Showing posts from 2020

Fou Ts'ong - A personal reminiscence by Roman Żółtowski

  A generation of musical and human sensibility, sensitivity and depth has passed with the death of the legendary Chinese pianist Fou Ts’ong. He inhabited my gallery of the finest Chopinists from my childhood and then for as long as I can remember. This indiscriminate and merciless virus has claimed yet another victim. He was the first Chinese participant in the Warsaw International Chopin Competition where he won 3rd Prize in the 5th competition in 1955 just below Vladimir Ashkenazy. He also won the Polish Radio award for the best performance of mazurkas. These were remarkable interpretations that were reflected throughout his recital career. Not only Chopin but superb Mozart, Schubert, Brahms and Scarlatti. He was one of the very first pianists to open Western musical appreciation to the deep musical sensitivities and romanticism of East Asia. How culturally astounded we were in those early days by this brilliant, courageous musical pioneer who crossed so many historical, political a

Composer Abuse - Truth Decay in the Life of Fryderyk Chopin

Composer Abuse   Truth Decay in the Life of Fryderyk Chopin The Young Chopin (1810-1849) The recent, tendentious article entitled  'Chopin's interest in men airbrushed from history, programme claims' that appeared in The Guardian newspaper (Philip Oltermann and Shaun Walker, Wednesday 25 Nov 2020) clearly has an agenda that possesses only a passing relationship to serious music and more pointedly, sexual orientation in its depiction of the life of the Polish composer Fryderyk Chopin. Subtitle:  Journalist says he has found overt homoeroticism in Polish composer’s letters.  What is interesting is the fact that the Swiss public broadcaster SRF’s arts channel decided that this old 'sensationalist' chestnut was an important enough 'revelation' to have made a long programme entitled Chopin's Men concerning the issue. That his true sexual proclivities have been  'airbrushed from history' could only be seriously considered as 'Stop Press News'

Polish Independence Day 11 November 2020 - The Chopin Soul and Paderewski

  Thoughts on the Chopin Soul and Paderewski  Polish Independence Day 11 November 2020 Pencil drawing of Fryderyk Chopin by Francois-Xavier Winterhalter 2 May 1847  These thoughts come in the midst of the Covid pandemic, one of the greatest calamities to strike the world since the two world wars. One must never forget, even remember with greater intensity, the immense sacrifices made so that we can live in freedom. Yes, and given the freedom to embrace the miraculous advances in medical science that may have given us a vaccine against this virus in such a short, concentrated period of time.  On a day celebrating the 102nd Anniversary of Poland regaining independence (a country that for 123 years existed not on maps but as a virtual reality in the mind of its citizens), I feel I should express a few thoughts on the music of Fryderyk Chopin in this context. Today is also the 102nd anniversary of the Armistice of the Great War on 'the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh