An Abundance of Friends

How nice it is to have friends and be appreciated! The month of September began with visitors flocking to PMC and bearing gifts for our library. First came Professor Maciej Staszewski from the Łódź Music Academy. A virtuoso guitarist and composer, Prof. Staszewski presented us with his CD recording, Fantasía Ibérica (DUX 1336), featuring solo guitar works by Antón Garcia Abril, Carlos Suriñach, Joan Manén, Fernando Lopes-Graça, Regino Sainz de la Maza, as well as his own works, including InvocaciónAlcázar, and Sonitus Noctus. We also received Prof. Staszewski’s score of Concerto for Guitar and Chamber Orchestra and two other scores published in the series “Nowa Muzyka Łodzi” [The New Music in Łódź]: Trio No. 1 for Violin, Cello and Piano by Jerzy Bauer, Accende lumen sensibus per organo, and a collection of works for choir a cappella by Jerzy Bauer, Krzysztof Grzeszczak and Sławomir Kaczorowski.

From a large gift bag that Prof. Staszewski brought to us from Poland also emerged a CD published by the Łódź Music Academy commemorating Prof. Stanisław Firlej, a legendary cellist, on his 70th birthday. This rare album features Chopin’s complete works for cello and piano, including his early Polonaise Op. 3, Grand duo concertant, and the late Sonata, Op. 65. Recorded with pianist Anna Wesołowska-Firlej, this disc also has works by Popper, Tchaikovsky and Dvořak. Finally, we also received two fascinating brochures from Prof. Stachowski: The Palace of Music—a lavishly illustrated story of the Poznański’s neo-Baroque residence that now houses portion of the Łódź Music Academy, and Study in Łódź—a handbook of useful information for foreign students wishing to explore this fascinating city, the second largest in Poland.

Professor Staszewski’s was brought to PMC by another guitarist, Thornton School of Music doctoral student (and a virtuoso guitarist in his own right), Tomasz Fechner. Tomasz actually coordinated Prof. Staszewski’s visit in Los Angeles and his recording sessions in Santa Monica. As readers of this Newsletter may already know, Tomasz is eager to promote all things Polish, especially when it comes to guitar music!

Watching films from the Polish Music Center collection

Next, we had a chance to meet a young filmmaker and researcher, Maja Baczyńska(above), who came to the PMC to inspect materials on Polish musicians active in California in connection with her doctoral thesis. Maja is particularly interested in Bronisław Kaper and Henryk Wars, as well as in Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (and his visit at USC), Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Wojciech Kilar, and others. We were happy to open our doors and electronic archives, and share documents, photographs, manuscripts, published scores, press clippings and recorded interviews on file.

Ms. Baczyńska also came in bearing gifts, including her films, Prawykonanie [Premiere] and Dyrygent-rezydent [Conductor-in-residence]. Premiered in March 2015, these two films were produced by the Institute of Music and Dance (IMiT) as part of their promotion of young artists in Poland. Next came another DVD, this one with a documentary Miła, Padnij! [Drop Down, Darling!], also directed by Maja Baczyńska.

Continuing to reach into her purse, Ms. Baczyńska then pulled out a huge stack of CDs, some of which she produced jointly with Maria Peryt during her stint at Warner Classics/Poland. Thus, we received a 2-volume set of 39-45, presenting music written during the years of World War II by Witold Lutosławski, Aleksander Tansman, Karol Rathaus, Andrzej Panufnik, Grażyna Bacewicz, Tadeusz Kassern, Stefan Kisielewski and Ludomir Różycki in performance by Sinfonia Varsovia. Another 2-volume set, Penderecki Conducts Penderecki, features a wide selection of choral works written between 1958-2014, including Dies IllaHymn do św. DaniłaHymn do św. WojciechaPsalmyDawida, as well as Stabat MaterVeni CreatorAgnus Dei or De profundis , among others. Performers on these discs—jointly produced by Warner Classics, Filharmonia Narodowa, Polish Radio II, Presto, and Ruch Muzyczny, among others—include the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, Warsaw Boys’ Choir and soloists Johanna Rusanen, Agnieszka Rehlis, and Nikolay Didenko.

Thanks to Ms. Baczyńska’s family connections, we also received several CDs featuring Bogna Lewtak-Baczyńska, a polymath artist, painter, theatre director, composer, author and performer—and our guest’s mother. The first is a 2-CD set “Reduta Ordona” [Ordon’s Redoubt] that features selections of poetry by leading Polish and foreign authors set to Baczyńska’s original musical accompaniment and also sung by her. Another CD, “Zaklęty Ogród Wyklętych i Wyrzuconych” [The Magic Garden of the Cursed and Rejected] features settings of poems her ancestor, Kamil Baczyński as well as those by Lewtak-Baczyńska in her own musical setting for a chamber ensemble and voice. Finally, there is a CD, “Wypominki—Szkice” [Recollections—Sketches], a live concert recordings of her own music and Lewtak-Baczyńska’s covers of music by Moniuszko, Ogiński, Kilar, Konieczny, Długosz, Niemen, with classic texts by Mickiewicz, Baczyński, Norwid, Niemcewicz, Tuwim, Osiecka as well as the author-performer’s own verse.

Another of Maja Baczyńska’s relatives, her sister, Dagny Baczyńska-Kissas, is a young pianist and composer as well as dancer. A 2004 graduate of the Chopin Academy in Warsaw, her piano repertoire is quite varied, focusing on Chopin as well as selected contemporary composers, including Witold Rudziński, Rafał Stradomski, Jarosław Siwiński, and her own works. A live CD recital we received includes a selection of Chopin’s Polonaises as well as Baczyńska-Kissas own take on that genre, including Polonez Amare PatriamPolonez Rex Polonia, and other Polish-themed works.

As always, we are most grateful to our supporters for their generous gifts, which we will share with students, faculty and researchers of Polish music. Thank you! Dziękujemy!