• PWM 70 Supplement


The last (and only other) time that I was published in Tygodnik Powszechny (Catholic Weekly) was in the commemorative issue marking the death of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki five years ago.  I’ve just been alerted to a new supplement dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Polish Music Publishers PWM.  Its anniversary concert next Wednesday includes the world premiere of Górecki’s Sanctus Adalbertus (1997) and Tygodnik Powszechny have evidently been given the relevant part of my programme note.  It is the final item in the supplement, which includes articles by Małgorzata Gąsiorowska (the Bacewicz expert and author of a new book on PWM), Beata Bolesławska-Lewandowska (the author of books on Górecki and Panufnik) and the music critic and cultural historian Jakub Puchalski.

Tygodnik Powszechny PWM 70 supplement October 2015

• Górecki World Premiere, Kraków

Death of Adalbertus, Gniezno CathedralA week today – on Wednesday 4 November 2015 – the last of Gorecki’s major posthumous works will receive its first performance, in Kraków.  It is Sanctus Adalbertus, an hour-long ‘oratorio’ composed eighteen years ago to mark the assassination of St Adalbert in 997 (illustration above from the doors of Gniezno cathedral).  Its projected premiere in 1997 fell through and he used part of the score for the final movement of Salve, sidus Polonorum (2000).  This first performance follows the world premieres last year in London and Warsaw of Symphony no.4 (2006) and Kyrie (2005). The second performance will take place a week later, in Gorecki’s home city Katowice, on the eve of the fifth anniversary of his death.

Kraków is awash with posters for the concert, which also marks 70 years of PWM, the music publishers to whom anyone interested in Polish music owes a huge debt of gratitude.  Sadly, I can’t be there for this double celebration, but I was asked to write the programme note, which may be accessed here.


• Recollecting Górecki

While I was in Warsaw last week, a new book was launched that goes beyond traditional reminiscences of recently departed artists.  It is almost three years since Henryk Mikołaj Górecki died – he would, like Penderecki, have been 80 this year and no doubt there would have been wider celebrations of his music had he still been alive.  The 2013 ‘Warsaw Autumn’, in a fit of commemoration, put on three concerts devoted to Lutosławski (Piano Concerto with Krystian Zimerman, Third Symphony), Penderecki (St Luke Passion) and Górecki (the three string quartets).  This new volume on Górecki, however, is no mere commemoration.  The contributors to Górecki. Portret w Pamięci (Górecki. Portrait in Memory) – all 42 of them, many of whom knew him extremely well and over many years – bring Górecki’s vivid, complex and sometimes contradictory personality back to life.  Taken together, they don’t miss you and hit the wall, as the saying goes.  There is a tinge of regret at the absence of his closest contemporaries, the composers Zbigniew Bujarski, Wojciech Kilar and Penderecki, and of the dedicatee and conductor of the premiere of Scontri, Jan Krenz.  But the collection is nevertheless rich in telling detail.

The book’s concept and execution were down to my friend Beata Bolesławska-Lewandowska.  She asks intelligent and searching questions and elicits fascinating responses, accessible to a wide range of readers.  Unfortunately, it is only in Polish, so readers and contributors who do not know the language have little chance of enjoying the memories therein.  An English version surely beckons.

Homma 1993 2

The contributions are grouped according to the interviewees’ occupations or relationship with the composer, each section printed on different coloured paper, and each interview prefaced by a photograph of the interviewee, sometimes with Górecki.  Here’s a list of the contributors and a byline on each.

Najbliżsi (Nearest): Jadwiga Górecka (widow), Mikołaj Górecki (son, composer), Anna Górecka (daughter, pianist)
• Uczniowie (Students): Eugeniusz Knapik (composer, pianist, teacher), Rafał Augustyn (composer, critic, Polish philologist), Małgorzata Hussar (composer, teacher)
Okiem muzykologa (In the eyes of the musicologist): Leon Markiewicz (Katowice Music Academy), Mieczysław Tomaszewski (former director of PWM, Kraków Music Academy), Teresa Malecka (Kraków Music Academy), Krzysztof Droba (Kraków Music Academy), Adrian Thomas (quite why I’m here rather than in group six I’m not sure!), Grzegorz Michalski (author, broadcaster, President of the Witold Lutosławski Society)
Kompozytorzy i wykonawcy (Composers and performers): Włodzimierz Kotoński (composer, teacher), Zygmunt Krauze (composer, pianist), Elżbieta Chojnacka (harpsichordist), Antoni Wit (conductor), Zofia Kilanowicz (soprano), Marek Moś (conductor, former leader of the Silesian String Quartet), Father Kazimierz Szymonik (priest, conductor)
• Dania (Denmark): Louise Lerche-Lerchenborg (commissioner of Lerchenmusik), Rosalind Bevan (pianist), Teresa Waśkowska (critic)
• Wielka Brytania (Great Britain): David Atherton (conductor), Paul Crossley (pianist), Janis Susskind (publisher, Boosey & Hawkes)
Stany Zjednoczone (United States): David Zinman (conductor), David Harrington (leader, Kronos Quartet), John Sherba (second violin, Kronos Quartet), Carol Wincenc (flautist)
• Bielsko-Biała (town south of Katowice where Górecki hosted a short festival each October; it still flourishes): Władysław Szczotka (Director, Bielsko-Biała Cultural Centre), Ewa Stojek-Lupin (pianist, portrait painter), Jacek Krywult (politician, President of Bielsko-Biała)
Promotorzy, organizatorzy (Promoters, organisers): Andrzej Kosowski (Director of Institute for Music and Dance, former director of PWM), Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa (MD of NOSPR – National Symphony Orchestra of Polish Radio, Katowice), Ewa B. Michalska (music manager), Andrzej Wendland (Artistic Director, Tansman Festival, Łódź)
Interpretacje (Interpretations): Andrzej Chłopecki (✝ musicologist, broadcaster, critic), Krzysztof Zanussi (film director), Szymon Bywalec (conductor), Malgorzata and Marcin Gmys (musicologists), Mirosław Jacek Błaszczyk (conductor), Violetta Rotter-Kozera (TV documentary director)

• WL100/42: 33 ‘Derwid’ songs published

The Polish Music Publisher PWM has just issued a press release about its two new volumes of songs by Lutosławski that he wrote under the closely guarded pseudonym ‘Derwid’.  He composed these popular dance songs – foxtrots, tangos, waltzes, etc. – in 1957-63, although the band arrangements were done in-house at Polish Radio.  Many of the songs’ melodies were published in Polish Radio’s weekly listings magazine Radio i Świat (Radio and the World) at the time.  PWM published five of Lutosławski’s piano versions as separate numbers in 1957-60 and over twenty through its fortnightly light-music imprint Śpiewamy i Tańczymy (Let’s Sing and Dance) in 1957-64.  

When I first came across this little treasure trove of largely forgotten music in 1994, I was the only person who had any interest in it.  The songs were regarded by the Polish musical establishment as of negligible interest musically or historically.  Moreover, I was told on several occasions by Polish colleagues that it would be unseemly for anyone in Poland to do even the most basic research into them or into Lutosławski’s other songs, especially his mass songs of the early 1950s.  Fortunately, that situation has long been superseded by a more curious attitude, to the extent that in a month or so’s time a new CD will be released of some of the Derwid songs in edgy and humorous interpretations by Agata Zubel, Andrzej Bauer and Cezary Duchnowski (see my post from 26 March 2013, Zubel Zings!).

Here is a list of the contents of the two volumes, which seem to present the songs in roughly chronological order. There are corrections and both additions to and omissions from the list I made in 1994 (this may be found at the end of my article, ‘Your Song is Mine’, The Musical Times, 1830 (August 1995), 403-10).  I had erroneously equated Zakochać się w wietrze (To fall in love with the wind) with Serce na wietrze (Heart on the wind).  But I also named two songs which are not in this new collection, even though they were published by PWM at the time: Kiosk na Powiślu (Kiosk by the Vistula) / Kiosk inwalidy (Kiosk of the invalid) and Wędrowny jubiler (The wandering jeweller).  Three further, unpublished songs were subsequently found amongst Lutosławski’s manuscripts at the Paul Sacher Stiftung in Basle – Dom rodzinny (Family home), which is not in this new collection, and two which are – Podlotek (Flapper) and Twoje imieniny (Your name-day).  

