|Polish Music Newsletter
February 2003, Vol. 9, no. 2. ISSN 1098-9188. Published monthly.
Los Angeles: Polish Music Center, University of Southern California
Calendar of Events| Discography |
The phenomenal young Polish pianist, Stanislaw Drzewiecki played a well-received concert
in New York's Carnegie Hall on the 26th of January, 2003. In press review in Nowy Dziennik Drzewiecki was compared
to Zimerman and Kissin - two pianists specializing in Chopin who debuted at a young age.
Krzysztof Penderecki's 70th birthday celebration this year
was inaugurated at the National Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw
with the Varsovia Sinfonia conducted by the composer
performing two of his works, "Sinfonietta per archi" and
"Concerto Grosso for 3 cellos."
This year also marks the 70th birthday celebration of Henryk
This year also marks the 70th birthday celebration of Henryk Mikolaj Górecki.
Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-1969) would have been ninety-four years old this month. An outstanding composer of the 20th century. and a professional violin virtuoso, Bacewicz left a great legacy (comparable to that of Bartók) for string music (7 violin concertos, 2 cello concertos, 1 viola concerto, 7 violin sonatas, 7 string quartets and numerous pieces for violin and piano. She also composed some symphonic works which are part of the standard repertoire for chamber orchestra in Europe.
Read about this remarkable woman composer in the Polish Music Journal on this web-site (vol. 5 no. 1, summer 2002). It is a reprint (with the kind permission of its author, Judith Rosen) of the book that the Friends of Polish Music at USC published back in 1984, as the second monograph in the Polish Music History Series that I inaugurated. It was the first publication in any language on this composer. Our one thousand copies have been sold out. Recently a new book on this composer was published in Poland in Polish. Małgorzata G±siorowska devoted many years in preparing this edition.
February 7th also marks the anniversary of the death of the great Witold Lutosławski (1994) and of composer Jan Maklakiewicz (1954).
According to Nowy Dziennik the third Polish performance of Feliks Nowowiejski's oratorio, "The Prodigal Son" ended the festivities celebrating the composer's 125th birthday anniversary, by an orchestra and choir of students from the Music School in Poznan in December.
Wojciech Kilar's 70th birthday celebrations were concluded in Krakow with his "Missa Pro Pace" at St. Peter & Paul's church with an orchestra and choir from the Music School under the direction of Piotr Sulkowski.
A series commemorating the 20th anniversary of Polish pianist Artur Rubinstein's death began with a gala concert at the National Philharmonic in Warsaw. Antoni Wit led the National Philharmonic in Szymanowski's Second Symphony in B major. Rubinstein and Szymanowski were close friends.
Violinist TYRONE GREIVE will present a program featuring Polish violin music spanning three centuries on Friday, March 14 at 8 p.m. at the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York. Pianist Ellen Burmeister will be his partner in works of Gorecki, Bacewicz, Poldowski, Elsner, Noskowski, Paderewski, and Szymanowski. Tickets are $25 ($20 for KF members) and include a reception with the artists following the concert; they can be reserved by calling the Foundation Office at (212) 734-2130. Visit www.kosciuszkofoundation.org.
TYRONE GREIVE is professor of violin at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Not himself Polish, his interest in Polish music was instigated by his late teacher, Warsaw-born violinist-conductor Leo Kucinski. A native of Sioux City, Iowa, Greive earned his bachelor of music degree from Morning side College, from whom he received a Distinguished Alumni Award in 1985. He holds a Master's degree from Carnegie-Mellon University, and a doctorate from the University of Michigan, where his teachers were Sidney Harth and Angel Reyes, respectively. He also attended the Meadowmount School of Music, where he studied with Margaret Pardee, and the Aspen Music Festival, where he studied chamber music with Claus Adam, Robert Mann and Lilian Fuchs. Since joining the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1979 Greive has extensively studied Polish violin repertoire and has also made an in-depth examination of the history of the instrument in Poland. His resulting articles, which fuse research with a performer's perspective, have been published in periodicals of national and international circulation; he has also edited Polish violin music for publication. Currently, he is working on a recording of Polish romantic violin-piano music and a book on the intercultural aspects of the violin in Poland. In addition to extensive orchestral playing experience, much of which has been in the capacity as concertmaster, he has performed many solo recitals, solo and multiple concertos, and chamber music concerts. In terms of programming he has become recognized for combining relatively little-known but deserving and appealing repertoire with recognized standard masterworks. Presently, he is concertmaster of the Madison Symphony Orchestra. Beginning his college-level teaching career just after turning 21, Greive has also held teaching positions in South Dakota and Texas. He has taught and performed at numerous summer music festivals and camps throughout the United States, such as the Black Hills Fine Arts Center, the National Music Camp at Interlochen, the Shreveport Summer Music Festival, and the Bear Lake Music Festival in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming. His violin class at the University of Wisconsin-Madison includes students from a wide geographic area both nationally and internationally, and his numerous former students hold teaching and performing positions throughout the United States as well as abroad.
