussion and piano, entitled Cartography. Also on the program: USC Thornton professor Donald Crockett – To airy thinness beat for solo viola, clarinet, violin, cello, bass, percussion and piano; Sean Friar – Fighting Words for soprano, clarinet, violin, cello, electric guitar, piano, percussion and drumset; and Louis Andriessen – Workers Union for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, 2 violins, viola, cello, bass, trombone, percussion and piano.
Established in 2008 by two students of USC’s Thornton School of Music, the What’s Next? Ensemble is a vibrant new music group passionately devoted to building up the new music community in Los Angeles. Through regular performances of adventurous contemporary music and its annual festival, the LA Composers Project, What’s Next? Ensemble has quickly established itself as an audacious leader in the Los Angeles new music scene. Ensemble members are: Aurelien Eulert – piano, Yuri Inoo – percussion, Eric Jacobs – clarinet, Vimbayi Kaziboni, conductor and Artistic Director, Ana Kim – cello, Michael Matsuno – flute, Ben Phelps – percussion, John Stulz – viola and Executive Director, and Sakura Tsai – violin.
Wednesday, November 23 | 8pm
Fighting Music – What’s Next? Ensemble
Royal-T Café – 8910 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232
Info: www.whatsnextensemble.com or email@example.com
Kosciuszko Foundation Events
On Sunday, November 6, the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York will host “An Evening of Music from Poland and Beyond” featuring Greek-Polish violinist Elektra Kurtis and her musical guests: Edmund Niemann – piano, Curtis Stewart – violin, Ian Bagette – electric bass, and Khalil Kwame Bell – drums. They will perform music by Karol Szymanowski, Witold Lutosławski, Fryderyk Chopin, Igor Stravinski, Bela Bartok and Elektra Kurtis.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2011 | 3:00PM
An Evening of Music from Poland and Beyond
The Kosciuszko Foundation, Inc. – Foundation House
15 East 65th Street New York, NY 10065
Info: www.thekf.org, (212) 734-2130
Tickets: $20/$15 KF Members and students
The Annual Fundraiser of The Pro Arte League of the Kosciuszko Foundation will be held on Saturday, November 12th at the Foundation House. A reception and musical program will honor Joseph E. Gore, Esq., Chairman of the Board and President and Executive Director, Emeritus of the Kosciuszko Foundation. The String Trio will perform a program of Polish composers.
On Sunday, November 20, the Verdehr Trio—Walter Verdehr – violin, Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr – clarinet, Silvia Roederer – piano—will perform at the Foundation House. The program will include Beethoven, Szymanowski, Menotti, and NY premieres by David Winkler and Michael Daugherty.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2011 | 3:00PM
Verdehr Trio Concert
The Kosciuszko Foundation, Inc. – Foundation House
15 East 65th Street New York, NY 10065
Info: www.thekf.org, (212) 734-2130
Tickets: $20/$15 KF Members and students
[Source: Press release]
Lutosławski Book Reviews
Lutosławski & his music (New Edition)
By Steven Stucky
Cambridge University Press
Only a composer of Steven Stucky’s stature can adequately appreciate and analyze another great composer such as the eminent Polish composer Witold Lutosławski. Joining the ranks of Charles Bodman Rae and Adrian Thomas, Stucky has added his expertise to the research scholarship dedicated to this distinguished composer, whom he describes as “one of the most outstanding musical personalities of the twentieth century.” Widely recognized as one of the leading composers today, Steven Stucky was awarded the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his Second Concerto for Orchestra. He has written commissioned works for many of the major American orchestras and ensembles.
The hardcover version of Stucky’s Lutosławski treatise was first published in1981—the first in English—and has since been re-issued in a paperback edition and this latest edition from 2009 explores further the legacy and life of music of Lutosławski. Stucky divides his analysis into five sections—The early years: Lutosławski to 1948; The dark years: 1949-54; The years of transition: 1955-60; The years of maturity: 1960-79, followed by an analysis of “Elements of the late style” and separate notes on the late works: Jeux venitiens, Trois poemes d’Henri Michaux, String Quartet, Paroles tisses, Second Symphony, Livre pour orchestre, Cello concerto, Preludes and Fugue, Les espaces du sommeil, and Mi-parti.
Many excerpts are generously illustrated and utilized throughout the biography to serve as examples of this master of music. An added bonus is a complete catalogue of the composer’s compositions, a exhaustive discography, and a bibliography which is quite extensive for further exploration by serious Lutosławski fans and scholars.
Of personal interest, Steven Stucky documents the relationship between the famous and great Polish composer and conductor, Grzegorz Fitelberg, who helped jumpstart the music career of Lutosławski. Mentioned prominently is the fact that Fitelberg had been responsible for the first performances of the Symphonic Variations, First Symphony, Overture for Strings, Mała suita, and Trypyk sląski. Lutosławski enjoyed a performance of his Symphonic Variations that was broadcast over Polish Radio from Warsaw April 1939 and first publicly performed at the Wawel festival in Krakow by Grzegorz Fitelberg and the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (PRNSO) on June 17, 1939. When Fitelberg died on June 10, 1953, Lutosławski mourned his loss in a personal eulogy published within the pages of Muzyka and the weekly Przeglad kulturalny.
The interest and sympathy shown towards Lutosławski by Fitelberg was very similar to that of his close colleague and contemporary Karol Szymanowski, whose reputation Fitelberg helped establish as a famous conductor. Fitelberg, who had done so much to advance Szymanowski’s career, was likewise indispensable to Lutosławski in 1939. Himself a composer of renown, Fitelberg championed the cause of composers whose careers would not have otherwise received attention. As an influential conductor, Fitelberg exposed audiences to performances of contemporary music both in Poland and abroad worldwide. Fitelberg promoted Lutosławski with, as Zygmunt Mycieliski is quoted as stating, “as much understanding, effort and intensity as he did introducing Karlowicz or the Third Symphony of Szymanowski.” Fitelberg and Lutosławski enjoyed a mutual admiration and appreciation for each other that was unsurpassed amongst colleagues and contemporaries.
Stucky’s book confirms Fitelberg’s role in historical context by stating, “Nowadays it is difficult to imagine in what an unfriendly environment everyone worked then, how little chance contemporary music had in Poland at this time. Fitelberg, however, recognized Lutosławski’s genius, and he is reported to have announced after the premiere of the Symphonic Variations, “Listen, this is a real master!. . . You have to be born a musician to write this way. His scores. . . . are a pleasure to hold in one’s hand: it’s not just notes, it’s music!” This kind of encouragement helped Lutosławski through a very difficult period.
One cannot recount briefly all of the numerous contributions to classical music and culture made by the late composer Witold Lutosławski. Anyone with further interest in Lutosławski is strongly urged to examine Steven Stucky’s tremendous work of research and scholarship.
The Music of Lutosławski (3rd Edition)
By Charles Bodman Rae
Omnibus Press OP48072
Witold Lutosławski is widely accepted as one of the foremost composers of the post-war era and is one of the great musicians of the 20th century. Lutosławski is also perhaps the greatest Polish composer since Szymanowski.
Charles Bodman Rae’s examination of Lutosławski’s life and work draws on wide ranging and meticulous research, including hours of recorded conversation with the composer himself. Now expanded for this third edition to include an additional chapter Derwid (the pseudonym of the composer for some of his compositions) as well as many more photographs, The Music of Lutosławski is an absorbing study of the man and his music. Rae is unquestionably a true scholar on expert on Lutosławski.
The author notes in the beginning of the preface to the third edition as follows:
“The first edition of the book (published by Faber and Faber, at the beginning of 1994) was written and completed while the composer was still busy composing. When I showed him the draft of the text, in order to verify some basic biographical details, he remarked, jokingly, that all the book seemed to lack was a photograph of his grave at Powazki Cemetery in Warsaw . Little could one have known, least of all the composer himself, that only months later he would be diagnosed with a cancer which, in the space of just a few short weeks, would ravage his body and end his life.”
At the conclusion of the preface to the first edition, the author writes:
While this book was actually being printed tragic news came from Warsaw. Witold Lutosławski died at 10 p.m. on Monday the 7th of February 1994 – aged eighty-one.
We have lost one of the greatest creative artists of our time.
The significant research by Rae has garnered rave reviews:
“Surely the delimitative work on the subject for a very long time to come.” —Michael Kennedy : The Daily Telegraph
“Rae’s insights, both personal and professional, rank him amongst the most eminent Lutosławski scholars.” —Douglas Rust, Current Musicology ( USA )
“…from the friendship that grew between Lutosławski and Rae over the last twelve years [of Lutosławski’s life of music] much can be brought to light that supports a deeper understanding of the meticulous architect of some of the most important concert pieces of the past 30 years.”—Patric Standford, The Times Higher
“The book has a profound feel for the Polish cultural and historical background of the composer, uncovering hitherto little known facts about his life. The concepts and new analytical perspectives included in this book provide important insights and guide the interpretations and understanding of Lutosławski’s complete output.” —Zbigniew Skowron, Polish Academy of Sciences periodical Muzyka
On a personal note…
Grzegorz Fitelberg, famous Polish conductor, first of the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and later of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) propagated and promoted the career of the promising composer Witold Lutosławski early on, both pre-and post-WWII, as he did for so many young unknown composers. Three symphonic works by Lutosławski received their World Premiere with conductor Grzegorz Fitelberg.
- Lutosławski’s Symphonic Variations (1936-38) received its premiere performance during a broadcast by the PNRSO, under the baton of Grzegorz Fitelberg from Warsaw during April 1939.
- Lutosławski’s Symphony, No. 1 (1941-47) received its premiere performance in Katowice with the PRNSO, under the baton of conductor Grzegorz Fitelberg on April 6, 1948. This composition is dedicated by Lutosławski to Fitelberg as a special tribute to their close affiliation.
- Lutosławski’s Trypyk sląski[Silesian Triptych] for soprano and orchestra (1951) received a premiere performance in Warsaw on December 2, 1951 with soprano Maria Drewniakowna and the PRNSO led once again by the eminent and famous conductor Grzegorz Fitelberg.
Charles Bodman Rae (born 1955) is a composer and pianist. After private piano studies with Fanny Waterman, he pursued undergraduate and graduate music studies at Cambridge with Robert Holloway, while concurrently studying composition in Oxford with Robert Sheslaw Johnson. At the age of 23, Rae was appointed to a scholarship at the City of Leeds College of Music, where he taught composition and analysis. In 1951, he was awarded a two-year post-graduate scholarship in composition by the Polish government, which enabled him to live and work in Warsaw attached to the Chopin Academy of Music. After returning to Leeds, he was appointed Head of School of Creative Studies. Rae is currently Director of Studies at the Royal Southern College of Music. He is married to the Polish actress Danuta Kwiatkowska. They have one daughter.
‘Nad grobem Grzegorza Fitelberg’ [At the grave of Grzegorz Fitelberg]. Przeglad kulturalny 2, no. 24 91953)
‘O Gregorzu Fitelbergu’ [About Grzegorz Fitelberg]. Muzyka 5, no. 7-8, pgs. 26-33 (1954)
Gary Fitelberg is a Polish-American author, biographer, historian, music critic and musicologist specializing in the Fitelberg family musicians, Young Poland [Młoda Polska], Polish –Jewish musicians, and exiled and forgotten musicians.
Wieniawski Competition Results
On October 22, the results of the 2011 International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition were announced and a gala performance of the prize winners was held at the A. Mickiewicz University Auditorium in Poznań. Organized by the Wieniawski Society of Poznań, this year marks the 14th edition of the Wieniawski Violin Competition, which has been held since 1952.
- Erzhan Kulibaev (Kazakhstan)
- Aylen Pritchin (Russia)
- Arata Yumi (Japan)
- Maxim Vengerov’s special prize (12 individual lessons) – Maria Włoszczowska (Poland)
Serocki Composers’ Competition Results
From 30th September to 2nd of October 2011 in Radziejowice Palace near Warsaw, the Jury Meeting of the Kazimierz Serocki 12th International Composers’ Competition took place. 39 scores had been submitted to the Competition’s from all over the world. Five of the originally submitted works were eliminated because they did not comply with the rules.
