Several of these works have been commissioned by the Warsaw Autumn (SZALONEK, KRUPOWICZ, KILAR); the Festival also commissioned new pieces from foreign composers, such as Sofia GUBAIDULINA (Russia) and Bronius KUTAVICIUS (Lithuania). These two are the most prominent names among composers asked to write works for the Festival; among other names a preference for hitherto little-known East European composers (YANOV-YANOVSKY, PIACEK) is notable. Here, the Warsaw Autumn returns to its glorous tradition of creating a musical bridge between East and West.
The event most likely to attract the most attention of the popular press is an underwater concert to be heard by small groups of people immersed in the swimming pool. (Polish premiere of Michel REDOLFI's music, September 20, 12 noon). This concert seems to call for a special dress code: black-tie swimsuits and high-heel flippers? (MAH)
The program of Henryk Mikolaj GORECKI's visit to the University of Southern California in early October 1997 includes three concerts: of Gorecki's solo and chamber music (October 1), of Symphony no. 3 , conducted by the composer (October 3), and of works by GORECKI (Kleines Requiem, Good Night) and LUTOSLAWSKI, performed by the USC Contemporary Music Ensemble (October 5). All concerts start at 8 p.m. In addition, the festival will include a lecture by Adrian THOMAS, followed by a screening of a film about Gorecki (October 2, 7: 30 p. m.) and a Music History Seminar: The Gorecki Phenomenon (October 5: 12-3 p.m.).
All tickets are $ 5 ($ 2 for USC students) and will be sold by the USC Ticket Office, starting on September 8. It is possible, due to enormous public interest in the second concert, entitled Gorecki conducts Gorecki (Oct. 3), that the tickets for this event will be sold out on the first day of their availability. Hurry!!! A certain number of tickets is reserved for purchase by Friends of Polish Music (list of names provided, two per "friend"). (MAH)
Polish composer Jerzy BAUER wrote a choral/symphonic work, Zegnaj krzyzu Wawelski (Farewell Wawel cross) for the canonization ceremony of the 15th century Polish Queen Jadwiga in Krakow during the Pope's fifth pilgrimage to Poland (June 1-11). The title belongs to the opening sentence of the prayer Queen Jadwiga spoke just before she died. The composer also used part of the homily given by the Pope ten years ago in the Wawel Cathedral, which began with "Ave Crux" and a short medieval song "Krzyzu wierny i wyborny" (Cross, so faithful and exquisite). The new work was performed by the National Philharmonic and Mixed Choir of Kielce, Bozena HUSMANN, soloist with the Cracow Opera, under the direction of conductor Szymon KAWALLA. It was recorded by Polish TV and the composer presented the Pope with a copy of the tape.
Conductor Robert SATANOWSKI died at age 79. He was affiliated with Teatr Wielki in Warsaw, the Music Theatre in Krakow, the Poznan Philharmonic and others. Known for his innovative presentations.
Pianist Sviatoslav RICHTER died in Moscow at age 82. His
piano repertoire included several works by Karol SZYMANOWSKI.
Teresa CHYLINSKA reported in her book on Szymanowski that the
Second Piano Sonata became a masterpiece under the hands of
Richter. She further noted that "he played the Masques entrancingly" and that
the song cycle, Songs of the Infatuated Muezzin was superbly
performed by Richter with soprano, Galina Pisarenko. In conclusion Chylinska stated
the performer's concept and interpretive method can have an influence in bringing out potential possibilities of the form of a work and its integration. How far this is valid - was shown to me during a performance of the Third Sonata by Sviatoslav Richter. Hearing him, one had the feeling of participating in a live creation of the form, constructing a kind of an immensely super logical architecture [...] This example indicates on one side the breadth and weight of a mutual creative role - and the potential richness and formal plasticity of the material found in the Szymanowski composition on the other.
In view of the above I am surprised that not one of the Szymanowski works was included in the voluminous reissue of Richter's piano playing.