ELLEN BURMEISTER, recently retired, has served as professor of piano at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Associate Director of the School of Music. She has maintained an active performance career, appearing throughout the United States on state and national conventions, including the Music Teachers National Association and the College Music Society. She has recorded sonatas of Vincent Persichetti, and her textbook, Keyboard Sight reading, has been used at major universities and conservatories. She collaborated with Mr. Greive in the CD "Polish Romantic Violin Music of the late 19th and 20th Centuries," released by Albany Records in 1999.
On February 8, 2003 at 8 p.m. Los Angeles Master Chorale presents
a concert of Brahms and Stravinsky, called "Love and Marriage"
and featuring Juliana Gondek as one of the soloists.
(Juliana Gondek, soprano; Jennifer Roderer, mezzo; Jonathan Mack, tenor; Louis Lebherz, bass).
The pianists are Gloria Cheng, Bryan Pezzone, Vicki Ray, Mark Robson.
The first half consists of Brahms's "Liebeslieder Waltzes" for chamber choir and 2 pianos. [official blurb: "The romance of Vienna comes alive with these love songs speaking of heady romance and youthful heartache."] These provide a sweet and fattening appetizer to the main course - Stravinsky's "Les Noces" (The Wedding), a 25-minute cantata in Russian for soloists, large chorus, 4 pianos, and percussion. This piece was composed for Diaghilev's legendary Ballets Russes in 1917. It tells the story of a Russian peasant wedding, from the bride's morning preparations to "lights out" after the drunken wedding party.
The LA Master Chorale is offering a two tickets-for-the-price-of-one special for this Saturday's concert at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the MUsic Center (8 pm). Just call 1(800) 787-LAMC and mention "NMAR". This offer expires Feb. 7, subject to availability. The performance begins at 8 pm.
American pianist Matt Bengston did his DMA research on Szymanowski's Mazurkas at Peabody Conservatory. Last year he made a commercial recording of Szymanowski's music (please see www.mattbengtson.com/recordings.html for information on this and some mp3's).
|POLISH MUSIC JOURNAL
Vol. 5 No. 2, Winter 2002
ZYGMUNT STOJOWSKI AND HIS TIMES
The winter 2002 issue of the Polish Music Journal will be available on February 16 from:
The volume presents the live and music of Zygmunt Stojowski (1870-1946), a Polish pianist and composer who moved to the U.S. in the early 1900s and taught piano performance a variety of American colleges as well as in his private music school. Stojowski's 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) has deemed him to obscurity after the victory of Szymanowski's "modernism" in the 1920s. The rediscovery of his life is due to a recent location of his personal papers and manuscripts, the Zygmunt and Louisa Stojowski Collection, in the possession of his son, Henry Stojowski. Joseph A. Herter, American conductor and music writer active in Poland, has began the search for Stojowski's manuscripts several years ago. Thanks to the assistance of the Polish Music Center and the Ars Musica Poloniae Foundation he was able to travel to New York to search for Stojowski documents. The Kosciuszko Foundation supported partial cataloging of the collection Dr. Barbara Zakrzewska who located a large number of Stojowski manuscripts. Maja Trochimczyk continued the discovery and description of the collection, locating Stojowski's notebooks and sketchbooks. Mr. Herter's article on Stojowski's life provides a general introduction to a biography that still needs to be written. His bibliographies, catalogue of works provide invaluable tools for researching Stojowski's life. The article is accompanied by a selection of Stojowski's writings and texts about him, and various articles on Polish music published in the U.S. between 1900 and 1945. The issue also includes one book review by Nicholas Reyland who writes about Lutosławski Studies (ed. Zbigniew Skowron, London: Oxford University Press, 2001).
Just received information from our friend, Daniel Kij, about
the Wihan String Quartet performing Andrzej Panufnik's String
Quartet No. 3 in Florida. This famed Czech Quartet has won
many prizes and receives great reviews. In late 2000 it
became quartet-in-residence at Cranfield University in the
United Kingdom. They had also performed at the Kosciuszko
Foundation in January.
The Chopin Recital given by pianist/teacher Jerzy Stryjniak, on 17 January in Merkin Concert Hall received an excellent review in Nowy Dziennik from Renata Pasternak-Mazur. The program consisted of Chopin's Ballades, Nocturnes and Mazurkas and concluded with the Andante Spianato & Grande Polonaise Brilliante Op. 22.
Reviewed in the same issue: The Sinfonia Varsovia concert at Carnegie Hall, sponsored by the Kosciuszko Foundation, in which Ian Hobson performed as piano soloist and conductor. The concert took place on January 12, 2003. Special guest, renowned contralto, Ewa Podle¶, performed Szymanowski's Three Songs, Op. 5 written by the composer when he was in his twenties for voice and piano. This excellent performance presented the orchestral version arranged by the composer's friend and conductor, the late Grzegorz Fitelberg. Critic Roman Markowicz felt the soloist's great voice was strong enough to bring out the full beauty of this combination.
