VERDEHR TRIO AT KOSCIUSZKO FDN.
Artist: Maria Ruggiero
The Verdehr Trio returned to the Kosciuszko Foundation Sunday, November 21 at 3 pm, for the second concert in the 2004-2005 Chamber Music Series. The Trio is an unusual combination of violin, clarinet, and piano, and will perform a varied program. The main work is the American premiere of a Trio by contemporary Polish composer Eugeniusz Knapik; this is a big scale, lush and even Romantic in its sound, commissioned by the Warsaw Autumn Festival especially for the Verdehr Trio. The Verdehr Trio has been invited to Warsaw Autumn, one of Europe's premiere new music festivals, on numerous occasions. The program also includes the light-hearted "I Got Variations," by New York Broadway composer/arranger William Brohn, based on George Gershwin's popular song; and a Trio by another New York composer, William Bolcom.
Learn more about the Michigan-based Verdehr Trio on their website, www.verdehr.com
100TH PERFORMANCE OF VESPERS
The Vespers from Ludzmir [Nieszpory ludzmierskie] by Jan Kanty Pawluskiewicz premiered in 1992 and have been extremely popular since. The Vespers
are a collection of 18 song-psalms written by Leszek Aleksander Moczulski. The music contains elements of highlander folklore, oriental music and traditional church
music. The Centennial performance was held in Wrocław.
65TH ANNIVERSARY FOR NIGHTINGALES
Professor Stefan Stuligrosz, composer, founder and conductor
of the "Poznanskie Slowiki" [Poznan Nightingales] celebrated
the 65th anniversary of his choral group in the famous church
on the mount in Czestochowa, Poland.
Polish Christmas carols by this famous Boys Choir are
available on a CD. You can also see Prof. Stuligrosz
directing his choir on a video, "The Most Beautiful Polish
Christmas Carols." Other performers include the Mazowsze Folk
Ensemble, soprano Teresa Żylis-Gara, and Capella Cracoviensis
in authentic settings that include villagers' homes and the
Wit Stwosz Altar at the Mariacki Church in Krakow. Available at polandbymail.com.
WROCŁAW GUITAR FESTIVAL
The tradition of the Wrocław Guitar Festival already spans many years. Festival stages have played host to the most accomplished masters of six strings from around the world, including classical guitar virtuosos and stars of the Flamenco, jazz and folk music genres. Like previous editions of the event, GUITAR 2004 was a colorful journey through many musical worlds.
The two brightest stars of this year's edition were Australian Tommy Emmanuel, a finger-style guitar virtuoso, and Spaniard Rafael Cortes, an unparalleled master of Flamenco guitar. The festival also included evenings of classical guitar music performed by two outstanding ensembles - the duo of Finn Svit (Denmark) on guitar and Jochen Brusch (Germany) on violin, and the Buenas Mazurkas Project featuring Piotr Rangno (accordion) and Krzysztof Pelech (guitar). This year's "Visegrad Concert," an additional event that has become a permanent fixture of the festival, featured outstanding Czech guitarist Vladislav Blaha.
The Wrocław Guitar Festival is organized by the Wrocław Guitar Society, which was created in March of 2001 on the initiative of a group of musicians and with the support of several of the city's cultural institutions. The statutory goals of the Wrocław Guitar Society include popularizing guitar music and promoting talented guitarists from the city of Wrocław and the region of Lower Silesia.
More information available at www.gitara.wroclaw.pl.
U.S. TOUR OF ŚLĄSK
Śląsk, The National Ballet Company of Poland, spent the month of November touring North America. They visited Toronto, Chicago, Milwaukee, New Jersey, Detroit and New York. Visit their website at www.zespol-slask.prv.pl.
