MIECZYSLAW KARLOWICZ (1876-1909)
The complete symphonic poems
Returning Waves (1904) [25.15]
Eternal Songs (1907) [25.44]
A Sorrowful Tale - Preludes to Eternity (1908) [10.57]
Lithuanian Rhapsody (1906) [20.17]
Stanislav and Anna Oswieczin (1912) [22.33]
Episode during a Masquerade (1908-9)
Silesian State PO/Jerzi
rec Katowice, 8 Dec 1981, 11-13 June 1983.
recorded with financial assistance from Ministerswa Kultury i
DUX 0132-33 [61.57+68.29]
A NOTE FROM JERZY
JERZY SALWAROWSKI - A
KARLOWICZ - A BIOGRAPHICAL OUTLINE
Karlowicz was born in the Polish province of Vilna. His father, Jan was a
Polish historian, Ethnologist and musician. At Warsaw he studied with Noskowski
(another composer well worth exploring) and in Berlin with Urban. From 1906
to 1907 he was one of Nikisch's conducting pupils. He loved the high places
as much as Vitezslav Novak and Frederic Delius and tragically met his end
skiing in the Tatra Mountains engulfed by an avalanche.
JERZY SALWAROWSKI's COMPLETE KARLOWICZ TONE POEMS
This is a two disc set. You may remember it from its brief existence as a
Chant du Monde box back in the very early 1990s. I recall, somewhat regretfully,
passing it by then as I wandered around the HMV shop on Oxford Street. It
soon fell victim to the grim deletions scythe. As a used item it is not at
all a common set. It is a cause of celebration that the set is now back in
currency albeit requiring an order to Poland.
The set is significant because Salwarowski has become to Karlowicz what Beecham
became to Delius, Boult to Vaughan Williams, Handley to Bax. The two were
not contemporaries but Salwarowski's identity with his countryman is undeniable.
Full background on Salwarowski's dedication to
KarÓ owicz's cause
is given in the note appended to this review. I am grateful to the conductor
for sharing his thoughts with us.
What of Karlowicz's music then? It is emotional, with a gloomy Tchaikovskian
stripe caught up in a riptide of marmoreal late romanticism. There is something
of the Nordic psychological make-up about this music. It traces its origins
among the waters of Balakirev's Tamara, Nystroem's Arctic Ocean
(yes, I know that came much later) and Rachmaninov's Isle of the Dead.
I was captivated by this music from the moment when I heard a broadcast of
Konstanty Kulka's warmly opulent performance of the Violin Concerto (Polish
Radio and TVSO/Krzystof Missona). Among neglected violin concertos this a
very superior and indelibly memorable article comparable with the de Boeck
and the Ivanovs concertos. Later I acquired Kulka's earlier (1979) recording
on Olympia OCD 304 (coupled with the Revival Symphony). This led on
to my hearing a stunning 1981 broadcast with Rozhdestvensky conducting the
Chicago SO in the symphonic poem Eternal Songs. After this I needed
little inducement to snap up Olympia OCD 307 (Eternal Songs,
Stanislaw, a swoopingly uproarious Episode during a Masquerade,
1965 analogue recordings by Stanislaw Wislocki conducting the Warsaw National
SO) and OCD 389 (the Froissart-like White Dove music conducted
by Witold Rowicki). Needless to say the three Olympias have now disappeared
from the lists. They are much older recordings though vivid and well worth
picking up if you see them second-hand. There is a Thorofon CD of one of
the tone poems and the violin concerto but I have not heard this nor have
I heard a collection of his songs on another CD.
Written on the Adriatic coast Recurring Waves is based on a story
by Turgenev. Its grand washes and general mien recalled Sibelius 1 and Louis
Glass's exuberant Fifth Symphony. The recurrent trumpet motif has a virile
confidence suggesting Scriabin's Ecstasy or Fire. The horns
have a tendency to roll in Korngoldian glory and the occasional ardent glance
is cast towards Tchaikovsky's great example (at 16.38 Piano Concerto No 1;
at other times Francesca and Pathétique). Shreds and
tatters of Eulenspiegel also cross the landscape as does the exoticism
of Dukas's La Péri.
