|Polish Music Newsletter
May 2003, Vol. 9, No. 5. ISSN 1098-9188. Published monthly.
Los Angeles: Polish Music Center, University of Southern California
John Rink: Chopin: The Piano Concertos
Adrian Thomas: Górecki
Górecki, the culmination of Thomas's years of thorough, meticulous, and engaging research, provides a necessary foundation on which present and future scholars can build. This source-book surveys all of Górecki's works, adding background and biographical details where appropriate. But its appeal is such that any reader— musician or not, scholar or amateur—will benefit from Thomas's insights, learn from his observations, and, like the author, come to respect the music of this acclaimed composer on its own terms. Thomas assumes a readership that is fluent in music history, terminology and notation. He includes numerous score examples, often to illustrate the text but occasionally to replace it. The discourse strikes a balance between expressive interpretation and technical description. His discovery of extremely subtle allusions in Górecki's music—a chord drawn from Chopin, a melodic gesture from Szymanowski, or a note or timbre from Beethoven—and his subsequent explication of their import should spur others to delve deeper in the music, rather than merely being satisfied with the intriguing surface qualities. [from a review by Luke Howard]
Stefan and Wanda Wilk, USC campus, 1985.
Lovchinsky, an 18-year old born in Kazan, Russia, is
currently studying with Steven Glaser, professor of piano at
Ohio State U.
Ching Yun Hu was born in Taiwan and is studying with Oxana
Yablonskaya in New York.
The Chopin Piano Competition was established at the
Kosciuszko Foundation in 1949 on the 100th anniversary of the
death of Fryderyk Chopin and is held annually. Former
winners include Van Cliburn, Murray Perahia, Ian Hobson and
Daniel Pollack. It is open to U.S. citizens and
international full-time students between ages 16 and 22.
The jury this year was composed of Abbey Simon (chair),
Janina Fialkowska, Norman Horowitz, Constance Keene and Karen
Zygmunt Stojowski, ca. 1890.
On 24 May 2003 (Saturday), at 6 p.m. the Paderewski Museum in Warsaw's Lazienki Park, will present a chamber music concert, with works for trombone, violin, cello with piano, as well as songs, and a string quartet. The Festival will end on 25 May 2003 with a gala concert at the Holy Cross Basilica (on Krakowskie Przedmiescie), starting at 8 p.m. The program features Stojowski's Variations on "Witaj królowo nieba" from the orchestral Suite Op. 9, the Polish premiere of A Prayer for Poland, first performed in 1915 in the U.S., a Romanze for violin and piano Op. 20, and Cantata "Le printemps" Op. 7, during its first Polish performance since 101 years.
The participants include, in addition to the Cantores Minores choir conducted by Joseph A. Herter, the festival orchestra, Boy's Choir, "Szczecin Nightingales," "Furioso" String Quartet, and soloists, Franciszek Kubicki, organ; Michał Czyż, trombone; Michał Osmycki, violin; Henryk Grocholski, cello; Leopold Stawarz, bass; Anita Maszczyk, soprano; Marta Zamojska, soprano; and Michael Oczko, piano. Thanks to the generosity of the event's sponsors, the composer's son, eminent architect Henry Stojowski (of Baldwin Harbour, New York) will be among the honorary guests at the festival, and all the events will be free to the public.
On April 22, 2003, Ms. Gondek performed with Pacific Serenades at the UCLA Faculty Center (facing Schoenberg Hall). On the program: Three Bach arias with instrumental obbligato, and the premiere of Gary Bachlund's "Echo from the Shore," song cycle for soprano, oboe, violin, cello, and harpsichord.
Another success resulted from the singer's collaborative effort, as the soloist in Songs of the Sung Dynasty by Bright Sheng, performed by the Hong
Kong Philharmonic, conducted by Samuel Wong. The new CD with this work, recently released on the Naxos label, has been selected
by Gramophone Magazine as a "Top 10" disk of 2003. See May 2003 issue and www.Gramophone.co.uk.
An online review for this CD can be found at: http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp'ReviewNum=6361
There will be two musical events within the context of these Confrontations, both held at the Modern Art Gallery on Sundays:
The Los Angeles concert featured works by Beethoven and Brahms. According to Chris Pasles,
Los Angeles Times staff writer, during this recital, Krystian
Zimerman displayed his skills as "a poet and virtuoso of the
keyboard who put poetry before virtuosity to generally good
effect." However, what was announced as a program of Brahms
and Beethoven, turned out differently. "Post-intermission,
however, Zimerman's Brahms suddenly began to sound more like
Chopin - possibly his F-sharp minor Impromptu and his Sonata
in B minor - than the German composer's Sonata in F minor,
which was indicated on the program. The concert presenter,
UCLA Live, was unaware of a program change, and Zimerman was
not available for comment. In either case, the playing was
robust, but more than a few people in the audience were left
scratching their heads." The reviewer continued, "Zimerman
has the advantage of traveling with his own piano, a Steinway
grand, rebuilt to his specifications to aaccommodatehis
artistic as well as practical demands. It sounded glorious
in Royce Hall." "Ear-witnesses" of the recital included the Consul General
of the Republic of Poland, Mr. Krzysztof Kaspszyk, who met Zimerman before and was profoundly
impressed with his talent and with the enchanting poetry of the recital.
On Thursday, April 24, 8 p.m., at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the UCSB Ensemble of Contemporary Music presented Omsky, as a soloist performing with ECM Chamber Orchestra at Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall in Jeremy Haladyna's "Chalchihuites" for cello solo and in Kammerkonzert (Chamber Concerto) No.3 by Paul Hindemith for cello and chamber orchestra.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
by Wanda Wilk
Kosciuszko Insurrection 1794; postcard
by Kossak illustrating D±browski Mazurka, PMC Collection.
Thus, the annual ceremony "commemorates the debt that the U.S., and West Point in particular, owe to Thaddeus Kosciuszko." This year's event, begins at 9:45 a.m. with a mass at Holy Trinity Chapel. The Corps of Cadets will parade on the Plain at ll:30 a.m. Immediately thereafter, at 12:30 the annual ceremony honoring Kosciuszko will be held at his monument. Several thousand Polish and Polish-American veterans will be present, along with representatives of the Kosciuszko Foundation of New York.
Kosciuszko Insurrection 1794; postcard
by Kossak illustrating Dabrowski Mazurka, PMC Collection.
Chopin: Piano Pieces; Kilar: Moving to the Ghetto. Janusz
Olejniczak, piano; Władysław Szpilman, piano. Warsaw
Philharmonic, Tadeusz Strugała, cond.
April 30th of the current year was a fifth anniversary of the passing of Roman Maciejewski, who died in Goeteborg (Sweden), and was laid to rest on June 3rd,
1998, in Leszno (Poland). There are many reasons besides the anniversary of his death why we should remember the legacy of
this most remarkable Polish composer of the last century. It is enough to glance at his opus vitae, the Requiem, which he
dedicated to the victims of human ignorance, victims of all wars, victims of tyrannical oppression, victims of human lawlessness and victims of
the breakdown of God's Laws of Nature to realize the depth of his spirituality. How true ring the words of this dedication to a contemporary
world filled with violence and conflict. Maciejewski's life and work above all, established a vital link between Poland and
numerous European countries as well as between Poland and United States where he composed, performed, and resided for many years. Maciejewski always aspired to be independent and this desire was evident in his opinions, his creative output and his life. He was not
easily influenced by what others thought or how they behaved, and he remained unaffected by fame, power or money. In his work he valued sincerity
of expression the most, and he never paid heed to current fashion or aesthetic trends. His independence, however, occasionally came at a
great cost, but it also gave him something priceless in return - it let him live his life according to his own truth.
(translated by Maria Pilatowicz)
Roman Maciejewski, PMC Collection.
"The concerts of contemporary music were organized in the IPS (Institute for the Promotion of the Arts) Auditorium. This is where Roman
performed on the piano his mazurkas and also his Songs Bilitis. They all made an extraordinary impression; it was a sensation. . .
His music was very original, emotional, and very sensitive. Beautiful sound, that was always characteristic of his music."
Despite all the praises Maciejewski had never graduated from the Warsaw Music Academy. He was expelled for leading the student
strike in support of Karol Szymanowski's appointment as a provost of the Academy.
"Like a meteorite or a comet Roman Maciejewski appeared at the Warsaw Conservatory for only a brief moment," writes Stefan Kisielewski in his memoirs.
"His few known compositions are uniquely simple, direct, clearly inventive, and deeply Polish, but permeated throughout with contemporary textures
Shortly after his dismissal from the Academy, Maciejewski embarked on an extended and very successful concert tour in the Balkans,
where he presented mainly his own compositions. Thanks to the personal influence of Joseph Beck, the minister of Foreign Affairs
and an ardent admirer of Maciejewski's talent, upon his return from the tour he received a scholarship to continue his musical studies in Paris.
When he left Poland he never imagined that he was never to permanently return there again.
After Requiem performance in Warsaw, with Maciejewski.
SONY 87739 Chopin: Piano Pieces; Kilar: Moving to the Ghetto. Janusz Olejniczak, piano; Władysław Szpilman, piano. Warsaw Philharmonic, Tadeusz Strugała, cond.This is the music used in Roman Polanski's film, "The Pianist." David Mulbury reviews this in the Mar/Apr issue of American Record Guide. He states that there is "little to find fault with in any of their performances, which achieve high excellence. Olejniczak's Chopin playing is sensitive, stylish, and musically rewarding, and if not quite in the league of Rubinstein, Wild, Ohlsson, or Perahia, promises a bounty of listening pleasure." Kilar's "modest vignette," "Moving to the Ghetto" composed on October 30, 1940 "occupies less than two minutes. A concluding treat is the delightful playing of Szpilman, whose memoir, The Pianist, formed the basis for the film. Chopin's rather incredible, exquisite Mazurka in A minor was based on a Jewish melody from the Szafarnia region of Poland. What a spell this music can weave when played so beautiful and idiomatically! ...Liner notes supply almost no information of any import on music or performers, instead the space is allocated to shots from the film - a Hollywood touch, calculated to sell records, but disappointing." This disc had been nominated for a Fryderyk award for Album of the Year Solo Music.
April 30th of the current year was a fifth anniversary of the passing of Roman Maciejewski, who died in Goeteborg (Sweden), and was laid to rest on June 3rd, 1998, in Leszno (Poland). There are many reasons besides the anniversary of his death why we should remember the legacy of this most remarkable Polish composer of the last century. It is enough to glance at his opus vitae, the Requiem, which he dedicated to the victims of human ignorance, victims of all wars, victims of tyrannical oppression, victims of human lawlessness and victims of the breakdown of God's Laws of Nature to realize the depth of his spirituality. How true ring the words of this dedication to a contemporary world filled with violence and conflict. Maciejewski's life and work above all, established a vital link between Poland and numerous European countries as well as between Poland and United States where he composed, performed, and resided for many years.
Maciejewski always aspired to be independent and this desire was evident in his opinions, his creative output and his life. He was not easily influenced by what others thought or how they behaved, and he remained unaffected by fame, power or money. In his work he valued sincerity of expression the most, and he never paid heed to current fashion or aesthetic trends. His independence, however, occasionally came at a great cost, but it also gave him something priceless in return - it let him live his life according to his own truth.There are many concrete reasons why Maciejewski's creative legacy was until recently not very widely known. He had never paid much attention the fate of his compositions, never had looked after proper marketing of his work, or had sought to profit from it. It wasn't until the mid 1990's that he finally allowed access to some 100 manuscripts, which until then were gathering dust in the drawers of his bureau. All earlier attempts, even by the most distinguished instrumentalists, to gain access to his compositions proved to be futile. He mainly composed for himself; whether it was for Maciejewski the pianist, Maciejewski the organist or Maciejewski the conductor. Among the many works which came to light in the 1990's there were 50 compositions for piano, 30 for two pianos (original works and transcripts of the classics) several pieces of chamber music, several orchestral works, 5 masses for the organ and mixed choir and musical scores for various theatrical plays. One must also consider that for several decades the political climate in Poland was hostile to artists, who chose to live and work abroad. Also the hegemony of the musical avant-garde of this period naturally reduced the opportunities to perform and popularize new musical works composed in the traditional style. Lately this situation has changed and the style of Maciejewski's compositions, which used to be his handicap, has now become one of his many assets. The recent statements of music critics and composers concerning his Requiem are self-evident:
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Copyright 2003 by the Polish Music
Send your comments and inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Newsletter Editors: Wanda Wilk and Maja Trochimczyk.
Contributions by Joseph A. Herter, Vladek Juszkiewicz, Mieczyslaw Dutkowski, Juliana Gondek,
Marlena Wieczorek, Wojciech Maciejewski.
Sources of information: American Record Guide, Chamber Music, Gramophone, PAP, Los Angeles Times.
Formatting by Maja Trochimczyk, 05/01/2003.