|Polish Music Newsletter|
LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR
FALL 2006 PREVIEW:
Another delightful season of concerts at the Polish Music Center is shaping up for this Fall. Interesting programs and excellent performers will abound in all kinds of venues on the USC campus and beyond.
Our series of musical offerings begins on Thursday, September 7th at the United University Church, right at the intersection of Hoover and Jefferson Boulevard on the USC Campus. The concert begins at 7:30 PM and will feature a chamber orchestra led by Gabriel Alegria (who some of you may remember as the charming and suave conductor of the Vars Memorial Concert last November). The program will include Los Angeles premieres of works by Mieczysław Karłowicz, Tadeusz Kassern, and Zygmunt Stojowski. Other musical surprises are also planned for the evening, so stay tuned.
Next up, a concert in the Music at Noon series, also at the United University Church. The date: Wednesday, September 13th, at noon. The Midnight Quintet, featuring Maciej Flis, will perform works for wind quintet by Tadeusz Szeligowski and Wojciech Kilar, and organist Szymon Grab—a USC scholarship student—will perform works by the great (and recently deceased) organ composer, Marian Sawa. Again, this will be the first time for these works to be heard by Southern Californian audiences.
Our most important event this Fall will be the annual Paderewski Lecture-Recital. The Polish Music Center 's tradition of presenting outstanding Polish musicians to California audiences at this event goes back to 2002, when we invited Zygmunt Krauze to perform for us. Since then we have hosted Joanna Bruzdowicz in 2003, Stanisław Skrowaczewski in 2004, and Marta Ptaszyńska in 2005. On Thursday, October 12 th at 7:30 PM , English pianist Jonathan Plowright will perform an exquisite program of works by Ignacy Jan Paderewski and Zygmunt Stojowski, and U.S.-born scholar now living in Warsaw, Joseph A. Herter, will deliver a fascinating retrospective lecture. Our program this year honors Zygmunt Stojowski on the 60 th anniversary of his death. Although not well-known today, Zygmunt Stojowski was an internationally acclaimed virtuoso pianist and pedagogue, a fascinating composer, and a close friend of Paderewski. The Polish Music Center received a substantial donation of manuscripts and personal papers from the composer's sons—Henry and Alfred—who, together with their families, are expected at the event. The Polish Music Center is also planning to publish a book on Stojowski by Mr. Herter, which will be available that evening.
Another PMC concert will be take place on Sunday, October 29th at 3:00 PM at the Laguna Woods Village, Clubhouse Three Auditorium. Held in honor of Polish Heritage Month, it will feature chamber and solo works by Grażyna Bacewicz, Frederic Chopin, Mieczysław Karłowicz, and others. Performers will include the Midnight Quintet, soprano Krysta Close, and pianist Marek Żebrowski.
We hope that you, dear readers, will be able to join us for some—if not for all—of these concerts. It is quite rare to hear such a variety of music by Polish composers in a span of a few weeks. Attending these concerts gives all of us an opportunity to meet old friends, make new friends, and support the activities of Polish Music Center. We look forward to seeing you at our concerts in the coming months!
From July 6 to July 18, I was traveling in Poland, in Warszawa, Kraków, and Klementowice. During my trip, I met with several of the Polish Music Center's collaborators, and they were very generous with donations to the PMC. On behalf of the PMC and its patrons, I extend my appreciation to all in Poland who continue to support our efforts here in Los Angeles.
Here is a list of the new additions to the Polish Music Center collection:
Warszawska Jesień 2005 – This donation from the Polish Music Information Centre in Warsaw (the library arm of ZKP ) includes the 7 CD set chronicling the performances of the Warszawska Jesień festival in September 2005, as well as both English- and Polish-language versions of the event's extensive program, all wrapped up in a very attractive package.Dębski's String Connection – Polish film composer Krzesimir Dębski kindly donated a 3 CD set featuring his jazz group, String Connection, from the 1980's. This recording is a valuable addition to our collection because String Connection was considered the most important jazz group in Poland during that era, and hopefully this donation will mark the beginning of an expanded jazz selection at the PMC. Bacewicz: Pieśni zebrane – PWM , Poland's largest music publisher, continues its generous support of the Polish Music Center. In addition to their gift of this lovely Bacewicz edition, they also gave us the newest printing of both their hire and choral catalogues, as well as several copies of their new composer's pamphlets, featuring a new format and including a CD of works. Poland Abroad – Although I was unable to meet Frank Harders-Wuthenow, of Boosey & Hawkes in Berlin, who was also in Poland at the same time, he left a package for the PMC of CD donations. This included 2 CDs, a review, and a German newspaper article all pertaining to the “Polen im Herzen – Komponieren in der Fremde” [ Poland at heart – composing abroad: Polish composers in Europe (1850-1950)] Festival (October 22-30, 2005), which Mr. Harders-Wuthenow was instrumental in organizing.
PMHS VOL. 9 NOW AVAILABLEMaria Szymanowska – Pianist and Composer, the latest volume in the Polish Music History Series published by the Polish Music Center USC, is now available for purchase. This is the first English-language monograph about pianist-composer Maria Szymanowska, née Wołowska (1789-1831), celebrating the achievements and fascinating life of one of the first internationally renowned piano virtuosos of the early 19 th century. A divorced mother of three, Szymanowska was a close friend of Goethe, Pushkin, and Mickiewicz, a colleague of Cherubini, Hummel and Field, and pianist at the Imperial Court at St. Petersburg. Her compositions, including virtuoso Etudes and Preludes and Polish dances such as the Polonaise and the Mazurka, undoubtedly influenced Chopin's own development as pianist and composer. Lionized by the high society and favorably reviewed by leading journals of her day, Szymanowska traveled widely from her native Warsaw, spending considerable time in Paris, London, Weimar, Moscow and St. Petersburg in addition to forays in Italy and visits to fashionable spas of Germany. Szymanowska was also a dedicated collector of autographs. Her unique Sztambuchy [Notebooks], with illustrations, inscriptions, letters, and musical works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Clementi, Field, Haydn, Handel, Hummel, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Meyerbeer, Paganini, Rossini, Salieri, and Robert and Clara Schumann, testify to the breadth and scope of this unique personage in the history of Polish music.
This volume is based on the doctoral dissertation of Sławomir Dobrzański, a scholar, professor, and touring performer born in Poland but living in the U.S. He presents Szymanowska's biography based on Polish sources, as well as thorough analyses of her whole oeuvre, especially her piano music, with a separate chapter dedicated to her influence on Fryderyk Chopin. The book contains a CD of Dobrzański's studio recordings, including Szymanowska's Nocturnes, Etudes, Fantasy, Mazurkas, and other works for solo piano. It is available in paperback for $25.00 USD plus shipping and handling. Please contact the Polish Music Center at (213) 821-1356 or firstname.lastname@example.org to order, or see www.usc.edu/dept/polish_music/pmhsbooks/historyser.html for more details.
The Polish Music Center is also proud to announce a next title in the Polish Music History Series. Zygmunt Stojowski: Life and Music by Joseph A. Herter is the first comprehensive biography of this long-neglected and undeservedly forgotten virtuoso pianist and composer. Stojowski was born in Poland in 1870 and studied at the Conservatoire Nationale in Paris with Leo Delibes, Theodore Dubois and Louis Diemer. By 1891 Stojowski became a student of Paderewski, and later one of his closest and most trusted friends. Stojowski moved to America in 1905 and settled in New York. He continued to perform throughout North and South America and Europe, attracting highly favorable comments from the world press, and his symphonic music was programmed by the most prestigious orchestras in the world. During World War I, Stojowski lent his considerable influence to rally support for Polish independence, teaming with Paderewski and raising substantial funds for his war-torn homeland. Towards the end of his life, Stojowski once again activated his musical and social connections to help Poland during the dark days of World War II. Mr. Herter's book provides many fascinating insights and details of Stojowski's colorful life, his close association with the most important musicians of his era, including Brahms, Casals, Elgar, Massenet, Nikisch, Stokowski, Tchaikovsky, and von Bülow, among many others. The book also traces careers of many illustrious students of Stojowski, including Oscar Levant, Alfred Newman, and Guiomar Novaes, and provides a comprehensive catalogue of Stojowski's compositions.
