Showing posts from July, 2023

FROM LVIV TO PARIS - Piano Works of Karol Mikuli - Weronika Chodakowska (piano)

  FROM LVIV TO PARIS Piano Works of Karol Mikuli Weronika Chodakowska (piano) The psychological and creative complexities of living in the shadow of a renowned genius must be manifold. There are many examples of fine pianist-composers who studied or worked with an immortal musical creative genius and fully recognized with a sense of inadequacy the immense qualities of their work. They clearly felt a selfless respect towards their master, even a sacred devotion to the preservation of his work.   However, I am plagued by the question of the degree such acolytes experience a conscious or subconscious conflict or threat to their own creativity and musical self-esteem. Are they tempted into invidious comparisons during their own creative impulses, evolve competitive or derivative stylistic utterances or desperately attempt to escape an inescapable musical influence, even considering the undoubted quality of their own musical invention ? This speculation arises strongly in the case

Chopin and Flamenco - A brilliant live concert recording from the National Chopin Institute by Paco Peña and the Flamenco Company

Among the many CDs I have before me, occasionally one stands out prominently for the uniqueness of its subject and the spiritually as well as physically enhancing nature of the music.  Unless blessed with a vivid imagination and a feeling for Spain, one does not readily associate the music of Fryderyk Chopin and Spain. We are partly familiar with the creative yet blighted period Chopin and Sand spent at Valldemossa on Mallorca. Perhaps not the incredible destiny of the small local Spanish piano by Juan Bauza that Chopin struggled with until his Pleyel pianino arrived from Paris. That extraordinary story is covered in detail in Chopin's Piano - A Journey through Romanticism  by Paul Kildea   (London, Allen Lane 2018).   We also adore the modern lightness and charm his Bolero in A minor Op.19, a first indication of a Spanish touch or enthusiasm. The guitar was one of Chopin's favourite instruments, chosen by his teacher  Józef  Elsner to serenade with singers his departure throug

Mieczysław Tomaszewski - Chopin. The Man, his Work and its Resonance

  ‘ Chopin. The Man, his Work and its Resonance’  is the revised and updated English-language version of Mieczysław Tomaszewski’s multi-award-winning book  ‘Chopin. Człowiek, dzieło, rezonans’  (Poznań, 1998), constituting the sum of the professor’s knowledge and reflections on Chopin-related themes. Having entered the canon of the Chopin studies literature in Poland, gradually, thanks to successive translations, Chopin also won over readers outside Poland and became fundamental and obligatory reading for all admirers of the brilliant composer. With time, its stature and multi-aspectual nature were recognized with the ennobling nickname (applied almost tenderly by those who know the professor personally) ‘the bible’. P ublisher:   Narodowy Instytut Fryderyka Chopina 2015 924 pages [Translated and edited by John Comber] Professor Mieczysław Tomaszewski is renowned in Poland among musical academic cognoscenti but as he wrote only in Polish his name is not well known (or perhaps even

19TH CHOPIN AND HIS EUROPE FESTIVAL Warsaw, Poland 18 August - 1 September 2023

19TH CHOPIN AND HIS EUROPE FESTIVAL Warsaw 18 August - 1 September 2023   NOT FOR THE FIRST TIME!   The  19th International CHOPIN AND HIS EUROPE FESTIVAL  will take place in Warsaw from 18 August to 1 September this year. As usual, the programme includes Chopin’s work in the context of the epoch and its multidimensional impact on the European composers of the 19th and 20th centuries, which can be traced down in a number of masterpieces by leading artists.  The virtuosos of piano, outstanding chamber music, symphony concerts and the opera in the concert version ‘not for the first time’. The survey is of Polish music from Classicism to the contemporary times, original versions and arrangements. Brilliant historical as well as contemporary performances by excellent but also controversial artists:  Ivo Pogorelic, Kevin Chen, Bruce Liu, Dang Thai Son, Vadym Kholodenko, Kate Liu, Alena Baeva … and many more. The full programme of the festival is available at: