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'

Józef Elsner and the Polish National Airs 2nd Festival of Romantic Works Warsaw, 13–15 October 2020

  Pupils of Chopin Thursday 15th October 2020 19.30 Warsaw Kameralna Hubert Rutkowski - piano Broadwood historical piano (1846) on a loan from the collection of Andrzej Włodarczyk. Blüthner Modern Concert Grand This was a particularly interesting recital of charming pieces composed by unknown or forgotten but brilliant pupils of Chopin, played partly on an instrument favoured by him when visiting England. Chopin played a Broadwood , similar to this one, at his final concert at the Guildhall, London, in 1848. John Broadwood, the manufacturer,   greatly respected, appreciated and befriended Chopin, even on one occasion reserving two seats on a train for the composer, one to accommodate his feet as he felt poorly that travel day.   Adolf Gutmann (1819-1882)   In the accepted performance practice of the day Rutkowski 'preluded' (improvised) in the key before the piece. Gutmann, pianist and composer was born in Heidelberg in 1819. He moved to Paris in 1834 to take lesson