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra performed Moritz Moszkowski's "Suite in G for 2 violins" in an arrangement by Topilow. Andres Cardenas led the orchestra in a concert at the Katz Performing Arts Center in Pittsburgh.
BBC Radio 3 featured the late Witold Lutoslawski as Composer of the Week for January 20-24th.
BBC Artsworld TV presented a profile of composer Krzysztof Penderecki on January 24th (8:00 p.m.) and 25th (3:00 pm.). This was followed by a showing of the premiere of Krzysztof Penderecki's Sextet that was recorded live at the Vienna Musikverein in June 2000 (Jan 24 @ 9 p.m. and Jan 25 @ 4 p.m.)
James Jolly, editor of Gramophone magazine writes a feature article on "recent late-Romantic orchestral reissues" in the January 2003 edition. He considers composer Szymanowski along with Diepenbrock, Delius, Sinding, Bartok and Busoni and writes, "With Sir Simon Rattle working his way with remarkable success through the major scores, it's easy to forget that EMI already has an impressive catalogue of Szymanowski's music. A Double fforte set gathers the violin concertos, Mandragora, Demeter, the Stabat Mater and the Litany to the Virgin Mary in suitable authentic Polish performances (and to further emphasise Szymanowski's mileu the discs also contain Gorecki's Three Pieces in the Old Style and Tadeusz Baird's Colas Breugnon suite). This is a fine introduction to Szymanowski's music."
Critic Richard Whitehouse writes a lengthy analysis of the music and lauds pianist Clarke with the subtitle, "Panufnik and early Shostakovich receive committed and perceptive performances."According to Gramophone's "What to Look For in 2003" in the Chamber music category: "Isabelle Faust, a former Gramophone Young Artist of the Year, has recorded a disc of violin and piano music by Janacek, Lutoslawski and Szymanowski. Ewa Kupiec accompanies on this Harmonia Mundi release."
Although critic Philip Haldeman preferred Dutilleux's music to Lutoslawski, he calls this CD "one of EMI Great Recordings of the Century. The sound is excellent. I wouldn't want my collection to be without it."
Carl Bauman has "mixed emotions about this type of thing. At least the Janacek and Szymanowski are great works and therefore may well be worth hearing in string orchestra arrangements. But why bother? They are so superbly written that anything an arranger may do seems superfluous."
Look back into the December newsletter for two other reviews. It was BBC's "Pick of the Month" and Ivan March praised it and gave it five stars. At least, there is no dispute as to the music itself.
Plan to attend a great program featuring Polish violin music spanning three centuries at the Kosciuszko Foundation on Friday, March 14th. Tyrone Greive, professor of violin at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is not Polish, however, I have known of his interest in Polish music for many years. He has published numerous articles pertaining to Polish violin music and has also edited Polish violin music for publication.
I learned from the Kosciuszko Foundation's Cultural Affairs director, Thomas J. Pniewski, that this interest was "instigated by his late teacher, Warsaw-born violinist- conductor, Leo Kucinski."
His program will include the music of Polish composers Gorecki, Bacewicz, Poldowski, Elsner, Noskowski, Paderewski and Szymanowski. Look up wwww.kosciuszkofoundation.org.
POLANSKI'S "THE PIANIST"
The film, "The Pianist" has inspired many articles in the newspapers recently. On 5 January in the LA Times, Scarlet Cheng writes in a feature article entitled, "The Towering Ivories." "From the `Piano' to the `Pianist' the player - and the instrument - become the hero." The actor, nominated for Best Leading Actor, had "studied the keyboard since childhood and composes hip-hop tunes, but, as he says, `I play, but I'm not on the level of a concert pianist.'" I saw the film and must say that Adrian Brody deserves the Best Actor Award, not only for his dramatic acting, but also for his role as a pianist. He took special lessons and practiced for months to be able to look like he was a concert pianist.
Another Los Angeles Times article on 9 January "Beauty Above Bombs" tells the reader that the film "opens on a September afternoon in 1939. Concert pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman, whose story the film tells, makes his way through a war-torn city, past death and destruction, to continue his concerts on Warsaw Radio. The piece he chooses to play that day, a Chopin nocturne, is heart-breakingly beautiful, unbroken by the deafening sound of the bombs.
The article continues, "After the experience of the film and its music, it's hard not to want to hear more Chopin. We asked our critics for their recommendations." Mark Swed selected Krystian Zimerman with his specially selected Polish Festival Orchestra and Madeleine Forte's Chopin. Richard S. Ginell chose Dinu Lipatti's EMI recording from 1950 and Arthur Rubinstein's Mazurkas. Daniel Cariaga opted for all of Arthur Rubinstein's recordings and any recording of Krystian Zimerman, while Chris Pasles chose Alfred Cortot's Preludes & Waltzes and Rubinstein's Waltzes. Josef Woodard leaned toward "Italian and Cuban hands" in selecting Maurizio Pollini in the Polonaises and Juana Zayas in the Etudes.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
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Copyright 2002 by the Polish Music
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