• Commemorating Composers

Six weeks ago, Andrzej Panufnik had a walk named after him in a Warsaw park.  Today, I passed by plaques set side-by-side on the wall of a building in the Saska Kępa district (south-east Warsaw) where the conductor and composer Andzej Markowski and the composer Zbigniew Turski once lived.  They are not far from the building where Witold Lutosławski lived after the war until 1968.  He too has his plaque.


photo courtesy Michał Kubicki

Later on, my hosts and I passed near a skwer (Eng.: square/green) in Ujazdowski Park named after the critic, writer and composer Stefan Kisielewski.  Panufnik may have his road sign and Markowski, Turski and Lutosławski their plaques, but Kisielewski has not just one skwer but two.  Half an hour later, in Piaseczno, south of Warsaw, we drove past a second ‘Skwer im. Stefana Kisielewskiego’.

Our destination, en route to a family get-together, was a few hundred metres further on: the old cemetery at Piaseczno.  There lies Witold Maliszewski, a composer who is known primarily for one thing – having been Lutosławski’s composition teacher.  While Markowski, Turski, Kisielewski and Lutosławski were all buried in Powązki in north Warsaw, Maliszewski was interred in Piaseczno, close to where he had lived.  Like all Polish cemeteries, it was a riot of colour from the flowers placed there on All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, the weekend before last.


• More Szymanowski from Doctor Hughes

In the three months since I last posted links to William Hughes’s invaluable English translations of Polish articles on Szymanowski (The Chronicles of Dr Hughes), he has posted 36 more, making 63 to date, with more to come.  I am in awe of his industry and generosity as well as his insights in those postings where he provides commentaries or explications.

I’m adding here the two previous tranches of links posted on 28 March (14 items) and 13 May 2012 (13 items).    The 36 new pieces focus in the main around the reaction within Poland to the death of Szymanowski in March 1937.  But William Hughes has also selected further writings, by Mycielski and Iwaszkiewicz, which are more revealing of the music itself, of Szymanowski’s character, his writings or his faith.  Hughes is also not afraid in these translations to reveal (where others have glossed over) Szymanowski’s occasional anti-Jewish jibes or vulgarity.

You can find The Chronicles of Doctor Hughes at http://drwilliamhughes.blogspot.co.uk/.

• 13.08.12  Witold Hulewicz, ‘Bibliographic Sketch’Muzyka Polska no.4 (1937)
• 13.08.12  Witold Hulewicz, ‘On Karol Szymanowski’s Literary Activity’Muzyka Polska no.4 (1937)
• 9.08.12  Zbigniew Drzewiecki, ‘Szymanowski’s Testament’Muzyka Polska no.4 (1937)
• 7.08.12  Kazimierz Sikorski, ‘Address’ [at Szymanowski’s funeral]Muzyka Polska no.4 (1937)
• 4.08.12  Prof. Ujejski, ‘Address’ [at Szymanowski’s funeral]Muzyka Polska no.4 (1937)
• 31.07.12  Adolf Chybiński, ‘Karol Szymanowski (1883[sic]-1937)’Muzyka Polska no.4 (1937)
• 27.07.12  Stefania Szurlejówna, ‘The Funeral of Karol Szymanowski in KrakówProsto z mostu no.18 (1937)
• 24.07.12  Zygmunt Mycielski on Szymanowski’s Symphonie Concertante, pt.2Ucieczki z pięciolinii (1952)
• 21.07.12  Zygmunt Mycielski on Szymanowski’s Symphonie Concertante, pt.1Ucieczki z pięciolinii (1952)
• 17.07.12  Zygmunt Mycielski, ‘Nine Years Ago’Ucieczki z pięciolinii (1946)
• 14.07.12  ‘From Letters and Remembrances of Szymanowski’, pt.3Prosto z mostu no.17 (1937)
• 12.07.12  ‘From Letters and Remembrances of Szymanowski’, pt.2Prosto z mostu no.17 (1937)
• 10.07.12  ‘From Letters and Remembrances of Szymanowski’, pt.1Prosto z mostu no.17 (1937)
• 6.07.12  Stanisław Piasecki, ‘Szymanowski’s Final Moments’Prosto z mostu no.17 (1937)
• 4.07.12  Stefania Szurlejówna, ‘The Funeral of Karol Szymanowski [in Warsaw], pt.3Prosto z mostu no.17 (1937)
• 2.07.12  Stefania Szurlejówna, ‘The Funeral of Karol Szymanowski [in Warsaw], pt.2Prosto z mostu no.17 (1937)
• 1.07.12  Stefania Szurlejówna, ‘The Funeral of Karol Szymanowski [in Warsaw], pt.1Prosto z mostu no.17 (1937)
• 29.06.12  Jerzy Waldorff, ‘Szymanowski, the ‘Educator of a Generation’ ‘Prosto z mostu no.17 (1937)
• 27.06.12  Michał Kondracki, ‘A Memoir about Szymanowski’Prosto z mostu no.17 (1937)
• 25.06.12  Karol Szymanowski, ‘Religion as a Power Fortifying the Life of the Soul’ [poem ‘To Man’, plus commentary], undated
• 21.06.12  Stanisław Piasecki, ‘From Tymoszówka to the Skałka’Prosto z mostu no.17 (1937)
• 19.06.12  Zygmunt Piasecki, ‘Lecioły Zórazie’ [on the Kurpian Songs], Ucieczki z pięciolinii (1934)
• 17.06.12  Jerzy Andrzejewski, [untitled]Prosto z mostu no.17 (1937)
• 15.06.12  Konstanty Regamey, ‘Szymanowski’s Oeuvre’, pt.2Prosto z mostu no.17 (1937)
• 12.06.12  Konstanty Regamey, ‘Szymanowski’s Oeuvre’, pt.1Prosto z mostu no.17 (1937)
• 10.06.12  Karol Szymanowski, ‘A Man’s Individual Ethic’, [undated]
• 9.06.12  Bolesław Miciński, ‘Memory’Prosto z mostu no.17 (1937)
• 8.06.12  Roman Maciejewski, ‘Szymanowski’s Religiousness’Prosto z mostu no.17 (1937)
• 6.06.12  Zygmunt Mycielski, ‘Karol Szymanowski’Prosto z mostu no.17 (1937)
• 3.06.12  Zygmunt Mycielski, ‘What was Szymanowski Like?’, pt.2 (1972)
• 3.06.12  Zygmunt Mycielski, ‘What was Szymanowski Like?’, pt.1 (1972)
• 28.05.12  Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, ‘Karol in Słupsk’ (1972)
• 26.05.12  Iwaszkiewicz, ‘About a Friendship’ [Dzieje przyjaźni – Szymanowski’s Correspondence], Życie Warszawy no.7 (1972)
• 24.05.12  Zygmunt Mycielski, ‘Szymanowski’s Letters’Notatki o muzyce i muzykach (1958)
• 21.05.12  Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, ‘ ‘From the Letters’ of Karol Szymanowski’ (1957)
• 17.05.12  Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, ‘Szymanowski as a Writer’ (1947)

• 12.05.12  Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, ‘Szymanowski’s ‘King Roger”Wiadomość Literackie no.26 (1926)
• 11.05.12  Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, ‘Ahead of the premiere of King Roger’Wiadomość Literackie no.25 (1926)
• 10.05.12  Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, ‘The History of ‘King Roger”Muzyka no.6 (1926)
• 8.05.12  Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, ‘My composition lessons with Szymanowski’Muzyka Polska no.3 (1939)
• 5.05.12  Stanisława Korwin-Szymanowska, ‘The Last Days of Karol Szymanowski’, pt.3Muzyka Polska no.4 ( 1937)
• 1.05.12  Stanisława Korwin-Szymanowska, ‘The Last Days of Karol Szymanowski’, pt.2Muzyka Polska no.4 (1937)
• 26.04.12  Stanisława Korwin-Szymanowska, ‘The Last Days of Karol Szymanowski, pt.1Muzyka Polska no.4 (1937)
• 22.04.12  Zygmunt Mycielski, ‘Szymanowski’s Horizon’Nowiny Literackie no.3-4 (1947)
• 16.04.12  Zygmunt Mycielski, ‘Szymanowski – the Romantic?’Odrodzenie (1947)
• 11.04.12  Mycielski reminisces… Muzyka Polska no.4 (1937)
• 8.04.12  Zygmunt Mycielski, ‘Harnasie in Paris’Prosto z mostu no.19 (1936)
• 4.04.12  Leonia Gradstein, ‘Harnasie in Paris’, pt.2Ruch Muzyczny no.3 (1948)
• 1.04.12  Leonia Gradstein, ‘Harnasie in Paris’, pt.1Ruch Muzyczny no.3 (1948)

• 28.03.12  Szymanowski’s Piano Concerto, pt.2 (1950)
• 28.03.12  In memoriam Karol Szymanowski (28/03/1937)
• 24.03.12  Szymanowski’s Piano Concerto, pt.1 (1950)
• 19.03.12  Tadeusz Baird, ‘Szymanowski’s music has always meant so much to me’ (1979)
• 17.03.12  Stefan Kisielewski, ‘Karol Szymanowski’s Final Journey’, pt.3 (1937)
• 15.03.12  Stefan Kisielewski, ‘Karol Szymanowski’s Final Journey’, pt.2 (1937)
• 10.03.12  Stefan Kisielewski, ‘Karol Szymanowski’s Final Journey’, pt.1 (1937)
• 4.03.12  ‘Stefania Łobaczewska, ‘The Myth of Karol Szymanowski’Muzyka no.4-5 (1937)
• 28.02.12  Paying Homage, pt.4: Roman MaciejewskiMuzyka no.4-5 (1937)
• 24.02.12  Paying Homage, pt.3: Zygmunt MycielskiMuzyka no.4-5 (1937)
• 22.02.12  Paying Homage, pt.2: Piotr Perkowski, Muzyka no.4-5 (1937)
• 21.02.12  Paying Homage, pt.1: Jan MaklakiewiczMuzyka no.4-5 (1937)
• 17.02.12  ‘The Breath of Greatness’: Lutosławski on SzymanowskiMuzyka Polska no.4 (1937)
• 13.02.12  Andrzej Dobrowolski analyses Szymanowski’s ‘Preludium and Fugue’Ruch Muzyczny no.20 (1948)

• Szymanowski’s Funerals

Szymanowski’s sister Stanisława by her brother’s coffin, Lausanne, March-April 1937

Today is the 75th anniversary of Szymanowski’s funeral ceremony in Warsaw and tomorrow the anniversary of his burial in Kraków.  His body had travelled to Warsaw by train from Lausanne, where he had died on the night of 28-29 March 1937 (see my earlier post, When did Szymanowski die?).  The train stopped for commemorative ceremonies in Berlin, at the German-Polish border, and in Poznań in central Poland.  It arrived in Warsaw on Sunday evening, 4 April, and was taken to the Conservatory of Music, where it lay in state until the following evening.

The Warsaw funeral took place on the morning of Tuesday, 6 April, in the Church of the Holy Cross (where an urn containing Chopin’s heart was immured).  Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater was performed during the service. Afterwards, the cortège moved north up Krakowskie Przedmieście, past the University, and turned left to pass in front of the Grand Theatre, where an excerpt from Wagner’s Götterdämmerung was played.  From there it moved south to the Philharmonic, pausing while an arrangement of some of Szymanowski’s piano Variations on a Polish Folk Theme was heard.  Late that evening, the coffin was placed on an overnight train to Kraków.

Szymanowski’s coffin arrived in Kraków early on Wednesday, 7 April, and by 09.00 it had been ceremonially placed in the Mariacki Church on the city’s central square.  During the Kraków service, which began two hours later, Berlioz’s Requiem was performed.  At noon, the famous daily iteration of the hejnał (trumpet alarm) was sounded from the top of the church tower.

Afterwards, the cortège wound its way, to the strains of Beethoven, south-west past Wawel castle and on to St Stanisław church on Skałka (‘the little rock’).  There, Szymanowski’s coffin was placed in the Krypt Zasłużonych (Crypt of the Distinguished).  Szymanowski shares this Polish Pantheon with a dozen other distinguished artistic figures, including Adam Asnyk, Stanisław Wyspiański, Jacek Malczewski and Czesław Miłosz.  Szymanowski is the only composer.  The last music heard after his committal was a folk tune played by Tatra highlanders (a modern commemoration is shown in the picture below), a tribute that was also paid in Katowice at the burial of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki in 2010.

For a contemporary account of the events of 4-7 April 1937, by the composer and critic Stefan Kisielewski, see the following three-part English translation by William Hughes:

Stefan Kisielewski – ‘Karol Szymanowski’s Final Journey’ [Part One]
Stefan Kisielewski – ‘Karol Szymanowski’s Final Journey’ [Part Two]
Stefan Kisielewski – ‘Karol Szymanowski’s Final Journey’ [Part Three]

Photos from these impressive ceremonies in Warsaw and Kraków can be found on several pages of the Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe (National Digital Archive), starting at http://www.audiovis.nac.gov.pl/haslo/279:224/. They knew how to do funerals in those days.

%d bloggers like this: