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Showing posts from February, 2019

Inaugural Concert of the celebratory cycle for the Vasa Year - Commemoration of the Golden Age of Polish Music - Royal Castle, Warsaw, 3 February 2019

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The Baroque movement in Poland began with the Vasa dynasty, ostentatious patrons of painting and music. Assuming the reader's familiarity with the election of Kings in Polish history, there were three Vasa kings: Zygmunt III (1587-1632), Władisław IV (1632-48) and Jan Kazimierz (1648-68). King Zygmunt III despite his chaotic reign, loved large-scale polychoral music. There seems to be a great deal we still do not know about the Polish Baroque composer  Marcin Mielczewski (d. 1651) and musicologists hope to discover more. In this inaugural concert of the coming Vasa concert cycle in 2019, I was to discover surprising and deeply satisfying musical riches.
Mielczewski (whose sacred music is featured in tonight's concert) almost certainly took part in musical performances under Asprillio Pacelli and Giovanni Francesco Anerio, as well as studying with Franciszek Lilius, a composer of Italian descent. Warsaw was the center of creative activity. Mikołaj Zieleński and Barthołomiej Pęki…

The Pocket Paderewski : The Beguiling Life of the Australian Concert Pianist Edward Cahill

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In light of the enthusiasm for the new fashion exhibition Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams which opened at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London on 2 February 2019, I thought I might mention my recently published biography of the concert pianist and Chopin 'specialist' Edward Cahill (1875-1975). Also relevant is the recently published and highly popular and entertaining The Quest for Queen Mary by James Pope-Hennessy (Hugo Vickers ed.)  Hodder London 2018. Both the exhibition and the book deal with the very same society in which my great uncle moved as a celebrity. As Pope-Hennessy  points out, a largely forgotten generation today.

Apart from time spent giving the first recitals of Chopin in 1919 to Maharajahs in India and the King of Siam, he gave recitals in London, Paris and the French Riviera during its golden age. Under the patronage of his supporter Dame Nellie Melba, for a long period of his life he befriended and entertained members of this same dazzling English…