Interdisciplinary Studies in Musicology, 2010

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    From the Editors
    (Katedra Muzykologii, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PTPN, Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM, 2010) Gmys, Marcin; Jasińska, Danuta; Lubońska, Anna
    We hereby present the ninth volume in the series Interdisciplinary Studies in Musicology, entitled 1810-1910-2010: Chopin’s Shadow. Transformations of the composer’s image in culture and the arts. As the title indicates – its first part is indebted to a poem by the once exceptionally popular Young Poland poet Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer – our interest was aroused more by the resonance of his music in the history of culture as broadly understood than by the composer’s actual oeuvre, around which an imposing, multi-storeyed library of Chopin scholarship has already been erected.
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    Chopin and Polish FOLK
    (Katedra Muzykologii, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PTPN, Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM, 2010) Dahlig-Turek, Ewa
    Although Chopin’s music is continually analysed within the context of its affinities with traditional folk music, no one has any doubt that these are two separate musical worlds, functioning in different contexts and with different participants, although similarly alien to the aesthetic of mass culture. For a present-day listener, used to the global beat, music from beyond popular circulation must be “translated” into a language he/she can understand; this applies to both authentic folk music and the music of the great composer. In the early nineties, when folk music was flourishing in Poland (I extend the term “folk” to all contemporary phenomena of popular music that refer to traditional music), one could hardly have predicted that it would help to revive seemingly doomed authentic traditional music, and especially that it would also turn to Chopin. It is mainly the mazurkas that are arranged. Their performance in a manner stylised on traditional performance practice is intended to prove their essentially “folk” character. The primary factor facilitating their relatively unproblematic transformation is their descendental triple-time rhythms. The celebrations of the bicentenary of the birth of Fryderyk Chopin, with its scholarly and cultural events of various weight geared towards the whole of society, gave rise to further attempts at transferring the great composer’s music from the domain of elite culture to popular culture, which brings one to reflect on the role that folk music might play in the transmission and assimilation of artistic and traditional genres.
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    “Od Chopina do … Noskowskiego”? Zygmunt Noskowskis langer Weg zu Chopin
    (Katedra Muzykologii, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PTPN, Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM, 2010) Keym, Stefan
    The aim of this text is to present the process whereby Zygmunt Noskowski grew closer to the music of Chopin, which he initially treated with considerable distance. In the first part of the article, the author analyses verbal testimony of Noskowski’s Chopin reception on the basis of extant columns written by him. Noskowski’s attention first focused on Chopin towards the end of the 1880s, the catalyst being the Chopin anniversaries celebrated in 1894 and 1899, for the purposes of which Noskowski arranged piano compositions by Chopin for orchestra and voice. The picture of Chopin sketched by Noskowski in his press writings contained Classicist components in which his sense of form and his affinities with the work of Bach were underlined; on the other hand, Noskowski stressed in Chopin’s music – as a specifically Polish characteristic – its links with nature. Both these factors influenced the shape of Noskowski’s own music. In the second part of the article, the author shows Chopin’s influence on Noskowski’s compositions, which initially found expression through the intermediary of the dramatic aspects of the Second Symphony of Ignacy Feliks Dobrzyński, and then in episodic links between Noskowski’s symphonic poem Step [The steppe] and Chopin’s Rondo à la krakowiak, Op. 14. The climactic point of Noskowski’s dialogue with Chopin is defined by his programmatic-patriotic orchestral work Z życia… [narodu] [From the life… [of the nation]], in which Chopin’s Prelude in A major from opus 28 served as the basis for a set of variations; this work, despite a number of inconsistencies, is regarded by the author as an important work, both in its from and in its culturalhistorical significance.
