PMC Gifts: January 2022

The Holiday Season brought us a few nice surprises as soon as we returned to campus after the New Year and collected the PMC mail.

Music for the Accordion

Accordionist Wiesław Ochwat sent us a fascinating CD, Maciej Zimka—Out of the Circle, a series of chamber works for accordion and violin and accordion and guitar. Maestro Ochwat is featured on this CD as a soloist in a work Dimension (Triple Point), and clarinetist Piotr Lato is featured in a solo piece entitled Out of the Circle. The remaining works recorded on this disc are the Sonata for Violin and Accordion (with violinist Maria Sławek) and the Sonata for Accordion and Guitar (with guitarist Miłosz Mączyński). Read a new review of this album in Pizzicato Magazine.

Another CD featuring accordionists Wiesław Ochwat and Maciej Zimka was sent to us by the Art Forum Foundation in Kraków. It is a disc of very attractive two-accordion arrangements of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, BWV 1048, selections from Edvard Grieg’s Suite No. 1 from Peer Gynt, Op. 46 and a transcription of Modest Mussorgsky’s iconic Pictures at an Exhibition.

Issued by the Opus CD series (No. 65/2021 and 61/2021 respectively), these attractive musical presentations with extensive notes in Polish and English will be an excellent addition to the Polish Music Center’s sound library.

Celebrating Ryterband

Tomasz Gilski at the Polish Music Publishers [PWM] just sent us a copy of the newly-published Sonatina for Classical Guitar by Roman Ryterband. Edited by virtuoso guitarist Tomasz Fechner—pictured below, performing the Sonatina during a PMC concert dedicated to Ryterband in 2016—this publication was based on careful research by Dr. Fechner of manuscripts of this work held in the Ryterband Collection at the Polish Music Center.

This challenging and brilliant work was heard on several concerts already and was part of a special celebration of Ryterband’s fortieth death anniversary in 2019, held at the Music Academy in his native city of Łódź. Annotated and fingered by Dr. Fechner and part of the new PWM series of works for guitar by Polish composers, Ryterband’s Sonatina joins a roster of published repertoire for this instrument by such composers as Mikołaj Górecki, Witold Lutosławski, A. A. Niezgoda and Maciej Staszewski.

World Premiere Recording of Friedman 

Pianist Jakub Tchórzewski sent us a very special CD with the complete recording of Ignacy Friedman’s songs. This is a world premiere presentation of a still unknown composer, who is chiefly remembered as a brilliant pianist and student of the legendary Teodor Leschetizky. In the past few years, some of Friedman’s piano music have begun to appear on concert programs and recordings, but his chamber music and song works continue to await discovery by the performers and audiences alike.

Friedman, in fact, began his career as composer with Three Songs, Op. 1 to texts by Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer and Maria Konopnicka, poets whose works he clearly loved and favored in his musical settings. Two short song cycles (Op. 4 and Op. 5) as well as two sets without the opus numbers, Four Poems from 1905 and Three Songs from 1910, also belong to Friedman’s early works. This recording also features Friedman’s Op. 17, Op. 23, Op. 25, Op. 35, Op. 41 and Op. 55 songs—a grand total of thirty-seven—all insightfully interpreted on this Acte Préalable AP0523 album by Turkish soprano Şen Acar and bass-baritone Szymon Chojnacki. These two outstanding vocalists are supported throughout the album by the highly musical and sensitive pianist, Jakub Tchórzewski, who in his recordings has championed music by Roman Palester and Raul Koczalski and now can add the Friedman songs project to the list of his considerable accomplishments.

Excellent program notes by Dr. Jolanta Guzy-Pasiak with an extensive biography of Ignacy Friedman are another great gem in this release. Her detailed discussion of Friedman as a significant Polish composer and a student of such great masters as Hugo Riemann, Guido Adler and Ferruccio Busoni, should whet the appetites of many young performers and encourage them to include Friedman’s fascinating opus in their concert repertoire. With this recording release, there is no reason to remember Friedman only as a mighty virtuoso but also as one of the leading figures in Polish music during the first half of twentieth century.

[Sources: gifts,]; Photo source (Fechner): PMC Collection, All rights reserved]