Two Theremins and a Laptop

I only have occasional guests on my programs since I am only on the air once a week, however the beginning of this year already looks very exciting.

In March, during the 9th annual series “In Praise of Woman”, Tania León and Roxana Panufnik will join me live in the WPRB studio.

Also, next Wednesday, January 11, at 10:00am till 12:30pm I will host the young Polish composer, living now in USA, Jakub Ciupiński, aka Żak, whom I discovered some months ago on Google while searching materials on the first electronic instrument, the Theremin.

It just happens that Jakub actually built a modern version – a system out of two Theremins and a laptop with his own software to perform live electronic music.

I hope you can check this really cool video:

I know that I do not need any excuse to present any specials on my program. I do love to prepare these, especially when I have occasional foreign guests.

John Psathas was my guest on “IN THE LAND OF KIWI” – A MUSICAL VOYAGE TO NEW ZEALAND, Ross Edwards joined me on “CLASSICAL DISCOVERIES GOES OUTBACK “ 
Musical Voyage to Australia and Ēriks Ešenvalds was a guest of  FROM RIGA WITH LOVE – Musical Voyage to LATVIA

I have regrets that I could not do a whole Serbian program with Aleksandra Vrebalov this past summer, unfortunately, my Serbian music collection on CD is a bit on the small side.

Since Jakub Ciupiński is Polish, my program for next week will be titled “POLISH MUSIC BEYOND CHOPIN AND GORECKI”.

Anyone who listens to Classical Discoveries knows that I have a weakness for music from Eastern Europe and the Baltic region.  The music of Poland however has a special place for me since my wife was born there and introduced me to this wonderful country and it’s arts, music and of course, it’s food.

I am not going dwell much on the subject of Polish music since I devoted time to it last summer.

So, get ready for more Polish music on Classical Discoveries from 5:30am till 10:00am and some Avant-Garde at 12:30pm till 1:00pm.

From 10:00am till 12:30pm there will be talk and much music by my guest. Since Ciupiński is a very diversified composer who writes in all styles from traditional classical to pop/world, and electronic, his music will be perfect for both programs, “Classical Discoveries” and “Classical Discoveries Goes Avant-Garde.”

As I mentioned before, Polish music is very common on my weekly programs and below are some links to various playlists that focused partially or were totally devoted  to works of Polish composers.

Some other programs devoted to Polish music:

01-11-2012 – Polish Music Beyond Chopin and Górecki – 2012 Edition

10-26-2011 – Spotlight on Andrzej Panufnik

06-15-2011– From The Baltic Sea To The Tatra Mountain – Part 2

06-13-2011 – From The Baltic Sea To The Tatra Mountain- Part 1

05-08-2011 – Marta Ptaszyńska – Opera, Pan Marimba

10-27-2010 and 08-15-2007 – A MUSICAL PORTRAIT OF POLISH COMPOSER WOJCIECH KILAR 

05-26-2010 – Musical Portrait Of Stanisław Sylwester Szarzyński

11-08-2009 – Polish Moods – Classical Discoveries Goes Jazz

06-05-2009 – Paweł Łukaszewski – A Musical Portrait

08-06-2008 – From The Baltic Sea To The Tatra Mountain – Millennium of Polish Music

09-07-2007  and 08-31-2007 – Warsaw Autum – The 50th Anniversary

05-24-2006 – The Glorous Sounds Of Polish Baroque

09-01-2004 – Polish Music Beyond Chopin and Górecki – 3

08-22-2004 – Krzysztof Penderecki – Opera, Ubu Rex

03-26-2003 – Polish Music Beyond Chopin and Górecki – 2

12-16-2001 – Moniuszko, Stanisław – Opera, Haunted Manor

09-02-2001 – Moniuszko, Stanisław – Opera, Halka

05-01-2001 – Polish Music Beyond Chopin and Górecki – 1

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Musical Travel to Poland with Classical Discoveries

 FROM THE BALTIC SEA TO THE TATRA MOUNTAINS

On WPRB 103.3FM and Internet at: http://www.wprb.com/listen.php

Part 1 – Monday,  June 13, 2011  –  5:30 – 11:00am

Part 2 – Wednesday,  June 15, 2011  –  5:30 – 11:00am

and Avant-Garde Edition –  11:00am – 1:00pm

 

I always had a weakness for music from Eastern Europe especially Poland, long before I met my Polish born wife. A few trips to Poland help me to beef up my already substantial CD and LP collection and my radio program became a good forum to share these findings with listeners.

I will never forget the first time I heard Penderecki’s Threnody on the radio and how overwhelmed and scared I was. That was my first exposure to Avant-Garde music and opened my eyes (and ears of course!) to a totally different world. Next was Stockhausen’s Momente and Pithoprakta of Xenakis.

During my 14 years on WPRB I suspect that I have played more Polish composers than possibly any one else in this country and have devoted at least 7 full programs to Polish music.  In addition I have presented Moniuszko’s operas Halka and Straszny Dwór, Ptaszyńska’s Pan Miramba and Penderecki’s Ubu Rex.

I keep playlists going back to 2001 and you are welcome to check them out. Some links are below.

08-06-2008FROM THE BALTIC SEA TO THE TATRA MOUNTAINS – Millennium of Polish Music
09-01-2004 – POLISH MUSIC BEYOND CHOPIN AND GÓRECKI – 3
03-26-2003 – POLISH MUSIC BEYOND CHOPIN AND GÓRECKI – 2
05-01-2001 –  POLISH MUSIC BEYOND CHOPIN AND GÓRECKI – 1

I do not play Chopin (except unusual arrangements) even though I love and perform his music.  He along with others few are well-known here in USA and do not need my support.

Poland is sometimes a misunderstood country, with the preconceived notion that it is just an agricultural country with little culture. Poland actually has one of the oldest Universities in Europe, and the Polish Court was always closer to the West than the East.

Wawel - Royal Castle in Krakow

Some months ago my wife got angry after reading a CD review with music from the Court of Polish Kings. The reviewer was disappointed not to hear any folk and nationalistic tunes in the music. I do understand my wife’s reaction to this comment, after hearing many times snappy remarks that only ham grows in Poland.

This reviewer would not expect to hear traditional tunes in the music from the court of Louis the XIV, and the title of the recording was not “Music from Polish villages and country sides.” It takes only a few minutes on Google to find that Polish Kings employed the best architects, painters, musicians and composers from all over the Europe and some Polish composers were educated abroad. This leads to the following question. Why should the music for Polish Kings sound much different from music in Italy or Germany?

The tradition of Polish music goes back to the Medieval and Renaissance. Unfortunately though, much Polish music has been lost forever during multiple wars and political uprisings.

The political changes after the World War II caused some composers to leave the country. After a few political uprisings, composers were allowed some freedom and this is how the Polish Avant-Garde was born. I call it Music of Defiance.

Electing a Pole to the position as head of the Catholic Church led to more tonal and spiritual music often inspired by religion. His election eventually led to the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.

With the fall of the communist government, Polish composers and artists lost support and subsidy, and began facing same financial problems that plague Americans. The Poles are learning how to survive in the capitalistic world where the arts tend go first under the butcher’s knife.

Despite the problems, much great music is  created in Poland, and I am very happy to always share the treasures of Polish music with others.

Whose music will you expect to hear?

Here are a few names, some of which might be more known to regular Classical Discoveries listeners.

Grażyna Bacewicz, Tadeusz Baird, Miłosz Bembinow, Wojciech Kilar, Piotr Klimek. Zygmunt Krauze, Paweł Łukaszewski, Krzysztof Meyer, Stanisław Moryto, Andrzej Panufnik, Weronika Ratusińska, Marian Sawa and Romuald Twardowski.

There will also be some sampling of early music as well.

These programs will barely scratch the surface, but better these than nothing.

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