|Polish Music Newsletter
May 2002, Vol. 8, no. 5. ISSN 1098-9188. Published monthly.
Los Angeles: Polish Music Center, University of Southern California
ANNUAL PADEREWSKI LECTURE
The first Annual Paderewski Lecture, featuring composer-pianist Zygmunt Krauze, with the participation of the Polish Folk Dance Ensemble Krakusy, took place on 3 May 2002, 8 p.m., at the Alfred Newman Recital Hall, USC Campus, Los Angeles. 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 faculty, 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. A similar group of listeners attended the 2002 Annual Paderewski Lecture featuring Zygmunt Krauze accompanied by members of the Los-Angeles-based Polish Folk Dance Ensemble Krakusy.
Zygmunt KRAUZE (b. 1939) was recently described by 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 songs 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.
The Newman Hall was filled to capacity and the attendees greatly enjoyed the evening that exposed them to "national" and "avant-garde" types of Polish music. The evening began with remarks by the Consul General of the Republic of Poland, Mr. Krzysztof Kasprzyk, and by Founder and Honorar Director of the PMC, Wanda Wilk. Polish-Americans constituted the majority of attendees, with two large groups predominating, those afilliated with the Krakusy Ensemble and the Helena Modjeska Club for Polish Culture. The review by Mark Swed, published in the Los Angeles Times on 6 May 2002, praised the Center's past scholarly activities and had only kind words for the lecturer. The full text of the review is included below. Krauze presented the following program (the repeat of Paderewski's Nocturne and Krauze's Unistic Pieces were not performed).
The Annual Paderewski Lectures are sponsored by the Polish Music Center at the University of Southern California, the Kosciuszko Foundation of New York, and the Consulate of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles. The event was made possible by a large grant from Dr. Zbigniew Petrovich, M.D., and a group of sponsors, including: Philip R. Brewster (First Union Securities), POLAM - Polish American Credit Union, Polish American Cultural Network, Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club of Los Angeles, Children's Medical Care Foundation, Friends of Polish Music, Jerzy and Lena Wagner, Elzbieta and Ginter Trybus, Dorota Dabrowska, Helena and Stanley Kolodziey, Dorota Rzymska, Edward Koterba, and Waldemar Chmielewski. The event was made possible by the efforts of a group of volunteers, some of whom were known beforehand and mentioned in the program book. The coordination of Volunteer Committee was by Helena Kolodziey, with the participatio of Beata Balon, Henryk Chrostek, Barbara Zakrzewska, and Krysta Close. USC students who contributed their efforts to making sure this event was a success included: Adrianna Lis, Krszystof Szmanda, Michal Sobus, Karolina Naziemiec, and Robert Zych. An unexpected and dedicated volunteer was the mother of Krysta Close, who was visiting her daughter and spent half of a day working on our events. Many thanks to all who helped out!
In addition to giving the Paderewski Lecture, Zygmunt Krauze also lectured at the California State University, Long Beach (thanks to Prof. Martin Herman), and at the University of California, Irvine (thanks to Dr. Michael Ferriell Zbyszynski). Both lectures elicited enthusiastic response of composition students and faculty.
The 2002 Paderewski Lecture was supposed to have been
preceded by the opening of a Paderewski Exhibition, featuring scores,
manuscripts, and documents from the collection of the Polish Music Center, including Paderewski's piano rolls, photographs, letters, as well as concert programs of his tours in the 1920s, and
numerous publications of his music (recordings and early editions), donated by Wanda Wilk, Annette Strakacz-Appleton, and Maja Trochimczyk.
The Exhibition, curated by Maja Trochimczyk and designed by Ljiljana Grubisic has been postponed until the fall semester. The opening is set for 23 September 2002.
The second Paderewski Lecture in May 2003 will be given by Ewa Podleś, contralto. For more information visit the Lecture site: http://www.usc.edu/dept/polish_music/lecture02.html
USC's first Paderewski Lecture brings Polish music to audiences and showcases the talents of pianist Zygmunt Krauze
Music Review by Mark Swed, from the Los Angeles Times, 6 May 2002
The first "lecture" Friday night in Newman Hall featured the Polish composer and pianist Zygmunt Krauze. Though more concert than discourse, Krauze did touch on matters Polish, such as explaining the historical traditions of folk music and dance. He had the use of a local troupe, Polish Folk Dance Ensemble Krakusy, which demonstrated the steps of the polonaise and mazurka. And Krauze connected his own modern style to Chopin by playing a mazurka and polonaise augmented with his improvisations. But interesting as this was, the real value of Krauze's appearance was simply to provide an arresting composer, a major figure in Europe though inexplicably little known in America, with a rare local forum. Krauze, who is 63, is a fascinating figure in Polish music. His roots are to Witold Lutoslawski, the most important composer in the flourishing of Polish music after World War II, which led to a public avant-garde scene in the '60s and early '70s that was unique among Soviet Bloc nations. Lutoslawski began by writing in an advanced national style, as a kind of Polish Bartok, but once he discovered the chance composition of John Cage, he became somewhat more radical if always elegant in sonic exploration. Krauze, as a member of the more rebellious next generation, followed in Lutoslawski's footsteps closely at first but kept going.
Krauze's lecture-recital was broad. The first half looked at history and the influence of folk music and dance in piano works by Chopin, Karol Szymanowski, Lutoslawski and an example of Krauze's student pieces from 1958, "Five Folk Melodies," which he said he had forgotten about and just recently discovered on faded yellow manuscript paper long buried in an old bureau. After intermission, Krauze offered examples of that exciting new music scene in Warsaw that quickly moved him from the folk style.
Unfortunately, the scope of this recital was too broad--after all, Boguslaw Schaeffer's "Non Stop," alone, lasted eight hours when Krauze premiered it in 1964. Yet in a mere three-minute excerpt, Krauze was able to attack the piano ferociously and with seductive gentleness, to bang on it as a percussion instrument, to play on the strings inside, to whistle and stomp the floor and throw in some drunken Chopin and Mozart.
One way Krauze connects the past with the present is through the improvisations he likes to tack on to his Chopin performances. These include getting stuck on a small figure and repeating it over and over to mesmerizing effect. He did that to the Mazurka in A minor, Opus 67, No. 4, and the Polonaise in E-flat minor, Opus 26, No. 2. But even when Krauze plays Chopin or other earlier music straight, he has an improvisatory style in which exaggerated rubato and a heavy foot on the pedal create lingering harmonic resonances and blurred chords. A performance of Paderweski's Nocturne in B-flat major, Opus 16, No. 4, in fact, was nearly as weird and woozy as Krauze's own "Nightmare Tango."
Krauze's most interesting example of his own obsessive interest in gripping sonority was "Stone Music," in which he placed stones on the strings of the piano, and then struck the strings with metal bars. With microphones amplifying the small sounds, the result was a gorgeously enveloping ringing.
But this was nothing more than a taste of a composer of a wide range of works (he has just had a new opera performed in Warsaw to great acclaim and has a children's opera on the way, as well as a work for the Bavarian Radio Orchestra). His appearance last spring at the UCSB New Music Festival was a revelation--his chamber music creates a startling, intense, original, immediately communicative sound world that seems riveted to the earth and the emotions, music both fresh and timeless. This is an important voice and I hope the Paderewski Lecture will just be the beginning of the Polish Music Center's efforts to get it heard here.
[If you want other stories on this topic, search the Archives at www.latimes.com/archives]
The 60th Meeting of the Polish Institute of Arts & Sciences of America be held at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. June 7-8. Two sessions will be devoted to Polish music. The first, "Poland's Composers from the 19th and 20th centuries, Elsner and Stojowski" will be chaired by Maja Trochimczyk with presenters: Anne Swartz, Baruch College CUNY, Joseph Herter, St. John Basilica Cathedral, Warsaw, and Maja Trochimczyk. Herter and Trochimczyk will speak about Zygmunt Stojowski while Swartz's paper is about Elsner. The othe session, "Paderewski and Sembrich; Poles, Music and Politics" will be chaired by Anna M. Cienciala of the University of Kansas. Presenters: Stephen Herx, Hackensack, NJ (Sembrich), Mieczyslaw B. Biskupski, St. John Fisher College (Paderewski) and Maja Trochimczyk (Paderewski). [WW]
Shirley Fleming has compiled a list of festivals for American Record Guide magazine. Polish music scheduled:
The Fourth Annual Music Festival "From Chopin to Gorecki" sponsored by the Chopin Academy of Music, Warsaw, Poland will be held July 15-26th. In addition to many concerts and master classes, a summer course for students is being planned. Deadline for application for the course is 15 May. According to the newsletter from the Polish Arts & Culture Foundation of San Francisco, the all-inclusive tuition is $650.
POLISH MUSIC CENTER: NEWS
Following the highly successful and well-received Annual Paderewski Lecture given by Zygmunt Krauze on 3 May 2002, the Polish Music Center will experience some changes that will affect its activities until the end of calendar year 2002. As a recipient of a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies I will take a leave of absence in the Fall semester 2002. Time away from my office will be devoted to Polish music. The ACLS founded my book project entitled: "Sound Constructions: Image, Number, and Space in 20th Century Polish Music." The academic leave was originally scheduled for the Spring of 2002, but it was rescheduled due to the pressures of arranging for the donation of the Stojowski Collection to the Polish Music Center and of organizing the first Paderewski Lecture, which I designed to mark our permanent connection to USC and publicly celebrate the achievements of Polish music.
During my partial absence from the office, the scope of the PMC activities will be slightly reduced, with a smaller newsletter (this change begins with the May issue), and one event only, i.e. the opening of the exhibition, rescheduled from May till September. As the curator of the exhibition I will take an active role in its preparation in the summer months. Until the end of the year, the PMC office will be staffed by two graduate students from USC: a graduate of the School of Cinema and Television, Olga Zurawska who will work part-time while preparing the film for her "diploma" (through the summer) and Przemyslaw Raczynski, a graduate of the University of Toronto and USC Thornton School of Music student in the class of Yehuda Gilad, clarinet (starting in August). Both students are well-versed in matters of Polish music and are proficient in English and in computer use. In addition to making sure that the center remains open through the fall, the students will make much-needed corrections to our composers' files and edit the newsletter.
Dr. Barbara Zakrzewska, our librarian since 1998 concludes the period of her work for PMC due to the lack of funding to create a half-time permanent position of the PMC librarian. Dr. Zakrzewska has been a recipients of grants from the Kosciuszko Foundation (she came here as a Foundation's Fellow), the Ars Musica Poloniae and the PMC. Her work on our catalog, her contributions to the newsletter, and to our special events will be greatly appreciated and fondly remembered.
Two book projects delayed from past years should be completed this summer since they are in the final editing phase: "The Songs of Szymanowski and His Contemporaries" - sponsored by a generous grant from the Kosciuszko Foundation of New York, and "Jozef Koffler" by Prof. Maciej Golab. In addition, two issues of the Polish Music Journal will be published, one on Szymanowska and Stojowski (vol. 5 no. 1), and one on Polish Music after 1945 (guest-edited by Martina Homma).
In addition to working on my primiary research projects, I will continue working on other subjects and present the results of my work at two national conferences. During the 2002 Meeting of the American Musicological Society in October 2002 I will read a paper "'How Paderewski Plays': Chant d'amour and the Aestheticism of America's Gilded Age" at a session dedicated to "The Practice of Performance" and chaired by Jose Bowen. Other presenters include Mary Hunter ("Haydn's String Quartets and the Idea of the Performer"), Sin Yan Hedy Law ("Theodore Thomas, Bowings, and deux temps Waltz: An American Conductor and the Lost European Waltz Tradition"), and Kenneth Hamilton, "The Liszt Paedagogium and 20th-Century Performance Styles." During the 2002 Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies I will present a paper on Polish women composers of the 19th Century ("From Mrs. Szymanowska to Mr. Poldowski: Career Choices of Nineteenth-Century Polish Women Composers"), during a special session "Seen and Heard? Women Painters, Performers, and Composers in Modern Polish Culture" organized by Beth Holmgren, with the participation of Bozena Shallcross of Indiana University. Papers from this session form a book project on Polish female artists that is currently being developed by Prof. Holmgren.
The Polish Music Center finally has a brochure with current information about our projects and activities. If you would like to receive it and to support our activities with a yearly membership fee in the Friends of Polish Music, please email the center with your contact information. We will be happy to welcome you among the select group of educated and cultured people for whom music matters, quality research efforts are worthwhile, and preserving the cultural memory of Polish-Americans is an extremely significant task.
AWARDS AND COMPETITIONS
Polish pianist Piotr Anderszewski received the $300,000 Gilmore Artist Award for 2002, as reported in the Los Angeles Times and on the internet In The News by Melinda Whiting. The latter's source was Mark Stryker of the Detroit Free Press, who reported that the "Polish-Hungarian pianist" has won "one of the most lucrative honors in classical music, administered by the Kalamazoo-based Gilmore Keyboard Festival" and noted that the "Gilmore Prize involves no formal competition. Instead, a committee travels the world, secretly evaluating pianists who are unaware that they have been nominated." The Los Angeles Times article noted that the Gilmore Artist Awards are the classical-music equivalent of TV's "The Millionaire," doling out money to unsuspecting recipients."
The pianist, a former USC student, was born in Poland of a Polish father and Hungarian mother and is now residing in Paris. He records exclusively for Virgin and is again making waves, this time with his newest CD of three Mozart piano Concertos. He is featured in BBC Music Magazine May 2002 issues as the "Pick of the Month" in the orchestral division. Jeremy Siepmann calls his playing "extraordinary sophistication and insight. In his hands these are nothing short of instrumental operas. With his gifts of characterisation (sometimes almost embarrassingly) to the fore, and a subtlety and range of inflection and tone painting which will undoubtedly strike some as extensively "Romantic," he never for one moment neglects Mozart's continuous dialogue. Some of his rubatos may seem excessive, but these are minor blemishes in a recording of exceptional distinction."
The second edition of the Wilk Book Prize for Research in Polish Music will be held in 2002. Submissions are welcome from the publishers or authors (two copies of the book). The rules below describe the conditions of this Prize. The deadline this year is June 30, 2002.
A picture of the artist and of the CD is on the cover of Fanfare, May/June issue with a feature article of peter Burwasser interviewing this outstanding pianist, where we can learn all about Godowsky and his piano works.
It is also reviewed by David Mulburry in American Record Guide, May/June issue, where the critic describes the piano sonata, "this expansive, five-movement work (57 min.) is a definite rarity, unknown to most pianists, so we owe, at the very least, a nod of gratitude to Hamelin for re-introducing it to the piano discography." He also says that the Passacaglia, Cadenza and Fugue on a theme from Schubert's Unfinished symphony "deserves to be heard more often" and concludes with "Highly recommended, but for serious customers only."
A well-written and favorable review by Stratton Rawson about the two Canadian artists. Rawson is especially impressed with Baril's transcription, where "almost every note of the original piano part is retained. The cello works in partnership with the piano. It doesn't even get to introduce the famous melody: the piano does, just as Chopin would have wished it." Reviewed in American Record Guide May/June issue.
Collection of concert performances of the Cleveland Orchestra, most of it not recorded commercially by Dohnanyi. Disc #4: Lutoslawski's "Musique Funebre." Also Bartok's Divertimento, Prokofieff's Symphony No. 1 and Hindemith's Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes of Weber.
Gerald S. Fox gives a 3-page review of the discs that he calls "an impressive collection of very diverse music." Fox mentions an earlier recording of the Lutoslawski by the same artists (which he has not heard), but calls the music a "deeply expressive masterpiece for strings...this is an excellent, searing, committed performance in fine sound...the sonics are excellent." Reviewed in American Record Guide May/June issue.
Marc Rochester described the music as "epic and fairly obvious music which will undoubtedly appeal to a wide audience." He believes Wojciech Kilar, who turned 70 this year, is "incapable of shaking off his background as a composer for the movies (his successes include Dracula and Death and the Maiden) and the result is music full of epic spectacle if somewhat superficial emotional impact." The conductor Antoni Wit "wrings every last gramme of excitement and drama from this supercharged score." Reviewed in Gramophone May issue.
This is vol. 7 in the "superb Naxos series of the orchestral works of Witold Lutoslawski" according to Peter Burwasser, who recommends it highly and who states that "every previous Fanfare reviewer in this series has praised the terrific work by Antoni Wit and the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra" and that with this "series, as well as an equally well-executed collection of the music of Penderecki, Wit and Naxos have made a vital contribution to the catalogue of contemporary Polish music." Reviewed in Fanfare May/June 2002
According to info in the Daedalus Music catalog, these pieces were "written expressly" for Mozdzer, a classical and jazz pianist with whom the composer had worked on the score of Louis Malle's Damage." The pieces "exhibit the highly personal sense of lyricism found in his orchestral work, such as his film soundtracks and his Requiem, known for its ravishing beauty...Mozdzer draws from the piano a range of timbres and sonorities that are reminiscent of Satie or Gorecki and that exploit the instrument's physical properties, oscillating from limpid reveries to explosive outbursts."
Daedalus Music reports that Opus 111's 10-CD Journey Around Chopin series, geared toward his 150th anniversay year, was an innovative overview of the Polish composer/pianist's career that was lavishly praised by critics. The series culminated in this final compilation disc of twelve striking highlights. Performers range from classical virtuosos to Zespol Polski (an ensemble that plays Polish folk music on authentic instruments, juxtaposing traditional polkas and kujawiaks with Chopin mazurkas).
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
[Sources: BBC Music Magazine, May 2002; Kosciuszko Foundation bulletin; Polish American Journal]
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