Kaper Remembered

Kaper at the Tyszkiewicz residence. Los Angeles, mid-1970s. PMC Collection, All rights reserved.

February 5th marked the 120th anniversary of Bronisław Kaper’s birth. This Oscar-winning composer of film music was celebrated in Poland a few years ago with an excellent CD album, Spotkanie, featuring performances by the Gorzów Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestra Monika Wolińska. Eight tracks on this 2015 release present the selection of cues from some of Kaper’s best-known films, including The Stranger (1946), Lili (1953), The Glass Slipper (1955), Green Mansions (1959) The Way West (1967), and Tobruk (1967), as well as such great jazz standards as “Invitation” (1952) and “On Green Dolphin Street” (1947), two songs that were also used as film titles.

Scores to these films were donated in 2006 to the Polish Music Center by Kaper’s old manager, Steven Goldring, creating the Bronisław Kaper Collection. These very rare materials were notated in a short-score form on three or four staves with only basic annotations on orchestration details. As such, they had to be re-orchestrated by Krzesimir Dębski, the greatest expert in film music in Poland and composer
for countless film and television productions, as well as author of many symphonic and chamber music works.

Since Kaper was the first Polish composer to win a scoring Academy Award, for his music to the 1954 film Lili, the album’s producers decided to include film music selections by another Polish Oscar winner, Jan A. P. Kaczmarek. Kaczmarek is represented on the album by excerpts of his film music for Finding Neverland, Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, Unfaithful, The Third Miracle, and The Visitor, among others. More about the background of how Bronisław Kaper’s music made this long-awaited debut in Poland can be heard in a live interview with Monika Wolińska and PMC Director Marek Zebrowski. This interview was released on February 4, on the eve of Bronisław Kaper’s 120th birthday. Journalist Martyna Matwiejuk conducted the conversation with her guests in Polish. This podcast is accessible on the Narodowe Centrum Kultury website at: audycjekulturalne.pl/tag/bronislaw-kaper 

[Source: press release; Photo source: PMC Collection, All rights reserved]