Vol. 5 No. 2: Zygmunt Stojowski and His Times

Stojowski, Paderewski, and Polish Music in America


Editorial by Maja Trochimczyk


I have often come across attempts to carry the purely musical meaning of music into other fields of art or human activity. . . For me, the world of music is so wide-ranging that the non-musical concept in my own music occupies only a minute part of it. It may be a transitory thought, or a fleeting emotion at the most. I cannot conceive of a composition of mine where any fixed non-musical meaning could be permanently attached to the sound. This does not necessarily mean that music has to consist of sounds only. The experience of listening to music, and getting to know it, exists on many levels; music contains a great deal more than the notes in the score. Nevertheless, the “something more” need not be translated at once into poetry, philosophy, visual images or emotions. [Witold Lutosławski in conversation with Tadeusz Kaczyński, 1984]

To analyze the subtle charm, to translate into words the radiance and fragrance, the storm and stress, the alternating grace and depth, the flights and depressions, the ever-changing but eloquent moods of that music, which vibrates like a human heart laid bare, would seem as impossible as to pull down a star from the moon-lit skies or catch a cloud swiftly wandering across space, vaporous yet shining, or thunder-laden. . . Since the common birth of man’s winged twins, evolution has not only separated music and language, but coiled up both into signs and symbols, terms and forms, differentiated and definite, till they became trivial and meaningless, soiled by common use. It is the privilege of high art, of romantic art in particular, if the term be taken in its emotional and imaginative sense, to create in man the illusion of Paradise Lost. [Zygmunt Stojowski, A Master Lesson on Chopin’s First Impromptu, 1915]

Portrait of Stojowski, ca. 1930.When encountering a compositional oeuvre as substantial and obscure as the work of Zygmunt (Sigismond or Sigismund) Stojowski (1870-1946) one is justified in expressing bewilderment: if he was as great as his life story testifies (see the feature article by Joseph A. Herter), why was his music forgotten? History is written from the perspective of the winners and the victory of the modernist orientation of Karol Szymanowski and his followers, including Witold Lutosławski, made late romantics like Zygmunt Stojowski, Ignacy Jan Paderewski and their teachers, Zygmunt Noskowski and Władysław Żeleński, appear much less significant in the development of Polish music. The juxtaposition of the two quotations cited above [1] captures another aspect of this complex issue: despite the widely divergent rhetorical conceits, Lutosławski and Stojowski met on the common ground of a belief that music transcended language and its ambiguity could not be captured in words, which too straightforwardly expressed its “fixed non-musical meaning” (Lutosławski) or were too “trivial and meaningless, soiled by common use” (Stojowski). The composers, separated by the passage of time and the radical transformation of aesthetic sensitivities, shared a conviction that music consisted of something more than notes written in a score. Yet, for Lutosławski the sonorous art remained the domain of a purely musical beauty, while Stojowski saw in music a secret power to transport the listeners into a spiritual realm of the great “Beyond” or “Paradise Lost.” This difference in attitude toward the ultimate meaning of music (residing in music itself, or pointing to the transcendental realm of spirituality) marks one composer as a formalist-modernist, and the other as a staunch romantic. The difference between Lutosławski and Stojowski is quite obvious in music scholarship as well: the list of books on Stojowski includes only two M.A. theses in Polish while Lutosławski has been the subject of over fifty books and dissertations.In this issue of the Polish Music Journal Nicholas Reyland reviews the most recent, substantial contribution to this series of publications, Lutosławski’s Studies, edited by Zbigniew Skowron for Oxford University Press. This is the only Lutosławskian contribution, though, for the remainder of the issue is dedicated to Zygmunt Stojowski and his times. The life of Zygmunt Stojowski is the topic of the feature article by Joseph A. Herter, an American conductor and music writer active in Poland. The article is accompanied by an annotated catalogue of Stojowski’s works, bibliographies, and a selection of his writings and texts about him. Stojowski moved to the U.S. in the early 1900s and taught piano performance at a variety of American colleges as well as in his private music school in New York City. His late romantic style, rooted in Tchaikovsky and Paderewski (he shared the focus on emotion and clarity of form of the former, and the patriotic zeal and pianistic virtuosity of the latter), doomed him to obscurity after the victory of Szymanowski’s “modernism” in the 1920s. The rediscovery of his life is due to the recent location of his personal papers and manuscripts, the Zygmunt and Louisa Stojowski Collection, with his son, Henry Stojowski, on Long Island, New York.[2] Mr. Herter began the search for Stojowski’s manuscripts several years ago; the article presents the results of his intense archival investigations conducted in a large number of libraries and collections. He has previously written news reports about various aspects of Stojowski’s career (published in the Polish Music Newsletter online), annotated the first CD of Stojowski’s Piano Concerti, and advocated a Stojowski revival through letters to the press in Poland and through a variety of musical efforts.[3] His work as a performer of Stojowski’s music will come to fruition in the full-scale Stojowski Festival scheduled in Warsaw for May 2003.In 2000, Mr. Herter’s enthusiasm piqued my curiosity and I joined the quest for the legacy of Zygmunt Stojowski, traveling to the Zygmunt and Louisa Stojowski Collection, visiting PIASA archives, and organizing a Stojowski event consisting of an interview with Henry Stojowski coupled with a concert of Zygmunt Stojowski’s piano works and songs (April 2002). I also took it upon myself to stimulate a revival of scholarly interest in Stojowski’s music and career by organizing a Stojowski session at the PIASA 2002 Meeting and researching the Stojowski-Paderewski connection for a paper read at the meeting of the American Musicological Society in November 2002.[4]


Stojowski and Paderewski

The friendship of Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941) and Zygmunt Stojowski lasted for almost fifty years and survived momentous events in Polish history as well dramatic transformations in both composers’ lives. Stojowski was studying in Warsaw with neo-romantic composer Władysław Żeleński when he first met Paderewski. Soon, he began taking lessons from the pianist who was ten years his senior, yet far more advanced musically. In 1901 Echo Muzyczne, Teatralne i Artystyczne published in Poland, included Stojowski’s essay entitled “Uczniowie Paderewskiego” [Paderewski’s Students]; the publication named Ernest Schelling, H. Bauer (Henrietta) and An. Szumowska (Antonina, later Adamowska; she also used first name of Antoinette) as members of this group.[5] In 1935, a special issue of Życie muzyczne i teatralne brought an extensive article by Stojowski about Paderewski’s music. Because of its significance for the reception of Paderewski’s music and the relationship between the two composer-pianists, its entire text is included in the current issue of the Journal, in a translation by Marek Żebrowski faithfully adhering to the lofty tone of the original.

As Paderewski’s student, Stojowski learned the importance of practice and self-criticism, including attention to the quality of tone. Henriette Bower recalls an anecdotal encounter between Paderewski and Stojowski, during which the teacher said: “No doubt you feel the beauty of this composition, but I hear none of the effects you fancy you are making.” [6] Stojowski’s account of Paderewski’s teaching method in Bower’s book brings out the themes dear to Stojowski himself and discussed in his 1940 lectures at the Juilliard School of Music (reprinted in Polish Music Journal vol. 4 no. 1).[7] According to Paderewski—as cited by Stojowski— a great performance should have the spontaneous quality of an improvisation, but the achievement of this goal is only possible through painstaking effort including hours of practice in slow tempi and music analysis of minute details of the composition. Only full analytical knowledge and physical mastery of “mechanics” of the piece of music would result in “a perfectly executed performance.” [8] Stojowski’s dedication to Paderewski’s ideals was reflected in his approach to teaching, rewarded with a recommendation letter from Paderewski written on 13 May 1924, in which the composer was praised as Paderewski’s pedagogical alter ego who adopted the master’s method and, thus, “has no superior . . . among the few really great piano pedagogues of the present day.”[9]

Paderewski’s letter of recommendation for Stojowski, 1924.

Since the early 1890s Paderewski frequently toured the U.S. and owned an estate in California, but he spent more of his time in his main residence in Morges, Switzerland. Stojowski decided to leave Europe permanently and settle in the U.S., where he arrived in 1905. During the following years both composers were increasingly drawn to charitable activities on behalf of their country. They also frequently interacted in Poland, the U.S. and Switzerland. During Paderewski’s years in Morges, Stojowski was a frequent visitor in his villa Riond-Bosson; his correspondence with Paderewski is now in the Paderewski Museum at Morges, while Helena Paderewska’s letters to the Stojowskis is in the Zygmunt and Louisa Stojowski Collection. Stojowski’s music gained Paderewski’s favor with the Symphony in D Minor which received the first prize in the 1898 Paderewski Competition for young composers (adjudicated by Arthur Nikisch). Yet only three compositions by Stojowski appeared in Paderewski’s concert repertoire. He played Stojowski’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 32 in A-flat major twice in March 1916 and never again—even though the work was dedicated to him.[10] Two solo pieces appeared on Paderewski’s programs more often. The virtuoso included Stojowski’s By the Brookside on the programs of fourteen concerts between 1916 and 1928, including a tour of the Eastern United States in November 1925. This work was recorded on 11 December 1926 in New York; its was released on HMV DA869 and Victor 1426. Stojowski’s second solo work in Paderewski’s repertoire was among the pianist’s favorites. Chant d’amour Op. 26, No. 3 appeared on concert programs between 1899 and 1931 and was publicly heard over eighty times after its premiere on 2 May 1899 at the Erard Hall in Paris and final performances during the 1931 American tour. In 1907-08 Paderewski frequently presented this composition during his American performances when his “cult” as an “golden-haired archangel” worshipped by his female listeners reached its peak. It is hard to say to what extent this frenzy of enthusiasm was stimulated by Stojowski’s Chant d’amour, though the piece features such staples of romantic music as flowing melodic lines, and appoggiaturas, as well as musical portrayals of sighs and a love duet.[11] In contrast, Stojowski’s repertoire included numerous works by Paderewski, starting from his Piano Concerto, through the Theme and Variations in E-flat Major, to an assortment of miniatures. He also performed the piano parts for Paderewski’s chamber works and songs. Stojowski’s thorough knowledge of Paderewski’s music may be gleaned from his description in the 1935 article on Paderewski, along with his notes about Polish music prepared for a concert held in 1930 at Carnegie Hall, marking yet another moment of collaboration of the two artists. This text is also reprinted in the current issue of PMJ. The program of this concert, designed as an educational introduction to Polish music, included music by Chopin, Noskowski, Stojowski and Paderewski who performed the solo part in his own Piano Concerto in A minor.

The two composers shared more than musical interests. Stojowski was an active supporter of Paderewski’s charities, such as the Polish Victims Relief Fund active during World War I; he also belonged to the Polish American Musicians’ Committee that Paderewski organized in 1919. In 1928, when Paderewski’s role in the restoration of independent Poland was celebrated by the Kościuszko Foundation, Stojowski was present at the festivities and signed his book of greetings as the president of the Polish Circle of New York. As a cultural figure and social activist, Stojowski was important both to Poles and Americans; he received awards from the Polish and American governments. On 28 November 1924, Stojowski and Marcella Sembrich-Kochańska (1858-1935) were awarded the order of “Polonia Restituta” (Odrodzenia Polski) in Poland. Since this honor came to both musicians a mere five years after Paderewski’s short term in office as Poland’s president of the council of ministers, it is hard not to suspect Paderewski’s influence in this undertaking.

Stojowski’s Benefit for the Paderewski Foundation, 1941.

In his writings, Stojowski frequently cited Paderewski, using his ideas as arguments to prove his points (about the use of tempo rubato, the national character of Chopin’s music, the role of rhythm and pedal use in performance), and borrowing Paderewski’s phrases as titles (Wherever There is no Music, Life Also Ceases!) or bon-mots (“‘Art is service’—Paderewski believed and taught”).[12] Nonetheless, it would be difficult not to appreciate the earnest tone of dedication to the service of Poland’s freedom, shared by Stojowski and Paderewski in the following paragraph from Stojowski’s 1944 address:

I still shiver when I recall listening with bated breath, in Los Angeles, nearly five years ago, during the fateful September 1939, to the strains of Chopin’s Military Polonaise broadcast from the Polish capital of Warsaw, undefended but bombarded, the voice of its undaunted Mayor announcing daily: “We are holding out” until one day nothing but silence come – ominous, tragic, deadly. A hundred years ago Schumann called Chopin’s music “cannons buried in flowers.” No wonder Hitler forbade it in Poland. Did not the sound of trumpets blast the walls of Jericho? Now the world is hoping that “fortress Europe” will crumble under the strains of Shostakovich Symphonies. The Poles would be the first to applaud, provided it be understood all symphonies have to come to an end and stop, making room for other sounds, sounds native to the victims rescued from Wagner’s, or rather Hitler’s “funeral pyre.”

We should note that the Chopin performance that Stojowski heard in 1939 from besieged Warsaw was most likely given by a Polish-Jewish pianist, Władysław Szpilman (1911-2000) whose memories of survival in the Warsaw Ghetto recently provided the basis for Roman Polański’s highly acclaimed film, The Pianist (2001).[13] While Stojowski collaborated with Paderewski on a variety of projects promoting Polish music and hoped to “make room” for the compositions of the victims’ music —as stated in the quotation above—his vision was not realized for almost fifty years, when the concert halls and operatic stages were again filled with Beethoven and Wagner, while the names of such composers-victims as Berthold Goldschmidt, Józef Koffler, Viktor Ullmann, and Władysław Szpilman languished in obscurity. In recent years, however, the revival of interest in music and musicians negatively affected by the Nazis has resulted in numerous scholarly discoveries and an enrichment of concert repertoire, both of the serious and popular kinds.[14] One of the forgotten composers, Józef Koffler, is the subject of Maciej Gołąb’s scholarly monograph, issued in 1995 in Poland and scheduled to appear this year in the Polish Music History Series at USC. Koffler (b. 1896; d. ca. 1943-44) was Poland’s first twelve-tone composer and a member of the international avant-garde. His reports from the festivals of the International Society for Contemporary Music, of which he was a member, reveal clearly the acuity of his judgement, as his admiration was reserved for works now considered masterpieces of the period (by Stravinsky, Bartók, Webern, Schoenberg, and others). In contrast, Stojowski—who was 26 years older than Koffler— greeted all experimentation and modernism with profound suspicion and considered even Debussy and Ravel to be too “modern” for his taste.[15]


American Reception of Polish Music

Making music in Paderewski’s shadow, Stojowski belonged Paderewski’s circle in the U.S.—a remarkable group of Polish and American musicians and music writers dedicated to publicizing the cause of Polish independence by promoting Polish music and culture in the country. In order to provide a context for Stojowski’s romantic views on music, articulated in his studies of Paderewski and Chopin’s Impromptu (in the present issue of PMJ) and in his texts on piano performance and role of music in society (PMJ 4 no. 1, 2001), I selected texts on Paderewski, the polonaise, Chopin, and Polish music in general that appeared in the U.S. between 1902 and 1944. Some of these writings constituted exercises in national myth-making and are suffused with florid statements about Polish national character, i.e. the noble, heroic yet suffering essence or soul of the country permeating its music and expressed in its dances (see texts by Anderton, Piduch, and Perry). American fascination with the exotic Poland was stimulated during tours of Polish actress Helena Modrzejewska (wife of Count Chłapowski, who performed in English since 1877, specializing in Shakespearean roles) and, to a greatest extent, the pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski, touring the U.S. since 1890. Paderewski was particularly dedicated to the promotion of the idealized image of Poland; he set out to convince the American public that the country was unjustly suffering under the oppression by Germans, Austrians and Russians. There was a large group of Polish emigre musicians who assisted him in this task: Marcella Sembrich-Kochańska, sisters Maria and Zofia Naimska (pianist and violinist), pianist Antonina Szumowska-Adamowska, brothers Józef and Tymoteusz Adamowski (cellist and volinist), and many others.

Paderewski’s recommendation for Maria and Zofia Naimska, Hotel Gotham, New York, 31 May 1916.

There is no doubt that the considerable number of articles about Polish music appearing in The Century Library of Music and The Etude was stimulated directly or indirectly by Paderewski: he was the editor-in-chief of the former publication and a frequent subject of the latter. However, two texts about Paderewski reproduced here discuss his musical charisma as a performer noted both by American composer and pianist, William Mason (1829-1908) and a Polish-Jewish writer, Alfred Nossig. If Paderewski had not been an astounding musician, able to exert a hypnotic fascination on his listeners, his patriotic campaigning would not have been effective, for he simply would not be heard. Nossig belonged to Paderewski’s European circle and was the librettist of his only opera, Manru; their collaboration is the subject of an earlier issue of this Journal (PMJ 4 no. 2; 2001). Here, the librettist appears as a music critic focused on identifying the source of Paderewski’s charisma. Mason’s text is more detailed and technical, due to his background as a pianist, composer, and teacher of piano performance. He studied in Europe in 1849-1854, with Moscheles Hauptmann and Richter (Leipzig), Dreyschock (Prague) and Liszt (in 1853 and 1854; in Weimar). In appraising Paderewski’s renditions of Bach, Chopin and Beethoven, Mason gives us an image of performance aesthetics that he absorbed in Europe during his youth fifty years before Paderewski’s tours.

Other eminent American musicians and writers who provided support for Paderewski included the celebrated music critic Henry E. Krehbiel (who wrote analytical notes for Steinway-sponsored tours by Paderewski before World War I, some of them reprinted in PMJ 4 no. 2), and pianist, editor and writer, Fanny Morris Smith. The current online edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians does not include an entry about her but I was able to ascertain that in addition to serving with Paderewski as the associate editor of the lavishly produced and illustrated anthology of music and essays in twenty volumes, The Century Library of Music (New York: The Century Co., 1901-1904), she also published a number of books on music and musicians, and various editions of works designed for amateurs.[16] In approaching Chopin’s music, Smith provided herself with a quaintly old-fashioned task: to recognize types of poetry similar to various works by Chopin. The inspiration for such a methodology was the idea of the correspondence of the arts and the frequently repeated proposition that Chopin was the “poet” of the piano. Smith’s attention to musical forms, patterns of rhythm and melody both in music and poetry results in insights that transform her essay into something more than a mere historical curiosity.

Antonina Szumowska-Adamowska’s brief appraisal of Chopin as a thoroughly Polish composer is less a document about Chopin than about her own performance practice as a pianist who studied with Michałowski and Paderewski. Since 1895 Szumowska-Adamowska (she also used French form of her first name, Antoinette; 1868-1938) lived in the U.S.; she taught at the New England Conservatory of Music and performed in the Adamowski Trio, with her husband cellist Józef Adamowski (1862-1930), and his brother Tymoteusz, a violinist. She also appeared as a soloist with the Boston and New York symphony orchestras. Her article about Paderewski’s personality was reprinted in Polish Music Journal 4 no. 1 (2001). Szumowska-Adamowska, her husband and brother-in-law, join American pianist and Paderewski friend Adele aus der Ohe in being ignored by contemporary bibliographers: neither name appears in the new edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians which mentions the Adamowski Quartet solely in two entries on obscure German composers, Charles Loeffler and Wilhelm Fitzenhagen.

Another forgotten American female musician, Margaret Anderton, was a pianist, music editor and composer, teacher, and writer active at the turn of the 20th century on the U.S. East Coast.[17] We reprint here her popular description of the polonaise published in 1917 in The Etude magazine, which had earlier issued a different text on the same subject, penned by piano teacher and author of textbooks, Edward Baxter Perry (1855-1924)[18] Both Perry and Anderton referred to Chopin’s polonaises as the best exemplars of this form. They also relied in their accounts of the supposed genesis of the polonaise at the court of Henry de Valois (the king of Poland in 1573-74) on the detailed study of the history of Polish music by Polish pianist and composer, Jarosław Zieliński. His article appeared in The Century Library of Music, along with Paderewski studies by Mason and Nossig, and a text on Chopin by Smith.

Zieliński (Jaroslaw de Zielinski; 1847-1922), was a Polish pianist and composer, student of Karol Mikuli, who continued his piano studies in Berlin and Milan. A graduate of the Theresianum Imperial Military Institute in Vienna, Zielinski left Poland after the fall of the January Uprising in 1864 and fought in the U.S. Civil War. His itinerant American career as a teacher of piano and voice involved periods spent in Michigan, Tennessee, Alabama, New York State (Buffalo), and California. He opened a piano school in Los Angeles where he spent the rest of his life. Zieliński’s history of Polish contribution to music begins with the fanciful genealogy of Slavic peoples. Yet, it is remarkably detailed and filled with facts that are not well known today, including information about some nearly forgotten composers and musicians. Simultaneously, it reveals an old-fashioned approach, for instance, in the account of the history of the polonaise at the court of the French king of Poland that captured the attention of later writers. Nonetheless, the picture of historical evolution of Polish music presented by Zieliński differs greatly from the later one provided by composer Feliks R. Łabuński,[19] in its recognition of women composers, the importance of Polish opera, the plethora of late romantic musicians, and the inclusion of non-ethnic Polish composers, of German or Jewish background. His two strongest antipathies were directed against Germans and Russians (he disliked the latter so much that he excluded them from the family of Slavic nations).

Cover of The Century Library of Music, 1902.It is interesting to compare the way Zieliński, Piduch, Stojowski and Łabuński recount the evolution of Polish music. “Nodal points” appearing in the 1944 text by Feliks Łabuński are virtually indistinguishable from those articulated today. Unlike Łabuński, who studied in Poland and France in the 1930s, and thus was well acquainted with the most recent musicological discoveries, Zieliński was not yet aware of the greatness of Mikołaj Zieleński whose 17th-century polychoral music is comparable with Biber’s.[20] Stojowski, writing in 1930 for a youth audience skipped the early period entirely; however, he shared Zieliński’s admiration for Noskowski and Żeleński whom he described as the most influential teachers of composition in contemporary Poland. Soon, the image of Polish contemporary music changed profoundly—as shown in the article by Feliks Łabuński. The status of Żeleński and Noskowski declined, while Karłowicz and Szymanowski were elevated to the position of the most important figures of the Polish music scene. A reason for this transformation may have been the relative appraisal of the significance of orchestral and operatic music in defining compositional achievement. After symphonic music, not the opera nor music theatre, started to be considered the carrier of value in national music history, the relative positions of Karłowicz and Żeleński shifted. The roots of these ideas may be seen in German music theory and history, until the 1970s considering symphonic works as the highest form of art music and discounting such popular operatic composers as Verdi—whose scholarly rediscovery may be attributed to Italians and Americans.[21] The Germanophilia of Polish music historians who accepted the conceptual paradigm of German symphonism may be attributed to their educational background; the most influential Polish scholars received their doctoral degrees in Germany or Austria. Zdzisław Jachimecki and Józef Reiss studied with Guido Adler in Vienna; Henryk Opieński and Mateusz Gliński—with Hugo Riemann in Leipzig; while Adolf Chybiński received his doctorate in Munich. Of the younger generation, Józef Chomiński, Maria Szczepańska and Zofia Lissa all studied with Chybiński. Among the prolific writers on Polish music history who published before World War II, only music critic and composer Aleksander Poliński escaped this trend, as he was a student of Noskowski and Żeleński at the Warsaw Conservatory. These two composers traced their musical roots to Berlin (Noskowski), and Prague and Paris (Żeleński). In the inter-war Poland, the post-partition resentments towards the country’s former rulers, and the political distrust of the new Soviet regime in Russia may have influenced negative attitudes of music historians, for whom the multitude of personal and artistic links between Polish and Russian composers were far less important than any connections to the West, especially Germany.

Henry Stojowski, Maja Trochimczyk, Joseph A. Herter 2002 Meeting of PIASA, Washington, D.C.

The de-emphasizing of Russian connections of Polish composers between the two world wars may also have been stimulated by Polish nationalism and a general cultural anxiety towards Poland’s largest Slavic neighbor. For instance, Warsaw reviews of music by Witold Maliszewski (1873-1939), a student of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in the years 1898-1902, referred to the “Russian” traits of his music even long after his return to Warsaw (Maliszewski taught in the Conservatory in Odessa until 1921).[22] The impact of Rimsky-Korsakov’s approach to harmony, octatonicism, orchestration, the use of oriental and fantastic themes as well as folklore on the creative worlds of Maliszewski and his students (who included Lutosławski and Łabuński) remains unexamined.[23] The scholarly neglect reflects the absence of the music by Maliszewski, his contemporaries and predecessors in the concert life. Excellent works by composers such as Zygmunt Stojowski or Roman Statkowski (student of Żeleński and Rubinstein), have not become a part of repertoire in their home country. Already in 1924, Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz bemoaned the absence of Statkowski’s Maria from the operatic stages, regrettably filled with the “various ‘pucciniadas,’ Manon and Werthers.”[24] He considered this work, based on a theme from Polish romantic literature and partly inspired by the music dramas of Musorgsky, one of the best Polish operas ever composed.Paradoxically, the enforcing of the official ideology of “friendship” between the Polish People’s Republic and the Soviet Union after World War II and the resultant publication of politically inspired studies of such friendships between composers from both countries,[25] did not create an atmosphere for serious, in-depth analysis of the real stylistic and personal links that continued throughout the century. The focus on German inspirations and concepts persists in Polish musicology and is expressed in a subtle way, such as completely ignoring the Russian parallels for Karol Szymanowski’s songs in a recent book of studies where four articles discuss relationships between the songs of Szymanowski and German song composers.[26]The Polish-Russian interactions may even be seen as a separate current in the history of Polish music, a current independent of German influence. Its characteristics could include: the emphasis on themes borrowed from national literature and legends; the use of melodies and rhythms stylizing elements from Polish folklore; the expressive intensity coupled with virtuosity of concerti; the delight in rich, colorful orchestration; the use of new scales and richly sonorous, yet not dissonantly aggressive harmonic means; and finally, the preference for the genres of national opera, ballet, and symphonic poem. The re-appraisal of the music of Ignacy Jan Paderewski and the re-discovery of the oeuvre of Zygmunt Stojowski allows us to trace this Russian lineage further back in time, to the last two decades of the 19th century. The “Russian connection” of Zygmunt Stojowski’s Piano Concerti, for instance, provides a stylistic and aesthetical link to the emotionally charged and formally perfected world of Piotr Tchaikovsky, his personal friend and mentor. Here, Mr. Herter’s article on Stojowski’s life opens new research vistas in Polish music history, in addition to providing a general introduction to a biography that still needs to be written. Hopefully, after “resurrecting” Stojowski’s music in Polish concert life, he will pen a full-scale monograph dedicated to this composer, pianist, teacher and activist. In the meantime, the bibliographies and the annotated catalogue of works provide invaluable tools for researching Stojowski’s life and music, placed in context by reprints of its historical accounts.


[1]. Tadeusz Kaczyński, Conversations with Witold Lutosławski, revised and expanded version, trans. Yolanta May and Charles Bodman Rae (London: Chester Music, 1995), 119-120. The citation comes from a chapter on Mi-Parti, added in 1984 to a 1972 book. Zygmunt Stojowski, A Master Lesson on Chopin’s First Impromptu (Philadelphia: Theodore Presser Co., 1915), 1. Reprinted in the current issue of the PMJ. [Back]

[2]. Thanks to the assistance of the Polish Music Center and the Ars Musica Poloniae Foundation, as well as travel grants from the Kosciuszko Foundation, Joseph A. Herter was able to travel to the U.S. to search for Stojowski documents. The Kościuszko Foundation supported partial cataloging of the collection Dr. Barbara Zakrzewska who located a large number of Stojowski manuscripts in October 2001, including A Prayer for Poland. With the support of the Kościuszko Foundation and allocation of resources from the PMC budget, I continued the discovery and description of the collection, locating Stojowski’s notebooks and sketchbooks, interviewing Henry Stojowski, and negotiating the donation of the materials to the Polish Music Center. The negotiations, though announced as final in Herter’s program notes for the Hyperion CD of Stojowski Piano Concerti, still continue. In the meantime, Henry Stojowski gave selected items from the collection to the PMC (USC) and allowed photocopying of a larger number of manuscripts, programs, letters, and photographs to be used in research and for this publication. [Back]

[3]. Joseph A. Herter’s first report on Stojowski appeared in April 2001 (“Zygmunt Stojowski and ‘Piotr Czajkowski'” Polish Music Newsletter 7 no. 3), followed by his edition of a poem, Stojowski and Stokowski, for Polish Music Journal 4 no. 1 (Summer 2001). He also discussed Stojowski’s life and music in: “The Etude’s 1915 Musical Salute to Poland” Polish Music Newsletter 7 no. 11 (November 2001); “Schelling’s ‘A Night in Poland'” Polish Music Newsletter 7 no. 12 (December 2001); and “Stojowski: The Polish Patriot” Polish Music Newsletter9 no. 2 (February 2002). The first expanded biography of Stojowski appeared in liner notes for a CD of Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 by Zygmunt Stojowski (Jonathan Plowright, pianist; Martyn Brabbins, cond. BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Hyperion, CDA67314, 2002). It was later expanded into a conference presentation, “Zygmunt Stojowski: Polish Patriot and Composer,” delivered at the 60th Annual Meeting of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America at Georgetown University in Washington, D. C., June 7, 2002. Herter’s letter protesting Stojowski’s exclusion from the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Warsaw Philharmonic appeared in Muzyka 21, Ruch Muzyczny, and the Polish Music Newsletter(April 2001). [Back]

[4]. I first wrote about Stojowski in “Stojowski Manuscripts at PIASA” (Polish Music Newsletter 7 no. 8, August 2001); with Joseph Herter, I co-edited “Source Readings (2): Stojowski – Lectures and Documents” for the Polish Music Journal 4 no. 1 (summer 2001). The set of writings included Arthur G. Burgoyne: Stokowski and Stojowski (A Poem, 1911); Zygmunt Stojowski: The Evolution of Style and Interpretation in Piano Literature (1940); Zygmunt Stojowski: Music and Life: An Address (1944). In further work I focused on the interactions between Stojowski and Paderewski, especially in “Paderewski and Stojowski: A Musical Friendship” (paper read at the Session on “Elsner and Stojowski,” Annual Meeting of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., June 2002); and “How Paderewski Plays: Paderewski, Chant d’amour and the Aestheticism of America’s Gilded Age” (paper read at the 2002 Meeting of the American Musicological Society, Columbus, Ohio, 31 October – 3 November 2002, print version forthcoming). Henry Stojowski attended a special evening of the Helena Modjeska Club in Los Angeles, organized to honor his father’s life and music, on 6 April 2002. He was a guest of the Polish Music Center at USC. This editorial includes some material from my PIASA presentation. [Back]

[5]. Stojowski’s texts about Paderewski: “Ignacy Jan Paderewski,” in Piano Mastery: Talks with Master Pianists and Teachers by Harriette Brower (New York: Frederick A. Stokes Co., 1915, 2-11); “Paderewski, the Unique” (Written on Paderewski’s 75th Anniversary), Poland America 13 no. 5 (May 1932): 221-223; “Paderewski w świetle moich wspomnień i wierzeń” [Paderewski in the light of my memories and beliefs], in Życie Muzyczne i Teatralne no. 5/6 (1935): 5-11; English trans. by Marek Żebrowski, Polish Music Journal 5 no. 2 (2002); “In Honor of Paderewski” (An address given at the Cosmopolitan Club in Montclair, NJ, on October 18, 1941), Bulletin of the Stojowski Students’ Association (December 1941), 1-2; “Paderewski as I Knew Him (1884-1941),” in Intimate Memories of Paderewski by Marguerite Merington, (An unpublished biography) New York: Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences Archives, Marguerite Merington Papers, Collection No. 3, Folder No. 16; Paderewski Anniversary 1945 (A five-page typewritten text of a radio interview with Stojowski and Mr. Milo). Family Archives. [Back]

[6]. Henrietta Bower, Piano Mastery (New York, 1915), 6. [Back]

[7]. Zygmunt Stojowski, “The Evolution of Style and Interpretation In Piano Literature,” eds. Maja Trochimczyk and Joseph A. Herter. Originally published in Keyboard. The Professional Magazine for Teachers of Piano vol. 2 no. 4 (November 1940): 2-3, 43-44, 47. [Back]

[8]. Stojowski’s expressions cited by Bower, op. cit., 10. [Back]

[9]. The letter’s original is in Paderewski Museum, Morges, Switzerland. A bronze stamp with its copy is at the Polish Music Center. A reproduction of the letter was published in my report, “Stojowski Manuscripts at PIASA” in Polish Music Newsletter 7 no. 8 (August 2001). [Back]

[10]. Both performances took place in March 1916, at the Symphony Hall in Boston (10 March) and at the Carnegie Hall in New York (15 March; coupled with Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor). Information from Małgorzata Perkowska, Diariusz koncertowy Ignacego Jana Paderewskiego [Paderewski’s concert diary] (Kraków: PWM, 1990), 141. [Back]

[11]. I discuss this work and Paderewski’s stage image in “How Paderewski Plays: Paderewski, Chant d’amour and the Aestheticism of America’s Gilded Age.” [Back]

[12]. The title phrase comes from the spring 1944 address for a fund-raising dinner associated with the Polish Music Festival to be held at Carnegie Hall, New York. The full text is reprinted in PMJ 4 no. 1 (2001). The expression is borrowed from Paderewski’s speech celebrating Chopin’s 100th birth anniversary, reprinted in PMJ 4 no. 2 (2001) as “Chopin: A Discourse.”[Back]

[13]. According to his memoirs, Szpilman’s last performance was on 23 September 1939, of Chopin’s Nocturne in C-sharp minor and he played the same work as the first piece broadcast in 1945. The impassioned appeals of Stefan Starzynski (1893-1943), the president of Warsaw, were recorded and preserved. See Szpilman’s war-time memoirs which appeared in English as The Pianist (London: Gollancz, 1999; New York: Picador USA, 1999). [Back]

[14]. Berthold Goldschmidt (1903-1996), British composer of German origin, left Germany in 1935. Viktor Ullmann (1898-1944), Austrian-Czech composer, active in Terezin concentration camp, died at Auschwitz; Józef Koffler (1896- d. ca. 1943-1944), Polish-Jewish composer of twelve-tone music. For general studies of music and Nazism, see Michael Meyer, The politics of music in the Third Reich (New York: Lang, 1991); Joachim Braun, ed., Verfemte Musik: Komponisten in den Diktaturen unseres Jahrhunderts [Outlawed music: Composers under the dictatorships of our century] (Frankfurt am Main: Lang, 1995); Horst Bergmeier, Rainer E. Lotz, Hitler’s Airwaves: The Inside Story of Nazi Radio Broadcasting and Propaganda Swing (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997); Pamela M. Potter, Most German of the Arts: Musicology and Society from the Weimar Republic to the End of Hitler’s Reich (New Haven, USA: Yale University Press, 1998); Brunhilde Sonntag, Hans-Werner Boresch, Detlef Gojowy, eds., Die dunkle Last: Musik und Nationalsozialismus [The dark burden: Music and National Socialism] (Cologne: Bela Verlag, 1999). [Back]

[15]. Stojowski expressed his dislike for Debussy, Ravel and the percussive treatment of the piano by Stravinsky and Bartók in “The Evolution of Style and Interpretation in Piano Literature” (Keyboard, November 1940), reprinted online in PMJ 4 no. 1 (2001). [Back]

[16]. According to WorldCat records, Fanny Morris Smith edited a number of books on music besides the Century series: The Music of the Modern World Illustrated in the Lives and Works of the Greatest Modern Musicians and in Reproductions of Famous Paintings, (by Anton Seidl; published in New York, by D. Appleton in 1895); The World’s Best Composers: Famous Compositions for the Piano (co-edited with Victor Herbert, and Louis R. Dressler; published by University Society in New York in 1900); The Asra (song arrangement by Anton Rubinstein, edited and fingered by F.M.S., reprinted by Musica Obscura Editions, 1980s). She also wrote A Noble Art (New York: De Vinne Pres, 1892). [Back]

[17]. Margaret Anderton is the author of Music Dreams: The Thirteenth Rhapsody, Its Story (New York: Gotham Press, 1911), editor of: Narcissus by Ethelbert Nevins (simplified version by M. A.; Boston: Boston Music Co., 1899), Lullaby by Johannes Brahms (Boston: O. Ditson, 1933), Adult Beginner Piano Album (Boston: The B.F. Wood Music Co., 1929), an anthology with selections from the works of Beethoven, Dvorák, Schubert and Tchaikovsky. [Back]

[18]. Perry’s Descriptive Analyses of Piano Works, for the Use of Teachers, Players, and Music Clubs (Philadelphia, T. Presser, 1902) may be found in almost 400 library collections. He also published Stories of Standard Teaching Pieces; Containing Educational Notes and Legends Pertaining to the Best Known and Most Useful Pianoforte Compositions in General Use by Students of Music (Philadelphia: T. Presser, 1910) and pedagogical compositions, Wrist Studies: Five Technical and Melodic Studies with Descriptive Annotations(Philadelphia: T. Presser, 1917), Five Lyric Studies in Melody and Expression: For the pianoforte with Descriptive Annotations (Philadelphia: T. Presser Co., 1917), as well as Last Island: Ballade (Philadelphia: T. Presser, 1924). [Back]

[19]. Feliks Roderyk Łabuński (1892-1979) and his brother Wiktor were Polish composers who emigrated to the U.S. See Janusz Wierzbicki, “Traditional Values in a Century of Flux: The Music of Feliks Łabuński (1892-1979),” PMJ 4 no. 1 (2001). [Back]

[20]. Maria Szczepańska, “O dwunastogłosowym “Magnificat” Mikołaja Zieleńskiego z r. 1611″ [On the 12-part Magnificat (1611) by Mikołaj Zieleński], Polski Rocznik Muzyczny 1 (1935): 28-54. [Back]

[21]. Since the 1960s Verdi research centered in Istituto Nazionale di Studi Verdiani in Parma and since 1970s an American Institute for Verdi Studies New York University. Julian Budden’s three-volume commentary on Verdi’s operas was a break-through publication. See Julian Budden, The operas of Verdi (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978-1981). [Back]

[22]. Franciszek Brzeziński reviewed the music of Maliszewski and Kondracki in Rzeczpospolita no. 64 (1931), ascribing Maliszewski to the “Young Russian” school of Glazunov, characterized by solid musical training. Review reprinted in Stefan Jarociński, ed. Antologia polskiej krytyki muzycznej XIX i XX wieku [Anthology of Polish music criticism of the 19th and 20th centuries], (Kraków: PWM, 1955), 363. The collaborations and friendship between Maliszewski, Fitelberg and Russian musicians, especially Leonid W. Nikolaev, founder of the Russian piano school, are discussed by Victor Rienzin, “Nie tylko rówieśnicy” [Not only the same age] Ruch Muzyczny no. 2 (January 1981): 13-16. [Back]

[23]. There is only one published study of Maliszewski’s music briefly touching upon his relationship to Rimsky-Korsakov: Ludomir Stawowy, “Wczesna twórczość symfoniczna Witolda Maliszewskiego” [Maliszewski’s early symphonic music], im Muzyka polska a modernizm (Kraków: PWM, 1981), 177-80. [Back]

[24]. Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, review of Roman Statkowski’s Maria in Wiadomości Literackie 25 (1924); reprinted in Jarociński, Antologia, p. 379-380. [Back]

[25]. An early example of ideologically-motivated scholarship is Zofia Lissa’s Historia muzyki rosyjskiej published by PWM in 1955. In this work Lissa evaluated the quality of a composer’s musical oeuvre with Marxist criteria, condemning, for instance, Tchaikovsky’s “bourgeoisie” connections. [Back]

[26]. Zofia Helman, Teresa Chylińska, Alistair Wightman, The Songs of Karol Szymanowski and His Contemporaries. Polish Music History Series, vol. 7 (Los Angeles: Polish Music Center at USC, 2002). Four studies discuss links of Szymanowski to German cultural sphere, poetry and songs: Adam Walaciński’s “Within Richard Dehmel’s Circle: Songs by Schoenberg, Webern and Szymanowski,” Wolfgang Ruf’s “Richard Dehmel and the Lyricism of New Music,” Daniela Philippi’s “Szymanowski’s Early Songs in the Context of German-language Art Song of Musical Modernism,” and Tomasz Baranowski’s “Albert Mombert’s Schlafend trägt man mich in Songs by Karol Szymanowski, Alban Berg, Grzegorz Fitelberg and Joseph Marx.” [Back]


Born in Poland, and educated in Poland and Canada, Dr. Trochimczyk serves as Research Assistant Professor and Stefan and Wanda Wilk Director of the Polish Music Center at the Flora L. Thornton School of Music, University of Southern California, Los Angeles. After receiving two M.A. degrees in Poland (in sound engineering from the F. Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, 1987, and in musicology from the University of Warsaw, 1986) she completed her doctoral dissertation on Space and Spatialization in Contemporary Music at McGill University, in Montreal, Canada (1994) and moved to California in order to dedicate her future to researching and promoting Polish music. Dr. Trochimczyk is the recipient of grants, awards, and fellowships from Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships, 1993-1996), the American Council of Learned Societies (2001), the University of Southern California (grants from the Zumberge Fund for New Faculty in 1997, Southern California Studies Center Junior Faculty Award in 1999), Mu Phi Epsilon Professional Music Fraternity (first prize for the doctoral dissertation, 1998), and the Wilk Prize for Research in Polish Music (Professional Prize, 1994).

In her musicological research Trochimczyk has focused on the study of music by Polish composers (Bacewicz, Górecki, Lutosławski) while continuing to pursue her interests in 20th-century music (Bartók, Andriessen, Schafer, Xenakis), spatial music, and constructs of Polish national identity (anthems, immigrant communities and musicians, dance groups). Dr. Trochimczyk has published over forty articles and book chapters in an international array of books and journals, e.g. Journal of Musicological Research, The Musical Quarterly,American Music, The American Journal of Semiotics (US), Contemporary Music Review (UK), Muzyka (Poland), Studia Musicologica (Hungary), Women Composers: Music Through the Ages (USA), Lutosławski Studies (UK), and Crosscurrents and Counterpoints (Sweden). She has also given presentations at over forty musicology and interdisciplinary conferences in six countries. Her book After Chopin: Essays in Polish Music was published in 2000 by the Polish Music Center; a volume of essays about The Music of Louis Andriessen appeared in 2002 (New York: Routledge). In 1987-2000 she was known as Maria Anna Harley and published under that name.