|Polish Music Newsletter
March 2002, Vol. 8, no. 3. ISSN 1098-9188. Published monthly.
Los Angeles: Polish Music Center, University of Southern California
CHOPIN PRIZE: EIGELDINGER
Jean-Jacques Eigeldinger, eminent Swiss musicologist, professor of
Geneva University received the yearly Chopin Award for 2001. The award ceremony took place in Warsaw on 2 March 2002 and included
a Chopin recital by Yundi Li, the winner of the first prize in the 14th International Chopin Competition in 2000.
The award was granted by the International Chopin Foundation; Prof. Eigeldinger was honored for his research into Chopin's life and music,
in particular for his studies of Chopin in the eyes of his students, his edition of
Chopin's sketches for a method of piano performances, and the book L'Univers musical de Chopin.
The prize consists of 20,000 Polish zloty (about 5,000 dollars).
In 1980 Prof. Eigeldinger founded a section of the Swiss Musicological Union, in 1976-1987 he was the editor-in-chief of the Revue musicale de Suisse romande; in 1995 he served on the jury of the 13th International Chopin Competition in Warsaw. He currently serves as one of the co-editors of the Complete Chopin. A New Critical Edition (London: Peters, forthcoming). In 1984 he received an award from the Minister of Culture and Arts of Poland for his work on behalf of Polish culture.
On March 16 and 17, 2002, the La Jolla Orchestra will present a concert of music from Poland and Russia, directed by guest conductor, Marcin Nałęcz-Niesiołowski, Artistic Director of the Bialystok Philharmonic and the Mala Filharmonia Warsaw Chamber Orchestra. The program of the concert will include:
Maestro Nałęcz-Niesiołowski conducts the wonderful concert overture Bajka by Moniuszko, the most important composer of Polish opera in the 19th century. Szymanowski's moving oratorio Stabat Mater is a masterpiece of 20th-century choral repertoire; perfectly suitable for the period of Lent due to its sombre subject and welcome in the concert halls at any time of the year, due to its enchanting beauty.
The La Jolla
Symphony & Chorus performs at Mandeville Auditorium on the campus of the University of California, San Diego (which is located in La Jolla).
The tickets are $19 regular, $16 senior, and $12 student; group rates are also available. The concerts take place on Saturday evenings
at 8 p.m. and on Sunday at 3 p.m. For more information visit the orchestra's web site:
http://orpheus.ucsd.edu/dept.music/LJSCA/BoxOffice.html. For Tickets, call the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus Box Office at (858) 534-4637.
The first Paderewski Distinguished Lecture, featuring composer-pianist Zygmunt Krauze, with the participation of the Polish Folk Dance Ensemble Krakusy, will take place on 3 May 2002, 7 p.m. Bovard Auditorium, USC Campus, Los Angeles.
Ignacy Jan Paderewski, portrait by Styka, 1916.
Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI (1860-1941), a pianist, composer, politician, humanitarian, and orator, was greatly acclaimed as a virtuoso musician and a charismatic personality. Throughout his musical career he was actively lobbying for Poland to regain independence; he collected funds for the benefit of the country, soldiers, and the victims of the war. His campaign resulted in Poland returning to the map of Europe; he then became the first Prime Minister of Poland and the first Polish delegate to the League of Nations. In order to celebrate Paderewski's musical talents and his connection to California (he settled in Paso Robles where he had a vineyard; he also received an honorary doctorate from USC) the Polish Music Center at the University of Southern California presents a lecture series, supported by the Kosciuszko Foundation of New York. These lectures, or lecture-recitals in case of pianists and other performing musicians, will spotlight Polish and Polish-American composers and musicians of international stature. The invited guests (one per year) will give a one-hour lecture about their music and their connection to Polish culture. The lectures will be recorded and published by the Polish Music Center: the texts in the Polish Music Journal and the lecture-recitals on CDs. The events will be widely advertised nationally and internationally. The lecture series - through recordings and publication - will become a permanent tribute to Paderewski and to the vitality of Polish culture.
The selection of Paderewski as the patron of the lectures held at USC highlights both his role in California and his connection to this esteemed University. This eminent composer-statesman received an honorary doctorate from USC in 1923 (from the School of International Relations). During that event held at Bovard Auditorium, Paderewski made a speech, but did not perform; a music program was presented by an international array of artists. Participants in this celebration included USC deans and professors, representatives of Polish-American Community; musicians and a patriotic organization called the Native Sons of the Golden West. The audience consisted of USC faculty members and students, diplomatic corps from L.A. area; journalists and the general public. The same groups of listeners are expected at the 2002 Paderewski Distinguished Lecture featuring Zygmunt Krauze and Krakusy.
The 2002 speaker will be Zygmunt KRAUZE (B. 1939), recently described by Mark Swed in the Los Angeles Times as a "major composer" of our times. Krauze has been active as a pianist and composer since the late 1950s. His original style of "unistic" compositions was inspired by constructivist Polish paintings by Strzeminski. His music later borrowed material from folk song of central Europe and Poland. With a keen ear for sonority, Krauze created an original sound world of subtle arabesques and fluid textures. His connection to Polish traditions of piano music may be seen in his interpretations of, and improvisations based on, works by Chopin, Szymanowski, and Paderewski. His lecture-recital will present a unique approach to Polish national style and its place in the international music world. KRAKUSY Polish Folk Dance Ensemble has recently celebrated their 50th anniversary and is widely recognized as the most important Polish folk dance group in Southern California. The Ensemble's new choreographer, Maciej Pasternak, is an eminent expert from Poland, specializing in folk dance and having previously directed several groups in Poland. The group will illustrate the steps of national dances during the lecture of Mr. Krauze as well as present three "national" dances to the music of Karol Kurpinski and Stanislaw Moniuszko at the conclusion of this event.
The Paderewski Distinguished Lecture is organized by the Polish Music Center, USC Thornton School of Music; and co-sponsored by The Kosciuszko Foundation, New York; The Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles; and a range of Polish organizations in California.
A reader of the Los Angeles Times, from Evanston, Illinois wondered if Paderewski's body had been sent back to Poland. Walter Scott gave a correct answer in his "Personality Parade" page in the Sunday Los Angeles Times: His answer: "It's already there. Paderewski's body was returned on June 27, 1992, and is now in Warsaw's St. John's Cathedral. For 51 years, he rested in Arlington National Cemetery. At his request, however, his heart remains in America. It's inside a bronze monument at the Our Lady of Czestochowa Shrine in Doylestown, Pa." I was surprised, but also pleased, to see this question in a page that deals with Hollywood celebrities. I don't know why I was surprised, because the great Polish virtuoso was one of the greatest and most famous celebrities of his time. Just recently we had an e-mail inquiry about the exact location of the Church where his heart rests.
I also found a website where a video of Paderewski's return to Poland is available in a documentary, which includes President Bush (Senior) in the White House in 1992, a last tribute in Poznan, and Pres. Bush and Walesa's meeting at Castle Square in Warsaw in July, 1992. [WW]
Nowy Dziennik reports that the year 2002 is going to be declared the year of Jan Kiepura in honor of the centennial birthday of the famous tenor, who not only sang at the Metropolitan Opera but also made several Hollywood movies, including the "Merry Widow" with his singer wife, Marta Eggerth. We will publish more information about Kiepura in the next issue of the Newsletter, including a short list of his American film appearances compiled by Dr. Linda Schubert, a film-music specialist.
Hanna Kulenty's new chamber work, for violin, clarinet and piano, entitled Crossing Lines will receive a premiere in Munich on 12 March 2002. The piece was commissioned by the Bayerische Stadt Opera and will be performed at a special concert organized by this institution.
Kulenty's upcoming projects include the premiere of her Trumpet Concerto at the Warsaw Autumn 2002, and a new opera based on the last screen-play by Andrey Tarkovsky in preparation for Berlin.
The Fourth String Quartet of Grażyna Bacewicz will receive the performances in Texas during March, a month dedicated to women's achievements. This fascinating composition is not sufficiently well-known in the U.S.: it has previously been performed in Philadelphia by their resident Wister Quartet and also in Buffalo by the Silesian Quartet. The Fourth String Quartet won the First Prize (out of 57 entries) in the International Composer's Competition in Liege in 1952 and also won the National Prize in Poland that year. Since 1953 it became a required piece for competitors in the Geneve International String Quartet Competition.
However, the Bacewicz String Quartet No. 4 has been recorded numerous times; including recordings by the Silesian Quartet, by the Maggini String Quartet (based in the U.K.) on ASV 908 (distributed by Koch International), by the Fanny Mendelssohn Quartet in 1991 on Troubadisc TRO CD4. In addition, the Wister Quartet has a video (DTR 9501). [WW]
Los Angeles County Museum of Art organizes an exhibition of avant-garde art from Central Europe (1910-1930), which will take place from 10 March to 2 June 2002. The exhibition features artwors from Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, and Czechoslovakia. Among events organized to celebrate this exhibition there is a symposium, held on 9 March at LACMA's Bing Theater (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.), entitled "The Regional and the Cosmopolitan: Central European Avant-Gardes," with the participation of scholars from Poland, U.S. Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia,
On March 2, 2002 Philadelphia's Virtuoso Ensemble for the 21st Century, known as Orchestra 2001, presented a concert with an all Polish program which included works of four renowned Polish composers: Grazyna Bacewicz's Divertimento, Marta Ptaszynska's La Novella d'Inverno, Witold Lutoslawski's Venetian Games, and Henryk Gorecki's Symphony No.3 "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs" with the Metropolitan Opera star, soprano Maureen O'Flynn. The concert will be conducted by widely celebrated conductor and Artistic Director of Orchestra 2001, Maestro James Freeman, who also founded this group in 1988. Orchestra 2001 is one of America's most important and widely respected new music ensembles. The vitality, imagination, and dedication to performances of the highest quality have won a devoted and constantly growing audience in its home city of Philadelphia, enthusiastic praise from critics in Europe and America, and recording contracts with CRI and Centaur Records. As Philadelphia Inquirer critic Peter Dobrin wrote, " The group occupies a place of such importance that the classical music community without it seems unimaginable." "There is the Philadelphia Orchestra, and there is Orchestra 2001", said Wolfgang Sawallisch. "Both are cultural treasures in the city, and both need our support".
The concert took place at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia (Broad and Spruce Streets) on March 2, 2002 at 8:00pm and the hall was sold out. For more information about this event contact the ensemble's web site, www.orchestra2001.org.
Stojowski must be in the air. Last month's issue made mention of the first commercial release on Hyperion Records of this neglected composer's piano concertos. Coincidentally, it also happens that ABC Records in Australia recently released the composer's Rhapsodie Symphonique for Piano & Orchestra, Op. 23 in a superb performance by the wonderful Australian pianist Ian Munro. The Rhapsodie is a short work based on the krakowiak and mazurka, both Polish dance forms. It would be the perfect piece for one of Poland's ballet companies to choreograph and add to its repertoire. Mr. Munro - a laureate at the world-famous Leeds International Piano Competition in 1987 - is accompanied on this CD by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Porcelijn. The album entitled Concerto Symphonique Vol 1 (ABC Classics 465 424-2) also contains several other unusual works for piano and orchestra, including Chopin's "Variations on 'La ci darem la mano' op. 2." Sometimes referred to as "barroom Mozart," the Chopin variations on this Mozart aria from the opera Don Giovanni are, nonetheless, a delight to hear and are a refreshing change from the composer's overplayed, albeit beautiful, two piano concertos. If you can't purchase a copy at your local music shop, we suggest you trying ordering one over the Internet at www.buywell.com or www.amazon.com. [JH]
The Los Angeles Philharmonic in association with the Skirball Cultural Center present "Order and Disorder: Music and Art of Fin-de-Sičcle Vienna" on March 9, 2002 (2:00 -- 5:00 pm). During this afternoon you will have a chance to immerse yourself in the life and times of Schoenberg, Freud, Kokoschka, and Klimt - adventurous artists and thinkers who helped shape the art and music of the twentieth century. Through soprano Juliana Gondek's performances of evocative songs by Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Alban Berg, and Arnold Schoenberg, dramatic readings staged by Cynthia Stokes, and a panel discussion featuring renowned scholars Wolfgang Nehring, Karen Lang, and Susan Key, we explore the sensuous order and splintering disorder that was Vienna just before the Great War.
The USC Thornton School of Music Symphony and Choral Artists, in cooperation with the Camarata Singers of Long Beach present Verdi's Requiem, with Sergiu Comissiona, conductor. The performance will be held on Saturday, March 23, at 8 pm., at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium 300 E. Green Street, Pasadena. The soloists include USC Thornton School of Music alumni: Michele Patzakis, Juliana Gondek, Robert MacNeil, and Andrew Wentzel. Tickets are: $15 General Admission / $5 Students, Seniors, and USC ID holders For tickets and information, call: (626) 449-7360.
The Opera Theater in WArsaw invites the public to attend a special gala concert celebrating the 70th birthday of Wojciech Kilar, scheduled for 15 March 2002. The concert will be offered by the Polish Folk Song and Dance Ensemble, Sląsk, in the Moniuszko Hall of the Theater at 7 p.m. The program will include works by Kilar performed by soloists, chorus, orchestra and dancers of the ensemble.
The Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, Poland; announces its 4th annual music festival, From Chopin to Górecki, scheduled for 15-26 July 2002. The festival includes concerts and a summer music course for students, with individual lessons given by international array of artists, as well as master classes and excursions. The deadline for application for the course is 15 May 2002.
Professors include Regina Smendzianka, piano, Andrzej Dutkiewicz, chamber music and piano, Zdzisława Donat, soprano, DAvid Pituch, saxophone, Rodney Oax, trombone, and Zbigniew Rudziński, composition. The full all-inclusive tuition is $650. For more information contact the F. Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, the course managers Maria Neugebauer and Joanna Zawadzka, at email "firstname.lastname@example.org" or tel/fax 4822- 827-83-08. The mailing address is 2 Okólnik St. Warsaw, 00-368 Poland.
The 7th Annual Chopin Competition sponsored by the Chopin Foundation of San Francisco will take place in June at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. For information call 925-427-0892.
Did you know that conductor Stanislaw Skrowaczewski is also a composer? He wrote a Concerto for English Horn and Orchestra (1969), a Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra (1980) and also Ricercari Notturni (1977) for sax or clarinet and orchestra. He also made orchestral arrangements of a Bach toccata and Fugue and a Suite for Strings from pieces by Rameau. For more information on him go to www.eamdc.com [WW}
Did you know that Leo Delibes (1836-1891), Zygmunt Stojowski's composition teacher at the Paris Conservatoire, wrote his last opera "Kassya" (Kasia) based on Polish themes which were submitted to him by Ignacy Paderewski? The opera was in five acts; Delibes died before he finished orchestrating it. Acts two to five were orchestrated by Jules Massenet. The opera which was premiered in March 1893, has never been staged in Poland. [JH]
Marty Cepielik, publisher of News of Polonia and former broadcaster donated his collection of 650 78 records and LPs with Polish music issued in Poland and the U.S. to the Polish Music Center at the University of Southern Califiornia. Cepelik's collection includes 52 LPs of classical music, over 300 LPs of popular music from Poland, over 50 recordings of Polish folklore, 20 LPs of jazz, and 160 LPS of Polish jazz. The collection includes such rare items as Rubinstein's set of 78-recordings of Chopin, and releases of archival recordings by Paderewski and Landowska, as well as speeches by President Stefan Starzynski during the defense of Warsaw in 1939.
The LPs provided music for Cepielik's "Polish-American Radio Program" broacast by KPCC from Pasadena every week between September 1982 and April 1993. The programs all began with a recording of a popular song, "Góralu, czy ci nie żal" and concluded with the song "Jak szybko mija życie" and a last admonition from the journalist: "Please remember - Gdy człowiek jest Polakiem to jes dar od Boga" [when a man is a Pole this is a gift of God]. The program has a faithful audience among older generation of Poles and those who came to this country recently - part of the broadcast was in Polish.
A distinguished Polish pianist, Prof. Regina Smendzianka, and the director of Warsaw's Chamber Opera, Stefan Sutkowski received doctorates honoris causa from
the F. Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw. The award ceremony took place on 22 February, during the Academy's holiday - a birthday of
Fryderyk Chopin according to some sources (the prevalent date is 1 marca 1810).
Prof. Regina Smendzianka has worked for the Academy for over 30 years; in 1972-1996 she directed the second Chair of Piano, in 1971-1973 she was the president of the Academy. As a Chopin-specialist, she received one of the main prizes during the 1949 Chopin Competition in Warsaw (the fourth edition of the competition). Active as a concert pianist globally, Prof. Smendzianka premiered numerous works by Polish composers, recorded for the radio and issued LPs, and wrote for the music press.
Stefan Sutkowski's path to directing one of the most innovative opera theaters in Europe led through studies of oboe performance at the Academy of Music in Warsaw and musicology at the University of Warsaw. For 20 years he was a member of the National Philharmonic Orchestra; since 1961 directing its chamber music program. In 1971-1981 he led the Society of Polish Musicians; in 1980s he founded the Warsaw Chamber Opera that he continues to direct. One of the functions of the Opera is research: Mr. Sutkowski created a Center for Documentation and Research of Polish Early Music. He is also a co-founder of Pro Musica Camerata - publishing scores and recordings of Polish music, as well as the main sponsor of a book series on the history of Polish music. Under his leadership the Chamber Opera organized festivals of operas by Mozart, Monteverdi, Baroque Operas, Early Polish Operas, Contemporary Polish Operas, etc.
Berenika Zakrzewski, 19 year-old Polish-Canadian pianist and a sophomore at Harvard University, was awarded by the Harvard Musical Association in Boston with the prestigious Arthur W. Foote Prize. On February 22, in Boston, she will give a recital for the Association (at 8 p.m., 57A Chestnut Street, Boston, Mass.). Arthur W. Foote (1853-1937) was a Boston composer, pianist and theorist. In 1875 he received the first M.A. in music to be given by an American University (Harvard). He composed by 45 years. Many of his orchestral works were premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Ms. Zakrzewski, a former student of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and the Juilliard School in New York City, is a winner of the 1998 Nakamichi Piano Competition at the Aspen Music Festival. Recently, she was invited to play for the firefighters, police officers and relief workers at New York's Ground Zero, at St. Paul's Chapel, near the rubble of the World Trade Center. Ms. Zakrzewski has been featured by numerous performances as a soloist with orchestras in America and Europe. She is a recipient of the John Harvard Scholarship in recognition of academic achievement of the highest distinction and grants from the Canada Council for the Arts.
Paweł Hendrich from Secondary State Music School in Wrocław was the winner of the Fifth National Competition, "Around Lutoslawski." This prestigious competition for the youth is organized by the Music Schools of Białystok. The subject is the music of the great composer as well as facts about his life and work, his views about avantgarde composition and art in general. The competition is adjudicated by specialists from the University of Warsaw and Jagiellonian University, the president of the Jury was composer Edward Pałłasz. Lutosławski was the guest of the first edition of this event in 1993 (he died in 1994).
Andrzej Wendland announces the establishment of Aleksander Tansman 4th International Competition of Musical Personalities. It will be held in Lodz, Poland, in 16-21 November 2002. The competition is open to clarinettists, violinists, cellists, pianists, guitarists under age 30, and offers a grand prize of 12.000 USD. Competition rules state that "the main criteria for judging will be the artist's personality, his musical individuality." Applications must be posted by September 9, 2002. Please find enclosed regulation, programme and application form. Competition's website www.tansman.lodz.pl
Piotr Skubis, the artistic director of a Salon Orchestra named after Johann Strauss and active in Warsaw,
invites interested parties to contact him for scheduling appearances of his ensemble in Poland and
abroad. The orchestra performs programs of Viennesse music as well as Polish compositions.
For more information contact the site:
On January 28, 2002 the Slavic Reference Service of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign launched a new service, The Slavic Virtual Reference Desk www.library.uiuc.edu/spx
Patrons are able to discuss their questions in live chat sessions with reference librarians from the Slavic Reference Service, as well as the Jagiellonian Library (Jagiellonian University) in Krakow, Poland, and the Russian National Library in St. Petersburg, Russia.
As always, this is a free service. For more information, see our web site at http://www.library.uiuc.edu/spx
Do Poles love Paderewski? In America, they do. Do Polish musicians love Paderewski? Some of them do. Do Polish musicologists love Paderewski? Occasionally. Was Paderewski a genius and a "modern immortal" as his early American biographers claimed, or was he a quasi-charlatan, a virtuoso whose great personal charisma covered up his lack of basic musicality, sensitivity, and compositional talent? The controversies surrounding Paderewski's career and his status in music history continue to baffle the scholarly world. His compositional talents in the areas distant from piano performance are still underappreciated. Details about his career, views, and the public's response to his art remain little known. The choice of "The Unknown Paderewski" for the subject of the second issue of vol. 4 of the Polish Music Journal serves to partly rectify this situation. The issue includes articles translated from Polish and highlighting Paderewski's vocal compositions, especially his opera, Manru, a work currently celebrating its centennial (100th anniversary of composition and world premiere in 2001; 100th anniversary of its American premiere in 2002).
Ignacy Jan Paderewski, ca. 1890. PMC Collection.
The author's include: Małgorzata Perkowska (whose article about "The Unknown Compositions of Ignacy Jan Paderewski" was originally published in Muzyka 33 no. 3 (1988): 21-34); Andrzej Piber and Aleksandra Konieczna whose articles about various aspects of Paderewski's Manru were first printed in conference proceedings in 1991, along with Małgorzata Woźna-Stankiewicz's text on the poetry of Catulle Mendes in French and Polish music. The three texts appeared in Warsztat kompozytorski, wykonawstwo i koncepcje polityczne Ignacego Jana Paderewskiego ([Composers workshop: Performance and political conceptions of Ignacy Jan Paderewski]. Conference proceedings, Uniwersytet Jagiellonski, Katedra Historii i Teorii Muzyki. Edited by Andrzej Sitarz and Wojciech Marchwica. Kraków: Musica Iagellonica, 1991). Abstracts of the four articles are included below.
Małgorzata Perkowska: "The Unknown Compositions of Ignacy Jan Paderewski"
Małgorzata Woźna-Stankiewicz: "The Poetry of Mendès in the Songs of Paderewski and French Composers"
Andrzej Piber: "The Reception of Paderewski's Manru in the U.S."
Aleksandra Konieczna: "Stylistic and Dramatic Features of Paderewski's Manru"
Paderewski and Adamowski.
Życie muzyczne i teatralne, 5/6, 1935. USC Polish Music Center.
In order to allow the readers form their own judgements about Paderewski's operatic collaboration with Nossig the whole libretto of Manru is reprinted in an English translation by Henry E. Krehbiel, American music critic active at the turn of the century. The selection of writings by Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941) reprinted in the Polish Music Journal vol. 4 no. 2 continues the documents published in the previous issue of the Journal. The text about Fryderyk Chopin is a reprint of a 1911 edition of Paderewski's 1910 speech translated by Laurence Alma-Tadema. The composer gave this lecture at the celebrations of a 100th anniversary of Chopin's birth in Lwów (the city also known as Lemberg and, presently, Lviv). In 1908, Paderewski commissioned a monument to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the victory of Polish-Lithuanian army over the Teutonic Knights on the fields of Grunwald (known in Germany as Tannenberg). The Grunwald Monument was unveiled in Kraków in 1910 and Paderewski's speech, given on this occasion, was praised for its rhetorical values and political effectiveness; it appears here in English translation by Maja Trochimczyk. In 1915 Paderewski began a fund-raising campaign in the U.S. to raise charitable donations for the Polish Victims' Relief Fund; the fund itself was established in May 1915 and the selection of Paderewski's texts associated with this effort includes publications in concert program, newspapers, and music journals from May, September and October of that year. These speeches have been gathered from miscellaneous sources, press clipppings and concert programs in the collection of the Polish Music Center. Finally, Paderewski's political speech to Polish Americans who met in Chicago under the auspices of the National Security League in 1918 was first published in Józef Orłowski, ed., Ignacy Jan Paderewski i odbudowa Polski, 2 vol. (Chicago: The Stanek Press, 1939-1940).