Kazimierz Kord, who is currently the general and musical director of the Grand Theater-National Opera, has given notice of his resignation to the office of the Polish Minister of Culture, Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski. According to the Ministry, director Kord was unsatisfied with the current arrangement of having two equal directors, general and artistic, running one institution. He expressed no possibility of continuing to work with current artistic director, Mariusz Treliński.
The Minister of Culture has not yet accepted the resignation and decided to discuss the issues with Kord before doing so. Unfortunately maestro Kord is currently abroad and will not be back in Poland until mid-August. This is when we can expect the final decision to be made.
Kazimierz Kord was appointed as the musical director of the Grand Theater-National Opera in July 2005 and after a crisis and dismissal of Sławomir Pietras, general director, the minister appointed Kord as the general director as well in February 2006.
CHOPIN MANUSCRIPT PURCHASED
The manuscript of Frederic Chopin's Mazurka op. 6 no. 3 is the only original remaining today and it was recently purchased by the National Frederic Chopin Institute at an auction in London. The manuscript is written on two pages and signed by Chopin to an unknown recipient. The manuscript differs from the first prints of this piece in that it does not include the 4 bar introduction. There is also a slight discrepancy in the middle of the work.
The National Frederic Chopin Institute was created in 1991 and its main goal is to collect, secure and propagate the music and work of Frederic Chopin. The manuscript was purchased with funds from the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage for a sum of £100,000.
KENNEDY TO RECORD POLISH CONCERTOS
Nigel Kennedy has decided to make a recording of Polish violin music. His upcoming album will include the Violin Concerto in D Major by Emil Młynarski, Violin Concerto op. 8 in A Major by Mieczysław Karłowicz, plus Serenade by Edgar Elgar. Kennedy's interest in Polish works was sparked by a gift of a recording of Młynarski's concerto and ever since he has wanted to record the work himself. The artist will be accompanied by the Polish Chamber Orchestra, conducted by maestro Jacek Kaspszyk.
XII INTERNAT'L BAROQUE MUSIC CONGRESS
The International Baroque Music Congress takes place every two years in different places around the world. This year marks the 12 th edition of the Congress and this is the first time that Poland is hosting the event. It will take place at Warsaw University. The Congress attracts researchers and historians interested in the Baroque period, so there are many presentations and discussion panels, but the organizers also plan concerts and exhibitions, among others concerts of the Camerata Silesia singers and the Narol Baroque orchestra.
KILAR'S NEW PROJECTS
For the past few years, Polish composer Wojciech Kilar has focused on writing monumental works for orchestra with deep philosophical meanings, but he has apparently decided that it is time for a change of pace. Currently Kilar is focused on writing chamber music and music for the new Krzysztof Zanussi movie, Black Sun. At the same time the composer is writing piano pieces and creating sketches for an oratorio based on St. John's Apocalypse. The composer could possibly also accept one of the many offers coming from Hollywood, which in recent years he has declined due to the magnitude of his orchestral creations.
MASUR MASTER CLASSES
One of the most renowned orchestral conductors, Kurt Masur, led his 2 nd International Conducting Master Classes between July 12 and 15 in Wrocław. Kurt Masur was born in 1927 in Brzeg and started his musical studies in 1942 in Wrocław on piano and cello. Later he moved to Leipzig to study conducting, composition and piano. His conducting career has included positions in Hallé, Erfurt, Leipzig and New York. He is also a professor at the Leipzig Music Academy. For many years Kurt Masur has made regular visits Poland, taking part in the Silesian Music Festival “Porozumienie”. For more information on this talented conductor, visit his website at www.kurtmasur.com, or for more information on the master classes go to www.masur-kurs.md4.pl.
