Polish Music Newsletter Vol. 19, no. 8
Paderewski’s Home Resonates With Music: 2013 Paderewski Cultural Exchange in review
by Marek Zebrowski
The third biennial installment of the Cultural Exchange Program between the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles, California and the Province of Tarnów, Poland was held during the last 10 days of June 2013 in Paderewski’s former manor house in Kąśna Dolna. Two 13-year old pianists from California’s Central Coast—Daniel Ha and Jack Raventos—travelled to Poland to participate in an intensive program of piano workshops, master classes, and chamber music sessions. Cellist Lars Hoefs, a USC Thornton School of Music graduate and current professor of cello at the University of Campinas in Brazil, joined pianist and PMC Director Marek Zebrowski in providing daily solo and chamber music instruction to participating young musicians.
In order to qualify for the program in Poland, the two students from areas near where Paderewski once owned land in California competed in the annual Paderewski Youth Piano Competition in Paso Robles. In addition to the young Californians, two finalists from Tarnów who took part in a series of locally-held piano master classes and competitions—Michał Niedbała (13) and Paulina Ostrowska (18)—also participated in this year’s Kąśna Dolna program. They were joined by two more students, Nazar Kozlyuk (16) and Olha Pokhvata (14), who arrived in Kąśna from the Ukrainian city of Khmilnyk, located about 15 miles from Ignacy Jan Paderewski’s birthplace of Kuryłówka.
After a week of lessons and rigorous practicing (pictured below), students from the three countries linked by Paderewski’s personal history presented a concert of solo works and chamber music to an overflowing audience at the great pianist’s former manor house. The gala event was held on June 29, commemorating the seventy-second anniversary of Paderewski’s death.
Jack Raventos opened the June 29 program with assured performances of Haydn’s Sonata No. 47 and Chopin’s Grande Valse Brillante, Op. 18. He was followed by Olha Pokhvata’s intimate interpretations of Chopin’s Mazurka Op. 67 and Pashchenko’s Polonaise in Memory of Taras Shevchenko. In turn, Michał Niedbała gave elegant readings of Mozart’s celebrated Ah! Vous dirai-je Maman Variations and Chopin’s “Minute” Waltz Op. 64. Next, Nazar Kozlyuk gave a solid reading of Bach’s Sinfonia BWV 789 and Tchaikovsky’s August from The Seasons. Daniel Ha continued the concert with sweeping readings of Paderewski’s Nocturne and the last movement of Ravel’s Sonatina. The solo part of the concert concluded with Paulina Ostrowska, who showed a wide palette of colors in Debussy’s Clair de lune and Beethoven’s stormy finale of the Moonlight Sonata.
The next section of the Exchange Program concert featured duets for piano 4-hands. Three groups of two students each presented selected movements from Robert Schumann’s Kinderball, Op. 130. Here Olha Pokhvata and Jack Raventos performed a charming Waltz, Paulina Ostrowska and Nazar Kozlyuk raced through a lively Ecossaise, and Michał Niedbała and Daniel Ha closed the piano duet segment with the sweet Française.
The June 29 program then continued with a chamber music section presented in collaboration with cellist Lars Hoefs. The six movements of Heitor Villa-Lobos’ Pequena Suite provided an opportunity for each of the six young pianists to accompany Mr. Hoefs in the consecutive sections of the Suite: Romancette, Legendaria, Harmonias soltas, Fugato all’antica, Melodia, and Gavotte-Scherzo.
After a brief intermission, Mr. Hoefs was joined by Marek Zebrowski for a program of intimate music for cello and piano. Stojowski’s Romance sans paroles was followed by Karłowicz’s Serenade and Różycki’s Nocturne Op. 30 no. 2. The Hoefs/Zebrowski duo closed on a very rarely-heard virtuoso firework potpourri written by the duo of Chopin-Franchomme, entitled Grand duo concertant sur des thèmes de Robert le diable, based on themes from Meyerbeer’s opera.
A day later, the same program was repeated at the Kino Baszta Auditorium in the charming town of Czchów, about 20 miles west of Kąśna Dolna. This concert was co-organized by the Unified Music School in Domosławice and the town of Czchów, represented by Director Kazimierz Wojnicki and Mayor Marek Chudoba. All performers were treated to an elegant lunch before the Sunday afternoon concert, hosted by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Czchów. The expansion of the Cultural Exchange Program to Czchów is a development welcomed by all parties who participated in planning and executing this event.
Besides lots of daily piano and chamber music practicing and rehearsing, a few official receptions and sightseeing trips were planned. Roman Łucarz, the new supervisor of the Province of Tarnów, welcomed the official delegation representing the Board and sponsors of the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles at an elegant dinner at the Galicja Restaurant in Ciężkowice on Wednesday, June 26. This dinner was also attended by long-time co-organizers of the Exchange, Krystyna Szymańska (Director of the Paderewski Center Tarnów/Kąśna Dolna) and Ryszard Żądło (Head of the Office of Culture and Promotion for the Province of Tarnów).
The following day, the official delegation from Paso was taken on a sightseeing trip to the Castle of Łańcut. The American visitors were able to learn some Polish history and spend an afternoon travelling through the picturesque region of southeastern Poland.
Friday, June 28, was devoted entirely to sightseeing. At precisely 9 a.m., Ryszard Żadło accompanied by a friendly driver arrived at Kąśna Dolna on a large mini-bus provided by the Province of Tarnów and welcomed all 14 visitors aboard. In spite of rather rainy weather, spirits were high. Frequent downpours were less of a concern since the itinerary began with the Bochnia salt mine (pictured at right, with Daniel Ha), which opened in 1248 and operates to this day. Taken in two shifts by service lifts about 1500 feet underground, the group visited this fascinating and very historical place for almost 3 hours.
From Bochnia, the mini-bus navigated a few miles of narrow roads leading to the town of Nowy Wiśnicz. The view of the town is dominated by a 14th century castle, surrounded by fortifications. Extensively renovated in the mid-1600s by the Lubomirski family, the castle had a serious fire in 1831 and was gradually rebuilt only during the past fifty years. The tour guide provided many interesting details about the castle’s history, the many lavish banquets, and the royalty who liked to visit this imposing place. A quick lunch in a restaurant in the center of town provided much-needed sustenance before continuing on the sightseeing trail.
The clouds began to break up when the group arrived at the next attraction: tea and cakes at the “Bacówka” in a hamlet of Jamna. Located on top of a mountain, this charming wooden structure is a place where hikers and tourists can shelter overnight. Built in a traditional highlander style, the once modest shack used by shepherds only during the summer months is now a hostel with a café and a large terrace. The owners served tea, coffee and several trays of freshly-baked apple charlotte cakes, too delicious to describe! Following a local custom, the adults were offered shots of vodka as well, so that by the time everybody arrived at Kąśna for supper, the spirits were unquestionably high.
The last day of the Cultural Exchange Program was devoted to a master class and sound check at the manor house for all performers in preparation for the final recital described earlier in this article. In the meantime, the official delegation visited the nearby town of Ciężkowice for sightseeing and shopping.
Monday July 1 was a day of farewells. Right after breakfast everybody thanked Witold and Kasia Baran, the charming and helpful staff at the manor house in Kąśna, and boarded cars for a trip to Tarnów. This truly charming and elegant city is the administrative seat of the Province. Morning rounds of the Old Market Square with its Renaissance Town Hall ended with a press conference at the Province of Tarnów Assembly Hall. Attended by all participants in the Exchange Program, the session was chaired by Supervisor Roman Łucarz. By early afternoon, two students from Khmilnyk, Olha and Nazar, and their chaperone, Lyudmila Naumova, departed for the Polish-Ukrainian border, where they would be collected and transported another 250 miles east to Khmilnyk.
At the same time, the American group was taken in two cars to Kraków. Members of the official delegation and the two students—Jack Raventos and Daniel Ha, together with Jack’s father, were installed at the Europejski Hotel. Lars Hoefs and Marek Zebrowski were hosted by the Paderewski Institute of Musicology and welcomed by Director Andrzej Sitarz. After getting settled in, everybody went for an afternoon sightseeing of Kraków’s Old Town. The weather was excellent with sunny skies and hot temperatures and everybody was overwhelmed by the great beauty of Kraków.
The last performance of the Exchange Program took place on July 2 at the Institute of Musicology. This venerable institution is a division of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, one of the oldest universities in the world. Dr. Andrzej Sitarz introduced the program and provided a historical overview of Paderewski’s ties to the Jagiellonian University and its cooperation with the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles and the Cultural Exchange Program. Then it was time for music, this time featuring Daniel Ha, Jack Raventos, and Michał Niedbała, performing solo, then piano 4-hands repertoire, and closing with performance with Lars Hoefs. The concert ended with the program of Stojowski, Karłowicz, Różycki and Chopin presented by Lars Hoefs and Marek Zebrowski.
The afternoon concert was just a prelude to another important item on the visitors’ agenda: the Independence Day celebration, organized by the U.S. Consulate in Kraków on July 2. As the sun slowly began to set, the Exchange Program participants travelled in two taxis to Kopiec Kościuszki (pictured at left), an old fort at the foot of a large, man-made mound on the outskirts of town.
The newly-renovated 19th century fort with ramparts, courtyards and many interesting spaces was a great location for a lavish party. It was attended by the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Poland, Stephen Mull, and co-hosted by Consul General of the U.S. in Kraków, Ellen Germain. The delegation was able to meet with the Ambassador and Consul General and present them with some souvenirs from Paso Robles. With the evening skies slowly turning inky-blue, the Independence Day fireworks lit up the night sky. It was an occasion to remember and everyone retired for the night looking forward to a full day of sightseeing ahead.
July 3 was another sunny and hot day. Although seeing Kraków in its full splendor took a whole day, many important sights were still left unexplored. After breakfast, the American visitors stopped for a tour of Paderewski’s Library at the Institute of Musicology, given by Justyna Szombara, the chief researcher in charge of the archives.
Following signing the guestbook and commemorative photos near the Paderewski monument (bravo Kristen!), the visitors walked through the Planty—an old moat turned to a park in the 1800s—following in the footsteps of Paderewski, who had many ties to this historic city. The group stopped briefly by the National Theatre, where Paderewski’s close friend and mentor, actress Helena Modrzejewska (known as “Modjeska” in the U.S.), had once performed.
A short walk from there through the St. Florian’s gate led the group to the Grunwald Monument, a 1910 gift to Kraków by Paderewski to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Grunwald-Tannenberg, where Polish and Lithuanian army defeated the Teutonic Knights.
Lunch at the elegant Saski Hotel was a quick side-trip to a bygone lifestyle. An excellent prix-fixe menu was delicious and very reasonably priced. Thus encouraged, the group moved on to see a variety of churches on the way to the Royal Castle, located at the opposite end of the Old Town. The Castle is a conglomeration of many buildings and interesting sites. It was decided that the visit to the Royal Chapel and climbing up the famous bell tower would be the best use of the remaining time that afternoon. Besides the resplendent interior of the Chapel, where since 1300s Polish kings were buried, the visitors also toured the crypts, where many distinguished Poles have been laid to rest. They include poets Adam Mickiewicz and Juliusz Słowacki, as well as political leaders, including Józef Piłsudski, Władysław Sikorski, and Lech Kaczyński.
After enjoying an exhilarating climb up the bell tower and admiring beautiful vistas of Kraków, the group retired for much-needed refreshments on the Wawel Castle plaza. Before leaving, some photos were taken of the Vistula River that rounds the hill on which the Castle is located. An evening meal at the Wawelska Restaurant nearby, featuring Polish delicacies of all kinds was the closing event of the 2013 Cultural Exchange Program in Poland. The next morning the remaining Paderewski Festival board members and the Central Coast students with their indefatigable chaperone, Joe Raventos, boarded their flights at Kraków airport.
It has been a third installment of this unique program that binds the cities and communities once touched by Paderewski’s presence. The good-will and friendly cooperation of the Supervisor and leaders of the Province of Tarnów, the hospitality and generosity of the Paderewski Center in Tarnów/Kąśna Dolna and its Director, and the collaboration between the School of Arts and City of Khmilnyk and the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles continue to blossom. We are looking forward to welcoming our Polish and Ukrainian friends on California’s Central Coast in 2014 and are already counting the days until the next installment of American guests will travel to Poland in summer of 2015!
New Donations to the PMC
‘Polish Violin Music’ is an all-Polish recording featuring violinist Kinga Augustyn and pianist Efi Hackmey— the 2012 gala performers at the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles—with mostly unknown violin works by Zarzycki, Noskowski, Drożdżewski, H.M. Górecki, Paderewski, Lutosławski and Lipiński. The PMC has received 2 copies of this excellent recording, released by Naxos Records on June 1, 2013.
A gift from Sławomir Dobrzański, pianist and Szymanowska scholar …
‘Maria Szymanowska: Complete Piano Works’ is the first ever recording of the complete piano works of Polish pianist-composer Maria Szymanowska. In addition to performing on the album, excellent program notes for the CD booklet were provided by Sławomir P. Dobrzański , who also authored the first English-language monograph about Szymanowska (Polish Music History Series, Vol. 9). The CD was released in May 2013 by Acte Préalable as a 3 CD album, which now resides in the PMC collection.
The book Losy Polaków na ziemi kirowogradzkiej (ed. A. Polaczok i J. Szymonek, Kirowograd 2008) is a fascinating discussion of the challenges facing the Poles who lived in territories that became the Ukraine. This book features previously heretofore unknown information and pictures of composer Karol Szymanowski, as well as his family and friends, during his formative years in the Ukraine.
A gift from Karol Radziwonowicz, pianist and Paderewski scholar …
‘Chopin: The Space Concert’ is a commemorative recording that was carried on the US space shuttle Endeavour during STS-130, a 15 day mission to the International Space Station that took place on the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth. The choice of Chopin’s music was made by the mission’s commander, Col. George D. Zamka, in honor of his Polish-American heritage. On the disc, Chopin’s works are performed by pianist Karol Radziwonowicz with, on certain tracks, the Sinfonia Viva Orchestra and conductor Tomasz Radziwonowicz. The elegant packaging of ‘Chopin: The Space Concert’ features beautiful photographs and personal reflections from space. The single disc recording was released on May 10, 2013 by EMI Poland and given personally to the PMC by Mr. Radziwonowicz, who will serve as the gala performer at the 2013 Paderewski Festival.
A gift from Delos Records…
‘My Polish Diary’ represents the personal musical journey of emerging pianist Kiryl Keduk. Born in Belarus, Keduk has been a pupil of Waldemar Wojtal at the Music Academy in Gdańsk and Piotr Paleczny at the Frederic Chopin University of Music in Warsaw; he will soon join the International Artist Diploma Course at the Royal Northern College of Music. In his debut CD, Keduk offers a well-chosen program of highly worthwhile yet rarely heard works by five Polish composers spanning several generations: Chopin, Zarębski, Szymanowski, Paderewski, and Lutosławski. This fascinating program is a welcome addition to the PMC collection.
Thank you to all of our donors, for the generosity and goodwill that you show to the Polish Music Center. Dziękujemy!
Lutosławski Featured At Berliner Festspiele
Running from August 30 – September 19, 2013, the program of this year’s Berliner Festspiele/Musikfest Berlin will include eight works by Witold Lutosławski: Chain II (Aug. 31), Musique funèbre (Sept. 4), Concerto for Orchestra (Sept. 6), Symphony No. 2 (Sept. 7-8), Venetian Games (Sept. 8), Les espaces du sommeil (Sept. 9), Symphony no. 4 (Sept. 12-14), and Mi-parti (Sept. 15-16).
The solo parts of these works will be performed by violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter (lelft) and baritone Matthias Goerne. The superb orchestras from around the world who will perform the works of this great master include the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Philharmonia Orchestra London, Berliner Philharmoniker, and Staatskapelle Berlin, led by such world renown conductors as Daniele Gatti, Mariss Jansons, Ilan Volkov, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Alan Gilbert, Daniel Barenboim, and Manfred Honeck.
A detailed program of events may be found at: www.berlinerfestspiele.de
Lutosławski On Gramophone Awards Shortlist
Paul Watkins, cello; BBC Symphony Orchestra; Edward Gardner, cond.
Chandos CHSA 5106
The Chandos recording of ‘Lutosławski: Orchestral Works Vol. III’ has made the Gramophone Awards shortlist in the ‘Concerto’ category. The Shortlist is comprised of 66 recordings chosen by Gramophone critics. On August 27, Gramophone will reveal the 11 recordings that have been voted the best in category. Three weeks later – on September 17 – one of those 11 will be named Recording of the Year at an event in London, which will also reveal the Gramophone Artist of the Year, Young Artist of the Year, Label of the Year and the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award.
All recordings on the Shortlist are available for special pricing at www.bathcds.co.uk.
Zimerman To Perform At Warsaw Autumn
In a press release presented jointly by Tadeusz Wielecki – Director of the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music, Wojciech Nowak – Deputy Director of the National Philharmonic, and Andrzej Kosowski – Director of the Institute of Music and Dance, it was announced on July 3 that pianist Krystian Zimerman will make a rare appearance in Poland to perform at the 2013 Warsaw Autumn Festival (September 20-28). The rest of the schedule of this year’s Festival is available at warszawska-jesien.art.pl/wj2013.
Below is the text of the press release:
World-renowned pianist Krystian Zimerman will be arriving to Poland to perform a single concert at the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music. He will mark the centenary of Witold Lutosławski’s birth playing the composer’s Piano Concerto on 22 September 2013 at the Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, exactly on the 25th anniversary of the piece’s Polish premiere.