Over the years, Paderewski's music has attracted numerous critical responses. A variety of American and Polish authors documented several aspects of Paderewski's life as a virtuoso pianist, composer, statesman and Polish patriot, as well as a teacher, and friend. American texts deal with Paderewski's compositional and performing activities. Edgar Swayne's overview of Manru appeared in Music (January 1902), in the month preceding the premiere of the opera at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The respected New York music critic, Henry E. Krehbiel wrote analytical notes for Paderewski's American tours in 1895-96, 1899-1900, 1904-05, and 1907-08. His texts about Paderewski's pieces are reprinted from copies of Analytical Notes on M. Paderewski's Programmes issued by Steinway Pianos. Nellie R. Cameron Bates (1914) provides us with a glimpse of a general public's response to Paderewski's rectials; her "country girl" tone is interesting from feminist point of view. Texts by Polish authors come from a special issue of Życie muzyczne i teatralne [Musical and theatrical life] vol. 2 no. 5/6 (May- June 1935) published in Poznań by Wieńczysław Brzostowski and dedicated to Paderewski. Franciszek E. Fronczak wrote about "Paderewski in Light of Polish Emigration in America," Józef Ratajski focused on "Paderewski, The Underappreciated," Antonina Adamowska discussed "The Private Life of Paderewski," Zygmunt Dygat remembered "A Lesson with Paderewski," and Wiktor Labunski shared his reminiscences about "A Visit to Paderewski's Pullman."
Articles by Dr. Perkowska, as well as Franciszek E. Fronczak and Cyryl Ratajski were translated into English
by Wanda Wilk, articles by Andrzej Piber, Aleksandra Konieczna and Małgorzata Woźna-Stankiewicz, as well as Paderewski's speech at the Grunwald Monument were translated
by Maja Trochimczyk; articles by Antonina Adamowska, Zygmunt Dygat and Wiktor Łabuński appear in a translation by Maria Piłatowicz. Dr. Linda Schubert copy-edited
the volume for publication, while Michał Sobus and Zak Ozmo provided editorial assistance.
American Pianist Jenny Lin's "Piano on the Edge" concert, a program of music by 20th century women composers, confirmed her growing reputation in the vanguard of young artists with an interest in unusual repertoire and the technique to give it life. Lin threw down the gauntlet from the very first note, tearing into Laura Elise Schwendinger's (b. 1962) Pointillisms. This gnarly 1997 work, requiring Lin to scramble back and forth over the keyboard like an angry sidewinder, served immediately to blast away anyone's preconceived notions of "effeminate" music. Point made, Lin exchanged Schwendinger's harsh rhetoric for the gentler, impressionistic timbres of Elsa Barraine's (1910-1999) Hommage ŕ Paul Dukas (1936), and Prelude of 1930, two lovely works that drew attention to a composer who surely deserves greater exposure.
Lin has recorded a stunning album of piano music by Ruth Crawford Seeger for BIS records (a Classicstoday.com Disc of the Month selection), and her passionate advocacy (as well as her technical mastery) was no less apparent in her performances of Seeger's brilliantly inventive 1928 Preludes (5 of the 9 played here), and the Study in Mixed Accents (1930), with its hair-raising rapid metrical shifts. The program's first half came to a close under the gloomily gray skies of Galina Ustvolskaya's Sonata No. 1 (1947). A student of Shostakovich, Ustvolskaya (b. 1919) shares his penchant for grim realism--if not his counterbalancing humorous tunefulness--and Lin's performance confronted the music in all of its uncompromising starkness.
The second half began in a decidedly more upbeat and lyrical vein with April Preludes (1937) by Czech composer Vitezslava Kaprálová (1915-1940). These irresistible, fluently varied pieces reflect Kaprálová's study with Novak and Martinu (they were composed for the great Czech pianist Rudolf Firkúsny), though her own distinctive and somewhat quirky style (similar to Janácek's) shines through most of all. Judging by the uninhibited joy exhibited in her playing, Lin seems to have a special fondness and affinity for this composer.
Elena Firsova's (b. 1950) Hymn to Spring (1993) with its brightly glittering birdsong (in the manner of Messiaen) hovering over beautifully subdued, simple chords below, made an effective bridge to Etude No. 6 "Grains" by Unsuk Chin (b. 1961). Composed in 2000 for Pierre Boulez, this brainy musical thicket certainly does honor its dedicatee, and watching Lin negotiate the ultra-complex rhythms, nearly-uncountable meters, and blisteringly rapid repeated notes was awe inspiring.
Grazyna Bacewicz with her violin, 1930s. PMC Collection.
Like Kaprálová, Grazyna Bacewicz (1909-1961) appears to be another composer close to Lin's heart. Her powerful Sonata No. 2, with its big Romantic gestures filtered through a quasi-modernist language drew from the pianist a deeply emotional response in the haunting slow movement, and playing of exceptional color and vitality in the brilliant concluding toccata. Though this was the last scheduled item on the program, the Miller Theater audience's enthusiasm prompted a special encore: Bees, by Johanna Beyer, with which Lin closed the evening in a bracing whirlwind dash across the keys.
NOTE: This review by Victor Carr, Jr., was originally published as "Pianist Jenny Lin's Eloquent Case for Modern Women Composers," at http://www.classicstoday.com/Classics/ConcertReview_ASPFiles. Used by permission. The concert took place at the Miller Theater (Columbia University), New York on February 19, 2002.
The New York Philharmonic, as is its wont, presented an odd program in its January subscription concerts under the baton of Sir Andrew Davis. The centerpiece of the program was a superb performance of Witold Lutoslawski's Piano Concerto, performed with thrilling expertise and tonal variety by the young Norwegian pianist, Lief Ove Andsnes. But this important work was cordoned off fore and aft by the kind of ear candy commonly interspersed among commercials on what passes for "classical" radio stations these days. But more on that anon. The Lutoslawski is an important, perhaps even a great work; brilliantly orchestrated, rhythmically complex, and technically demanding. It is full of structural allusions to traditional forms and stylistic allusions to past composers. Now a passage will remind the listener of Rachmaninoff, another of Ravel, yet another of Bartok, but its all unmistakably Lutoslawski. It opens with a fascinating passage for chattering winds followed with a quiet, tentative-sounding piano entry that ultimately becomes more assertive and momentarily dominates the proceedings. A veiled allusion to the slow movement of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4? Soon the piano flexes its muscles with a bravura section skirting perilously close to the grand Romantic concertos of yesteryear, then pulling back to its continuing interaction with orchestral groups, horns, harps, percussion and strings all having their substantial say in the development of the work. The Concerto is in one continuous movement made up of four shorter ones, those, in turn, dividing into still shorter sections. The language is unabashedly modernist and demands on performers and audiences are considerable but not daunting.
So it was heartening that the Philharmonic's notoriously conservative subscribers responded with enthusiasm, bringing Andsnes back for repeated bows, shared by the orchestra and conductor. The response would indicate that more substantial program partners would have been welcome, but the rest of the evening was in an easy listening mode. Ravel's Valses nobles et sentimentales opened the concert, its exquisite tonal beauties stepping close to the brink of significance and then retreating to airy sweetness. After intermission came Kodály's Dances of Galanta, suffused with perky rhythms and gypsy sentimentality, and Strauss' Rosenkavalier Suite, which should be subtitled "Greatest Hits From Strauss' Most Popular Opera." Like the Ravel, both got sound performances albeit not without a whiff of routine. Any one of these works would have made for a welcome orchestral showpiece in another context; taken together they constituted a semi-pop concert with an unlikely centerpiece. Oh well, at least the Philharmonic can say it presented an all-20th century program, in itself something to be grateful for.
NOTE: We have issued another review of the same concert in the February issue of the Newsletter. The current review by Dan Davis appeared in http://www.classicstoday.com/Classics/ConcertReview_ASPFiles. The concert took place at the Avery Fisher Hall, New York - January 10, 2002.
The Los Angeles Master Chorale under the direction of newly appointed Grant Gershon coupled Górecki's Miserere with Mozart's Requiem in a moving, emotional and sophisticated performance on 9 February 2002, at the Dorthy Chamber Pavilion. The music critic of the Los Angeles Times, Mark Swed, lauded the director, the chorus and the music in a review which devoted the majority of space to the Gorecki piece. A fragment of this review is reproduced below, courtesy of the Los Angeles Times.
The audience applauds. The performer smiles. It is a natural, probably Pavolvian reaction. But Sunday night, seated close to the stage of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, I noticed only a few weak smiles on the faces of the many singers in the Master Chorale following the performance of Henryk Górecki's Miserere. most members of the chorus looked emotionally drained; a few were close to tears.
Written 20 years ago during a period of political oppression in Poland, Miserere is a blunt, powerful, direct, exhaustively physical exzpression of the Solidarity movement, which rose to counter that oppression. Górecki calls for a very large a capella chorus, of at least 120 singers. There are but five words of the text. For 30 minutes the chorus sings a subtly varied but harmonically static chant line on the first three, "Domine Deus noster" (Lord our God).
Miserere begins with the deepest basses standing and singing barely abovet he threshold of audibility. then more basses stand and add a slight veration tot hechant at the interval of a third higher. As more sections of musicians slowly rise, the music rises too, each time by a third. It takes 20 minutes tfor the full chorus to be on its feet. For another 10 mnutes, the chorus continues to sing "Domine Deus noster," faster, lauder, in waves of ardent hammering and tender imploring, always with unchanging harmony. The ethereal resolution, as Górecki finally unlocks the final two words of the text, "Miserere nobis" (Lord have mercy on us), is a vocal halo that envelops the hall, a final three heavenly minutes of ecstatic supplication.
In remarks to the audience, Grant Gershon called Miserere one of the greatest choral works of the past 50 years. The Master Chorale sang it for hih with an intensity, concentration, and devotion that was its own political and spiritual statement. . . . [Review by Mark Swed]
Kevin Kenner presented an All-Chopin program in the Bing Theatre at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles on 27 February as the third concert of a Piano Festival. The impressive program included a Barcarolle, Ballade No. 2, Andante spianato and Grande Polonaise, Nocturne, Sonata in B minor and waltz in E flat, Op. 18. The Chopin prize winner also performed in a Chopin birthday concert in San Francisco on 22 February.
Polish jazz pianist Adam Makowicz is back home in New York after a highly praised and successful two-month concert tour in Poland. He performed several times with the famous Wilanow String Quartet and impressed his audiences with jazz improvisations of Chopin's music, as well as his own compositions. He also performed the music of Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein and songs from Louis Armstrong's repertoire.
The Chopin Foundation of New York presented pianist Zoya Shuhatovich of Texas in a program of music by Chopin, Albeniz and Prokofiev at the Polish Consulate headquarters on Madison Avenue in New York City.
Polish jazz singer, Stanislaw Soyka, presented Shakespeare sonnets in blues, pop and rock style at the Knitting Factory in New York in February.
Poland's greatest composer, Fryderyk Chopin, was born this month in 1810. In eight more years the world will be celebrating his 200th anniversary. This month also marks the birthdays of several very outstanding Polish composers: Karol Kurpinski (1795), Piotr Perkowski (1901), Stefan Kisielewski (1911), Kazimierz Serocki (1922) Marek Stachowski (1936), Bernadetta Matuszczak (937), Pawel Szymanski (1954) and Hanna Kulenty (1961). Two other great Polish composers died during the month of March: Henryk Wieniawski (1880) and Karol Szymanowski (1937). These composers rank at the top of the top and have world-wide recognition.
Usually classical radio stations program music of a particular composer on his/her birthday, so we should expect to hear at least some of Chopin's music on his birthday of March 1st. There are hundreds of Chopin records listed in the Schwann Catalog. How does one make a selection from fifteen pages of listings of his works, which are mostly for piano? These include Etudes, Ballades, Scherzos, Preludes, Mazurkas, Impromptus and Waltzes. He wrote two Barcarolles and there are 41 different recordings of one of them and 33 of the other. How does one make a selection? One might look at the soloists and find some familiar names, like Marta Argerich's "Debut Recital," Vladimir Ashkenazy's "Chopin: Favorite Piano Works" recorded in 1972-79 , or Vladimir Horowitz in 1957, or Arthur Rubinstein in the "Legendary Rubinstein" series, or American Murray Perahia or Polish virtuoso Krystian Zimerman. All good choices!
What about Chopin's orchestral works? He wrote two piano concertos and an "Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise for piano and orchestra." Here there is a choice of Claudio Arrau, Polish-American Emanuel Ax, Idil Biret, Shura Cherkassky, Janina Fialkowska, or Angela Lear from England playing Chopin the "original" way, the way Chopin would have played it. Even American pianist Earl Wild recorded the Andante in England in 1963. There are wonderful performances of the Piano Concertos by Van Cliburn, Alfred Cortot, Josef Hoffman, Dinu Lipatti, Mauricio Pollini, Karol Radziwonowicz, Maurice Rosenthal (from 1930), Adam Harasiewicz and Witold Malcuzynski - all great names, but the one I would opt for would be the unique recording by Krystian Zimerman conducting from the piano his own Festival Orchestra on a Deutsch Gramophone label. This CD was nominated for a Gramophone Award in 2000. There is also the Complete Chopin Edition - the complete works of Chopin in nine volumes featuring pianists Argerich, Daniel Barenboim, M. Pollini, Elzbieta Szmytka, L. Zilberstein and K. Zimerman.
Just last week we had an inquiry via e-mail about a Chopin movie. I remembered the Hollywood production where Cornel Wilde played the part of Chopin. The name of the film is "A Song to Remember" and Video Universe (www.cduniverse.com) has all the information on it and sells the video for $18.59. It was released in 1996 and the movie made in 1945 by Columbia was nominated for Best Picture, Best Film Editing, Best Original Story, Best Sound Recording, Best Color Cinematography, Best Music Score and Best Actor. Pianist Jose Iturbi played the piano for the film. His recording of the "Polonaise in A flat" from this film sold over a million copies. "The dubbing in of Iturbi's hands on many of the scenes was very well done." This was submitted by a reviewer in Vermont on the internet. When you buy a CD or video on the internet you can write a review of the product.
I also found the video of "A Song to Remember" on the Barnes & Noble site (www.bn.com) at a 15% discount price of $16.99. Amazon.com sells it for the regular price of $19.95, however, they have a used copy for only $9.70. All reviewers on all three sites gave high marks of five or four stars and they all agreed that although the story in the film was factually inaccurate, they loved the music! David Schryer of Hampton, VA wrote in October 2000 "Hollywoodized biography of Chopin, but I loved it. It is filled with some of the best music Chopin -- or anyone, for that matter --ever wrote." Another reviewer lamented, "This movie thrilled millions when it came out nearly fifty years ago and would thrill millions more if it were shown today. Why are the networks so blind?" Still another satisfied customer from Sheffield, England said, "A Song to Remember" should be shown on TV every Xmas at least." I agree.
I tried to see if the video was available for rent or purchase from our local video rental places, like Blockbuster or the Classical Tower Records video section, but no luck, except for: Eddie Brandt in N. Hollywood, which is a unique video store. They have it for rent but not to buy. So, I guess I will have to buy it on the internet, although I'm sure they probably could order it. It would certainly be wonderful if the Turner Movie Classics cable channel would show this movie some time. Maybe a write-in is called for at this time.
I do have some good news, however, about a new movie on Chopin. Professor Jerzy Antczak of UCLA has just completed directing a biographical film on Chopin, "The Desire of Love" for which he also wrote the screenplay with Jadwiga Baranska, who plays Chopin's mother in the film. It was scheduled to be released in Poland on Chopin's birthday, 1 March (see www.culture.pl). The film is in Polish and English. I wonder when will we be able to see it in Los Angeles.
The Polish music internet journal Meloman reports that singer Edyta Geppert sings a song in the film with words written by Wojciech Mlynarski, but it doesn't identify which piece of music it is based on. The CD of this song was released in Poland on 11 February. I wonder if the song will be sung in Polish or English.
While looking for information on the Chopin movie on the internet I found a Chopin Movie Database. It was one of thousands of sites that came up when I typed in "Chopin movie " in Yahoo. This very interesting site, edited by Rod Laybourn (judging from his e-mail address he must be from New Zealand), "is dedicated to the movies that have used Frederic Chopin's unique body of work and the movies that have featured him as a character or have made reference to him." Mr. Laybourn lists 244 films, TV programs or videos from various countries and arranged them by periods of their birth : 1900-39 (30), 1940-59 (58), 1960s (13), 1970s (35), 1980s ( 40) and 68 from the 1990s.
This database is an awesome beginning but needs help in completing missing information, as to performer or identifying the piece of music, e.g., which Chopin music did Paderewski play in the film "Moonlight Sonata" or who was the actual pianist playing for the 1980 film "The Competition." I think I know the answer to this one. It was either Chet Swiatkowski or Daniel Pollack. I believe they both performed in this film, but which one did the Chopin? Looking through this database I found that Chopin's Piano concerto was played in Poltergeist III, something in the film, "Madame Sousatzka" and Prelude Op. 28 was used in "The Piano" and his music was also heard in the 1990 films, "The Truman Show," "Nixon," "Island of Dr. Moreau," the "French Kiss," and "West Side Waltz." It would be of great importance to have some one find all the necessary information to fill in this database. What a task!
Several songs became popular because of the films in the 1940s and 1950s. "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" was based on Chopin's Fantaisie Impromptu, Op. 66 and it was heard in a 1945 movie "Washington Square" also in "The Dolly Sisters" and in the "Ziegfield Girl" sung by Judy Garland. "No Other Love" comes from an Etude and was recorded by Jo Stafford in 1950 and seems to have been in the movie, "Music in My Heart" of 1940, but this needs verification. The song, "Till the End of Time" is taken from the Polonaise in A flat and is also the title of the film.
Not many of you may know that Chopin's sheet music of his "Funeral March" was one of the most popularly sold pieces of music in the U.S. in the 1890s, because it was played at all funeral processions here in California and even by black jazz musicians in New Orleans. Two Chopin pieces may also be heard on "Brilliant Orchestral Encores" recorded by Leopold Stokowski. Ivan March reviewed this CD in Gramophone saying, "Most remarkable of all, are the two Chopin pieces, ...the Mazurka is totally transformed and the sensationally theatrical Prelude almost unrecognizable."
There are two other sites worth mentioning: www.thereelsite.com (the "reel" site) and www.ifilm.com. One can spend hours searching on the internet and it is very gratifying to see that so much of it is on Polish music, and especially on Chopin's music. Happy Birthday Chopin!
The debut CD recording of pianist, Marjan Kiepura (son of Jan Kiepura) is an all Chopin recital entitled "Images of a Homeland." The theme of the CD is to show the profound connection of Chopin's beloved Poland and the music which was so influenced by his devotion to his homeland. There are 14 mazurkas, 3 waltzes, nocturne, prelude and Military Polonaise. The CD has received 12 superb reviews from such publications as BBC Music Magazine, American Record Guide, Pianist Magazine, Amazon and others. Please see the web site at www.patriamusic.com for complete information and reviews. Patria Productions, Inc. | Email: email@example.com | Fax: 603-444-3033 | Phone: 603-444-3336
The Silesian String Quartet (Marek Moś, Arkadiusz Kubica, violins, Lukasz Syrnicki, viola, and Piotr Janosik, cello) released a CD of string quartets composed by three artists belonging to the Generation 51, "Stalowa Wola" - Eugeniusz Knapik, Andrzej Krzanowski and Aleksander Lasoń. The latter two composers are represented by their second string quartets composed in 1978 and 1987 respectively. Both works are in one movement. Knapik's String Quartet of 1980 consists of two movements, "Thickness" and "Song." The CD was recorded in October 1990 but released only in 2001; with a program note by Stanisław Kosz.
POLISH DANCE MUSIC IN THE U.S.: ALBUM BALOWY (1911-1943)
Some time ago in our Newsletter I mentioned the activity of Ignacy Podgórski, Polish violinist, conductor of his own dance orchestra, the owner of a music bookshop and music publisher in Philadelphia, known for the publication of the series "Album wesolych tancow polskich na orkiestre" ("Album of merry Polish dances for orchestra"). In addition, a short essay on Podgórski's publications and on Polish dance orchestras performing during the years 1933-1949 in various cities on the eastern coast of the U.S.A., appeared online with the published essays on the Polish Music Center's website. In the essay, the topic dealing with the history and popularization of Polish dance music in U.S.A. has not been exhausted. Still, in different libraries and collections in private archives, one can find unknown (until now), interesting and rare publications offering additional, important sources of information on this subject.
Among Polish publishers who at the beginning of the 20th century promoted Polish music in America, we can single out Joseph Krygier, who worked in Philadelphia. Krygier, even earlier than Podgórski, admitted the necessity of printing and performing Polish dances using an arrangement for orchestra. His "Album balowy" ("Ballroom Album") was published in the form of orchestral parts for 2 violins, cello, double-bass, piano, flute, clarinet, cornet, trombone, alto saxophone, and drums. The publication consisted of seven volumes, which had been printed in the years 1911-1943.
Cover of Album Balowy no. 5.
Beside famous names of Polish dance music composers, mostly conductors of their own orchestras, such as Karol Namysłowski (active in Warsaw and in Lublin region), Adam Wroński (performing in Kraków, Krynica, Kołomyja, and Lwów), Fabian Tymolski (from Lwów), Leopold Lewandowski (from Warsaw), Andrzej Rajczak (from Warsaw), Wojciech Osmanski (from Warsaw), Adam Karasinski (from Warsaw), and H. Brzezinski, all specialized in writing mazurkas, oberek and polka dances, in "Album" we also find names of completely unknown composers, not mentioned in any music dictionaries. Perhaps there were local musicians active in the American Polonia: Walenty Bonk, C. K. Harris, J. Jozefkowicz, F. Kowal, E. Krasuski, Jozef Krygier, I. Maslinski, J. Niewiadomski, Edward Ptak, A. Stokowski, A. Szuszczewicz, G. Teszner, Jozef Wilus, J. Wisniewski, L. Witkowski, A. Omelczuk, W. K. Grigajtis, Messina, J. Plachanski, Franciszek Przybylski, and Walter Ossowski. The last six local composers also made the arrangements of dances for orchestra. Among musicians, who before World War II arranged dances for instrumental ensembles, one can also mention: E. Ascher, J. Hibner, J .J. Handzlik, W. M. Klaiss, and E. Owczarski.
The "Album" No. 7, which was published after the outbreak of World War II (in 1943), contained dances arranged exclusively by Walter Ossowski, a young and talented musician who begun his careeer at that time. Walter Ossowski (born in February 28, 1915 in Philadelphia) is still alive, and recently donated his entire collection of music scores and books to the Polish Music Center. The "Album" also belonged to this collection.
In addition to Polish music, "Album balowy" also contained several dances of Hungarian and Austrian composers. Unfortunately the names of famous Polish composers of orchestral music were missing in the series. As an exception, we can find two pieces by Zygmunt Noskowski: Polonaise elegiaque (in Album No.2), and Zbior krakowiakow (Collection of cracoviennes, in Album No. 5). I am not aware of the relationship of J. Niewiadomski (the composer of polka "Z pod Warszawy" in "Album Balowy" No. 2) to the famous composer Stanisław Niewiadomski who had the same last name. Similarly I do not know if A. Stokowski (the author of a waltz "Zerwane struny" in "Album Balowy" No. 2) was a member of the family of Leopold Stokowski, a famous conductor.
According to the title, Krygier published mainly dance music, but in seven volumes of the series one can also find the following titles of popular national pieces:
Wronski's polonaise entitled "Poland is not yet lost" had nothing in common with Polish national anthem, which was included twice - in the first and fifth volume. Covers of some volumes had been decorated with illustrations - photographs of the following Polish dance orchestras performing between the two wars:
Now, we learn, that there were at least 16 Polish dance orchestras performing in the thirties and fourties along the eastern coast of the U.S - if we add four to the twelve mentioned in the essay "Podgorski and Polish dance orchestras in the U.S." referenced above.
If we look at the same time at 2 different albums - Podgorski's album, and Krygier album, both published during the same period in the same city, it seem strange that two publishers, composers, and conductors active in the same location at the same time did not collaborate. We cannot find, for example, Podgorski's dance in Krygier's album, and vice versa. I suppose that there was a kind of a competition between two of them. Nonetheless, these two albums were printed in a very similar way, and the music was arranged for an almost identical instrumentation.
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