• Meakultura ‘Kropka’ Awards

1459681287This is the second year that the Meakultura Foundation in Warsaw has run its ‘Polish Music Critics Competition’, ‘Kropka’ (Dot).  ‘Kropka’ is open to printed texts, blogs, newcomers and popular music, and there’s an award from the Editor-in-Chief of the Polish publishers PWM.

This year’s winners (Polish-language page only) have just been announced and their 2015 submissions covered a wide range of topics, from Baroque performance to Star Wars.  The winning entries came from Paweł Siechowicz, Magdalena Romańska, Antoni Michnik, Karolina Dąbek, Olga Drenda and the opera blogger Dorota Kozińska.

The Special Award for a foreign text went last year to Alex Ross for his review in The New Yorker of Paweł Szymański’s opera Qudsja Zaher (Grand Theatre, Warsaw).  Congratulations to this year’s winner, John Allison of Opera magazine, for his review of Szymanowski’s King Roger (Royal Opera House, London) in May 2015.

• Szymanowski Letters in English, vol.1

Other than Polish publications, the greatest insights and investigation into the life and music of Karol Szymanowski have come from English-language authors.  Jim Samson, Christopher Palmer and Stephen Downes are just three major contributors over recent decades.  But when it comes to documentary sources in translation, only now is the interested reader able to appreciate something of the range of material available to Polish readers for a much longer time.

Since February 2012, William Hughes has undertaken the gargantuan task of translating a host of Polish articles about Szymanowski.  The tally continues to rise (see http://drwilliamhughes.blogspot.co.uk); today’s post is ‘Karol Szymanowski – Diary of the First Journey to America (1921)’.  Hughes published the first stage of his project – Karol Szymanowski.  Posthumous Tributes (1937-38) – in hard copy in 2013.  I wrote about his book in an earlier post, The Indefatigable William Hughes.

Since 1999, however, there has been one printed source in English, and it is a real treasure trove: Szymanowski on Music.  Selected Writings of Karol Szymanowski, edited and translated by Alistair Wightman.  Wightman is also the author of two hard-copy studies of the music: Karol Szymanowski.  His Life and Work (1999) and Szymanowski’s King Roger: The Opera and its Origins (2015).Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 20.27.58Wightman has now published – and it would appear to be online only – the first volume of a series devoted to the composer’s letters: Karol Szymanowski: Correspondence,  Volume 1: 1902-1919.  There are 401 letters in the volume and it is available from Smashwords at $15.99.  I have not yet had time to read it, but it includes explanatory footnotes, a very brief Bibliography, a Personalia and Indexes.  The first years of the correspondence are available to read as a free sample at https://www.smashwords.com/extreader/read/622747/2/karol-szymanowski-correspondence-volume-1-1902-1919.

Such acts of selfless dedication by Hughes and Wightman to broaden the readership of Szymanowski materials is hugely to be applauded and supported, so the more people who buy Hughes’s hard-copy book and Wightman’s new online volume the better.

• Wartime Warsaw Recollections

Back in October 2014, I reported briefly on a new 4-CD boxed set of recordings of Polish music composed, for the most part, during World War II.  Now a book of recollections has been published by the Witold Lutosławski Society in Warsaw to commemorate the composers and performers who went through and, in some cases, died during the Nazi occupation.  It has been put together by Elżbieta Markowska, formerly Head of Music at Polish Radio 2, and Katarzyna Naliwajek-Mazurek, who is the foremost specialist on Polish musical life in 1939-45 and contributes a 30-page essay to introduce Okupacyjne losy muzyków (The Fates of Musicians during the Occupation).

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Sadly, for non-Polish readers, it exists only in Polish.  But its photographic documentation more than makes up for any linguistic barrier.  There are photographs of daily life in Warsaw and of musical venues – the Warsaw Philharmonic, Grand Theatre and cafés – damaged during the war.  There are private photographs of the featured musicians, of their documents, letters and postcards (also transcribed alongside), posters, pages from scores and concert programmes, the vast majority of which have not been published previously.