POSTING FOR INTERNATIONAL MUSICIANS
Music Omi International Music Residency Program is now accepting
applications for the summer 2005 session: July 28th through August 14th
(NYC concert August 15th). Performing composers, improvising
musicians, and sound artists from ALL musical disciplines and
backgrounds who wish to take part in a collaborative music-making
residency are encouraged to apply. Full room and board will be
provided. Residents must provide their own travel. The beautiful Omi
campus is located in the mountains of upstate New York, USA. Summer
2005 Special guest Curator: Hazel Leach (Womens United Orchestra).
Visit http://www.artomi.org/musicomi for more information and
"CHOPIN FROM THE POLISH SOUL"
A new article entitled "Chopin from the Polish Soul" was written by Lawrence Budmen. Budmen gives a rave review of Stanislaw Drzewiecki's performance of Chopin's Sonata in B-flat Minor as part of "Chopin—In Memoriam, A Celebration". This concert was a joint presentation of Festival Miami 2004 and the Chopin Foundation of the United States and took place on 17 October at the University of Miami's Gusman Concert Hall. Budmen's article is available on the InfoChopin website.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
DEC 2: Polish Virtuosos for Children. S. Drzewiecki - piano, R. Kwiatkowski - cello, P. Piekutowska - violin. National Philharmonic in Warsaw. See details above.
DEC 2: USC's "Self"-Taught & Scholarship Brass Quintets present a joint recital. Program will include Lutosławski's Mini-Overture. 6:00 pm. United University Church, USC, Los Angeles, CA.
DEC 4: Nova Polska Concert of contemporary Polish classical music. Sinfonietta Cracovia-Poland's premiere chamber ensemble, and Motion Trio- a world renown Polish accordion trio, will perform the music of Poland's most famous contemporary composers, including W. Kilar, K. Penderecki, H. M. Górecki. Crypte de la Basilique de Fourvière, Lyon, France. 8:30 pm. http://www.nova-polska.pl/fr/site/program/wy_in_malopolska_koncert.
DEC 4 & 5: 14th Annual December Recital: Music of F. Chopin. Allen Barton - piano. Skylight Theatre, 1816 1/2 Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA. 310-358-9936. 8:00 p.m. $20.
DEC 5: Lutists ZAK OZMO and DANIEL ZULUAGA of the USC Thornton Early Music Program present "Liuti in Concert". Program: Lute duets by Ferrabosco, Johnson, da Milano, Besard, and Valderrábano. 4:00 pm. St. John's Episcopal Church, 514 W. Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA.
DEC 5: "Polish Tree" at Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco. Decorating by the Polish Arts & Culture Foundation of San francisco. Children's party, 11:00 am. or 3:00 pm. 415-552-8000 or visit www.sfsymphony.org.
DEC 5-10: Nova Polska Polish baroque music festival. "Il Tempo" ensemble. Angers, France. http://www.nova-polska.pl/fr/site/program/wy_in_il_tempo_angers.
DEC 7: Rebroadcast of last year's concert in Sydney entitled "POLISH MUSIC ACROSS THE CENTURIES" - Gregorian chant through early Baroque. 1:00 pm EST. www.abc.net.au.
DEC 9: Slavic Holiday Choral Concert, featuring the Lowiczanie Polish Folk Ensemble. Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar Street, Berkeley, CA. 7:30 pm. Tickets: $12 adults, $10 seniors/ students, children under 14, free. For more info: 1-510-540-0835 or 1-415-285-4336. www.polishfolk.net/slavic.html.
DEC 10: Nova Polska Concert of Dariusz Paradowski, the world's only non-castrato adult male soprano. Read more about this unusual singer in the Warsaw Voice. Saint Germain en Laye, France. http://www.nova-polska.pl/fr/site/program/wy_in_malmaison_paradowski_saint.
DEC 11: Music of Chopin, Beethoven and MacMillan. Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Jeffrey Kahane, piano/cond. & Joseph Swensen (at right), violin/cond. Alex Theatre 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale, CA. 8:00 p.m. $17-$75. www.laco.org
DEC 12: Same program as the 11th. Royce Hall, UCLA. 7:00 p.m. 213-622-7001. www.laco.org.
DEC 12: Chopin Christmas Concert. Winners of the 9th Annual San Francisco Chopin Competition for Young Pianists. Queen Anne Hotel, 1590 Sutter St., San Francisco, CA. 4:00 pm. Donations suggested. Reservations: 925-247-0894 or e-mail to CHOPINSF@AOL.COM.
DEC 12: Candlelight Christmas Concert. Polish carols, classical masterpieces for organ and sing-a-long. Lowiczanie Men's Chorus, Agnieszka Hajdukiewicz, cond.; Richard Mayer, organ; Anna Samborska, soprano; Dan Leal, tenor. St. Jarlath's Church, Fruitvale Ave. & Pleasant St., Oakland, CA. 5:00 p.m. $5.
DEC 12: "Sounds of Christmas" 31st Annual Christmas Concert. Moniuszko Choir with guest choirs from Bayonne, Wallington and West Paterson and the Chopin Singing Society of Passaic. SS. Peter and Paul Polish National Catholic Church, Passaic, NJ. 3:00 p.m.
DEC 14: Chopin, Godowsky & Schumann. Marc-Andre Hamelin, piano. The Venue, Leeds, U.K. www.leedsconcertseason.com.
DEC 15: Beethoven & Chopin. Alfredo Perl, piano. Queens Elizabeth Hall, London, U.K. 7:45 pm.
DEC 15: Pop/Rock/Electronic Show for Beslan terrorism survivors, with a performance by Jakub Omsky. All ages. $15 cover charge. Knitting Factory, Hollywood, CA. 7:30 pm - 2 am. See above for details.
DEC 16: Zarębski Piano Quintet, Adrian Smith, piano. Gresham College. Barnard's inn Hall, Holbron, London, U.K. 020-7831-0575. Free admission.
DEC 19: BBC Radio 3. Christmas Music from Poland. Tom Dobrzanski, cond. 6:00 p.m.
by Wanda Wilk
A feature article about EMI's recent release of Moniuszko's
opera, The Haunted Manor, was written in the Nov/Dec issue of
Fanfare by David Kirk, who gave it an intriguing subtitle,
"What the Booklet Doesn't Tell You."
It appears that although the "libretto that accompanies the
recording presents the text in four languages, provides color
photos of the Polish National Opera's production, and a
detailed plot synopsis it doesn't really give us all the
information we need. Curiously missing, is any significant
biographic material about the composer, Stanislaw Moniuszko.
Totally absent is biographical information about the cast and
the conductor Jacek Kaspszyk."
Kirk then provides information on the brilliant
conductor of the Polish National Opera company and its
worldwide performances, as well as about the composer who is
known as the Father of Polish Opera. David Kirk praises EMI
for making a "daring artistic decision by releasing Haunted
Manor rather a safer (i.e. more likely to earn an immediate
profit box-office war horse with operatic superstars."
He calls the opera "brilliantly inventive" describing
Moniuszko as "definitely a composer worth anybody's time" and
believes this EMI recording promises to give this "sadly
neglected opera and its composer, long overdue recognition."
A second review in this issue by Barry Brenesal describes the
opera and the artists of the National Opera company. He
compares the singers to the old MUZA LP sets, reminding
readers of the "three outstanding performances of Krystyna
Szczepanska, Andrzej Hiolski and Bernard Ladysz.
Both Kirk and Brenesal included this recording on their "Want
List" for 2004. They were joined by a third critic, Henry
Fogel in their wish list of five CDs for the year.
Patrick Meanor puts a reissue by EMI of pianist Alexis
Weissenberg's "phenomenal recordings of the two Chopin
Concertos from the late 60s" on his wish list. The original
recording, conducted by Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, and the
Paris Conservatory Orchestra "simply stunned people into
rethinking Chopin, including Glenn Gould." It has been
unavailable for years. It is now a four-CD album EMI 74959 2.
NAXOS' NEWEST RELEASE
CPO 777 031-2
K. Rathaus: Symphony Nr. 2, op. 7 and Symphony Nr. 3, op. 50
Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt; Israel Yinon, cond.
Just released: A new CD presenting the Second and Third Symphonies of Karol Rathaus. Available on www.klassik-heute.com
The following text was the program notes written for a concert given by I.J. Paderewski at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, CA on April 2, 1939. The souvenir program from this performance was given to the Polish Music Center by Anne Claire Anderson of San Marino, California in June 2004.
This 1939 concert was a part of Paderewski's 20th American tour; the Los Angeles appearance took place just one month before the final concert of the tour at New York's Carnegie Hall that marked Paderewski's retirement from the stage. His retirement was not one of leisure, though, as 1939 was also the year that Poland was invaded and World War II began. The Poles and their allies looked again to Paderewski as the salvation of Poland. Despite his failing health, he agreed without hesitation to travel to Paris to inaugurate a new government, although he declined to be named Prime Minister again. In 1941, at a rally in New York, Paderewski became ill then passed away a few days later.
Paderewski will forever be remembered as a great performer, composer, humanitarian, politician, and orator, by Poles and throughout the world. The Polish Music Center honors the legacy of this great patriot and musician with the annual Paderewski Lecture, which presents the most distinguished and talented Polish composers and musicians of our times discussing their music with Southern Californian audiences. To learn more about Paderewski, visit his PMC Composer Page at ../composer/paderewski.html.
PADEREWSKI first visited the United States forty-seven years ago. He returned frequently until the period when he retired to serve his native Poland first as emissary to Washington and later as the first Premier of Poland. When he retired from politics his fortune had been dissipated in promoting Poland's development as an independent country. So in 1922 he returned to the concert stage.
Ignace Jan Paderewski was born on November 6th, 1860 in the village of Kurylowka, in the province of Podolia, that part of Poland which was at the time, and still is Russia. His father, Jan Paderewski, belonged to the Polish landed gentry, which formed the bulk of the Polish nation and were essentially agricultural. His mother, nee Nowicka, was the daughter of a professor of the Vi1na University, whom the Russians had exiled to Siberia for being too patriotic. Thus it happened that the mother of the future liberator of Poland had been born herself in Kursk, a Siberian town to which Russia deported most of her political offenders.
In 1863, during the last Polish insurrection, Ignace suddenly became deprived of parental care through the death of his mother and the incarceration of his father for having participated in the patriotic uprising. At the age of three, the pianist-to-be witnessed the burning of his village, the slaughter of its inhabitants, and cried his heart out at the sight of ruthless Cossacks leading his father away to jail. During the few months absence of the older Paderewski from home, Ignace and his five year old sister went to live with an aunt.
These gruesome events probably had much to do toward awakening in the soul of the youth, the patriotic feelings, which later on had so much influence upon his destiny.
IGNACE Jan Paderewski's childhood was not a happy one. While an infant he lost his mother and received but little attention from his father. His sister, Antoinette, was his best friend who, although but two years older, mothered him through the early stages of his life.
Little Ignace's greatest pleasure, in those days. was to play host. Even when lie was too young to know anything about the art of writing or spelling, he used to scribble incomprehensible notes on bits of paper supposed to lie invitations for tea, and addressed to children in the neighborhood. These meaningless scripts were distributed by "sister" who explained their purpose by word of mouth.
When the guests arrived they were received by Ignace and Antoinette in a loft, where tea was served in miniature cups in the midst of old trunks and venerable pieces of furniture which had outlived their days of usefulness. Tea and cakes having been duly consumed, Ignace divided his guests into two camps, enemy camps of course, representing the Polish and Russian sides. Mounted upon a wooden horse, a toy sword in hand and national Polish cap with a peacock feather on his head. Ignace lead the Polish army to the attack of the Russian enemy. Oftentimes, the guests went home very much bruised. On other occasions, it was Ignace's lot to bear on his face. for many days, the scars of battle. "Some day I'll save Poland just like that," declared young Paderewski after each victory
Makes His Debut in Vienna
PADEREWSKI made his debut in 1887 in Vienna. His appearance with the Lamoureux Orchestra in 1888 in Paris marked the beginning of his lame. In 1890, London hailed him as the "master pianist." The following year he made his first visit to the United States. Taking this country by storm the handsome young pianist with the shock of red hair was obliged to give 107 recitals that season, instead of the eighty originally planned for.
The current tour is his twentieth in the United States. When the World War was declared he used the piano to help his stricken Poland. He gave scores of concerts for the benefit of Polish relief. He plunged into the thick of things and distinction as a statesman no less pronounced than as a pianist.
Paderewski, Its Statesman
HE made hundreds of speeches, and although his English at the time was practically perfect, he took two lessons a week to polish it. He became a brilliant orator in three languages—English, Polish and French. He helped raise an army of 25,000 Poles in America.
In 1917 he closed his piano to become the official Polish emissary in Washington, receiving the appointment through a Polish committee in Paris. It was largely through his efforts that Poland was made a free state. He became its first premier. Political strife led to his retirement at the end of 1919 and he
withdrew to Morges, out of political life forever.
Poland still regards him with reverence and gratitude for his immense service during the Peace Conference. He surprised hardened statesmen there by his wide knowledge of European affairs and his practical, conservative judgment. His speeches at the conference made a great impression because of his unusual endowment as an orator, one which combined passionate feeling with clarity and exactness of thought. The personal friendships of many Allied statesmen were an important factor. Lloyd George, for example was opposed to many of the Polish claims, but he liked Paderewski and once or twice gave him warning of undercover anti-Polish moves.
When world affairs claimed him he said farewell to his instrument, intending never to play it again. It remained silent for six years. But when he retired from political life his personal fortune had been practically exhausted in promoting the development of Poland as an independent country. He returned to the concert stage in 1922 and was welcomed back with frenzy.
Images from the inside of the front cover of the program.
See larger version here.
How Paderewski Lives When on Tour
DURING the eminent artist's American tour he lives entirely on a private Pullman car, as he has on most of his previous tours. Paderewski travels in a private car as a matter of convenience. It saves him the trouble of having to get up at an early hour to catch a morning train, or wait around for a late one following an evening concert. To get a good hot freshly prepared dinner at a hotel at midnight is often difficult.
The car has as nearly as possible the appointments of a home—his piano, his own books, comfortable chairs and attractive hangings. It has its own lighting and heating system so that it can be side-tracked without losing any comforts. It is connected by telephone with each city where Paderewski stops for a concert. It has a special chef and accommodations for the pianist's entourage of seven people. The routine of the car is always the same. Paderewski wakes late, rings for tea, then goes through an hour of daily dozens. He practices three or four hours a day, but only when the train is standing still. Those who have toured with him tell of how in the evening when the car is side-tracked, Paderewski will start playing. Outside his window a brakeman stops to listen, then an engineer, then other yard employees until a fair sized group is standing silently beside the car, listening with rapt attention to this wonderful music.
On concert days Paderewski retires to his stateroom about five o'clock to rest and concentrate. He emerges from his retirement dressed for the performance, but never eats before going on the stage. His dinner comes after the concert. On evenings when he is not playing, he likes nothing better than to go to a movie.
Paderewski American Ranch and Swiss Chateau
A WEEK'S visit to his ranch in Paso Robles, California will break his tour. The ranch is a thriving affair, about 2,600 acres in size and under cultivation mainly to almonds, prunes, grapes and walnuts. It not only pays its own way but each season nets a modest surplus. On past visits to this country the great virtuoso has insisted on having three weeks set aside entirely free from concerts so that he might enjoy the spring at Paso Robles. But the shortness of his present visit limits the time he will be able to stay there this year.
Temporary boredom was responsible for Paderewski buying what is now a treasured possession. At the advice of a friend he had gone to Paso Robles to rest in the midst of one of his tours. He had no sooner settled down in the local hotel for what he intended to be a few days stay when a terrible storm ensued, causing all railroad service to be interrupted for more than a week. After a few days Paderewski became desperately bored. Like all true Poles, he has a passion for land and he sought diversion in buying himself a ranch.
For many years Paderewski's official home has been in Morges, Switzerland on the shore of Lake Geneva. His chateau, known as Riond Bosson, sits on a ridge from which can be seen the waters of the Lake and the magnificent panorama of the Savoyan Alps. Half of the grounds are woodland—firs, beeches and poplars. In one corner is the sheepfold containing the descendants of the celebrated sheep given to Paderewski by the President of Argentina in 1911.
In another corner are fruit trees, whose apples, peaches and pears bring exceptionally high prices in the market. If a record had been kept of those who have been entertained at Riond Bosson during the past thirty years, it would be a veritable Golden Book of celebrities—musicians, painters, sculptors, writers, poets, statesmen and men of affairs. Whenever Paderewski has been at home, he has kept open house. His hospitality is famous with all who have been fortunate enough to visit his Swiss chateau.
The Famous Paderewski Piano Stool
JUST as indispensible to Paderewski as the piano itself when he gives a concert is the famous chair which he has carried around with him all over the world. He would not dream of undertaking to play a concert without this chair. He had it specially constructed many
years ago and it is heavily insured. It is a curious, somewhat cumbersome looking high-backed affair, weighing about fifty pounds. Long heavy red fringe obscures the upper part of the legs. Both legs and back are detachable, so that the chair can be packed into its special case, which is covered with labels, tangible evidence of tours all over the world.
Three pianos are used on Paderewski's tours. As soon as he arrives in this country the virtuoso goes to Steinway headquarters where seven specially built pianos are waiting for him to try out. He selects the three whose tone and action suit him best. These are shipped by express to the various cities where Paderewski is scheduled to play. Three pianos are necessary because the concerts are so closely booked and a delay in shipping would prove fatal.
Eldon Joubert, Steinway representative who looks after the pianos, tuning them and keeping them in perfect condition, has travelled with Paderewski on all of his American tours since 1913. He arranges the schedule so that each piano will reach its destined concert hall at least ten hours before the concert is to take place, because the temperature of baggage cars affects the action of the instrument and there has to be plenty of time for it to get acclimated to the different temperature of the hall.
Mr. Joubert spends about forty minutes tuning the piano the day of the concert. Paderewski also carries with him a collapsible platform for use in halls where the floor of the stage slopes. The platform is constructed in such a way that it can be fitted under the piano and chair in six different ways, depending on which way the floor slopes.
Boy Walks 300 Miles to Hear Paderewski
A SEVENTEEN year old boy walked more than three hundred miles and spent nearly all the money he had in the world—$3.30—to hear Paderewski when he played on his last visit to this country.
The manager of the Municipal Auditorium noticed a dust-stained, coatless figure making its way to one of the front rows just a short time before the concert was scheduled to start. Among the most expensively dressed people in the auditorium, the figure seemed hardly to belong. He followed the boy and suggested that he put on his coat, but the boy somewhat embarrassed said he had none, that he had just arrived from Brownsville. He had walked practically all of the way so that he might buy the best ticket available in the house. He had enough for that, but no more.
Baldwin Stegman, as his name was discovered to be, was not only permitted to keep the seat which he had spent almost his last penny for, but later was lifted to the seventh heaven by being especially conducted back stage to meet the great pianist personally.
Paderewski as a Motion Picture Actor
For six weeks Paderewski went almost daily to Denham, arriving after lunch and remaining until dinner. In the beginning he had one mild complaint to make. Strong lights have always affected him. He said:
"When I play at a concert the lights are lowered. Can you not put them out for my playing here?" He was finally persuaded this was impossible in making a motion picture. During the long seemingly needless waits between the making of scenes he was the very soul of patience. He wiled away these long periods by earnest conversation with his fellow players, drinking cup after cup of very strong tea with lemon and smoking endless cigarettes.
Although a combined dressing and retiring room with "Mr. Paderewski" printed on it had been used on the set, Paderewski showed nothing of a retiring nature. He preferred to remain on the set at all times.
"MOONLIGHT Sonata," the film which brought that distinguished virtuoso, Ignace Jan Paderewski before the public in a new role—that of motion picture actor—enjoyed a wide success in this country. The genius of the piano thoroughly enjoyed the six weeks he spent making this film in England. Seventy-six at the time, he displayed the eagerness of a schoolboy when he stepped for the first time into the Korda studios in Denham, Buckinghamshire. He was particularly amused when introduced to his "stand-in," Edward S. Kenney, who had never played a piano in his life. The two became good friends and were often seen together at the studios, providing the amusing spectacle of what appeared to be two Paderewskis chatting as they walked about arm-in-arm.
Loves the "Movies"
PADEREWSKI is an ardent motion picture fan and attends the picture shows whenever he is free to do so. On entering a movie theater he becomes another person—relieved of the tension of known, looked at and spoken to by strangers wherever he goes. Here in the dark of the theater no one recognizes him and his laugh resounds heartily and loudly over the comedy scenes. He carries with him many books on philosophy and biography. He is a great admirer of Benjamin Franklin.
When Paderewski Played a Hunch
PADEREWSKI finds his greatest recreation in cards, bridge and piquet—bridge always if three more can be found, piquet if only one and if there is no one he will play solitaire. He is a most skillful card player, excelling in this as he does in almost everything he undertakes. In days past he was an extraordinary fine billiard player but he seldom touches a cue now. But there is none of the gambling instinct. He is happy to play for the sake of playing or for infinitesimal stakes.
In chance or luck he has no faith. Everything he has or has had, he says, he has had to work for, and work hard for. He says the only times but once that he has had luck, it has been bad luck. That one, however, he likes to tell about, for if he had been a gambler to him would have fallen the honor of having broken several banks at Monte Carlo, as he had the most remarkable run of luck there perhaps in the history of the Casino.
He had been to Monte Carlo many times but rarely went to the Casino because gambling did not interest him. He thinks it stupid. But some years ago when in Monte Carlo on awakening one morning he told his wife that he had an absolutely irresistible impulse to play and he knew he would win. On his way to the Casino he called on an invalid friend and told him what he was going to do and promised to give him half of his winnings. His friend laughed indulgently and told him to go ahead.
He went to the roulette table, played only numbers and won seventeen times in succession. His stake each time was the minimum, five francs, and his winnings were seven thousand francs. He became interested. He next morning woke up with the same irresistible "hunch". He returned to the tables, played numbers and won thirty-eight times, always staking his little five francs, or one dollar as it was then. By that time the Casino was boiling with excitement.
"Le grand Paderewski" had discovered at last a system which was certain. The gamblers fairly frothed at the mouth when they saw him continue calmly to stake five francs each time. Almost in tears they begged him "to be a sport" and take advantage of his luck. They fought to place their money on his numbers but he was careful to wait until the very last moment and then let the five-franc piece lay where it dropped. The following day, the third day, was almost a repetition of the other two, for he won thirty-four times.
The fourth day when he got up, he no longer had the feeling that he must play and that he would win, but out of curiosity he went to the Casino again to see whether there was anything in what the Americans call a "hunch". There most certainly was for he could not even guess right on colors and after losing a few hundred francs, he was convinced that he had had his little day and quit. His run of luck was said by Casino officials to be almost without precedent and M. Blanc and his stockholders were undoubtedly very happy that Paderewski was not a gambler, for if he had played the limit he would have taken away several million francs.
Damrosch Gives His Impressions of Paderewski
WALTER DAMROSCH, dean of American conductors who has been closely associated with Paderewski since the pianist first came here in 1891, has written about him as follows:
Ignace Paderewski made his first appearance in America in 1891, and I conducted his first five concerts. He came under the auspices of Steinway and Sons and they told me that the gross receipts for the first concert were only hundred dollars! His playing as well as his personality, yet, immediately took our public by storm, and I do not think that since the days of Franz Liszt there has been any travelling virtuoso in whom the man was as fascinating as the artist.
When he first came to America, his English was very incomplete but even then he demonstrated his grasp of it in unmistakable fashion. One evening he, my wife, and I dined at house of very dear mutual friends, Mr. and Mrs. John E. Cowdin, in Gramercy Park. Cowdin had all his life been an enthusiastic polo player, and after dinner Paderewski and I admired some handsome silver trophies that he had won and were placed in the dining room. I said: 'You see the difference between you and Johnny is that he wins his prizes in playing polo while you win yours in playing solo.'
'Zat is not all ze difference!' Paderewski immediately exclaimed in his gentle Polish accents. 'I am a poor Pole playing solo, but Johnny is a dear soul playing polo.'
People who have wondered how it was possible for him when the Great War began, to throw himself so fully equipped at every point into the struggle to achieve national unity for Poland, do not realize that he was, consciously or unconsciously preparing himself for just this opportunity all his life. He had always dreamed of a united and independent Poland. He knew the history of his people, their strength and their weakness.
It is said that one day he played before the Czar, who, congratulating him, expressed his pleasure that a 'Russian' should have achieved such eminence in his art. Paderewski answered: 'I am a Pole, your Majesty,' and, needless to say, was never again invited to play in Russia.
All the world knows what he has achieved in music—his inspired interpretations, his prodigious memory, and the subtle range of colors of his musical palette, but not so many know of his interest in literature, philosophy and history and it took the Great War to demonstrate, that as orator and statesman he ranks as high as musician. I heard him make a speech on Poland during the Exposition in San Francisco in 1915 before an audience of ten thousand, in which he gave so eloquent a survey of Poland's history and of her needs and rights, as to rouse the people to a frenzy of enthusiasm, and I am convinced that Poland owes her national existence today to his statesmanship and to the sympathy which his personality created among the Allies at the Versailles Conference. I believe that Colonel House pronounced him to be the greatest statesman at the Conference, and it was the cynical Clemenceau who said to him: 'M. Paderewski, you were the greatest pianist in the world and you have chosen to descend to our level. What a pity?!
He is highly gifted as a composer, and besides a very interesting and spiritual symphony, I remember with keen pleasure his opera "Manru," which Maurice Grau brought out at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1902 and which I conducted.
I think that if Paderewski had been willing to sacrifice his marvelous career as a piano virtuoso (and that would have been a great sacrifice) he would have become one of the greatest composers of our time. It does not seem easy to unite the two careers, as they are essentially at war with each other. Liszt, the only man with whom I can compare Paderewski, recognized this fact, and at forty years of age resolutely turned his back on virtuosodom, with its life in the public glare, its excitement, crowds, and emoluments, in order to devote himself to composition.
Image from the back cover of the program.
PADEREWSKI is one of the most decorated men in the world. Commander of the Crown of Italy, Commander of the Order of Carlos Tercero of Spain, Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor of France, Grand Cross of the order of Leopold of Belgium, Grand Cross of the Polish Orders of Polonia Restituta and of the White Eagle, Grand Cross of the British Empire (to mention only the major distinctions), he was recently given by Mussolini the rank of Grand Cross of the Order of Sts. Lazare and Maurice and has had bestowed upon him by the Swiss Government the honorary citizenship of Switzerland (bourgeoisie d'honneur des villes de Vevey et Morges).
Among the distinctions which have come his way and which he cherishes most, is the one which was granted to him by the A.E.F. Post of Detroit—that of honorary member of the American Legion. This honor he appreciates the more since he is the only civilian foreigner to be admitted to membership.
Numerous also are the University Degrees which have been bestowed on Paderewski. He is an honorary Doctor of the following Universities: Yale, Columbia, Southern California, Oxford., Poznan, Cracow and Lvoff.
A highly gifted composer. Paderewski is perhaps best known in America through his Minuet in G Major, a product of his youth. At the time he wrote it he needed money badly and sold it to his publishers, all rights included, for the sum of fifty dollars. Many thousands of copies have been sold since.
Being a pianist himself, it is natural that most of his compositions are for this instrument. Among the better known are the "Sonata in E Flat," "Theme Varie in A Major," "Variations and Fugue," "Piano Concerto in A Minor", and "Polish Fantasy," for piano and orchestra. Other piano works include "Minuet in A Minor," "Toccata (In the Desert)," "Two Legendes," "Krakowiak," "Scherzino," "Cracovienne Fantastique," "Sarabande," "Caprice a la Scarlatti," a group of Polish Dances, another group called "Wanderers' Melodies," Sonata for piano and violin.
Paderewski is the composer of an opera "Manru," which was first performed in Dresden in 1901. A year later it was produced at the Metropolitan Opera House. His "Symphony in B Minor," was given its world premiere by the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Arthur Fiedler and was conducted in London the same year by Hans Richter.
3 December 1896 - Bolesław SZABELSKI, composer (d. 1979)
5 December 1899 - Bolesław WOYTOWICZ, composer (d. 1980)
6 December 1933 - Henryk Mikołaj GÓRECKI, composer
11 December 1876 - Mieczysław KARŁOWICZ, composer (d. 1909, under an avalanche in Tatra mountains)
14 December 1789 - Maria SZYMANOWSKA, composer, virtuosa pianist (d. 1831, of cholera)
18 December 1907 - Roman PALESTER, composer, broadcaster (d. 1989)
23 December 1830 - Adam MINCHEJMER, composer and conductor (d. 1904)
24 December 1859 - Roman STATKOWSKI, composer, teacher (d. 1925)
29 December 1902 - Henry VARS, film and popular music composer (d. 1978)
DIED THIS MONTH:
11 December 1945 - Seweryn EISENBERGER, pianist (b. 1899)
20 December 1834 - Maurycy MOCHNACKI, music critic, writer, pianist (b. 1804)
21 December 1938 - Arnold LUDWIK, violin maker (b. 1873)
23 December 1885 - Artur BARTELS, pop singer (b. 1818)
24 December 1898 - Eugeniusz PANKIEWICZ, pianist and composer (b. 1857)
26 December 1945 - Stefan STOIŃSKI, music ethnographer, writer, conductor (b. 1891)
29 December 1913 - Jadwiga SARNECKA, pianist, composer, poet (b. 1877)
31 December 1944 - Marian Teofil RUDNICKI, conductor, composer (b. 1888)
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Copyright 2003 by the Polish Music
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Newsletter Editor: Krysta Close.
Contributions from: Wanda Wilk and Joseph A. Herter
Sources of information: Polish Cultural Institute, Adam Mickiewicz Institute,
Musical America, Nowy Dziennik, Warsaw Voice,
FanfarePWM, Polish Embassy in Washington, D.C., BMG Editions.
Formatting by Krysta Close 12/3/04.