The Institute of Musicology at the University of Warsaw held an international musicology session on "Aesthetics and Style of Witold Lutoslawski." Taking part were musicologists Steven STUCKY and Maria Anna HARLEY (U.S.), Adrian THOMAS, John CASKEN and Charles Bodman RAE (England), Martina HOMMA (Germany), Irina NIKOLSKA (Russia) and Andrzej TUCHOWSKI and Zbigniew SKOWRON (Poland). See Harley's report for details.
The Polish music journal Ruch Muzyczny has been running a series of portraits of young composers. Pawel LUKASZEWSKI (1968) was featured in the July 27th issue. A cellist, graduate from Poznan University, the composer studied composition under Prof. Marian BORKOWSKI at the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw. He won many competitions and his music has been presented in several festivals in Poland, as well as at the Edmonton New Music Festival. His more important works include a String Quartet, Organ Concerto, Concerto for Orchestra and several choral works.
Dr. Julianna Wrycza SABOL of Syracuse University presented a workshop on "Chopin, Moniuszko and Szymanowski: The roots and development of the Polish art song." at the recent convention of the American Council for Polish Culture in Toronto, Canada. Deborah MAJKA of Washington, D.C. is president of the Council.
Pianist Kevin KENNER, now living in London, spent the summer vacation in Krynica, Poland giving master classes. There is a full page spread on this American pianist and winner of the XIIth Chopin International Competition in the August 14th issue of the Polish daily, Nowy Dziennik (NY). The week before two pages were devoted to composer Alexander TANSMAN. All in Polish.
Sep 6: "Don-Diri-Don" The Polish Children's Choir from
Sep 19-27: "Warsaw Autumn" International Contemporary Music
Sep 27: Wojciech KOCYAN, piano. Performing RACHMANINOFF
Sep 28: "Sundays at Two." Marek SZPAKIEWICZ, cello. Music of
The world premiere of an oratorio by Elzbieta SIKORA took place at the 1000th anniversary celebration of the city of Gdansk. Omnia tempus habent for alto solo, mixed choir, boy's choirs, organs and symphony orchestra was conducted by Wojciech MICHNIEWSKI. The title means "everything has its time," and is taken from an engraving on the bell in City Hall. The text comes from the Book of the Ecclesiastes.
The Polish Music Reference Center co-sponsored a concert to benefit the flood victims of Poland together with the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles, the Polish American Congress of Southern California, the Polish American Charities of Southern California and the United University Church, where the concert took place in its wonderfully acoustic sanctuary.
Artists included mezzo-sopranos Blanche FOREMAN of New York and Agnieszka LEJMAN; soprano Beata BALON; BAL, (Piotr Bal) trumpet; Marek SZPAKIEWICZ, cello; Karina WOJCZAKOWSKA, violin and Wojciech KOCYAN, piano. Eddy CLEMENT, Elzbieta ORDON and Ewa TELEGA enhanced this excellent program as accompanists.
Special thanks to the artists, Vladek JUSZKIEWICZ, the impressario and organizer, Dr. HARLEY for creating the program notes and for "MCing," Susan Holcomb CRAIG, pastor of UUC, Pawel POTOROCZYN, cultural consul and Mieczyslaw DUTKOWSKI of the Polish American Congress who welcomed the audience. A wonderful program for a very needy cause!
"Adoramus," a choir composed of Nazarene Sisters from Warsaw is making a tour of the U.S. for the first time. Beginning with a performance in Texas on August 30, the tour will conclude in Chicago on September 15. For info: (847) 329- 9090.
A Japanese choir from Hamamatsu performed in Warsaw's Old Town as part of a Cultural Exchange Program between sister cities. The choir performed "Ave Verum Corpus" by MOZART, a Polish folk song in two languages and a Japanese lullaby. Since its inception in 1990 a Polish Cultural Festival took place in Japan in 1994 and a Japanese Exhibit was held in Warsaw in 1996.
The 52nd Annual Chopin Festival in Duszniki-Zdroj under the direction of pianist Piotr PALECZNY featured international artists Philippe ENTREMONT, Marc Andre HAMELIN, Norman KREIGER, Konstanty KULKA, Jerzy ARTYSZ, Katarzyna Jankowska- BORZYKOWSKA, the SLASK QUARTET with Andrzej BAUER, cello and French pianist Michail RUDY. French pianist Jean-Marc LUISAD and Adrian OETIKER of Switzerland. The latter two artists donated their entire honoraria in joining others to come to the aid of victims of the recent floods in Poland. The program included works by CHOPIN and by Felix MENDELSSOHN who used to spend time at this spa so many years ago.
A festival for children and by children, "Do-Re-Mi" was again held in Lodz (June 13-15) after a ten year lapse. Nine concerts featuring 1200 performers included 122 compositions by 55 composers. The brain behind this festival is Andrzej HUNDZIAK who inaugurated it. It was held every 2 to 3 years until 1987. Its primary goal is to promote newest music for school children. Although the 122 works represented only 1/3 of the music submitted for this event, 90% of them have already been published. Since the emphasis was on "young" composers, thirty composers made their debut this year.
Some of the more interesting works mentioned in a report by Witold PAPROCKI in Ruch Muzyczny:
For six years now the "Paderewski in Memoriam" days of music have been held in Warsaw in June. Jozef KANSKI reported in Ruch Muzyczny that international artists who took part in the past included the Swedish baritone Ingvar WIXELL, violinist Wanda WILKOMIRSKA, pianists Cecile LICAD and Alicia de LARROCHA and singers Teresa ZYLIS-GARA, Wieslaw OCHMAN and Stefania TOCZYSKA.
This year, Paderewski's monumental Symphony in B minor was performed by the Filharmonia Pomorska named after the pianist/composer under the baton of Zygmunt RYCHERT. A special night was devoted to Polish composers Sigismund STOJOWSKI, Ludomir ROGOWSKI, Moritz MOSZKOWSKI, Raoul KOCZALSKI and Alexander TANSMAN.
Among the soloists: cellist Mischa MAISKY, pianists Waldemar MALICKI, Karol RADZIWONOWICZ and Lech DZIERZANOWSKI, tenor Krzysztof SZMIT, Lukasz MICHALSKI, trombone and Marek WALAWENDER, guitar. The festival was opened by the American "Vermeer" Quartet and ended with a final concert by Andrzej RATUSINSKI who performed CHOPIN works and SZYMANOWSKI Mazurkas.
The two top prizes at the VI International Choral Festival "Harmonia Gentium" held in Lecco, Italy were garnered by two Boys Choirs from Poland:
The ensembles performed works by Mikolaj ZIELINSKI, Piotr MOSS, Tadeusz PACIORKIEWICZ and Stanislaw WIECHOWICZ.
At the XXXII International Festival of Choral Song "Contemporary Choral Music" in Miedzyzdroje the Polish chamber choir from Bialystok "Cantica Cantamus" took first place. Two choirs tied for second: an amateur choir from Nanhai, China and a female choir "Liepos" from Wilno. The third prize was taken by the academic choir from the Silesian Polytechnic.
The Chinese group also received Special Mention for the best performance of TWARDOWSKI's "Alleluia." Best performance of a "Mass" by Jan Yngwe was awarded to the Medical Academy Choir of Pomorze (Poland's northern region).
Jury: Jurgen FASSBENDER (Germany), Don JAMES (Canada), Jan SZYROCKI and Halina WIECEK-PRZYBYLOWA (Poland).
Each year the American Council for Polish Culture presents a Marcella (Kochanska) SEMBRICH Vocal Award to a soprano. The 1997 winner was Laura Grazyna KAFKA who presented a recital on July 10 at the convention in Toronto and received a $1000 Prize.
The ACPC also sponsors the ANNUAL JOSEF HOFMANN PIANO COMPETITION held at the University of Southern Carolina-Aiken (May 29-31).
This year's winners:
DUX 0265. "Pologne Romantique." Veronique BRIEL, piano. Music of ZAREBSKI, MELCER, STOJOWSKI, DOBRZYNSKI, MONIUSZKO, PANKIEWICZ and MOSS.
Reviewed by Ludwik ERHARDT, editor of Ruch Muzyczny. He praised the selection of the repertoire saying the "Grande Polonaise, op. 6" of Zarebski could be the crowning point of every recital.....and "Valse a la Chopin" by Melcer....could be a favorite encore for audiences.
Reviewed in the August issue of Gramophone:
NAXOS 8 553423. LUTOSLAWSKI: Symphony no. 3, Variations on a theme of Paganini, Paroles tissees, and Les espaces du sommeil. Piotr KUSIEWICZ, tenor, Adam KRUSZEWSKI, baritone, Bernd GLEMSER, piano. Polish Nat'l Radio Symphony Orch. Antoni WIT, cond.
HARMONIA MUNDI HMU90 7201. CHOPIN. 12 Etudes, OP. 10. Rondos-C min. op. 1; F, "a la Mazur," op. 5; C, op. 73 (529 versions, for one and two pianos). Introduction and Rondo in E flat, op. 16. Frederic CHIU, piano. Bryce Morrison considered it an "exceptional disc, finely recorded and lavishly presented" and concluded that "more Chopin would be more than welcome from this outstandingly gifted pianist." Chiu is American-born but now living in Paris.
EMI Debut CDZ5 69701-2. CHOPIN Piano Works. Piano Sonata no. 3, Polonaise-Fantaisie, Nocturne in C minor, op. 48, no. 1, Scherzo no. 4, op. 54, Barcarolle in F sharp, op. 60 & Ballade no. 4 in F minor. Nelson GOERNER, piano.
Recordings by the LIRA SINGERS of Chicago and tapes of sacred music by the Assumption BVM Parish of Oil City, PA can be purchased from the PAJ Bookstore, 1275 Harlem Road, Buffalo, NY 14206.
Composers Born This Month:
During the summer months of 1997 I--as the PMRC Director--became a business traveller flying around the world. Soon after the Tenth International Congress on Women in Music, held at the California Institute for the Arts in early June 1997 (where I talked about Polish women composers and conversed with the famous composer-percussionist, Marta Ptaszynska), I went to Poland for a month of intense meetings and discussions, a month primarily devoted to research for the planned online Virtual Encyclopedia of Polish Music, but filled also with other matters pertaining to Polish music. The Encyclopedia will be published on the web-site of the PMRC, and the first twelve entries of the pilot project, supported by a grant from USC, should be ready by t he end of next summer. The subjects will include composers Witold Lutoslawski, Marta Ptaszynska, Grazyna Bacewicz, the music of Tatra mountains, the dance forms of mazurka, polonaise and polka, and other entries.
My stay in Poland began with participation in the International Lutoslawski Symposium (June 27-28, Warsaw). This unique event brought together all the authors of books about Lutoslawski (Steven Stucky, Martina Homma, Charles Bodman Rae, Jadwiga Paja, Tadeusz Kaczynski) and other scholars who are interested in his music. The Symposium’s organizer, Dr. Zbigniew Skowron (University of Warsaw), will edit the proceedings, Lutoslawski Studies (Oxford University Press; 1999). The conference opened with the seminal paper by Steven Stucky, an American composer whose dissertation became the first English-language book about Lutoslawski. Entitled "Change and constancy: The essential Lutoslawski," the paper examined stylistic features that sur vived Lutoslawski's change of styles, from neoclassical, to sonoristic, to more melodious and almost neo-romantic in the last period of his output. These terms are mine, not Stucky's who proposed to divide the composer's output into early, middle and late periods and discussed many fine details of Lutoslawski's compositions.
The contributions of Adrian Thomas (on Jeux venitiens), Andrzej Tuchowski (on 4th Symphony) and Martina Homma (on 12-note sketches found in the Sacher Archives in Basel) were analytical in nature and focused on very specific aspects of Lutoslawski's works. The papers by Zbigniew Skowron (an outline of Lutoslawski's formulated aesthetics), Charles Bodman Rae (on polar oppositions of poetic categories found in Lutoslawski's oeuvre), John Casken (on the epiphanic or visionary aspects of instrumental works, especially the codas), and mine (listed below), tackled the aesthetic issues arising from the music of this excellent composer. My contribution, entitled: "Dans la Nuit: The themes of Night and Death in Lutoslawski’s Oeuvre" examined the darker thread in the output of this seemingly serene contemporary classic, emphasizing the links to musical tradition, the symbolic interconnections between the notions of sleep, dream, night and death, and the forms of their musical representations.
Lutoslawski is not the only contemporary Polish composer entering the "Pantheon" of the world's greatests. The music of Krzysztof Penderecki also continues to attract national and international attention after successful performances of the Seven Gates of Jerusalem, commissioned for the 3,000th anniversary of this Holy City. Meanwhile, Polish and American scholars have begun work on a monumental project of Penderecki Studies, which will consist of six volumes published in English by the Princeton University Press (edited by Regina Chlopicka). These studies, written by and for the professionals will discuss the whole output of Penderecki; general readership will be more happy with texts of a more popular nature, and with new recordings.
My Polish trip was very fruitful in this respect: I have brought back many donations, from the Polish Radio (Polish classical and folk music), from the Polish Composers’ Union (complete tapes from Warsaw Autumn 1996), and from many other institutions and individuals. New reading material of i nterest to Polish music lovers includes the monthly Studio (in Polish; subscription information will be soon available at the PMRC site). Sincere thanks to all the benefactors!!! It is because of such generosity that libraries can prosper.
5. Musical Life in Poland
There are many small recording companies in Poland; we added their addresses to our site, and will continue to add links to new sites from Poland and relating to Polish music. Our online readers also give us interesting suggestions: thank you all!!! Our "old country" seems to be moving online: that’s one of the conclusions of my visit.
Polish musical life is also full of exciting events; their organizers include new institutions, such as a small concert management agency, L’esprit, which organized the world-premiere of the newly discovered prelude by Karol Szymanowski. The pianist of this memorable concert was Stanislaw Bunin, Chopin Piano Competition winner, and the cousin of Harry Neuhaus to whom Szymanowski’s Prelude was dedicated. The agency also published this prelude and donated a copy to the PMRC collection. While discussing Szymanowski’s music, it is important t o mention a variety of events commemorating the 60th anniversary of his death. Our online newsletters include information about the scholarly conference on Szymanowski’s music held in Zakopane and Cracow in March 1997. The festival Szymanowski and His Europe organized by the Polish Radio is of equal importance. At the PMRC we now have the program books of the festival ( in Polish and English), and a CDROM with early Szymanowski recordings. Thanks again!!!
6. IMS in London
Soon after returning to L.A. I traveled again, this time to the 16th Congress of the International Musicological Society, held in London, 14-20 August 1997. I am pleased to report that the proceedings of this important conference included two sessions devoted entirely to Polish music. The first one, on Chopin Performance, chaired by Prof. John Rink, took place at Cambridge University, Cambridge. The talks by many excellent scholars from Switzerland, England and the U.S. were very impressive, only a voice from Poland was missing. The second session, was devoted to the music of Lutoslawski, Penderecki, and Gorecki; its chair and organizer, Prof. Mieczyslaw Tomaszewski of Poland (former head of the PWM, now teaching at the Academy of Music in Cracow), brought together researchers from Poland, Russia and England. I appeared there as a replacement of Prof. Irina Nikolska (to read her paper); my own contribution to the proceedings of the Congress was a special session on recent psychoacoustic theories and music--with references to works by Ptaszynska and Gorecki, among other contemporary composers. Reports from these sessions will be published in the Proceedings of the Congress: it is very important that Polish music interests scholars as much as audiences and performers. Music history books relate the really important stories to the future generations. We have to make sure that what is selected to be remembered includes Polish music. (MAH)