The roster of composers, performers and writers is the most comprehensive yet assembled, although there are absences, possibly because of the lack of personal documentation.  The sources are varied and expertly marshalled, not least in the visual design of the volume, which runs to some 300 pages.  It is an intriguing and insightful compilation, and I hope it will sometime be published in English.  Here is the list of contributors in the order in which they appear:

Andrzej Panufnik (1914-91), composer, pianist and conductor: excerpts from his autobiography (already published in English and Polish), photos of rehearsals for the premiere of Tragic Overture (March 1944) and concert programmes, including one for the Lutosławski-Panufnik duo on 22 March 1942, when the repertoire of Mozart, Brahms, Schubert, Ravel and Albeniz was interlaced with Lutosławski’s Paganini Variations, a slow-fox by Cole Porter, paraphrases of Bizet and Johann Strauss and a jazzowa parafraza on Liszt’s Liebestraum no.3.
Witold Lutosławski (1913-1994), composer and pianist: mostly identity documents and family letters that mention Lutosławski; less extensive than Panufnik’s entry.
• Bolesław Woytowicz (1899-1980), composer (but not during occupation), pianist and initiator of one of Warsaw’s main musical cafés: various sources, including the diary begun while he was in Pawiak prison, plus recital schedules (he gave three complete cycles of the Beethoven sonatas).
Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-69), composer and violinist: mainly letters to her brothers.
• Halina Kowalska (1913-98), cellist, and her husband Henryk Trzonek (1912-43), viola player: Kowalska’s interview for Polish Radio in 1960, recollections by Włodzimierz Kusik of the street arrest and execution of Trzomek, plus reproduction of a poster naming the 100 victims of this police operation in December 1943.
• Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz (1894-1980), writer (cousin of Szymanowski): excerpts from published diary.
• Roman Padlewski (1915-44), composer and underground fighter: letters, accounts and documents; the most extensive entry in the volume.
• Eugenia Umińska (1910-80), violinist: documentation, recollections by Kazimierz Wikormirski (cellist) Stanisław Wiechowicz (composer), transcript (English) of brief interview for BBC radio in 1948.
• Grzegorz Fitelberg (1879-1953), conductor: letters to Stefan Spiess (1945).
• Edmind Rudnicki (1892-1957), pianist and underground organiser: recollections by others.
• Zofia Nałkowska (1884-1954), writer: excerpts from published diary.
 Roman Palester (1907-89), composer: fragments from typewritten memoirs.
• Zbigniew Drzewiecki (1890-1971), pianist: recollections.
Jan Krenz (b.1926), conductor and composer: recollections.
Marian Filar (1917-2012), pianist: recollections.
Andrzej Markowski (1924-1986), pianist and composer (later conductor) and underground fighter: documentation, Polish Radio archive; contributions from his wife Bogusława.  *The cover photo of Okupacyjne losy muzyków shows Andrzej Markowski playing at the Actors’ Café in Autumn 1944, during the Warsaw Uprising.
Jan Krzysztof Markowski (1913-80), composer (especially of underground songs) and pianist, brother of Andrzej: documentation and reproduction of two songs.
• Jerzy Waldorff (1910-99), writer and critic: excerpts from published diary.
• Władysław Szpilman (1911-2000), pianist and composer (subject of the film ‘The Pianist’): Polish Radio archive.

 

• WL100/75: Lutosławski’s Bookshelves

I took the opportunity when spending three days researching in Lutosławski’s house in September 2002 of taking shots (with permission) of his bookcases: in his studio, the attic room, the upper hallway and the lounge.  It now turns out that in the intervening years many of the volumes on these shelves have been dispersed and so these photos – which I believe were little touched since the composer’s death and that of his wife in 1994 – are perhaps the only surviving survey of Lutosławski’s collection.

Studio

The first floor studio is L-shaped, or, more accurately, reversed L-shaped.  The entrance was along the inside wall of the short limb of the L and the first sight that greeted visitors was Lutosławski’s much photographed grand piano.  His wife Danuta moved it out after his death and replaced it with her bed.  Neither piano nor bed was there in 2002.  I took two photographs of the long limb of the room.  The first looks from the patio doors towards the desk (the piano would have been on the immediate left).

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The bookcase beyond the desk contained reference volumes, mainly dictionaries; handy for when Lutosławski was writing letters or programme notes.

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Behind him, along the wall hidden from view on the main photograph, were shelves and cupboards, with a number of souvenir items, awards etc. on display.  Here there were more reference volumes (such as a Grove dictionaries), other books (including two copies of Steven Stucky’s monograph and my own little volume on Bacewicz) plus his collection of scores by other composers (of which more anon).  It had three divisions; here they are reading from left to right.

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The second location photo looks from the entrance to the corner behind the coffee table, with the patio windows onto the veranda just out of shot to the right.  The desk and other shelving are over the left shoulder.

134-3417_IMGThis corner shelving contained quite a miscellany, with Lutosławski’s books of and on foreign literature, especially French poetry, plus other volumes on composers plus his (incomplete) run of ‘Warsaw Autumn’ programme books. Among the items that I found here, but which has sadly now disappeared according to his daughter-in-law, was the one containing his annotation of Desnos’s poem Les espaces du soleil (it can be seen in the second of the next group of photographs, bottom shelf, sixth from the right). In order to try and capture as much of the detail as I could, I split each of the bookcases into top and bottom, so the following sequence runs top right, bottom right, top left, bottom left.

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Attic

It was in the attic that I discovered the folder containing Lutosławski’s collected folk materials (1950-54) which I have written and talked on several times since.  Also here were two cupboards containing spare copies of his published scores.  Other bookshelves contained a wide range of books for which there was no room downstairs.

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Landing

On the first-floor landing was a single bookcase, holding a non-musical selection of books, notably volumes by Stanisław Dygat, the brother of Lutosławski wife.  The top shelf contains Hedrick Smith’s The Russians, which spends a couple of paragraphs reporting the reception of the Russian premiere of Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto in 1972.

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Lounge

As a low-level partition, there was a double-sided bookcase containing primarily Polish literature, plays (Genet, Ibsen and Shaw among them) and philosophical volumes.  My apologies that the second photo is poorly focused.

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• 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.

• Sustained Glissando

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 15.44.312014 marks the tenth anniversary of one of the most remarkable publishing ventures in Polish music.
Glissando magazine has ploughed its own furrow determinedly since 2004, despite a few rocky moments around 2008.  It has produced an average of two issues per year, in an A4 format, on no-nonsense matt paper and eschewing colour temptations except everything on the chart between black to white.  Its design is quirky (characteristically Polish) and often reminds me of a cross between underground literature (but of a much higher print quality) and art movements of decades ago.  The most recent issue (no.24) has gone glossy without losing its character.  The contents are listed at the end of this post.

The intent of Glissando has been clear from the start: to provide an alternative to mainstream music journalism and musicology.  It has done so by stressing what is going on in the work of composers and writers in their 20s and 30s and by giving a main focus to each issue (but not to the exclusion of all else).  As you can see from the banner headings given below, there was an early emphasis on music in other countries, on broader issues and concepts, and on digging into the past.  This has been nuanced over the years, with certain themes recurring, notably the exploration of sound and space.  The next issue (no.25, edited by Antoni Michnik) is called ‘Manifestos’ while the one after that (no.26, edited by Krzysztof B. Marciniak) returns to a familiar topic, ‘Soundscape’.

Since the start of 2014, Glissando has gone for guest editors (from within and without its regular team) and this gives great scope for diversity and depth.  But one must acknowledge that there have been, and still are, key figures in Glissando‘s history, among them Jan Topolski and Michał Mendyk.  Topolski is still at the centre of things and, in addition, has written a wonderful study of Gérard Grisey – Widma i Czasy (Spectra and Time; Warsaw, 2012).  Michał Mendyk has moved sideways to develop the independent record company, Bôlt, which has likewise pursued a distinct identity and now has a unique repertoire of archival and new recordings from Poland and elsewhere in Eastern Europe.

Other important contributors to the success of Glissando include Agata Kwiecińska and Eliza Orzechowska, who were part of the team from the beginning, and others, more recently, including Jacek Plewicki and Filip Lech.  The roster of writers includes notable names, of which I will mention only two here – Monica Pasiecznik and Michał Libera, partly because, like Jan Topolski writing on Grisey, they have gone on to publish major studies in the music series published by Wydawnictwo Krytyki Politycznej.  There are two books by Pasiecznik – Rytuał superformuły. Stockhausen Licht (The Ritual of Superformulae. Stockhausen’s Licht; Warsaw, 2011) and  Po zmierzchu. Eseje o współczesnych operachco-authored with Tomasz Bierniacki (After Twilight. Essays on Contemporary Opera; Warsaw, 2013) – and one by Libera (who is also the guest editor of Glissando 24) – Doskonale zwyczajna rzeczywistość. Socjologia, geografia albo metafizyka muzyki (A Perfectly Ordinary Reality. The Sociology, Geography or Metaphysics of Music; Warsaw, 2013).

(In parenthesis, it is worth noting that it was Topolski, Mendyk and Libera who set up the 4.99 Foundation that runs Glissando, Bôłt Records and other projects.)

There has been an important strategic decision made this year at Glissando, and that is to switch to English rather than stay in Polish.  The primary intention is to attract contributors and readers from elsewhere in Eastern Europe rather than from ‘The West’.  This focus on new music in Eastern Europe matches Bôłt’s existing strategy.

The printed edition of no.23 is half-and-half Polish-English, no.24 completely in English.  Both languages are represented online.  The English online choice currently consists of just six articles (up from four last week): one from no.17, one from no.22, three from no.23 and one from no.24.  (A glance at this last item indicates that there may be textual and illustrative differences between the printed and online versions.)  The Polish online choice is much wider; it may even be comprehensive – I can’t tell (it stretches right back to no.1).  The plan for future issues is to have all articles in both languages, one in print and the other online.  It would be a tall task to translate all the past Polish articles into English, but one lives in hope that some of them will be singled out.

The Glissando website is well worth a visit, even if it may take a while to work out how to navigate the differently constructed English and Polish sections.  Long may it and its team challenge and provoke!

242014
• 24   Avant-Avantgarde
• 23   The Cassette Tape (with audio cassette)
2013
• 22   Noise
• 21   Performance/Performativity
2012
• 20  Swiss Music
2011
• 19   Polish Music (German-language issue)
• 18   Sound in Public Space
• 17   Hip-hop – Microtones
2010
• 16   Space – Italy – Mykietyn
2009
• 15   Lithuania
1-214x3002007
• 13-14   Rock
• 12   Wrocław
• 10-11   Benelux – Music and Cinema
2006
• 09   Austria
• 08   Scandinavia
2005
• 07   The 60s and 70s
• 05-06   Darmstadt School +
• 04   Electronic Music
• 03   Free Improvisation – Young Composers
2004
• 02   New York
• 01   Spectral Music – Japanese Avantgarde

Glissando no.24, ‘Avant Avantgarde’

• Michał Libera, Introducing Avant Avantgarde (p.4)
• Michał Libera, Amplifying the Sound: Technology of delivery – early amplifiers, mutes and the politics of volume (p.10)
• Pamela Granatowski, Projecting the Sound: Listening to Axis Mundi (p.28)
• Ewa Kozik, Processing the Sound: On more or less natural sound alterations (p.40)
• Antoni Michnik, Visualizing the Sound: Pre-phonographic analysis and reproduction of sound (p.50)
• Jan Topolski, Generating the Tone: Stay tuned, keep temper (p.66)
• Barbara Bogunia, Automating the Sound: Ars combinatoria and mystical automata (p.82)
• Maciej Śledziecki & Marion Wörle, Avant Avantgarde Instruments: We wonder why (p.98)

• The Spoils of Warsaw

One of the many joys of visiting Poland over the decades has been searching out scores, books and recordings (not to mention classic posters and dark spadziowy honey).  This year was no different.  I’d not been in Warsaw since last November, so there was plenty to catch up on and to indulge my hunter-gatherer tendencies.

There are two major music shops in Warsaw.  One is SAWART (online Polish-language link here) on Moliera at Plac Teatralny near Teatr Wielki.  The other is the shop in what used to be the Akademia Muzyczna Fryderyka Chopina and what is now the Uniwersytet Muzyczny Fryderyka Chopina.  You can also find CDs and DVDs in branches of EMPIK and at Teatr Wielki’s own shop.

Books

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 16.00.45Two Panufnik volumes have appeared in Poland in his centenary year.  The first is a reissue of his autobiography Composing Myself (1987), translated in 1990 as Panufnik o Sobie (Panufnik on Himself), although this paperback omitted the photographs from the UK edition.  It has been republished in hardback as Panufnik. Autobiografia with a supplementary section by his widow Camilla covering the final years of his life.  An English-language reprint, likewise updated and with additional documentation, is in press … watch this space.

The next Panufnik publication is the third in a sequence of interview recollections published by Polish Music Publishers PWM.  Scan 3First was Górecki. Portret w pamięci (Górecki. A Portrait in Memory, 2013), consisting of 42 interviews carried out by Beata Bolesławska-Lewandowska. The second, slimmer volume inaugurated a new series ‘Rozmowy o kompozytorach’ (Conversations on Composers) and heralded a new design.  The interviews for Lutosławski. Skrywany wulkan (Lutosławski. A Hidden Volcano, 2013) were carried out by Aleksander Laskowski and focused on just four conductors: Edward Gardner, Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Antoni Wit.  Both of these publications won major book prizes in Poland this year. Laskowski’s interviews will be published in English by Chester Music.

Scan 4Now comes Panufnik. Architekt emocji (Panufnik. Architect of Emotion, 2014), with a preface by the poet Adam Zagajewski.  It was launched during this year’s ‘Warsaw Autumn’ in the presence of Panufnik’s widow Camilla.  The author is again Beata Bolesławska-Lewandowska, whose authoritative biography (PWM, 2001) will be published in English by Ashgate in the coming months.  She spoke to twelve people:

Łukasz Borowicz, the conductor of the comprehensive cpo series of eight CDs of Panufnik’s orchestral music
Roxanna Panufnik, Panufnik’s daughter and composer
Andrzej Dzierżyński, the painter and family friend, whose images adorn the covers of all but one (no.2) of the eight cpo CDs
Gerard Schwarz, conductor-laureate of the Seattle SO with whom he made a CD of Panufnik’s music in 1996
Stanisław Skrowaczewski, the conductor and composer, still active on the podium aged 91, who knew Panufnik early in their lives
Wanda Wiłkomirska, the violinist whose 1980 performance of Panufnik’s Violin Concerto can be heard on the new ninateka.pl site
Camilla Panufnik, the composer’s widow and tireless supporter since they met in England in the early 1960s
Ewa Pobłocka, who has made two commercial recordings of Panufnik’s Piano Concerto, one of them under the composer’s baton
Mark Stephenson, the British conductor who worked closely with the composer in his later years
Wojciech Michniewski, an insightful interpreter of contemporary Polish music who shared the podium with Panufnik during the concert when the composer conducted his Tenth Symphony in Warsaw in September 1990
Jem Panufnik, Panufnik’s son and graphic designer and musician
Julian Anderson, composer

I’ve not had time to read the interviews properly, but one observation by Julian Anderson caught my attention.  He concludes (p.243) that ‘one of the main things that Panufnik bequeathed to Polish music after his escape was the Polish experimental creativity that developed after 1956’ (I am translating from the Polish; these may not have been Anderson’s exact words).  This demands more scrutiny than this post allows, so I will return to this anon.

Scan 5Another book just hitting the shops is a compilation of writings by the music critic and broadcaster Andrzej Chłopecki, who died in 2012 in his early fifties: Dziennik Ucha. Słuchane na ostro (Ear Diary. Sharp Listening).  Chłopecki’s loss is still keenly felt, because he was unafraid to speak his mind, was not fazed by the establishment and quizzed everyone and everything.  His writings and charismatic radio broadcasts brought zest and intelligent prickliness to musical and philosophical debate.  This collection, running to over 500 pages,  brings together Chłopecki’s columns for Res Publica Nowa – ‘Dziennik Ucha’ (Ear Diary, 1993-98) and Gazeta Wyborcza – ‘Słuchane na ostro’ (Sharp Listening, 2001-11).  His range was astonishing.  His essays give pause for thought as well as huge enjoyment.  Sadly, they are unlikely to be translated into English.

However, there is good news on a related front.  The collection of Chłopecki’s essays on Lutosławski’s compositions, published as Andrzej Chłopecki. PostSłowie (Andrzej Chłopecki. AfterWord) in 2012, is a testament to his ability to look at – and to enable listeners to hear – music afresh.  And in the case of a composer as much discussed and analysed as Lutosławski, that was a very special gift.  The book, which he oversaw in the smallest detail and signed off just before his death, has now been translated into English by John Comber and may be out by the end of this year.

Encyklopedia Muzyczna

Finally, I have completed the set.  EM’s first volume ‘ab’ was published 35 years ago.  The series was completed by vol.12 ‘w-ż’ in two years ago.  There have also been supplements, necessary given the protracted timespan of the encyclopaedia – ‘ab’ (1998) and cd (2001) – although this process has stalled.  Instead, PWM has brought out special composer supplements: Chopin (2010), Górecki (2011), Szymanowski (2012) and Wieniawski (2011).  The Górecki volume is quite slight.  It runs to just 18 pages and was issued to commemorate the composer after his death in 2010.  It has an updated work list (but does not include posthumously released works like the Fourth Symphony), bibliography and a brand-new essay by Maciej Jabłoński.  The others supplements are more substantive: the Wieniawski has over 70 pages, the Szymanowski over 130 and the Chopin 180.Scan 2

This time I picked up a copy of the Lutosławski supplement (77 pages), published in 2013. In addition to an essay written by the late Jadwiga Paja-Stach and by Zbigniew Skowron, there are individual entries on over 60 performers, composers, poets, publishers and authors closely associated with him.  It is an honour to have been included in this distinguished gathering.

Recordings

Scan 7Various CDs have come my way in recent months, not least a range of discs from the ever-productive DUX company.  I also received a smart boxed set from Sinfonia Varsovia issued to mark the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising and the end of Word War II.  This non-commercial 3-CD set is called (a little loosely) Anthology of Polish Contemporary Music 1939-1945 and it contains much music that is hard to find elsewhere on disc.  The conducting duties for the twelve pieces are shared between Renato Rivolta (6), Jerzy Maksymiuk (5) and Jacek Kaspszyk (1).  There is an excellent booklet essay by Katarzyna Naliwajek-Mazurek.  The complete repertoire is:

Grażyna Bacewicz, Overture (1943)
Andrzej Czajkowski, Piano Concerto no.2 (1966-71), with Maciej Grabowski
Tadeusz Zygfryd Kassern, Concerto for String Orchestra (1943)
Stefan Kisielewski, Concerto for Chamber Orchestra (1944, 1949)
Witold Lutosławski, Symphonic Variations (1938)
Andrzej PanufnikTragic Overture (1942)
Andrzej Panufnik, Sinfonia elegiaca (1957, 1966)
Karol Rathaus, Music for Strings (1941)
Ludomir RóżyckiPietà. On Smouldering Ruins of Warsaw (1942, 1944)
Antoni Szałowski, Overture (1936)
Aleksander Tansman, Rapsodia polska (1940)
Mieczysław Weinberg, Cello Concerto (1948), with Marcel Markowski

Contemporary composers in Poland have as difficult time as anywhere getting their music heard and recorded, but there have been some initiatives in recent years to plug some of the gaps.  The ‘Warsaw Autumn’ annual chronicle of seven or more CDs provides a permanent reminder of live performances.  The chronicle is non-commercial, but libraries, institutes and interested individuals may request to be put on the distribution list.  The recordings come with either the Polish or English programme book for the year.  Enquiries may be made via this link.

In 2009, DUX launched an initiative called Young Polish Composers in Homage/Tribute to Frederic Chopin, in honour of the composer’s bicentenary in 2010.  The eleven CDs in the series introduced ten Polish composers and one Czech to the wider public:

Stanisław Bromboszcz (b.1980): Chamber Music, DUX 0746
Michał Dobrzyński (b.1980): Expression DUX 0752
Marcin Gumiela (b.1980): Sacred Works DUX 0753
Paweł Hendrich (b.1979): Chamber Works DUX 0754
Michał Moc (b.1977): Emotions DUX 0756
Dariusz Przybylski (b.1984): Works for Orchestra DUX 0721
• Weronika Ratusińska (b.1977): Works for Orchestra DUX 0723
Agnieszka Stulgińska (b.1978): Chamber Works DUX 0759
Sławomir Zamuszko (b.1973): Works for Orchestra DUX 0724
Wojciech Ziemowit Zych (b.1976): Works for Orchestra DUX 0722
+ the Czech composer
• Kryštof Mařatka (b.1972): Chamber Works DUX 0784

DUX prefaced the series in 2008 with a double sampler CD DUX 0635/0636, with mostly different pieces plus works by two other composers who did not go on to have had their own individual CDs: Marcin Stańczyk (b.1977) and Marcin Tomasz Strzelecki (b.1975).

On my visit to Warsaw last week I came across a more recent series devoted mostly to an older generation of Polish composers.  Under the heading Polish Music Today. Portraits of Contemporary Polish Composers, Polish Radio and the Polish Music Information Centre launched ten CDs earlier this year.  They are available via the Polish Radio online shop (click on links below), where you will also find information on each composer and tracks, but only in Polish.  The intention is to develop the project further.  The ten lucky composers so far are:

Magdalena Długosz (b.1954): PRCD 1743
Jacek Grudzień (b.1961): PRCD 1746
Aleksander Kościów (b.1974): PRCD 1750
Zbigniew Penherski (b.1935): PRCD 1741
Jarosław Siwiński (b.1964): PRCD 1747
Michał Talma-Sutt (1969): PRCD 1748
Ewa Trębacz (1973): PRCD 1749
Tadeusz Wielecki (b.1954): PRCD 1744
Anna Zawadzka-Gołosz (1955): PRCD 1745
Lidia Zielińska (b.1953): PRCD 1742

Now I must get down to some serious reading and listening…

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