• The Indefatigable William Hughes

It is two and a half years since I first posted on the extraordinary translating odyssey on which William Hughes had embarked early in 2012.  It has been his mission to translate into English a host of Polish articles and documents relating to Karol Szymanowski.  There has been a crying need for this, and you won’t find a finer English-language source than Hughes’s translations.  In earlier posts (20 March 2012, 13 May 2012 and 18 August 2012), I posted links to the growing list on his website http://drwilliamhughes.blogspot.co.uk.  Then on 11 January 2013 I put up a short post marking the completion of his project.

Today I realised my great sin of omission.  I totally failed to write a post celebrating the publication in June 2013, in hard copy, of many of these translations.  My apologies – I had intended to (I did celebrate it on Facebook!), but other work got in the way and I forgot.

ScanKarol Szymanowski. Posthumous Tributes (1937-38) is published by Moon Arrow Press in Norwood, South Australia. It contains over 80 items, ranging from reminiscences, eulogies and letters of condolence to over a dozen photographs from the funeral ceremonies in Warsaw and Kraków.  Hughes’s sources include Muzyka, Muzyka Polska, Prosto z Mostu, Śpiewak and Wiadomości Literackie.  The paperback, which is cleanly and handsomely produced, runs to over 350 pages.  The list of contents is reproduced below.

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I had imagined that this enormous labour of love would end here.  Not a bit of it.  In the eighteen months since the volume went to press, William Hughes has taken his project much further.  I have lost count of the new translations, but they must come to over 120, making some 250 in all.  This is truly staggering.  The ‘new’ translations come from a variety of sources: Szymanowski himself, his sister Zofia, his cousin and co-author of the libretto of King Roger (which is the subject of a number of entries) Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, as well as friends, composers and critics.  There is surely a second or third volume ready and waiting in amongst these treasures.

Although the items in Hughes’s first volume are still available on his website, I do urge you to support his notable – and noble – achievements by purchasing Karol Szymanowski. Posthumous Tributes (1937-38) in hard copy.

Meantime, here’s the link to today’s post, marking the exact 90th anniversary of the publication in Kurier Warszawski of Szymanowski tribute to his lifelong friend, the pianist Artur Rubinstein, who was in Warsaw after an absence of twelve years.  When Rubinstein had last been there, in 1912, Poland was still partitioned.  By 1924, Poland had achieved independence and relative peace after the Great War and several difficult post-war years.  Szymanowski writes eloquently and passionately, and William Hughes – characteristically – brings his article to life as if we were reading it ‘live’ on 8 October 1924.

One Response to • The Indefatigable William Hughes

  1. Pingback: • The Indefatigable William Hughes | The Dutkiewicz Archive

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