|Polish Music Newsletter
October 2003, Vol. 9, No. 10. ISSN 1098-9188. Published monthly.
Los Angeles: Polish Music Center, University of Southern California
Karol Szymanowski: Prelude and Fugue (with improvisations)
Witold Lutosławski: Three Pieces from Folk Melodies (with improvisations)
Zygmunt Krauze: Refrain
Bogusław Schaeffer: Non-Stop
Tomasz Sikorski: View from the Window
Zygmunt Krauze: Stone Music, Chanson du mal aimé, Gloves Music
Polish composer Bettina Skrzypczak was born on January 25th, 1962 in Poznań, Poland. She studied piano, musicology and composition at the Music Academy in Poznań. Ms. Skrzypczak has had compositions commissioned by, among others: the Venice Music Biennale, the Warsaw Autumn Festival, Radio DRS, the Swiss cultural foundation Pro Helvetia, the Gesellschaft für Kammermusik in Basle, the Basle Sinfonietta, the Basler Madrigalisten, the Tage für neue Musik in Zurich, and the Migros-Genossenschaftsbund in Zürich. She is the author of numerous radio programs and journal articles on contemporary music and music in Poland. She lives in Riehen, near Basle (Switzerland). There were several exciting performances of Ms. Skrzypczak's music in the last month:
Evangelical Church of Peace in Swidnica, 350th anniversary of the Westfalian Peace (9/12/98); Photo: Tadeusz Szwed In 1996 the festival's role and significance for Polish culture was recognized by Wrocław Voivode Prof. Janusz Zaleski, who granted th event independent status by founding the State Institute of Culture called the International Festival Wratislavia Cantans. Lidia Geringer d'Oedenberg was appointed as its general director at that time. She was the first of many women to rise in the ranks of this international institution. In the world of music, this is no easy feat. Pictured at the right is another woman who was influential to the Festival, the third conductor in the history of Wratislavia Cantans, Ewa Michnik, who is also general and artistic director of the Wrocław State Opera. She served as conductor for the festival until 2002.
photo Juliusz MultarzyńskiThe program for this year's edition of the Festival has spanned early music, contemporary works, oratorical music, religious works of various creeds, as well as the art of song performance. The headline event on September 9th was a concert celebrating the seventieth birthdays of two outstanding Polish composers, Henryk Mikolaj Górecki and Krzysztof Penderecki. There is only one more concert left in this year's Festival series, but it promises to be an exciting one. On Friday, October 24th at 7 p.m., the Wrocław Philharmonic Orchestra will play a work commissioned for this final event by British composer Roxanne Panufnik (daughter of the late Polish composer Andrzej Panufnik). Also on the program is music of F. Danzi, S. Rachmaninov, and S. Prokofiev. For full details for this performance and the Festival Wratislavia Cantans in general, visit www.wratislavia.art.pl.
Paul Munson, professor of music history at Union College in Jackson, Tennessee, chose the oratorio for his doctoral dissertation in the 1990s at the University of Michigan. After finding 35 lost manuscripts in Weimar and Washington, D.C., Dr. Munson completed the oratorio. He then turned to his friend John Conlon, director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, who selected it for its world premiere for the special occasion of the 125th anniversary of its orchestra.
Liszt began composing the oratorio after the Uprising of 1830 and made use of two patriotic songs: "Boże, coś Polskę" that became a national hymn after the uprising and Poland's national anthem "Jeszcze Polska nie zgineła." The oratorio finishes with "Niech żyje Polska" [Long Live Poland].
The month the featured performance will be given by The Lost Chords, a group headed by Carla Bley and Steve Swallow, featuring Andy Shepard and Billy Drummond. They will be giving a limited tour of Poland before continuing on their world tour. To learn more about this group, please visit their website, www.wattxtrawatt.com. For more information about Jazz Era, visit www.jazz.pl.
Market Arcade Film and Arts Center (as part of "Kino Polskie V", organized by Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center)
The Eye and the Ear, by Stefan and Franciszka Themerson
* * * * *CANCELLED* * * * *
Where: Egyptian Theatre (1800 N. Highland Ave. in Hollywood)
When: Screenings on weekdays at 5, 7 and 9 pm.; on weekends on 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 pm.
Admission: $ 10.00. For information please call the Egyptian Theatre at 323-467-0414 Reservations: call 818-982-8827.
Official Website: www.chopindesireforlove.com
Chopin—Desire for Love has been replaced with another Polish film for the "American Cinématheque" screening. The new film is When the Sun was God—An Ancient Tale [Stara baśń. Kiedy słónce było bogiem], directed by Jerzy Hoffman (2003, 107 min.). The movie is in Polish with English subtitles. It is a film about crime and punishment, love and jealousy, life and customs of old Slavs and the beginnings of the Polish statehood. The story takes place in the 9th century, a century before Poland's baptism. For more information about this film, visit www.starabasn.pl. All the above information about the theater and screening times is still correct.
|POLISH MUSIC JOURNAL
Vol. 6 No. 1, Summer 2003
POLISH JEWISH MUSIC
The summer 2003 issue of the Polish Music Journal will be available on October 10 from:
The volume presents selected papers from the International Conference "Polish/Jewish/Music!" held in November 1998 at the University of Southern California as well as translations and reprints of material from the collection of the Polish Music Center. The 1998 conference attempted to fill some of the larger gaps in Polish music history by: (1) highlighting the richness of achievements of Polish composers of Jewish descent and Jewish music in Poland, and by (2) emphasizing the complexity of cultural relationships between the two ethnic groups, including both assimilation and coexistence. The conference included lectures, lecture-recitals and panel discussions as well as two concerts-presenting rarely-heard solo and chamber music. One of the goals of the conference was to demonstrate that one cannot write a history of Polish music without acknowledging the contribution of musicians and composers of Jewish descent. The conference's program (reproduced in the documentation segment of the Journal) included sessions on individual composers (Karol Rathaus and Aleksander Tansman), surveys of Jewish musicians, composers, performers, and publishers in Poland, various aspects of concert life, and folk music.
Conference poster by Janusz Majewski, 1998.
The following papers are included in the Journal:
The Society offices are located at the National Philharmonic in Warsaw. The purpose of the Society is to protect and promote the artistic and spiritual heritage of Witold Lutosławski and to promote performance of his works. These goals are realized through publications, inspiring research projects, collecting archival material, coordinating various cultural centers and persons therein, supporting activities leading to the creation of the Lutosławski Museum, supervising copyright activity, consulting scholars, working on Lutosławski's behalf, and awarding the Witold Lutosławski Prize. Membership is open to Poles and foreigners who would like to contribute to the realization of the Society's mission. The founding members of the Lutoslawski Society included: Andrzej Bauer, Michał Bristiger, Andrzej Chłopecki, Julia Hartwig, Tadeusz Kaczyński, Ryszard Kapusciński, Kazimierz Kord, Ewa Krasińska, Zygmunt Krauze, Jan Krenz, Elżbieta Markowska, Grzegorz Michalski, Stanisław Olędzki, Józef Patkowski, Ewa Pobłocka, Zbigniew Skowron, Anna Szaniawska, Jerzy Tchórzewski, Mieczysław Tomaszewski, Andrzej Wajda, Antoni Wit, and Krystyna Zachwatowicz-Wajdowa.
The current board consists of: Zygmunt Krauze - president; Andrzej Bauer - vice-president; Marcin Gmys - secretary;
Andrzej Woźniakowski - treasurer; Ewa Krasinska, Stanisława Chyl - members of the board. Lech Dzierzanowski serves as office
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
CONCERTS AND PERFORMANCES
Penderecki, Meyer, Lutoslawski: Concerto Grosso; Mass, Op. 68; Mi-Parti
Barry Kilpatrick favorably reviews this Polish release and praises the Warsaw Phlharmonic for "rich sounds and virtuoso readings" and "captured vivid sound." Lutoslawski's Mi-Parti was new to the critic and he found it "quite fascinating, an amazing complexity and clarity where blizzards of notes all seem to have a purpose and make sense, where harmonic density has structure and is an aural treat, and where instrumental groups are handled with consummate skill." Krzysztof Meyer's Mass, Op. 68 (1996) also meets with Kilpatrick's approval, especially the "Sanctus," "where the full-throttle opening leads to a wild 'hosanna in excelsis.'" According to Kilpatrick, Penderecki's massive Concerto Grosso written in 2000 for three cellos and orchestra also contains "magic moments" as performed by Ivan Monighetti, Adam Klocek and Kazimierz Koslacz, as soloists.
Szymanowski: Stabat Mater, Litany to Virgin Mary, Demeter.
Jadwiga Gadulanka, sop.; Jadwiga Rappe, alto; Andrzej Hiolski, bar.; Katowice Symphony, Antoni Wit, cond.
Carl Bauman calls this Polish release as "one of the finest" of the eight recordings of Szymanowski's choral masterpiece. He takes issue with the shortness of the CD, only 43 minutes, as compared to mid-priced (Muza) or budget-priced (Naxos), where you get additional music, such as Veni Creator, Penthesilea, or his favorite, Simon Rattle's combination of Third Symphony, Litany and the Stabat Mater. He calls Rattle's sound "absolutely stunning, with a solid low bass that adds thrilling support to the spectacular music making." He says all the recordings (all but one in stereo) are "very good both as performances and recordings" and gives additional praise for this Polish one for its excellent notes.
Philip Marin, piano.
24 selections of piano music of the 19th and 20th century with the title, The Maiden's Prayer by Tekla Bądarzewska, which according to Donald Vroon is "probably the best selling piano piece of all time" and sounds a lot like "what Gottschalk was writing around the same time." Other gems on this CD are Moszkowski's Serenade and Paderewski's Minuet in G.
Polish Violin Duos by Henryk Górecki, Marta Ptaszyńska, Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil, Rafał Augustyn and Piotr Drożdzewski.
Urszula Krygier, mezzo-soprano, Katarzyna Jankowska, piano.
According to Mark Lehman "this anthology of second-half-of- the-twentieth century Polish violin duos offers brilliant performances and vivid recorded sound. The music is fairly tough going, though, and makes little concession to a less-than-devoted audience." He concludes his description of the music with a review of Drozdzewski's 1983 Sonata, calling it "an oddball item, in four compact movements, somehow both retro and modern." He likes the inner two movements best and its for them that he is "most likely to return to this adventurous and demanding program."
Szymanowski: String Quartets No. 1 & 2.
A Polish release reviewed by Jan Smaczny, who rates this one "excellent"! He says that "although by no means flawless in delivery, the Camerata Quartet gives splendidly idiomatic performances of both works and is excellently recorded in an appropriately resonant acoustic. The odd lapses in intonation and ensemble are more than compensated for by the passion these performers generate, a quality which takes them to the head of the disappointly small list of competitors."
Szymanowski. Mazurkas, Valse Romantique, 4 Polish Dances.
Marc-Andre Hamelin, piano.
Again an excellent rating from Jan Smaczny who states that Marc-Andre Hamelin, "is a near-ideal advocate of this repertoire; alive to every nuance in these scores, including the occasional, near-improvisatory moments, he externalises the rich variety of these remarkable pieces."
Mieczyslaw Horszowski, piano.
This is taken from a BBC Radio 3 recording of a recital Horszowski gave at Wigmore Hall in 1990 at the age of 98. Max Loppert gives it five stars, outstanding! He describes Horszowski as, "a child prodigy, pupil of Leschetizky, recital partner of Casals, profoundly sensitive soloist as well as chamber-pianist, teacher of Perahia and Goode—a Methuselah figure who went on delighting audiences into his late nineties and who died in 1992 in his 102nd year. His greatness will be affirmed by anyone who attended his concerts in the 1980s and early 1990s, when a miraculous Indian summer 'second career' was in full swing - and by anyone who acquires this sublime BBC Legends issue."
Górecki and Kurylewicz accompany Warska in their songs. Other artists performing with the singer are pianist/composer Andrzej Kurylewicz, pianist Leszek Mozdzer, violist Ryszard Duz, bass Adam Cegielski, percussionist Stanisław Skoczyński, as well as the Wilanów Quartet.
by Wanda Wilk
The August 10th issue of Ruch Muzyczny featured an article by Poland's foremost violist, Stefan Kamasa, on how the Polish viola concertos came into being. He informed the readers that in Polish music before 1936, the only work for viola was a miniature piece written by Wieniawski.
Alexander Tansman, who left his native country before WWII to live in France, began writing a Concerto pour alto et orchestre, which he completed in 1937 and soon the Belgian Charles Foidart, to whom it was dedicated, performed it in Brussels. A year later the same soloist performed it in the U.S. with the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy.
Mr. Kamasa first found out about this concerto in 1957 when he studied in Paris. He received the music in 1960, but it was not until 1979 that it was recorded by Polish Radio in Cracow under the baton of Wojciech Michniewski. This constitutes an important historical documentation of the first viola concerto in the history of Polish music, especially since there is no commercial recording of it, as of yet.
Thirty years had passed after Tansman wrote the first viola concerto when Grażyna Bacewicz began working on her viola concerto. In 1965, Stefan Kamasa was a member of the Warsaw Quintet, and they were performing the Bacewicz Piano Quintets. Kamasa asked Bacewicz to write a concerto for him and the premiere was set for June 1969. Unfortunately, Grazyna suddenly and unexpectedly died in January and never heard her beautiful work performed.
The premiere was followed by performances in Katowice, Wrocław, Moscow, Berlin (East and West), Havana, Liverpool and at the Warsaw Autumn Festival in 1970, where it won the Orpheus Award for the best work performed during the festival.
The violist continued his article by giving historical details about viola concertos (and his role as soloist for them) written by Tadeusz Baird, Roman Palester and Krzysztof Penderecki. He ended the article mentioning concertos by Tadeusz Natanson, Jan Wieczorek and Marek Stachowski. The latter was premiered in 1999 with the Amadeus Orchestra conducted by Agnieszka Duczmal and received excellent reviews.
We learn from this article that internationally famous violists Helmut Koch, Kim Kashkashian and Nabuko Imai perform the Baird Concerto, and that the Penderecki Concerto was played by Kashkashian, Tabea Zimmermann and Grigori Zyslin, while the Polish violist Kamasa performed each and every one of them.
BORN THIS MONTH:
Copyright 2003 by the Polish Music
Send your comments and inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Newsletter Editors: Wanda Wilk and Krysta Close.
Contributions by Vladek Juszkiewicz.
Sources of information: Polish Cultural Institute, Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Los Angeles Times,
www.wratislavia.art.pl, Nowy Dziennik, American Record Guide, BBC Music Journal,
Ruch Muzyczny, PAP, New York Dance & Arts Innovations.
Formatting by Krysta Close, 10/02/2003.