After careful examination of the submitted scores, the Jury—comprised of Dan Yuhas – Chairman (Israel), Ramon Anthin (Sweden), Stephen Lias (USA) and Indra Riše (Latvia)—decided to award the following prizes:
- First Prize (15.000PLN) went to Adriano Gaglianello (Italy) for Aldebaràn
- Second Prize (10.000PLN) went to Alastair Greig (UK) for L’ombre des arbres...
- Third Prize (5.000PLN) went to Guy Olivier Ferla (France) for Aux Ombres De MARIACKI
PWM Edition’s Special Prize for the Youngest Winner—a set of Polish contemporary music scores—went to First Prize winner, Adriano Gaglianello.
The winning compositions will be performed on 17th of November 2011 in Polish Radio Lutosławski Concert Hall, at a special concert organized by Polish Section of the ISCM – Polskie Towarzystwo Muzyki Współczesnej, the European Penderecki Centre for Music and Polish Radio Channel 2.
Prizes were funded by The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the ZAiKS Authors’ Society.
“Mostly American” & Skrowaczewski Premiere
By Gary Fitelberg
Stanisław Skrowaczewski (right) was the featured composer when his Music for Winds was superbly performed by the USC Thornton Wind Ensemble under the baton of Conductor H. Robert Reynolds. The World Premiere concert performance entitled “Mostly American” took place on Sunday, October 30, 2011 in USC’s Bovard Auditorium.
According to his biography from the evening’s program, Stanisław Skrowaczewski began his career as a music prodigy:
At age four he began to play piano and violin, at seven he composed his first symphonic work, at 11 he performed his first piano recital, and two years later he directed and performed as soloist in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3. After World War II injury to his hand ended his career as a pianist, Skrowaczewski concentrated on composing and conducting. He studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris and became a member of the avant-garde group Zodiac. He had been music director of several orchestras in his native Poland, before, as a relative unknown in the U.S., he succeeded Antal Dorati as Music Director of the Minneapolis Symphony in 1960, holding that post until 1979. He continued to compose throughout and following his tenure there, in addition to accepting significant positions with other orchestras, earning international acclaim and recognition especially for his works for large orchestra.
During the concert Conductor H. Robert Reynolds pointed out that the piece will be the centerpiece and foundation for the future of wind ensemble concert repertoire and that the key to understanding this subtle but strong composition lies in the quiet notes played at the very beginning by the celesta and clarinet. One could see the joy and pride he exuded as he introduced both the composer and composition with a big smile.
Skrowaczewski provided the following introductory notes for this composition:
For Music for Winds I was commissioned by a consortium of nine orchestras in four countries (the U.S., Germany, Austria, and Japan). The initiator of this project is Dr. Frederick Harris*, director of the wind orchestra at MIT in Boston. He knew that I had long since wanted to write a kind of symphony or concerto for winds, or more precisely symphonic winds, the wind instruments that appear in the symphonies of the 19th to 21st centuries, from Beethoven to Shostokovich and beyond. The repertoire for these instruments is rather scarce, compared to the great repertoire for strings, I added three saxophones, of which two are less common and less often played, soprano and baritone saxophone. They enrich the wind section by extending the possibilities of sound quality. And to that I brought in percussion, very gently along with piano celesta and harp.
This piece is both extraordinary and exquisite and can capture your heart, mind and soul.
Additionally, the concert featured the introspective Shadow of Sirius by composer Joel Puckett—a rather solemn yet optimistic piece inspired by the loss of a young child, and the healing poetry of W.S. Merwin by the same title. Also on the program were Lost Vegas by Michael Dougherty, a jazzy-classical composition filled with lively melodies, as well as William Schuman’s Chester Overture.
* Dr. Fred Harris is author of the biography of Stanisław Skrowaczewski, entitled Seeking the Infinite – The Musical Life of Stanisław Skrowaczewski.
Little Festival Of Polish Chamber Music
On October 14-15, the Little Festival of Polish Chamber Music was held at the Moscow State Conservatory. Polish musicians presented master chamber compositions by Polish composers Juliusz Zarębski, Witold Maliszewski, Grażyna Bacewicz and Krzysztof Penderecki, complemented by works by Russian greats Piotr Tchaikovsky and Igor Stravinsky.
The concert by Sinfonietta Cracovia orchestra under the baton of maestro Krzysztof Penderecki at the Piotr Tchaikovsky Moscow Conservatory, one of the most prestigious focal points of musical performance in the Russian capital, ended with a standing ovation, enthusiastic cheers and an encore. The concert opened the Small Festival of Polish Chamber Music, held on 14-15 October.
Well received Polish artists presented the Moscow audience with music that was interesting from both the point of view of performance and of the preparation of the programme. On the first day of the Festival, Sinfonietta Cracovia, led by Robert Kabara, who appeared also as a soloist for the viola concerto, perfectly performed the Chaconne and the aforementioned Concerto for Viola, Percussion and Celesta by Krzysztof Penderecki, the Concerto for String Orchestra by Grażyna Bacewicz, and Souvenir de Florence by Piotr Tchaikovsky, and encoring Wojciech Kilar’s Orawa.
On the second day, the leading Polish soloists of the younger generation: Janusz Wawrowski and Anna Maria Staśkiewicz (violin), Katarzyna Budnik- Gałązka (viola), Marcin Zdunik and Magdalena Bojanowicz (cello), in collaboration with Ewa Pobłocka (piano), presented Witold Maliszewski’s String Quintet, Igor Stravinsky’s Italian Suite (arranged for string quartet by Marcin Zdunik) and Juliusz Zarębski’s Piano Quintet in chamber groups specially created for the occasion.
Polish artists conquered the audience with their level of performance, commitment, energy and obvious joy of playing, showing the very best of our chamber music in a concise two-day festival.
The festival in Moscow was organised under the framework of the Polish Presidency of the European Union by the Kraków Industrial Society (KTP).
Szymanowski Qtet In Beijing
On October 15-16, Karol Szymanowski’s works were performed at Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music (CCoM) by the Szymanowski Quartet. The concert was combined with a symposium dedicated to Karol Szymanowski and Polish music of the twentieth century, with participation from both Chinese and Polish researchers. Taking part were experts from Poland – Dr. Marcin Gmys, a musicologist and music critic who collaborates with the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań as well as Dr. Agnieszka Chwiłek from the Musicology Institute at the University of Warsaw.
The Szymanowski Quartet was founded in 1995 in Warsaw and quickly became one of the most recognized international quartets of its generation. The group’s Polish and Urkrainian members—Andrej Bielow and Grzegorz Kotów, violins, Vladimir Mykytka, viola, and Marcin Sieniawski, cello—regularly perform at prestigious festivals world-wide and give concerts at concert halls across Europe, the US, Asia, Australia and South America. The group’s high musical standard is reflected in their many awards and distinctions, including being awarded first place at the Premio Vittorio Gui competition in Florence and at the In Memoriam Dimitri Schostakowitsch in Hanover. They were also prize-winners at the International Chamber Music competition in Osaka as well as the International Chamber Music Competition in Melbourne. In 2005 they were the only string quartet to be awarded the Karol Szymanowski Foundation in Warsaw award “for their particular craft in interpreting the music of Karol Szymanowski and their fantastic achievements on stages across the world.”
In addition to Beijing, the group’s series of concerts in Asia also included Taiwan (5-6th of October), Hong Kong (8-9th of October) and Tokyo (18th of October).
Urbaniak All-Stars At Nat’l Opera
On October 16, 2011 at Teatr Wielki-Polish National Opera in Warsaw, world-famous jazzman Michał Urbaniak and a group of prominent musicians from New York played just one concert, their first ever together, as part of the sixth BMW Jazz Club. Polish violinist Michał Urbaniak has worked with the world’s best jazz musicians—for example, he is the only violinist and the only Polish musician ever to perform with the international jazz guru Miles Davis.
During the sixth BMW Jazz Club, Urbaniak performed with New York musicians Maurice Brown, Don Blackman, Otto Williams, Troy Miller, and Femi Temowo. These guest artists wer a nod to the more discerning listeners as well as all novice enthusiasts of first-rate international jazz. As is usual with projects presented by the BMW Jazz Club, next to classic jazz standards the concert featured elements of many different genres: folk, fusion, groove, funky, and R&B. Urbaniak is famous for freely blending the sounds of Polish folk music with contemporary jazz.
Read a review in Polish at tvp.info.
Inaugural Concert Of European Music Centre
To mark the celebration of the International Day of Music, a special concert will took place on October 1, 2011 in Lusławice at the European Krzysztof Penderecki Music Centre, which is being constructed with EU funds. The date of the concert also falls on the sixth anniversary of the creation of this national cultural institution by the Polish Minister of Culture. The concert is co-organized by ZAiKS (Polish Association of Writers and Composers for the Stage)
The program of the special concert combines music by Krzysztof Penderecki, the Centre’s patron, as well as pieces by young Polish composers: Weronika Ratusińska and Dariusz Przybylski – both participants in the Promotional Program Young Composers in homage to Fryderyk Chopin. The four-year Program devoted to 13 young composers was operated by the Krzysztof Penderecki European Music Centre in 2007–2010 in collaboration with the Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP), the Embassy of Poland in France, the “Villa Decius” Association and the National Audiovisual Institute. The main aim of the Program was to help the artists and their works pass through the subsequent stages of promotion, from the best possible performance of their pieces to the release of their records.
The special concert in Lusławice was graced with the participation of the Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra, established by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage in 2007, with Maestro Penderecki on the conductor’s podium. The program includes the Concerto for cello and string orchestra by Weronika Ratusińska, Oneiros – a Concerto for violin and string orchestra by Dariusz Przybylski, as well as Symphony No 2 by Krzysztof Penderecki.
The Cello Concerto by Weronika Ratusińska included a solo performance by the eminent Polish artist, Professor Tomasz Strahl, to whom the composition is dedicated and who also premiered it. The solo part in Dariusz Przybylski’s violin concert was performed by the outstanding interpreter of contemporary music, Patrycja Piekutowska, whose recordings have won many international prizes including the Midem Classic Award in Cannes.
This special concert, held on the grounds of the Centre which is under construction, provided a great opportunity for young artists to present their music under the baton of Maestro Penderecki. This important cultural event was a part of the celebrations of the Polish Presidency of the European Council and opened a new chapter in the history of the European Krzysztof Penderecki Music Centre.
Urbanski Debuts As Indianapolis Music Director
The 2011/12 season marks the beginning of Krzysztof Urbański’s four-year Music Directorship of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, making him the youngest Music Director of any major North American orchestra. He performed the inaugural concerts of the performance season on September 16 and 17. During 2011/12 he will also begin his second season as Chief Conductor of Trondheim Symfoniorkester.
Entitled “Krzysztof Urbanski’s Debut,” his first concert as Music Director Designate at the Hilbert Circle Theater featured performances of the following Russian composers:
- Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (1804-1857) – Overture to Ruslan and Ludmila
- Piotr Ilych Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) – Piano Concerto No. 1
- Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) – Symphony No. 5
As is evidenced by the many testimonies posted on the website of the Polish Cultural Society of Indiana, the Polish-American community in Indiana is very proud that the ISO’s new Music Director Designate is a Polish-born, 28 year-old graduate of Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw, Poland. He already conducted the ISO with a great success in April and June, at the end of the 2010/11 season, having also conducted orchestras in Germany, France, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Singapore, England, and Chicago and Houston during the same tour. In addition to his duties at the ISO, Urbański became the first ISO director to serve on the faculty of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music when he started as an adjunct professor in the area of orchestral conducting for the Fall 2011 term.
For a full biography of the conductor, visit krzysztofurbanski.com.
New In Zieleński Opera Omnia Series
Mikołaj Zieleński Opera Omnia Vol.3 Offertoria Totius Anni 1611
Mikołaj Zieleński (ca. 1611): Afferentur Regi Domino; Gloria et Honore; Laetentur Omnes; Felix Namque Es; Factus Est Repente; Tanto Tempore; Assumpsit Jesus Petrum; Per Merita Sancti Adalberti; Ortus de Polonia; Igneum Ignati Iubar; Estuet Puris; Salve Festa Dies; Spiritus Sancti Gratia; Fulget in Choro Virginum; Domine ad Adiuvandum; Magnificat
Collegium Zieleński, Stanisław Gałoński – cond.
Mikołaj Zieleński (ca. 1611): Feci Iudicium; Visionem Quam Vidistis; Beatus Servus; Domus Mea; Viderunt Omnes Fines Terrae; Vox in Rama; Vos, Qui Secuti Estis Me; Pascha Nostrum Immolatus Est Christus; Per Signum Crucis; Quotiescumque Manducabitis; Be Ati Mundo Corde; Adoramus Te Christe; Haec Dies Quam Fecit Dominus; Surrexit Dominus; Ego Sum Pastor Bonus; Psallite Domino
Collegium Zieleński, Stanisław Gałoński – cond.
Mikołaj Zieleński Opera Omnia Vol. 6 Communiones Totius Anni 1611
Mikołaj Zieleński (ca. 1611): Benedicimus Deum Caeli; Spiritus Sanctus Docebit Vos; Spiritus Sanctus Docebit Vos; Tu Puer, Propheta Altissimi Vocaberis; Optimam Partem Elegit Sibi Maria; Levavi Oculos Meos In Montes; Domine Deus Meus; O Gloriosa Domina; In Monte Oliveti; Benedicimus Deum Caeli; Ipsum Benedicite; Vidimus Stellam Eius; Laetabitur Iustus In Domino; Magna Est Gloria Eius; Benedicite Omnes Angeli; Gaudete Iusti; Contere Domine Fortitudinem Inimicorum
Collegium Zieleński, Stanisław Gałoński – cond.
Penderecki For Horn & Violin
Radovan Vlatkovic – French horn, Robert Kabara – violin, Sinfonietta Cracovia, Krzysztof Penderecki – conductor
Channel Classics 30310 (SACD, released in Fall 2010)
Born This Month
- 1 November 1901 – Szymon LAKS , composer, violinist (d. 1986)
- 2 November 1876 – Eugeniusz MORAWSKI, composer, conductor (d. 1948)
- 3 November 1915 – Henryk JABŁOŃSKI, composer
- 4 November 1857 – Stanislaw NIEWIADOMSKI, composer (d. 1936)
- 6 November 1860 – Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI , pianist, composer, statesman (d. 1941)
- 23 November 1933 – Krzysztof PENDERECKI , composer, conductor
- 24 November 1932 – Andrzej KURYLEWICZ, composer, jazz pianist
- 24 November 1899 – Jan MAKLAKIEWICZ , composer, teacher (d. 1954)
- 26 November 1896 – Józef KOFFLER, composer (d. 1944)
- 27 November 1893 – Stanisław WIECHOWICZ, composer, choral conductor (d. 1963)
- 28 November 1928 – Jan FOTEK, composer
Died This Month
1 November 1947 – Władysław POWIADOWSKI, choral conductor, teacher (b.1865)
2 November 1929 – Stanisław BARCEWICZ, violinist, teacher (b.1858)
2 November 1881 – Jan Nepomucen BOBROWICZ, guitarist (b.1805)
3 November 1888 – Józef BRZOZOWSKI, composer, cellist, conductor, teacher (b.1805)
5 November 1946 – Zygmunt STOJOWSKI , composer, pianist, teacher (b. 1870)
9 November 1856 – Aleksander MARTIN, composer, violist (b. 1856)
11 November 1912 – Józef WIENIAWSKI, pianist, teacher, composer (b.1837)
15 November 1853 – Józef NIEDZIELSKI, voice and violin teacher (b.1793)
15 November 1986 – Aleksander TANSMAN , composer, conductor, pianist (b. 1897)
14 November 1860 – Feliks NOSKOWSKI, pianist, teacher (b.1874)
26 November 1855 – Adam MICKIEWICZ, romantic poet, texts used by many composers (b.1798)