Krystian Zimerman is one of the world’s most prominent pianists, with a successful career lasting incessantly since his win at the International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1975. For the last few months the artist has been touring the globe performing Lutosławski’s Piano Concerto with the world’s top orchestras, including in London, Paris or Berlin. Asked about the piece, in a January interview Zimerman said: “The text is the same, the music is the same, yet I see so many new details which I didn’t see back then. Perhaps that is because I were [sic] in the midst of it all. You say that music is a reflection of the soul – and it is indeed. Now you can hear all the tensions of the 1980s: the martial law, everything that happened afterwards, the decline, practically a decomposition of our country, lasting until 1988 and finally the political transformation of 1989. The concert is a reflection of this whole period. It is extremely dramatic, extremely sad, full of incredible energy. Something I’ve never felt so acutely before.” (interview for RMF Classic, January 2013)
The Warsaw concert will be Krystian Zimerman’s only performance in Poland on his international tour. It will take place on 22 September (7.30 pm) with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra under Jacek Kaspszyk. After the Concerto, Zimerman will play Lutosławski’s Symphony No. 3, recreating the programme performed by the pianist at Warsaw Autumn exactly 25 years ago under the direction of Witold Lutosławski himself, who wrote the Concerto for Zimerman specifically. Also just like 25 years ago, after the concert the artists will meet with the audience.
The concert will be part of the 56th Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music and is organised by the Polish Composers’ Union, Warsaw Philharmonic and the Institute of Music and Dance in Warsaw, which have been arranging for the performance to happen for a couple of months. “I’m very happy that Krystian Zimerman has kindly accepted our invitation to perform this one and only concert in Poland,” says Andrzej Kosowski, representative of the Polish culture minister for the Lutosławski Year. “We’ve been holding private talks with the artist since his January concert in London, on which occasion he thrilled the thousands gathered in the audience with a phenomenal rendition of Lutosławski’s Piano Concerto together with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Esa Pekka-Salonen. The Lutosławski Year could not go without this outstanding artist playing in Poland.”
New Kilar Documentary
A new documentary by Violetta Rotter-Kozera and Zdzisław Sowiński focused on the subject of Wojciach Kilar has been released by TVP Katowice. Entitled Wojciech Kilar. Credo, the film focuses on Kilar’s life and work as well as his creative and personal choices.
Unique and heretofore unpublished materials from the composer’s private collection were featured in two premiere presentations of the film in June 2013. The first, on June 11 was held in Kilar’s hometown of Katowice. The June 19 presentation was held at the Jasna Góra monastery, also one of the locations where the film was shot. Other locations in the film include the cities of Lwów, Worochta, Paris and Seville. The film took over a year to complete.
More information and a 9 minute sampling of the film can be seen at www.youtube.com.
New Polish Recordings Added To Youtube
Violinist Kinga Augustyn, last year’s Paderewski Festival Gala performer (pictured above), has recently added video clips of several Polish works to her Youtube channel. Based on repertoire from her latest recording of “Polish Violin Muisc” (Naxos 9.70192), included are such unknown works as Alexander Zarzycki’s Introduction and Cracovienne, Op. 35 and Piotr Drożdżewski’s Caprice No. 1 “Lipinski” and Capice No. 2 “Paganini”, as well as the beloved Faust Fantasy of Henryk Wieniawski. The recordings are from a live performance on July 21, 2013 during the Sevenars Festival in Worthington, MA by Augustyn and pianist Jacek Mysinski.
[Sources: press release, kingaaugustyn.com]
The 3rd annual Transatlantyk International Film and Music Festival will be held in Poznań from August 2-9, 2013. The Festival features outstanding films and music from all around the world, hundreds of screenings and numerous concerts, as well as legendary and young artists, representatives from all film and music professions. Transatlantyk is intended to be a new artistic platform aimed at building a stronger relationship between society, art and the environment through music and movies. It strives to inspire discussions on current social issues. Transatlantyk will be Glocal (local in actions and identity, while at the same time global in terms of understanding the consequences and context of its actions) and Open.
At this year’s Festival, international artist Yoko Ono will receive the 2013 Transatlantyk Glocal Hero Award – in honor of her activism for world peace and her dedication to environmental and social issues. On August 7, Ono and guitarist Thurston Moore (founder of Sonic Youth) will give their first-ever Polish performance as a part of the Festival. Another special concert will celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Varèse Sarabande, one of the biggest record labels specializing in film music, on August 4. Robert Townson, the producer responsible for the worldwide success of Varèse Sarabande will be the guest of honor, and flutist Sara Andon will lead the orchestra in symphonic suites from such films as Driving Miss Daisy, The Matrix, Shrek and How to Train Your Dragon, among the greatest hits from the repertoire of Varèse Sarabande.
Thanks to the influence of Academy Award-winning composer Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, who is the Founder and Director of the Festival, another important musical component of the Festival is the Composition Competitions. On August 6, the 2013 Transatlantyk Instant Composition Contest will take place, during which participants must compose a live solo piano piece to pair with a short film immediately after having watched it. An international jury— composed of Leszek Możdżer, chairman and internationally renowned pianist and arranger; Peter Golub, composer and Director of the Sundance Film Music Program; and Dave Porter, composer of the music for the television series Breaking Bad—will determine the winner, who will receive 30 000 PLN (approx. $10,000 USD). On August 7, the 2013 Transatlantyk Young Composer Film Compeition will be determined by a jury led by Jan A.P. Kaczmarek. The task for participants in this year’s Competition was to compose the music for two short films: The Third Miracle (4 min.), directed by Agnieszka Holland, and Pigeon Impossible (6 min., animation), directed by Lucas Martell. This year’s First Prize winner will receive 60 000 PLN (approx. $20,000 USD), and one of the ten finalists will receive an additional special prize: a publishing contract with Sony ATV. The winners of both Competitions will be presented during the Closing Gala of the Festival on August 8, 2013.
Aukso Summer Festival
From August 3-10, 2013, the AUKSO Chamber Orchestra will present a week of concerts during the fourteenth annual Wigry Festival, held in the picturesque lake region of northeastern Poland. The August 3 concert, presenting works by Lutosławski and Beethoven at the Cathedral of St Alexander in Suwałki, will be led by AUKSO Artistic Director Marek Moś (pictured at right).
Subsequent concerts will take place in various venues in the area, giving local people the opportunity to experience classical music. Works by Lutosławski, Górecki, Beethoven, Schubert and others will be heard in such localities as Maćkowa Ruda, Sejny and Suwałki, among others. In addition to the AUKSO Orchestra, this year’s performerss include flutist Jadwiga Kotnowska, Lithuanian harpist Giedré Šiaulyté, and vocalist Dorota Miśkiewicz.
This year’s festival is dedicated to Witold Lutosławski and, apart from his best-known works, the program will also feature his lighter pieces written under the pseudonym “Derwid.” Another attraction includes a meeting with Lutosławski’s stepson, Marcin Bogusławski.
Chopin & His Europe Festival
The 9th International Music Festival CHOPIN AND HIS EUROPE will be held from August 15 – September 1, 2013. Featuring several concerts held each day in venues around Warsaw, the theme of this year’s Festival is “From Chopin to Lutosławski.” The Festival is organized by the National Chopin Institute in cooperation with The City of Warsaw and Polish Radio Channel 2.
This year’s Festival will highlight masterpieces of the romantic repertoire interpreted on period instruments; music of the 19th century juxtaposed with the great composers of the 20th century; works by such Polish composers as Chopin, Nowakowski, Janiewicz, Moniuszko, Szymanowski, Penderecki, Górecki and Lutosławski, among others; as well as legendary interpretations and interesting debuts by internationally renowned soloists and ensembles from around the world.
For a full schedule of all performers and programs, visit chopin.nifc.pl/festival.
Every year, the Jewish cultural festival Warszawa Singera [Singer’s Warsaw] invites the most eminent representatives of the Jewish culture from countries around the world, including: Israel, USA, Sweden, Holland, France, Belgium, Canada, Denmark and Hungary. Connecting tradition and modernity by presenting the culture of the pre-war Jewish shtetl juxtaposed with contemporary art inspired by Jewish motifs, the Singer’s Warsaw Festival has been demonstrating for years that Jewish culture is very rich and alive, and fully embraces the contemporary world. From August 24 until September 1, 2013, during this year’s jubilee edition, audiences will have the opportunity to take part in a real artistic feast in venues throughout Warsaw.
As for musical performances at the Festival, the All Saints’ Church will host trumpet virtuoso Tomasz Stańko with the Kroke band and American musicians. The cantor Yaacov Lemmer will sing in the Nozyk Synagogue. Israeli cantor Dudu Fisher, known from his Broadway creation in Les Miserables, and Canadian jazz pianist and composer Ron Davis will perform. Back by audience popular demand, Joshua Nelson will return to Warsaw for more heartily received concerts. Held in Grzybowski Square, the festival’s grand finale concert will be performed by The Other Europeans and the stars of this year’s Festival. The Other Europeans is a world famous group of 14 distinguished musicians connected with the Yiddish and the Lautari cultures. In addition to concerts, there will be presentations in theatre, film, literature and the visual arts throughout the 10-day Festival.
‘Wawel At Dusk’ Festival
On Saturdays throughout July and August at Wawel Castle in Kraków, the sixth edition of the ‘Wawel at Dusk’ Festival is being celebrated. On July 6, the Festival was launched with a concert commemorating the Lutosławski centenary. In addition to Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra, the program also included Górecki’s Piano Concerto and ‘…on the riverside, ner neshama’ for symphony orchestra by Roman Czura (b. 1989), a work commissioned by the festival for the occasion. Pianist Anna Górecka was the featured soloist in her father’s concerto and conductor Jerzy Maksymiuk led CORda Cracovia Orchestra.
The Festival continued with a July 20 concert featuring works by Lutosławski, Antonio Passculli and Astor Piazzolla. Other concerts on July 27 and August 17 will feature vocal music by Chopin and Moniuszko, and compositions by Andrzej Panufnik. The concluding concert of the Festival will celebrate Krzysztof Penderecki’s 80th birthday with a performance of his Concerto Grosso for Three Cellos and Ignacy Jan Paderewski’s Polish Fantasy. The soloists will include Aleksandra Lelek, Bartosz Koziak and Krzysztof Sadłowski, with Jerzy Maksymiuk leading the CORda Cracovia ensemble.
6th Edition Of The Summer ‘Nowe Miasto’ Festival
During 3 weekends from July 26 to August 11, the charming Warsaw district of Nowe Miasto will host 15 music related events. Organized by the Foundation for the New Music Orchestra (FNOK), the Festival includes outdoor educational concerts, guided neighborhood walks, chamber music concerts and Sunday concerts in local churches. For the youngest listeners the Festival offers sessions with The Young Philharmonic.
The festival Fridays will feature the vocal ensemble proMODERN, Opium String Quartet and the TWOgether Duo (winners of 2013 ‘Paszport Polityki’) will perform works by Warsaw composers. On Saturdays at the Rynek Główny of Nowe Miasto, folk ensemble Mosaic, the Trombastic quintet and the Merlo quartet will be heard. In addition, Karolina Paczyńska will lead the neighborhood tours.
The Festival Sunday concerts will feature Polish music from a variety of periods. The performers include the Radom Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Maciej Żółtowski, the early music ensemble Sabionetta, and the Warsaw Camerata orchestra conducted by Paweł Kos-Nowicki. During these concerts the audiences will hear the historical Polish music drawn from the Kancjonał Zamojski and Musica Claromontana, as well as more contemporary works by Grażyna Bacewicz, Mieczysław Karłowicz and Karol Szymanowski.
Szymanowski Fêted In His Beloved Zakopane
The 36th edition of the Days of Karol Szymanowski Festival was held in Zakopane from July 17-27, 2013. It celebrated music by Szymanowski, commemorated the centenary of Witold Lutosławski’s birth and also featured music by Mussorgsky, Rachmaninov, Paderewski, Brahms, Chopin, Albeniz, Karłowicz, Baird, Kilar, Laks, Palester, Bacewicz, Łuciuk, Twardowski, and Maliszewski.
The events were organized by the Karol Szymanowski Music Society together with the National Museum in Kraków, and partially financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage under the “Lutosławski 2013” program co-financed by the Institute of Music and Dance. The concerts took place at the newly-renovated Szymanowski Museum, Villa Atma, as well as Orski Gallery, Jasny Pałac and the Holy Cross Church.
‘From Chopin To Górecki’: Festival & Workshops
The concerts of the International Music Festival and Workshop ‘Od Chopina do Góreckiego. Źródła i inspiracje’ [From Chopin to Górecki. Sources and inspirations] was held July 16-27 at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw. The participants of the festival and workshops included over 60 young musicians from Austria, Belgium, Hong-Kong, South Korea, Turkey, USA and others. Courses run by eminent Polish teachers were held in piano, composition, organ, singing, violin and cello.
Warsaw Summer Jazz Days
The 2013 Warsaw Summer Jazz Days was held from July 15-20 in various venues around Warsaw. This top-tier jazz festival easily competes with its foreign counterparts. Having featured Melody Gardot last year, this year’s festival brought the outstanding Spanish guitarist Paco de Lucia and multi-instrumentalist and experimenter John Zorn, as well as mega-star saxophone virtuoso Wayne Shorter to the stage. The Festival also featured several Polish jazz stars, including the Bester Quartet, Piotr Wojtasik Quartet, Maciej Obara International Quartet, and Jerzy Mazzoll Trio.
The Tzadik Festival in Poznań owes its name to the record label of the same name, which was founded in New York City by the musician and composer John Zorn and served as a lynchpin in the renaissance of contemporary klezmer music. The highlight of this year’s Festival (July 25-28, 2013) were performances by Uri Caine dedicated to pianist Władysław Szpilman. During the Festival, renowned accordionist Koby Israelite also played his first concert with the Polish band Samech, and there were performances by Disgrained, Daktari, the Me la Amargates Tú Enesemble, the Meadow Quartet, and ensembles led by Mikołaj Trzaska and Raphael Rogiński.
Philadelphia-based pianist and composer Uri Caine has recorded over 20 albums, and is most passionate about reinterpreting the work of other key musical performers. His first projects focused on the oeuvre of jazz pianists Thelonious Monk and Herbie Hancock; later he moved into the history of European music, with projects focused on Wagner, Beethoven, Bach and Schumann. The album that earned him most recognition was Primal Light, devoted to the music of Mahler.
In Poznań, he played two concerts. At one, he and Polish musicians Ksawery Wójciński and Robert Rasz performed revised versions of compositions by Władysław Szpilman. Caine’s second appearance was the premiere performance of his compositions in personal tribute to Szpilman, as commissioned by the Festival.
The summer edition of the first edition of the Emanations Festival—during which 80 concerts and opera performances were held in celebration of Krzysztof Penderecki’s 80th birthday—began on July 5, 2013. The concerts are held in halls familiar to all music lovers as well as in venues that are completely new to the concert circuit of Małopolska, including: the Castle in Nowy Wiśnicz, the European Centre for Music in Lusławice, and the Suski Castle in Sucha Beskidzka.
Krzysztof Penderecki’s career began in 1959 when he won first three awards at the 2nd National Young Composers Competition, organized by the Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP). Among the three winning compositions was Emanations, a work for 2 string orchestras by the composer who was only 25 years old at that time. Thus, the name of this festival makes a direct reference to the beginnings of the Maestro’s creative path.
The festival repertoire includes solo recitals, chamber concerts, ensemble presentations, as well as symphonic and operatic music presented at the Kraków Opera and Philharmonic and at the European Centre for Music’s concert hall in Lusławice. The Festival showcases the range of Penderecki’s oeuvre both in the context of the classical works of his great predecessors, as well as with the participation of the Maestro’s successors – the next generation of young Polish and European composers. The performers are excellent orchestras and choirs, soloists and chamber musicians, as well as talented and recognized artists of the younger generation, including the Emanations Quartet: Łukasz Kuropaczewski (guitar), Maciej Frąckiewicz (accordion – laureate the 2012 Polityka Passport), Joanna Wronko (violin) and Karolina Jaroszewska (cello) and the Atom String Quartet: Dawid Lubowicz (violin), Mateusz Smoczyński (violin), Krzysztof Lenczowski (cello) and Michał Zaborski (viola).
The Emanations Festival will also include two series of events organized this autumn in Kraków. As a result of collaboration between the European Centre for Music, the Krzysztof Penderecki Academy Association, the Kraków Opera and the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic in Kraków, four performances of the composer’s operas and symphonic works will be presented at the Kraków Philharmonic.
Penderecki/Greenwood In Italy
On July 12, the Arco castle in Italy hosted a presentation of the Penderecki/Greenwood collaboration during the contemporary music festival ‘Contemporanea, Rassegna di musica nuova.’ Co-organized by Poland’s Narodowy Instytut Audiowizualny (NInA), the concert celebrated Krzysztof Penderecki’s 80 birthday and also included music by Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Witold Lutosławski and Zbigniew Preisner.
Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki and Jonny Greenwood, English guitarist for Radiohead, (pictured at right) first met in Wrocław in September 2011 during the European Congress of Culture held in Hala Stulecia. Witnessed by huge crowds, their musical collaboration was later presented in London’s Barbican Hall and at the Open’er Festival in northern Poland. The results of the Penderecki/Greenwood artistic collaboration have been recorded for Nonesuch Records in collaboration with NInA, and the CD was released in March 2012.
Wawrowski & Gallardo In Warsaw
The Łazienki Palace Ballroom in Warsaw recently featured virtuoso violinist Janusz Wawrowski (pictured at left) and pianist José Gallardo in recital of works by Karol Szymanowski, Henryk Wieniawski, Maurice Ravel, and Eugène Ysaÿe. The repertoire presented by the artists is included on the recently released album, Aurora (EMI Classics Poland 2013). The Argentinean-born Mr. Gallardo also added a mix of traditional tangos to the program. The concert was held July 20 as a part of the Strefie Ciszy [Silent Zone] Festival at Łazienki Palace, and continued the series of recitals promoting the Wawrowski-Gallardo recording.
[Source: press release]
New from DUX
CHOPIN : Etudes
Fryderyk Chopin : Etudes, Opp. 10 & 25
Lukas Geniusas, piano
An excerpt from the CD’s liner notes, written by Stanisław Dybowski (translation: Michał Kubicki):
A new type of etude was created by Chopin and Liszt for whom the problems of piano technique served as a vehicle for utterances of a deeply artistic nature. That is why their etudes are doubly difficult, placing, as they do, great technical demands on the performers and at the same requiring from them enormous creative imagination to be able to communicate the composer’s message contained, as it were, between the notes. Both Chopin and Liszt elevated the etude to such perfection that none of their successors, including such household names as Skriabin, Debussy, Rachmaninov, Bartók and Szymanowski, was able to produce works that would come anywhere close to the model created by the Polish and Hungarian composers.
In writing his etudes Chopin sought inspiration from many sources. By far the most important was his copy of Bach’s Das Wohltemperierte Klavier, from which Chopin never parted. He was also stimulated by the highly popular trend to compose teaching pieces intended to improve pianistic skills. Last but not least, as with Liszt, the magic of Paganini’s phenomenal virtuosity was a great inspiration to Chopin. Incidentally, it is interesting that it was pianists rather than violinists who drew far-reaching conclusions from Paganini’s playing, adapting the ideas of the diabolical Italian for their instrument.
Chopin’s Etudes Opp. 10 and 25 are real masterpieces. They are sometimes called piano miniatures, sometimes even music poems. Robert Schumann spoke of ‘the bold, creative force permeating these truly poetic works’. Ludwik Rellstab warned pianists with perfectly fit fingers to make sure there was a surgeon at hand whenever they sat down to practise the etudes so that their hands could be protected from the medical consequences of playing these phenomenally difficult pieces. Zdzisław Jachimecki described the etudes as ‘the real gospel of piano music’, while James Huneker called them ‘a titanic experience’.
Chopin did not assign a title to any of his etudes, even though many of them seem to contain some kind of a programme. He left everything to the listener’s discretion. Anton Rubinstein seemed to echo Chopin’s approach when saying that ‘without a programme one can put more content into the music and derive more from it’. Likewise, Chopin did not give any of his etudes a title that would allude to the specific technical problem explored therein, such as chromatic scales, sixths, thirds, the arpeggio or the octave.
Ever since their publication, Chopin’s twenty four etudes have enjoyed an unabated attention. Every concert-giving pianist is eager to grapple with them, to test his or her virtuoso skills and depth of musicality. The first pianist to have demonstrated his genius in performing Chopin’s etudes was Franz Liszt. In a letter to Ferdinand Hiller, dating from 1833, Chopin wrote with a touch of jealousy: ‘At this moment, Liszt is playing my études, and carries me far beyond the realms of reasonable thought. I would like to steal from him the way in which he performs them’.
20th Century Polish Harp Concertos
Aleksander TANSMAN (1897-1986): Musique pour harpe et orchestre à cordes (1981) arr. Piotr Moss, Anna Sikorzak-Olek; Tadeusz PACIORKIEWICZ (1916-1998): Concerto for harp, flute and string orchestra (1980); Bogusław SCHAEFFER (b. 1929): Concerto for harp and orchestra (1986); Marceli POPLAWSKI (1882-1948): Morceau de concert for chromatic harp and orchestra (1911), arr. Anna Sikorzak-Olek; Piotr MOSS (b. 1949): Voyage – concerto for two harps and orchestra (2000); Jerzy MAKSYMIUK (b. 1947): Music for flute, harp and orchestra (2008)
Anna Sikorzak-Olek – harp; Adam Trybuś – flute; Dariusz Korcz – viola; Jan Kotula – double-bass; Grażyna Strzeszewska – harp; Jadwiga Kotnowska – flute; The ‘Amadeus’ Chamber Orchestra of Polish Radio; Orchestra of Polish Radio and Television in Warsaw; National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice; Anna Jaroszewska-Mróz – conductor; Jan Pruszak – conductor; Bogdan Olędzki – conductor; Michał Klauza – conductor; Jerzy Maksymiuk – conductor.
Anna Sikorzak-Olek graduated from the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw where she had studied in the professor Urszula Mazurek’s master class. Thanks to grants from the Ministry of Culture and Art she attended numerous masterclasses and courses in France, Germany, Czechoslovakia and Italy. She has developed an active career as both a soloist and chamber musician. She has given Polish premieres of Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz’s Harp Concerto, three concertos by Piotr Moss (Espressioni Varianti, Remenances and Voyage for two harps and orchestra), Mikołaj Hertel’s concertos for harp and strings (Primavera and Athos), Concerto in China by Jean-Michel Jarre, Aria in classical style by Marcel Grandjany, the Concerto for Percussion and Harp by Stanisław Moryto, the Concerto for Flute and Harp by Marta Ptaszyńska, Music for Flute, Harp and Orchestra by Jerzy Maksymiuk, the Concerto for Harp and Orchestra by Bogusław Schaeffer and Morceau de concert by Marceli Popławski. Her recordings for Polish Radio include concertos and concertante works by Claude Debussy, G.F. Handel, Witold Lutosławski, Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz, Marceli Grandjany, Thomas Daniel Schlee, Piotr Moss, Marta Ptaszyńska, Andrzej Panufnik, Marceli Popławski, Jerzy Maksymiuk and Bogusław Schaeffer. She has also made many recordings for Polish Television. As a chamber musician, she has performed in duos with flute, oboe, percussion, soprano, in works for two harps and with the Warsaw Harp Quartet. She also frequently plays with the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonia Varsovia. Her discography comprises over a dozen CDs, including a recital with the flautist Kazimierz Moszyński, Grażyna Bacewicz’s music for harp, 20th-Century Concertos for Harp (with the Amadeus Orchestra under Agnieszka Duczmal and oboist Mariusz Pędziałek, nominated for the 2001 ‘Fryderyk’ Award), the concerto by Thomas Daniel Schlee, Ernest Bloch’s Suite Modale with the flautist Katherine DeJongh, ‘Souvenir – Beliebte
DOBBER – ARIAS
Baritone arias from operas by Verdi, Wagner, Borodin, Tchaikovsky, Moniuszko, and Musorgski
Andrzej Dobber, baritone; Dariusz Machej – bass; Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra; Antoni Wit – conductor
This recording is the first solo album of Polish baritone Andrzej Dobber, recent recipient of the ‘Gloria Artis’ Medal of Cultural Merit and one of the most remarkable singers performing around the world today.
Penderecki & Xenakis Complete Works for Cello Solo
Krzysztof Penderecki: Capriccio per Siegfried Palm, Per Slava, and Violoncello totale (premiere recording); Iannis Xenakis: Kottos and Nomos alpha
Wiktor Kociuban – cello
Maestro Marek Tracz—conductor of Opole Philharmonic, rector of the Wrocław Academy of Music and conductor and artistic director of Wrocław Opera—passed away on June 6, 2013. He was 77 years old.
Marek Tracz was a graduate of the Wrocław Academy of Music, where he studied ensemble leadership and conducting with Adam Kopyciński. He also studies at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena with Franco Ferrara.
Tracz was the initiator of various artistic projects. In 1972 he started the festival ‘Opolskie Dni Oratoryjne,’ for which part of the goal was to present new works by Polish modern composers such as Ryszard Bukowski and Tadeusz Natanson. Another festival founded by Marek Tracz was ‘Dni Młodych Kompozytorów.’ This Festival was dedicated to young artists and started the careers of many of today’s well-known composers, such as Paweł Szymański, Eugeniusz Knapik and Grażyna Krzanowska.
Tracz was the also the founder of the Opera Polska ensemble, which gave concerts during the concert cycles “Dni Pasyjne” throughout Western Europe as well as in Dolny Śląsk, Poland.
Marek Tracz conducted in many renowned concert halls throughout Europe, including Berlin Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Meistersingersaal in Norymberg, Tonhalle in Zurich, Musikhaus in Hamburg, Musikhaus in Vienna and Teatro alla Maestranza in Seville.
A Tribute by Gary Fitelberg
The Doors, originally a Los Angeles-based band, has a Polish connection. Keyboardist Ray Manzarek was of Polish descent and was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, as were his parents—Helena and Raymond Manzarek. Manzarek passed away on May 20, 2013, in Rosenheim, Germany at the age of 74, after a long battle with cancer.
The Doors consisted of Manzarek, singer Jim Morrison, guitarist Robert Krieger and drummer John Densmore. I first was inspired by this talented group while attending Smile-A-While summer day camp. The music of the Doors always brings a smile to my face.
One of the best and creative keyboardists of all time, Manzarek’s style was definitely unique. From 1962 to 1965, he studied in the Department of Cinematography at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he met film student Jim Morrison. At UCLA, he also met Dorothy Fujikawa, whom he later married. At the time Manzarek was in a band called Rick and the Ravens with his brothers Rick and Jim.
Forty days after finishing film school, thinking they had gone their separate ways, Manzarek and Morrison met by chance on Venice Beach in California. Morrison said he had written some songs, and Manzarek expressed an interest in hearing them, whereupon Morrison sang a rough version of “Moonlight Drive.” Manzarek liked the songs and co-founded the Doors with Morrison at the moment.
Manzarek met drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robert Krieger at a Transcendental Meditation lecture. Densmore says, “There wouldn’t be any Doors without Maharishi.” I recently had the rare opportunity of a lifetime to meet Densmore personally through a good friend in Hollywood.
In January 1966, the Doors became the house band at the London Fog on the Sunset Strip. According to Manzarek, “Nobody ever came in the place…an occasional sailor or two on leave, a few drunks. All in all it was a very depressing experience, but it gave us time to really get the music together.” The same day the Doors were fired from the London Fog, they were hired to be the house band of the Whiskey a Go Go. I would later became house photographer for this excellent legendary establishment and musical venue.
The Doors’ first recording contract was with Columbia Records. After a few months of inactivity, they learned they were on Columbia’s drop list. At that point, they asked to be released from their contract. After a few months of live gigs, Jac Holzman “rediscovered” the Doors and signed them to Elektra Records.
Manzarek occasionally sang for the Doors, including the live recording “Close To You” and on the B-side of “Love Her Madly” and “You Need Meat (Don’t Go No Further).” He also sang on the last two Doors albums, recorded after Morrison’s death, Other Voices and Full Circle. Additionally, he provided one of several guitar parts on the song “Been Down So Long.”
Manzarek is irreplaceable and will be sadly missed by Doors fans internationally, especially by me.
Gary Fitelberg is a musicologist, music critic and historian specializing in Polish music and musicians.
Born This Month
- August 4, 1879 – Józef REISS, musicologist, Polish music expert (d. 1956)
- August 7, 1935 – Monika (Izabela) GORCZYCKA, musicologist (d. 1962)
- August 8, 1946 – Mieczyslaw MAZUREK, composer, teacher, choral conductor
- August 8, 1897 – Stefan SLEDZINSKI, conductor, musicologist
- August 10, 1914 – Witold MALCUZYNSKI, pianist, student of Lefeld
- August 11, 1943 – Krzysztof MEYER, composer, musicologist
- August 17, 1907 – Zygmunt MYCIELSKI, composer, writer
- August 18, 1718 – Jacek SZCZUROWSKI, composer, Jesuit, priest (d. after 1773)
- August 20, 1889 – Witold FRIEMAN, composer, pianist
- August 21, 1933 – Zbigniew BUJARSKI, composer
- August 22, 1924 – Andrzej MARKOWSKI, composer and conductor
- August 23, 1925 – Wlodzimierz KOTONSKI, composer
- August 28, 1951 – Rafal AUGUSTYN, composer, music critic
- August 29, 1891 – Stefan STOINSKI, music etnographer, organizer, conductor (d. 1945)
Died This Month
- August 15, 1898 – Cezar TROMBINI, singer, director of Warsaw Opera (b. 1835)
- August 15, 1936 – Stanislaw NIEWIADOMSKI, composer, music critic
- August 17, 1871 – Karol TAUSIG, pianist and composer, student of Liszt (b. 1841)
- August 21 1925 – Karol NAMYSLOWSKI, folk musician, founder of folk ensemble
- August 22, 1966 – Apolinary SZELUTO, composer and pianist
- August 23, 1942 – Waclaw WODICZKO, conductor (b. 1858), grandfather of Bohdan, conductor
- August 27, 1865 – Józef NOWAKOWSKI, pianist, composer, student of Elsner, friend of Chopin
- August 29, 1886 – Emil SMIETANSKI, pianist, composer (b. 1845)