Old and New in Polish Music

Editorial by Maria Anna Harley

The second issue of the 1998 volume of the Polish Music Journal brings a varied content to our readers. Two article translations from the Polish Musicological Quarterly, Muzyka (both originally published in 1997), deal with issues in early music. Barbara Przybyszewska-Jarmińska discusses the form of rondo concerti in the output of Marcin Mielczewski, with a special focus on three newly discovered concerti that she had edited for publication. Dorota Popławska studies the representations of musical instruments in stone sculpture of Lower Silesia, from the Middle Ages through the early Renaissance. Both articles are illustrated with numerous examples. In producing this issue, we decided to introduce small icons of these figures and examples in the body of the text, while providing hyperlinks to larger, clearer images. In addition, each article has a separate list of examples again with hyperlinks to their electronic reproductions.

In this issue, the editors introduce two new sections of the Journal: Source Readings and Book Reviews. It is essential to provide English translations of little-known sources to the history of Polish music; especially statements, articles, and other writings by composers. The selection of Grażyna Bacewicz for the initiation of the Source Readings has a reason – her upcoming double anniversary (the 30th anniversary of her death and the 90th anniversary of her birth) that will be celebrated in 1999. We intend to publish further excerpts from her writings in the 1999 volume of the Polish Music Journal. Since the year 1999 is dedicated by UNESCO to Fryderyk Chopin (150th death anniversary) the majority of papers (original contributions and translations) published here will be devoted to the music of this composer.

The second, newly-added section of the Journal, that of Book Reviews, celebrates another couple of anniversaries that have marked the year 1998. Polish composers Henryk Górecki and Krzysztof Penderecki have turned 65 this year and I asked scholars specializing in the music of these two creators to review selected publications about them. Thus, in the Winter 1998 Issue of the Polish Music Journal Cindy Bylander writes about Penderecki’s Labyrinth of Time while Luke Howard concentrates on Adrian Thomas’s study of Górecki.

While the current issue of the Journal is not very extensive, it brings together an array of material that I, as the editor, would like to continue seeing on the electronic pages of our publication: examples of recent scholarship from Poland (article translations from Muzyka), translations of source material for the history of Polish music, often connected to current issues or anniversaries (the excerpts from the writings by Grażyna Bacewicz, whose double anniversary in 1999 will be celebrated by further translations of her texts), and discussions about recent scholarship and publications (book reviews). We also encourage submissions of original material, especially in the format that includes examples in the form of sounds and images – for which this Journal is the perfect venue.

In conclusion, I would like to thank for editorial assistance our volunteers and members of our staff. Wanda Wilk, Director Emerita of the PMRC, translated the texts by Przybyszewska-Jarmińska and by Bacewicz. Prof. Richard Wingell and Prof. James Tyler of the USC School of Music commented about details of my translation of the Popławska article and argued with her identification of instruments. Editorial comments and corrections were also provided by Anne Desler and Brian Harlan-Blount (Ph.D. candidates in musicology at USC) who dealt with proofreading of the texts and the layouts.

With gratitude to our supporters who made this issue of the first volume of the Polish Music Journal possible, I offer this collection of writings about Polish music to our online readers. Your comments are both appreciated and strongly encouraged – as an invaluable assistance in our continuing struggle to improve the quality of the Journal.