In Poland, each volume costs 35 złoty (= c. £7); outside Poland the price rises to 19.95 euros (c. £17).  It’s not obvious why there should be such a huge difference in price.  Here is the link to the relevant English-language page of PWM’s online shop.  You might try going on to the Polish page by clicking on the Polish flag and seeing if you can pay by ordering in złoty!

Volume 1 (19 songs)

Derwid_ok?adka zeszyt 1Milczące serce (Silent heart)
Czarownica (The witch)
Daleka podróż (Distant journey)
Cyrk jedzie (The circus is coming)
Zielony berecik (The little green beret)
Szczęśliwy traf (Good fortune)
Zakochać się w wietrze (To fall in love with the wind)
Miłość i świat (Love and the world)
Tabu (Taboo)
Kapitańska ballada (The captain’s ballad)
W lunaparku (At the funfair) / Nie kupiłeś mnie na własność (You do not own me)
Telimena (Telimena)
Warszawski dorożkarz (The Warsaw cabman)
Nie oczekuję dziś nikogo (I am not expecting anyone today)
Serce na wietrze (Heart on the wind)
Filipince nudno (The bored Filipina)
Złote pantofelki (Golden shoes)
Po co śpiewać piosenki (Why song songs)
Moje ptaki (My birds)

Volume 2 (14 songs)

derwid_ok?adka zeszyt 2Rupiecie (Odds and ends) / Wędrowny czas (Wandering time)
Na co czekasz (What are you waiting for)
I cóż to teraz będzie (What is going to happen now)
Z lat dziecinnych (From childhood)
Jeden przystanek dalej (One stop further)
Znajdziesz mnie wszędzie (You will find me everywhere)
Nie dla nas już (No longer for us)
Nie chcę z tobą się umawiać (I do not want to date you anymore)
Podlotek (Flapper)
Twoje imieniny (Your name-day)
Plamy na słońcu (Sunspots)
Tylko to słowo (Only this word)
Jak zdobywać serduszka (How to win hearts)
W pustym pokoju (In the empty room)

• Zanussi, Wajda and Michniewski on Kilar

As a little supplement to my earlier post today on Kilar at 80, here are two interviews I’ve since discovered by the film directors Krzysztof Zanussi and Andrzej Wajda.  They’re in Polish but with excellent English subtitles.  It’s interesting to observe the different ways in which Zanussi and Wajda talk about their frequent collaborations with Kilar.  Zanussi speaks touchingly and intelligently, referring to Kilar by the semi-formal ‘Pan Wojciech’ (Mr Wojciech).  Wajda is revealing in other ways, freer and more relaxed, and uses the more familiar ‘Wojtek’.

The interviews also offer glimpses of some of the films.  In Zanussi’s case, the excerpts are fairly brief: Struktura kryształu (The Structure of Crystal, 1969), Iluminacja (Illumination, 1973), Brat naszego Boga (Our God’s Brother, 1997).  The excerpts in the Wajda interview are a bit longer: Ziemia obiecana (Land of Promise, 1974), Kronika wypadków miłosnych (Chronicle of Amorous Events, 1986) and Pan Tadeusz (Mr Thaddeus, 1999).  Both accounts display Kilar’s mastery of the complementary score, sometimes in the most minimal way, an approach which often pays dividends in the cinema.

Both interviews have been recently uploaded by the Polish Music Publishers, PWM Edition, as part of its celebration of Kilar’s life and work.  There are also YouTube interviews with two Polish conductors: Antoni Wit (who has recorded several CDs of Kilar’s work for Naxos and other labels) and Wojciech Michniewski.

The interview with Michniewski, who has a background as a composer, is particularly engaging.  He gives a fascinating and anecdotally rich account of his connections with Kilar, concentrating on Orawa (1986) and Siwa mgła (Grey Mist, 1979), including the delightful inscriptions that Kilar wrote in his copies of these scores.

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