Eternal Songs is a big symphonic triptych. It was premiered with Berlin
Philharmonic conducted by Grzegorz Fitelberg on 21 March 1907. Again this
is ripe, discursive, doom-laden music with an exultant proliferation of line
recognisable from Szymanowski's Concert Overture and Schoenberg's
Pelleas. The soundworld is natural and unglamorous. The last panel
opens with a Brucknerian spring in its step. The Sorrowful Tale is
saturated with dreamy passion-prone sentiment and a despair taken from the
finale of Tchaikovsky's Pathétique. The Katowice-based orchestra
are excellent throughout the set though the music would have benefited from
a greater luxuriance from the strings.
The second disc opens with the Lithuanian Rhapsody. This is dark and
Baltic in 'look and feel': Balakirev's Tamara crossed with Sibelius's
En Saga. The music rises from minor chord gloom to a subdued light
sallowly lit by birdsong (à la Nightride and Sunrise). It is
all lovingly shaped by Salwarowski who also delves into a lighter Slavonic
folksiness when the score implies it. Lovers of Bax's Spring Fire will
appreciate the dewy luxuriance at 13.08 and at 14.24 the impact and flurried
fall of the flute. The work ends in high violin harmonics and the same musing
winds that caress Delius's Song of the High Hills.
The Stanislaw poem, while starting bright and positive, soon veers
into darker meres. The sweet oboe line (2.24) and the warmly-shaped Odysseyan
home-coming of the strings (4.02) do little to dispel minor key mood. Suk's
Asrael inhabits the same shadow as do the darker pages of Vitezslav
Novak's tone poems. It is a rhapsodic work but the rhapsody is a dark one
like the disconcerting rustlings and shudders of Bax's Second Symphony and
Miaskovsky's Seventh. There is an epic march at 18.13, a Scriabin-like role
for the trumpets and that resentful slightly catastrophic oppressiveness.
The Episode from a Masquerade is no jolly dance fantasy. Rather it
leans towards a discursive psychological plot recalling Edvard Munch's 'Dance
of Life' with its message of exclusion and loneliness. That said it has its
effervescent Rosenkavalier-like moments touched with Korngold's exultant
vortex, Stravinsky's Firebird, Tchaikovskian horns (12.03), Bantockian
Pre-Raphaelite tendencies, a Baxian harp beat (15.33) and an excitable call
to the dance (early Szymanowski again). The work was completed by Karlowicz's
contemporary champion Grzegorz Fitelberg.
The very full notes are in Polish and English. The set is presented in a
double thickness case.
Truly a dark and secret joy.
The set is available from the conductor who can accept orders by fax:
+48322018193, or by e-mail
The price, including postage is €30
for " Karlowicz Symphonic Poems",
and €20 for the "Famous Caprices".
Payable to GBG BANK, Katowice, account number:
15601108-714691-2700-217874, Jerzy Salwarowski.
Salwarowski conducts the Szczecin Philharmonic SO (which also bears Karlowicz's
name) in a collection of Famous Caprices. These are Lutoslawski's
Paganini Variations (Jaroslaw Drzewiecki, piano), Rachmaninov's
Paganini Rhapsody (Tatiana Szebanova, piano) together with the well
known Caprices of Tchaikovsky and Rimsky. These are all done with considerable
style and no little élan without being specially remarkable as
interpretations. For completists. It plays for 67.13 and is a co-production
with Radio Szczecin on DUX 0105. I would like to hear a modern recording
of Salwarowski directing the Karlowicz Symphony and Violin Concerto. Still
more would it be good to have him directing the Noskowski symphonies.
A NOTE FROM JERZY SALWAROWSKI
Since my youth I have been in love with Karlowicz 's music. I was born in
Cracow in 1946 and later I studied there. I have also visited the nearby
Tatra mountains many times, where the composer lived near the end of his
short life. Underestimated during his life, and later overwhelmed by
Szymanowski's works, his music was not popularised. After the World War 2,
only Szymanowski was promoted again, and also young Polish composers. Karlowicz
was blamed (in my opinion, unjustly) for imitating Wagner and R. Strauss;
his music was even said to be "cinematic"
After I won the Hungarian TV Competition for Conductors, I was presented
with an offer of recording something attractive among Polish music. I knew,
that nobody had recorded the complete Karlowicz Poems up till then; and so
I offered the music which was very special to me. The offer had been accepted,
the recordings with the Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra took place and the
recordings were published on vinyl LP record.
Some time later, the "Wifon" company sold the publishing rights to "Chant
du Monde". After the change of political system in Poland, the mastertapes
became property of Polish Radio, from which I bought them and later published
the CDs through the "DUX" company.
In Poland, I constantly conduct all Karlowicz 's pieces, including the Serenade
for the String Orchestra, the Ouverture "Bianca from Molena", and of course
the Symphony and the Violin Concerto. I have also recorded the cycle of songs
(originally for the voice and the piano, arranged for the orchestra by R.
Bukowski). I also offer Karlowicz to my contacts abroad, but with little
success. Nobody wants music that one does not know.
I have been asked by the "Polish Music Publishing" (PWM) to participate in
the drawing up of the new edition of the Complete Karlowicz 's Works. The
work is already in progress.
My career is developing steadily, but constantly. For the current season,
I was invited by the Kiev Philharmonic, the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, and
by the Everett (Seattle) Symphony Orchestra. I often conduct in Germany,
and in the Czech Republic. I constantly perform in Berlin with my Szczecin
Symphony Orchestra. I am also a guest opera conductor.
I hold a conducting class at the Poznan Academy of Music, and I am also
completing post graduate studies. The topic of my qualifying lecture is of
course Karlowicz. I am ready
to conduct Karlowicz, or any
other music, anytime, anywhere. Jerzy Salwarowski
JERZY SALWAROWSKI - A
A distinguished Polish conductor. He was born in Cracow, where he graduated
with honours from the Academy of Music where he studied composition under
T. Machl and K. Penderecki, conducting under H. Czyz and K. Missona. He perfected
his musical skills at the Chigiana Academy in Siena under F.Ferrara.
He is the winner of national and international competitions:
I and II Conductors Competition Katowice - the Music Critics Prize and Second
International Conductors' Competition in Siena, Italy - First
International Conductors' Competition in Budapest - Second Prize (the first
one was not awarded)
He has conducted chamber and symphonic orchestras as well as opera performances
in Europe, Asia, Africa and the USA. Since 1972 Salwarowski has worked as
conductor and artistic manager for many Orchestras in Poland: in Opole, Katowice,
National Radio Symphonic Orchestra, Silesian Opera, Pomeranian Orch. Bydgoszcz
and Philh. Lublin.
At present (since 1996) Salwarowski has been working as the conductor and
artistic manager of the Torun Chamber Orchestra and simultaneously as the
artistic manager of the Philharmonic in Szczecin.
He holds the academic title of the first degree in symphonic and opera
conducting, obtained at the Academy of Music in Warsaw.
Also he has successfully guest conducted at the National Opera Theatre Warsaw,
Great Opera Theater Lodz, Baltic Opera Gdansk, Cracow Opera and Great Polish
Salwarowski has held many concert tours, including in guest capacity (Polish
Chamber Philh. in Germany, Benelux, Denmark; Silesian Opera in Italy, Germany;
Baltic Opera in Germany, Holland; Polish Opera Wroclaw in Austria, Belgium,
Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, Norway; National Radio Orchestra in Austria,
Italy, Spain; etc. etc.; as well as frequently conducting his own bands.
Cooperating with Polish Radio Orchestras Salwarowski has made numerous archival
recordings. His contribution comprises many CDs for foreign (Amreco, Adda,
Chant du Monde,Thorofon) and Polish (Tonpress, Selene, Wifon) firms . For
Wifon he recorded (with A. Ratusinski and Philh. Katowice) an album of Gershwin's
music and in 1993 he received the Gold Record Award for this recording.
With the Silesian Philh. Orch. Jerzy Salwarowski recorded M.Karlowicz's Symphonic
Poems (compl). In 1999 this album was remastered on 2 CDs and had been nominated
for -Fryderyk 99 prize (for CD artists & creators). He cooperates with
the Polish Music Edition (PWM) by which he was commissioned to direct a new
edition of Karlowicz's works.
Recently he recorded two CDs with Torun Chamber Orchestra - second one is
monographic record Mendelssohn's music as well as a CD of Famous Caprices
with the Szczecin Philh. Orch. (Czajkowski, Lutoslawski, Rachmaninov and
Lately, Jerzy Salwarowski has been giving successful concerts in Hamburg,
Barcelona, Osaka, Skopje, Kair, and Porto, and the -Famous Caprices CD had
been nominated for the -Fryderyk 98 prize.
His new field of artistic activity is the Summer Conducting Course in Torun
(third edition summer 2000), and creation of -Torun Music and Architecture
festival (4th edition summer 2000).
This year (2000) he has been invited to a permanent collaboration with the
Great Theatre of National Opera in Warsaw, where he will be conducting
Nabucco and Carmen.
He holds a Conducting Class in Poznan Academy of Music.