NEW OPERA COMPLEX IN BIAŁYSTOK
Preparations for the new buildings in this project, which will be called European Arts Centre "Opera Podlaska", have begun, supported by the Polish Ministry of Culture and local administration of Białystok. The estimated cost of the Centre is over 100 million PLN (approx. $32 million USD). There is a plan to apply for some financial help from the European Union. The opera house with amphitheater should take 16 months to build. The architecture was designed by prof. Marek Budzyński and includes covering the walls of the opera house in plants to fit it into the planned green surroundings. The project should be complete by the year 2009-2010.
AMADEUS CHAMBER ORCHESTRA TOUR
The Polish Radio Chamber Orchestra "Amadeus" is currently on tour in Europe. The orchestra, conducted by Agnieszka Duczmal, is performing in Switzerland, Luxembourg, France and Spain. The first concert took place in Nyon in Switzerland during the 31 st Paleo Festival Nyon. The repertoire for the tour includes Mozart's Eine kleine Nachtmusik, Coronation Mass, Exultate Jubilate, Serenada Notturna, Divertimentos and Requiem. Certain concerts will also include works by Bach, Haydn and Tchaikovsky. The vocal-instrumental works will be performed together with Latvian choir “Ave Sol” from Riga. The tour is schedule to end on the 7 th of August at the Spanish Festival de la Vila de Rialp. For more information about the orchestra please visit the official website, www.polskieradio.pl/amadeus.
VALLDEMOSSA CHOPIN FESTIVAL 2006
This festival takes place in Royal Carthusian Monastery in Valldemossa, Spain between August 6 and 27. The Chopin Festival in the Carthusian Monastery in Valldemossa has a long standing tradition—it was organized for the first time in 1930. Chopin's works are interpreted by known and renowned pianists, as well as by young artists who are just entering into the world of great art.
Pianists who will be featured at this year's festival are: Yves Henry (France), Xavier Mut (Spain), Howard Na (USA), Aldo Ciccolini (Italy), and Albert Diaz (Spain).
Find more information about this festival by visiting their website, www.festivalchopin.com.
POLES AT PROMS
The first Proms concert took place on 10 August 1895 and was the brainchild of the impresario Robert Newman, manager of the newly built Queen's Hall in London. While Newman had previously organized symphony orchestra concerts at the hall, his aim was to reach a wider audience by offering more popular programs, adopting a less formal promenade arrangement, and keeping ticket prices low. Today, the Proms Festival, now organized by the BBC, is one of the most popular and most accessible classical music festivals in the world. Below is list of the Polish performers and composers who will be featured at this year's festival (14 July – 9 September 2006.) All of the BBC Proms performances can be heard live and archived at www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod.
Prom 61: Wednesday 30 August, 7:30pm, Royal Albert Hall
SERAFIŃSKA AWARDED IN FINLAND
Polish jazz vocalist Anna Serafińska was given the first prize at the “Lady Summertime” International Jazz Vocal Competiton in Finland. Anna Serafińska sings all shades of jazz, from the traditional standards to new forms and related funk and soul styles. Her discography includes 4 solo albums and she can also be heard as a guest artist on albums by many other great artists. This award follows awards won in 2004 at the Montreaux Jazz Festival. To find out more about this talented Polish singer, go to: http://lmfl.com/annaseravkaenglish.htm
ARTE DEI SUONATORI HONORED
The city of Poznań has given its City Cultural Award to the Arte Dei Suonatori Orchestra. The award was given for “Outstanding artistic achievements and making Poznań the European capital of the early music.” This award is just one of the honors that the Polish orchestra has received in the recent weeks. The French music magazine Classica Repertoire has declared their latest CD of C. P. E. Bach flute concertos as the best recording of these works currently available. Earlier, the orchestra received the award of the Polish TV channel “Culture” and many other honors and mentions, including the British Gramophone Award for their recording of La Stravaganza by Antonio Vivaldi.
1ST PRIZE FOR TRIO ARISTOS
Members of Trio Aristos after winning the Danish Radio Chamber Music Competition.
L-R: Jakob Kullberg, Szymon Krzeszowiec, and Alexander Øllgaard.
Only 5 months after winning the Danish Radio Chamber Music Competition in Copenhagen, Polish/Danish Trio Aristos has won the 1st prize in the 4th International Max Reger Competition. The competition took place in Sondershausen, Germany from July 12th-15 th, 2006. There were 11 competing string trios and quartets from 8 different countries.
Aristos had its' debut at the 13th International Strings Only Festival in Croatia and has since received great critical acclaim from critics and audiences alike. The group was propelled to stardom in February 2006 when, as a newcomer to the Copenhagen scene, it won the Danish Radio Chamber Music Competition. All of the members (Szymon Krzeszowiec – violin, Jakob Kullberg – cello, and Alexander Øllgaard – viola) have proven themselves internationally, not only as chamber musicians but also as soloists, and are especially drawn to the trio medium due to the necessary flux between individuality and conformity. Trio Aristos shares an equal interest and respect for the 'classical' and the 'contemporary' repertoire. To learn more about Trio Aristos, please visit their website at www.trioaristos.com .
PADEREWSKI VOCAL COMPETITION IN BYDGOSZCZ
Kamila Kułakowska from Bydgoszcz and Anna Noworzyn from Katowice have received the ex aequo second prizes at the 2 nd I. J. Paderewski National Vocal Comptetition in Bydgoszcz. The first prize was not awarded. The third prize went to Jadwiga Postrożna from Wrocław. The competition attracted over 20 singers from around Poland. The jury was led by a renowned polish singer and professor of Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, Jadwiga Rappe. The competition is co-organized by the Feliks Nowowiejski Music Academy in Bydgoszcz and Ignacy Jan Paderewski Music Society in Bydgoszcz .
FESTIVALS IN POLAND
CHOPIN AND HIS EUROPE
The second edition of the “Chopin and His Europe” festival will take place from August 18 - 31, with one more installment on September 8. This year's edition, entitled “From Mozart to Friedrich Gulda,” is produced by National Frederic Chopin Institute in cooperation with National Philharmonic and the Grand Theater-National Opera . The program consists of eight symphonic concerts, one chamber concert, and four solo recitals. The world class artists who will be performing during the festival include : Martha Argerich, Rafał Blechacz, Garrick Ohlsson, Dang Thai Son, Nicholas Angelich, Andrzej Bauer, Renaud Capuçon, Rico Gulda, Paul Gulda, François-Frédéric Guy, Jadwiga Kotnowska, Olli Mustonen, Fou Ts'ong, Sergio Tiempo and Makoto Ozone. The orchestras include the National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra and 18 th Century Orchestra. Conductors include: Frans Brüggen, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Tadaaki Otaka, Alexandre Rabinovitch-Barakovsky, and Antoni Wit. For more information, visit the Chopin Institute website.
JAZZ IN THE OLD TOWN 2006
The Jazz in the Old Town Festival in Warsaw is one of the best known festivals in Poland. Every edition of the festival gathers approximately 40,000 people and individual concerts often attract 3-4,000 people. It is the event of the season for tourists and music lovers from Poland and abroad. The festival lasts 2 months (July, August), with concerts every Saturday evening in the Old Town Square. All concerts are free. The idea behind the event is the promotion of musical compositions and arrangements.
Guest artists are the most famous Polish, European, and American jazz players, including: Dino Saluzzi & the Tomasz Stańko Trio; Michał Urbaniak; Scott Hamilton Group; Sexteto Habanita; United Vibrations International Summer Jazz Academy; Anna Maria Jopek; the Bobby Watson-Marlon Simon Group; the Włodzimierz Nahorny; Giovanni Mirabassi & Andrzej Jagodziński Trio; Nippy Noya & the Globetrotters; Zbigniew Namysłowski & Klaus Paier Trio; Bill Evans & Walk Away; James Weidman Trio; Karen Edwards & Jarek Śmietana Trio; Tuna Otenel – Janusz Muniak Quartet; Pierre Blanchard & The World String Trio; “International Quintet” - Dave Liebman, Lars Danielsson, L. Możdżer, J. Kochan, & P. Wojtasik; “Dream Team” - Leszek Możdżer, Lars Daniellson, and Zohar Fresco; “El Sabor De La Tradicion” Septeto Nacional; the Paul Brody Quintet; “House of Jade” – Ed Schuller, J.van Hof, W. Reisinger, K. Popek, P. Wojtasik; the Kevin Mahogany Quintet; the Monty Waters Quintet; the Kenny Wheeler Quartet; Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio & Mark Whitfield. For more information please visit the official website of the festival, www.jazznastarowce.pl.
The Jan Kiepura European Festival in Krynica is the largest summer festival in Poland. Between August 12 and 26 audiences will attend many concerts performed by first class artists, stagings of operas and operettas and screenings of movies with the great Polish tenor, Jan Kiepura. More details and program of the festival is available on the official website .
CHOPIN IN ŁAZIENKI KRÓLEWSKIE
The cycle of Sunday piano recitals in Łazienki Królewskie park continues this year. The recitals take place every Sunday at 12:00 pm and 4:00 pm by the Frederic Chopin statue.
Concerts in August:
Photo: Krysta Close, 9 July 2006
INTERNATIONAL ORGAN MUSIC IN OLIWA
Although the festival started in July, it will last until the end of August, so there is still a chance to enjoy the music that it has to offer. This organ festival has been around for nearly half of a century. The organ in the Oliwa Cathedral is one of the very unique and rare instruments in Europe that allows the player to alternate the stereo effect from a single manual and offers additional sound effects not usually found in traditional organ. The instrument and acoustics in the cathedral are the reasons that for two months every year, great organists from around the world come to perform in Oliwa. The concerts take place every Tuesday and Friday evening. This year the players come from Poland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, France, Czech Republic, Germany and Italy.
ŻELAZOWA WOLA RECITALS
The “Musical Presentations” series of piano recitals continues at Żelazowa Wola. The recitals take place daily between Tuesday and Saturday in the Żelazowa Wola mansion. These recitals are independent from the traditional Sunday series and focus on young and upcoming artist as opposed to established soloists.
August concert calendar:
II WORLD CONTRABASS FESTIVAL
The World Contrabass Festival will take place between August 12 and 19 in Wrocław. Concerts and other events will be spread between the Wrocław Music Academy, Wrocław University, interiors of the Arsenal, and stages of the Wrocław Theater and Philharmonic. The festival is organized by the Polish Association of Contrabass Players. The musical genres of the festival include classical, jazz and experimental, and theatre music, and will feature such contrabass stars as: John Clayton, Petyia Bagovska, Jacek Niedziela, Vitold Rek, Renauld Garcia Fons, Franco Petracchia, Jorm Katram and Virginia Dixon. The detailed program of the festival is available on the official website .
DUSZNIKI ZDRÓJ PIANO FESTIVAL
The Duszniki Zdrój Piano Festival starts on August 4 and will last until August 12 in Duszniki Zdrój. The International Chopin Piano Festivals in Duszniki Zdrój have been held annually for the last sixty years in the Chopin Manor, a unique place where several generations of artists, both Chopin fans and piano music fans in general, have been convening. This year's edition has wonderful lineup, opening with Dina Joffe from Estonia and closing with a performance by Rafał Blechacz, the winner of the 15 th International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. Also on the bill to perform at the festival: professor at the Julliard School of Music and laureate of many competitions, Oxana Yablonskaya; 15 year old Rachel Cheung Wai-Ching; and Jeffrey Swan. Similar to the previous editions there also will be master classes and workshops for pianists led by Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń (Blechacz's teacher) and Eleanor Wong. For the 14 th year, the artistic director of the festival is Piotr Paleczny.
CONCERTS & PERFORMANCES
KURKOWICZ PERFORMS PREMIERE
On July 27, 2006 Polish violinist Joanna Kurkowicz (at right) and the Williams Chamber Players performed the New York Premiere of David Kechley 's Violin Sonata: Episodes and Soliloquies for Violin and Piano at the Bargemusic Series in New York. This piece was written for Ms. Kurkowicz.
In the middle of the last century, Bargemusic was a hard-working vessel in New York Harbor, delivering hand-loaded sacks of coffee to the Erie Lackawanna Railroad. Now moored at Fulton Ferry Landing, its present cargo is the sound of music. See the Bargemusic website for more details and concert information.
BBC DISC OF THE MONTH
According to reviewer David Nice of BBC Music Magazine (Proms issue 2006), “Polish conductor Antoni Wit surpasses all the leading German conductors in his new recording of Strauss's Alpine Symphony .” Quite a statement of glowing praise from this English writer – whether the Germans would agree is yet to be seen. But Mr. Nice goes on to explore the reasons why this recording is so extraordinary, and comes to the conclusion that it based in solid musicianship and years of experience.
Not only is Maestro Wit a musician of the highest quality, on this recording he is joined by the Staatskapelle Orchestra of Weimar, who are equally up to the task. It is obvious that, for all parties involved, recording this symphony is a labor of love. The Staatskapelle Orchestra of Weimar was once conducted by Strauss himself and the group rises and falls with the music as if they were part of a mountaineering party. But it is Wit's direction that allows them to negotiate each passage with such grace. The Maestro has “loved this work since the late 1960's or early ‘70's” and it has been his dream to record the work ever since, according to an interview with Daniel Jaffé in the same edition of BBC Music Magazine. And much to the benefit of all of us, this dream has now come true.
Bartók & Lutosławski: Concertos for Orchestra
This recording of two Concertos for Orchestra, available as regular and Super Audio CD, was reviewed in July/August 2006 issue of American Record Guide . The reviewer gives Jarvi high notes for his interpretation and commends the orchestra for the performance. The review opens with: “This is one of the most beautifully played and recorded performances of the Bartók and Lutosławski Concertos that I've heard” and goes on to say, “If Jarvi's control reins in the fire and folk color of Bartók, it unleashes the power and depth (if not the fire) of the Lutosławski more than any recording I've heard.” Even though the review also recommends other recordings of these works it seems that Cincinatti under Jarvi is one of the best out there. Worth a try.
BORKOWSKI IN KOREA
Isang Yun – Chamber Symphony I , Tapis (version for string orchestra), Gong-Hu
Piotr Borkowski is a Polish conductor who, despite his youth, has conducted orchestras and ensembles around the world. He has developed especially strong relationships with South Korean universities; from 1996 to 2001 he was a professor of conducting at the Hyosung Catholic University in Daegu, South Korea. Since 2001 he holds the same position at Suwon University. This Korean connection has resulted in the recent release of him conducting the works of Isang Yun on the Naxos label. Yun (1917-1995), a Korean composer, was a victim of repressive historical events. His musical language represents Korean musical styles played on western instruments, creating very interesting effects. American Record Guide (July/August 2006) review says: “It is quite lovely and played with beauty in these performances.”
Piano Concerto no 1 in E minor, B 53/Op. 11; Fantasie in F minor, Op. 49; Bolero, Op. 19; Fantasie-Impromptu, Op. 66; Polonaise in A flat Major, Op. 53
Olga Kern, piano; Warsaw Philharmonic; Antoni Wit, conductor
Harmonia Mundi 807402
Despite the long relationship between 2001 Van Cliburn winner Olga Kern and Antoni Wit's Warsaw Philharmonic, review Tim Parry BBC Music Magazine (Proms 2006 issue) was unimpressed by the resulting Harmonia Mundi recording: “I find her playing undeniably accomplished yet disappointingly uninvolving […] and the support of Antoni Wit's Warsaw band needs a stronger dynamic bite.”CHOPIN'S AND LISZT'S CELLO MUSIC
Frederic Chopin – Cello Sonata, Polonaise, Grand Duo Concertante ; Franz Liszt – La Lugubre Gondola, Die Zelle in Nonnenwerth, Romance oubliée, Elegies
Norman Fischer, cello; Jeanne Kierman, piano
American Record Guide (July/August 2006) writes: “The cello music of the two greatest pianist-composers of the 19 th Century makes a curiously satisfying program, played here in a notably suave and relaxed manner.”
POLLINI PLAYS CHOPIN'S NOCTURNES
This double CD release from Deutsche Grammophon showcases Maurizio Pollini in his prime. It has been over 40 years since this great pianist made his debut and he still has what it takes to perform Chopin masterfully. The release has received a warm review from the American Record Guide (July/August 2006) and seems to be one of the better recordings of the Nocturnes on the market.
The American Record Guide (July/August 2006) did not like Estrin's performance of Chopin's music very much. The reviewer has some very critical comments: “Estrin's sound has a strident edge to it and a lack of tonal control, despite careful tempos” and simply goes on to say, “I would avoid this recording.”
Ann Schein recorded this CD in 2004 but it was just recently released. Schein is a renowned artist and has performed on many of the great stages around the world, but according to American Record Guide (July/August 2006), “Schein comes across as undecided and seems to take the music's direction almost as if against her will. The tempos are so slow, it's hard not to wish a piece were over.”
ARAD'S CHOPIN WALTZES
Avner Arad is an Israeli born pianist, winner of 1998 Carnegie Hall Distinctive Debuts Award. Based on the American Record Guide (July/August 2006) review, it seems that his recording of Chopin's Waltzes has a lot to offer to the listener. “Israeli pianist Avner Arad makes each of these waltzes an adventure. Middle sections sound rich and full, with great attention to inner voices; outer ones dance with elfin lightness...with Arad, the experience [of hearing these works] is enchanting...The recording is natural and resonant...[Arad] is a Chopin player to be reckoned with."
The recital was recorded in the early 1990s and this is a reissue of the previous release. According to the Fanfare magazine ( July/August 2006 ) review, “The problem is that, although in concert this would have been undeniably satisfying, nowhere here would Andsnes become anything close to a first recorded choice, so whatever positives there are must be considered in the light of this.”
From the Fanfare review (Colin Clarke, July/August 2006): “If you'd been there, you'd have been awed—sheer voltage generates a visceral suspense lifting into exhilaration. This is major music-making, the more imposing for being a live performance, and the more gratifying for its capture in close, bright, detailed sound.”
Despite his many awards and distinguished career, Fanfare reviewer Adrian Corleonis ( July/August 2006 ) has little praise for the performer on this recording. “Make no mistake: Pizzaro […] boasts a secure technique, and […] he is capable of tremendous drive and a wide range of color. […] But to my ears, at least on this recording, he makes little use of his dramatic gifts, numbing us instead with a strangely static approach to the music.”
From The Gramophone magazine review by Jeremy Nicholas in the July 2006 issue: “Tiempo certainly likes to live dangerously and challenge conventional wisdom. […] The three Nocturnes could almost pass as improvisations. Tiempo is a colourist in love with the infinite variety a piano can produce.”
Bach – Das Wohltemperierte Klavier; Beethoven – Piano sonata no. 2; Franck – Prelude, choral et fugue; Mozart – Fantasia; Schuman – Kinderszenen
“At an age when most pianists have long since withdrawn to savour peace and quiet, Horszowski's short and dapper figure remained a major, indeed, unique presence on the world's concert platforms. And here, aged 94, playing at the 1986 Aldenburg Festival, he makes it clear that […] wisdom and grace […] still left him avid for new musical experiences.” This quote from Bryce Morrison in The Gramophone (July 2006) says it all.
STOJOWSKI COLLECTION UPDATE
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SIGISMOND STOJOWSKI: CORRESPONDENCE
Letter from Stojowski to Mme. Mickiewicz, 26 April 1925
SIGISMOND STOJOWSKI: CORRESPONDENCE & OTHER PAPERS
SIGISMOND STOJOWSKI: ON MUSIC
STOJOWSKI: PRESS CLIPPINGS
BORN THIS MONTH:
Copyright 2006 by the Polish Music
Send your comments and inquiries to: email@example.com
Newsletter Editor: Krysta Close
Assistant Editor: Daniel Kamiński Contributions from: Marek Żebrowski
Sources of information: Polish Cultural Institute, Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Fanfare,
American Record Guide, PWM, Nowy Dziennik, Polish Music Information Centre,
PAP, ZKP, BBC Music Magazine, infochopin.pl, Grammophon Magazine.
Formatting by Krysta Close 8/3/06