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    Accents of Chopin anniversaries in territories annexed by Prussia
    (Katedra Muzykologii, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PTPN, Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM, 2010) Piotrowska, Magdalena
    This article discusses the way in which the Chopin Year of 1910 was celebrated in Wielkopolska. It presents a script prepared in the nineteenth century and shows similarities with celebrations of Mickiewicz and other Polish heroes and artists. Invariably used in such commemorations was a “symbolic capital” that made it easier to create an intergenerational code, thereby disseminating knowledge of national culture and history. A significant role was played in 1910 by a centenary panel, which produced “Guidelines for popular Chopin celebrations” and also many occasional, popular materials. Chopin’s induction into the national pantheon involved the use of audio material (vocal and instrumental concerts), verbal material (articles, poems, lectures and brochures) and also a visual code (anniversary window stickers, tableaux vivants or tableaux illuminés). Illuminated pictures – recommended by a catalogue of slides produced in Poznań – stimulated the imagination of the masses and served as a guide through the composer’s life and work, and their impact was enhanced by a commentary. Most of the living pictures were probably inspired by Henryk Siemiradzki’s canvas Chopin grający na fortepianie w salonie księcia Radziwiłła [Chopin playing the piano in Prince Radziwiłł’s salon] and Józef Męcina Krzesz’s painting Ostatnie akordy Chopina [Chopin’s last chords]. This combination of codes made it possible to create a model adapted to the times and to the expectations of a mass audience. The Chopin anniversary, in which admiration was inseparably intertwined with manipulation, was a pretext for strengthening the national identity.
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    Chopin and the Warsaw literati – part two
    (Katedra Muzykologii, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PTPN, Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM, 2010) Nowicka, Elżbieta
    Chopin’s life in Warsaw fell at a time of important phenomena and processes in history, the arts, aesthetics, etc. This article deals with the artistic and social milieu to which the composer belonged and looks at the question of the common artistic imagination and aesthetic ideas elaborated within that environment, based on the example of Chopin and two poets: Stefan Witwicki and Dominik Magnuszewski. Chopin’s relationship with Witwicki, which gave rise to his songs to the poet’s texts and lasted into their time in exile, is considered in respect to discussion on folk culture that was on-going at that time. That culture was treated as a sign of the nobly archaic or else as a manifestation of modern art, of the “art of the future”. These convictions did not function as alternatives; their overlapping characterised various aspects of early romanticism. The output of Magnuszewski, meanwhile, shows the transformation of traditional figures of rhetoric into Romantic means of expression. It displays a style of writing that constitutes an act of Romantic hermeneutics in respect to the language of tradition. Avoiding simple comparisons of works of very different artistic level and significance, the author analyses Chopin’s relationships with the two poets by reference to the generational experience – as variously understood – of creative artists born during the first decade of the nineteenth century, which connected artists of different levels of talent and varying individual fortunes.
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    On collective forms of the Chopin cult in Poland during the nineteenth century
    (Katedra Muzykologii, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PTPN, Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM, 2010) Dziadek, Magdalena
    This article is devoted to specific forms of the Chopin cult that developed in Poland during the nineteenth century. Due to the socio-political situation in the country during the period of the Partitions and the influence of tradition, this cult was manifest first and foremost in the joint experiencing of anniversaries connected with the composer on the part of members of local communities or the entire nation. The basic medium of that experience was the press, in which biographic articles, sketches on his music and also poetical works devoted to the composer were an obligatory part of the anniversaries of Chopin’s birth and death. In this way, the Chopin cult in Poland became primarily a literary phenomenon. Also linked to the traditional culture of the letter that was Polish culture of the nineteenth century is the characteristic form of the Chopin cult known as the obchód. The communal character of the obchód was reflected in its specific form and content. One of the prime concerns was the need to forcibly communicate the fact that Chopin’s music was a national good. Thus at the centre of the theatrically-managed obchód stood an orator or actor declaiming against the background of Chopin’s music. For the purposes of these declamations, a huge amount of literature was produced, examples of which are discussed in the article. Another characteristic “anniversary” product were re-workings of Chopin compositions for large orchestral and choral forces, treated as “ceremonial”. One example of a Chopin celebration displaying the features discussed were the Lviv Chopin celebrations in 1910, which the author describes in more detail.
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    Fryderyk Chopin in popular instrumental music
    (Katedra Muzykologii, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PTPN, Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM, 2010) Kasperski, Jakub
    The author considers whether Fryderyk Chopin and his oeuvre may be regarded as part of popular culture – and if so, to what extent. However, the text is mostly taken up with analysis of popular instrumental music inspired by Chopin’s works in various ways: from simple quotation, adaptation and transcription to more sophisticated instrumentation and arrangement, free improvisation or even the creation of a completely new work derived from a single motif or sample from Chopin. Consequently, the author deals with the problem of reception, but also with the issue of transculturation and the relationship between high and popular culture. The article shows and describes the variety of Chopin inspiration in a wide range of styles and genres of popular music, such as rock music, easy-listening, electronic music, dance music and disco.
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    Chopin and jazz. The case of Andrzej Jagodziński’s arrangement of the Prelude in E minor
    (Katedra Muzykologii, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PTPN, Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM, 2010) Madeła, Patrycja
    The current of jazz interpretations of Chopin’s music appeared in Polish jazz in the early 1990s. On the one hand, it is the most original and native stylistic trend of all trends influencing jazz in Poland. On the other, it is an exceptional phenomenon internationally, since no works of classical music have received so many jazz arrangements worldwide. The achievements of Polish jazz pianists in this regard have become most representative, since piano texture and the process of improvisation on a given theme show the most obvious references – not only musically, but also emotionally – to the musical language of Chopin. The recording of the award-winning album Chopin by the Andrzej Jagodziński Trio in December 1993 triggered a host of artistic arrangements of Chopin works by Polish jazz pianists, each of which constitutes an individual approach to the Chopin material, reflected in basic factors such as the criteria for the selection of compositions or themes and the process of the original’s transformation. Most jazz arrangements of Chopin’s music involve the piano miniatures that dominate the composer’s oeuvre. This is due to the clarity of the melodic lines, which inspire artists to turn them into themes for jazz standards. The Prelude in E minor, Op. 28 No. 4 has become the most frequently arranged piece of Chopin’s music in the field of jazz. The numerous arrangements are also stylistically diverse. Jagodziński’s arrangement is an example of this pattern being adapted for use in a jazz context. For him, the themes and mood of Chopin’s music have become a pretext for the creation of his own jazz compositions largely inspired by Chopin’s melodies and harmonies, but also by symmetrical form. Arrangements of Chopin’s music have been continually criticised by purists, who regard such procedures as a sort of profanation (any patriotic content in Chopin’s original compositions seems to vanish in the chaos of jazz improvisation, which disturbs the integral form of the originals). The basic problem here seems to be ignorance of the fact that Chopin’s music is essentially only a pretext, a kind of external emblem, for the creation of entirely new compositions, carrying different content, characterised by the author’s individuality.
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    Fryderyk Chopin’s correspondence from the perspective of body studies. The discovery of corporeality
    (Katedra Muzykologii, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PTPN, Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM, 2010) Sosnowska, Danuta
    The author analyses Fryderyk Chopin’s correspondence within the context of the new humanities field of body studies. The socio-cultural anthropology of the body has been an object of study since the 1980s. It has enabled the extraction of the picture of a cultural body inscribed in Chopin’s correspondence, and it has also shown how his conception of his own soma and of the bodies of other people diverge from the Romantic convention of writing about corporeality. In the age of romanticism, sickness and physical weakness were glorified like a gift and a badge of spiritual aristocracy. A suffering and frail complexion became a value in the salons – a laissezpasser to the world of artistic sensitivity. Chopin never succumbed to that fashion. His record of his corporeal experience is strikingly un-Romantic, as can be seen, for example, when comparing it with the narration of sickness contained in the correspondence of Zygmunt Krasiński. The corporeal experience displayed by the great musician is striking in its modernity. Chopin rejects the Romantic lyricisation of sickness; his utterances are pithy, dominated by sarcasm and even physiological brutality, and the style of his description of corporeality employs grotesqueness, irony and absurdity. Human subjectivity sensed through the body paints a picture of a fragmentary, disharmonious self; people reveal themselves to the eyes of others not as a whole, but as an abbreviation, a representative detail. Visions of mechanised bodies, whose behaviour and actions are hyperbolised by the musician, bring us – especially during the last years of Chopin’s life – into a world where corporeality is a source of strangeness, and even repugnance. In the conclusion of the article, the author denies that Chopin’s music can be directly translated into a moving picture: she states that neither his illness nor any other experiences of his bodily existence can be treated in an illustrative way that purports to “illuminate” his music directly.
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    The play of nerves. Chopin in the era of mental disorder
    (Katedra Muzykologii, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PTPN, Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM, 2010) Okulicz-Kozaryn, Radosław
    This article concerns the neurotic image of Chopin that took shape in the 1880s and became popular during the Young Poland period. At that time, features highlighted from earlier descriptions of the composer’s character – over-sensitivity, over-sentimentality, excessive delicacy, emotional instability and inner complexity – were most spectacularly portrayed in the works of painters and sculptors such as Władysław Podkowiński, Wojciech Weiss, Bolesław Biegas and the designer of the monument in the Łazienki Royal Baths Park in Warsaw – Wacław Szymanowski. Critics and writers also helped to form the new portrait of the composer: Stanisław Przybyszewski, Cezary Jellenta, Wacław Nałkowski and Antoni Potocki. Their utterances allow us to grasp the dependency of the new picture on the theory of neuroses, advanced in 1881 by George Miller Beard and then developed and popularised during the last quarter of the nineteenth century by Richard Kraff-Ebing and Paolo Mantegazza, among others. Nervousness was considered to be the dominated feature of modern civilisation. These concepts were also influential in music criticism. Representatives of nervousness in music proved to be the Richards – Wagner and Strauss – and also Juliusz Zarębski and Ignacy Jan Paderewski. The latter, in a speech from 1911, depicted Chopin implicitly in terms of nervousness, which was also becoming a feature of the Polish national character. However, theories of neuroses were applied first and foremost to the individual psyche. The fundamental inner conflict of modern man, exposed to a surfeit of external stimuli, supposedly arose between the over-developed brain and the rest of the nervous system, as the centre of feelings and will. And it was the paresis of emotions and volition that brought a growth in the role of music, which, depending on a particular author’s assessment, either was itself the result and expression of nervous disturbance and contributed to the further deepening of the process of destruction (the stance of Antoni Sygietyński) or else filled the space left by subordinated emotions and enabled them to rebuild (the opinion of the novelist Eliza Orzeszkowa). The view of Chopin as a eulogist of new sensitivity was made manifest in Maurice Rollinat’s volume of poetry Les Nervoses, which caused quite a stir in the mid 1880s, and it was represented in Poland by Zenon Przesmycki’s Życie, and a philosophical treatise by Jean-Marie Guyau published in that periodical in 1887.
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    Chopin – Grottger
    (Katedra Muzykologii, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PTPN, Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM, 2010) Poniatowska, Irena
    Is Stanisław Tarnowski’s linking of Fryderyk Chopin and Artur Grottger in his Dwa szkice [Two sketches] justified? Well, the connection is substantiated by the “Romantic-leaning” point of view and the idea of the correspondance des arts that characterised the nineteenth century in which the two creative artists (and Tarnowski himself) lived, although they represented different creative fields. Both the musician Chopin and the artist Grottger were regarded as poets. The former on account of the poetic of his piano playing and musical works, the latter for the poetical dimension of his pictures devoted to the January Rising. Tarnowski called Chopin the fourth bard of Poland, alongside Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Słowacki and Zygmunt Krasiński, and Grottger the poet of the Rising, since – as he paradoxically stated – the poetical narrator of those events could only be an artist. Terminology of a literary character belonged to the lexicon of notions employed by critics of art and music at that time. Besides this, the national character is inscribed in the idiom of the work of both these creative artists – the thoroughly patriotic stance that was so strongly manifest in the output of Polish romanticism. Another common denominator in their work is the concept of the cycle. With Chopin, the 24 Preludes, Op. 28 comprise a cycle in which the bonding element is the succession of major keys and their relative minor keys according to the circle of fifths, but they are also an expressive cycle of various states of mind, from despair to joyous reverie. The Preludes show both the semantic capacities and the suppleness of Chopin’s musical language; that is, the ability to express the same feelings through various purely musical means, without any programmatic motto. With Grottger, we have the cycles Warszawa [Warsaw] (two cycles), Polonia, Lituania and Wojna [War]. In them, the metonymy of the narrative sequences is coupled with the notional exposition, with the symbolism. Grottger portrays not the historical scenes of the Rising, but the feelings of grief, despair and fear of individual people, reflecting their experiences. And so the concept is similar. Chopin’s Preludes are like sketches, aphoristic utterances; sketches are also important in the work of Grottger, partly as a self-contained genre. A third plane of analogy is the reduction of media. Chopin confines himself essentially to the piano, from which he produces startling tonal qualities, although he did write several works for chamber or orchestral forces. Grottger, meanwhile, draws his cycles solely in black pencil, using white only to heighten contrasts and give the effect of chiaroscuro. He did not wish to distract the attention of viewers, but wanted them to concentrate on the symbol.
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    On the trail of a trail, the trace of a trace. Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer’s Cień Chopina and its compositional interpretations
    (Katedra Muzykologii, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PTPN, Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM, 2010) Gmys, Marcin
    At the beginning of this article, the author points out how quickly the image of Chopin as an artist who wrestled all his life with a mortal sickness (Chopin as a “singer of Weltschmerz”) took shape – an image which was subsequently taken up by European art of the fin de siècle. Attention then turns to the poem Cień Chopina [Chopin’s shadow], by the poet Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer, highly fashionable during the Young Poland period, which can be ascribed to the “Weltschmerz current”. In contrast to earlier interpreters of this lyric, the author does not identify the lyrical subject of Tetmajer’s poem with the shadow (that is, the soul) of the Polish composer, but – referring to the observations of Barbara Sienkiewicz, who applied the Heideggerian formula of the “trace of a trace” to her exegesis of Tetmajer’s works – maintains that its hero is the shadow of Chopin’s shadow (or the shadow of his soul). Going on to analyse four song settings of this poem composed during the period 1900–1926 by Władysław Żeleński, Stanisław Lipski, Juliusz Wertheim and Ryta Gnus, and also the composition Cień Chopina by Witold Friemann (1913-46), scored for piano, baritone and orchestra, the author arrives at the conclusion that four composers – Żeleński, Wertheim, Gnus and Friemann – interpreted Tetmajer’s lyric in a way that is not entirely in keeping with the poet’s intentions. These composers, employing stereotypical Chopin formulas (a quasi-folk drone or chords imitating bells) or allusions to specific Chopin works, treated the lyrical subject of Tetmajer’s poem as identical to Chopin’s soul. Only Stanisław Lipski, who in his song forged a “pastoral scene”, referring to some extent to the most important features of the pastoral idiom elaborated by Beethoven on the pages of his Sixth Symphony, interpreted the figure of the lyrical subject of Tetmajer’s poem, listening to voices from the past, as a “double epiphenomenon” – a shadow of Chopin’s shadow.
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    Sketch for a portrait of Kalkbrenner and Chopin
    (Katedra Muzykologii, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PTPN, Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM, 2010) Jasińska, Danuta
    In this article, the author sketches a portrait of Kalkbrenner and Chopin against the background of musical practice during the 1830s. On the basis of sources, including Chopin’s correspondence and the opinions of his contemporaries and of Chopin scholars, an attempt is made to distinguish characteristic features of the two composers in their mutual relations. Their contacts are outlined, as well as their artistic activities, with particular emphasis on Chopin’s first concert in Paris and the role of pianistic virtuosity linked with the style brillant. Attention is drawn to the properties of the Pleyel piano which Kalkbrenner and Chopin both preferred and to the differing playing aesthetics and artistic images of the two composer-virtuosos. Chosen for the purposes of stylistic comparison are their methods of piano playing, with the accent on the schematic nature of Kalkbrenner’s “finger technique”, whilst most crucial for Chopin was to bring out the beautiful quality of the sound. In the closing remarks, it is stated that the two musicians, in their pianistic, compositional and pedagogic activities, represented the distinct antithesis of one another and two different schools. Prominent in the portrait of Kalkbrenner are distinct connections with the convention of the style brillant, whilst the portrait of Chopin, who broke through those conventions, is marked by features more profound and individualised.
Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Biblioteka Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego