Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Great Polish Composers: Tadeusz Szeligowski

Great Polish Composer Tadeusz Szeligowski
1896 - 1963
Tadeusz Szeligowski was a famous Polish composer, music teacher, and lawyer. Among his greatest works were operas such as The Rise of the Scholars, Krakatuk and Theodor Gentlemen; and ballets such as The Peacock, the Girl, and Mazepa. He also composed violin concertos, as well as chamber and choral works. Szeligowski worked as a music teacher in Vilnius, Lublin, Poznan and Warsaw. He wrote for prestigious music journals and magazines such as Kurier Wilenski, Tygodnik Wilenski, Myzyka, and the Kurier Poznanski. 

Of his many achievements, he founded the Poznan Philharmonic (1947-49) and the Poznan Musical spring, the latter which was one of the most important music festivals of the time.

Like many of his contemporaries, Tadeusz had his first music and piano lessons from his mother.  When only fourteen years of age he began formal music studies at the prestigious Conservatory of Music of the Polish Society in Lvov.

Tadeusz studied piano under the tutelage of Vilem Kurz and then with Zdzislaw Jachimecki and A. Peter; and then studied composition with Boleslaw Wallek-Walewski. Szeligowski enrolled at the famous Jagiellonian University in Krakow, specializing in musicology and law, receiving his doctorate in 1922.

In Krakow he obtained employment as a repetiteur at the Kraków Opera House, a position which gave him the opportunity to become well versed with opera repertoires.

Between 1929 and 1931, he completed his studies in Paris and met many of his contemporaries such as Sergei Prokofiev, George Enesco, and Arthur Honegger.  He also studied composition with the renown Madame Nadia Boulanger and orchestration with Paul Dukas. (Incidentally, Madame Boulanger was a famous French composer whose students included American songwriter Burt Bacharach, Quincy Jones, Wojcheck Kilar, Aaron Copland and so many more!)

In Paris, Tadeusz immersed himself in music, attending many concerts and studying the newest compositions created by Darius Milhaud and Francis Poulenc. He also attended many ballet productions, which featured magnificent performances by Vladimir Horowitz, Arthur Rubinstein, and Ignacy Jan Paderewski. (the latter was also Prime Minister of Poland during the pre-war years.) When he resided in Vilnius (Lithuania) working as a lawyer and lecturer at the Conservatory of Music, he met the famous composer Karol Szymanowski and was immediately enthralled by his music. Tadeusz also composed music for many theatrical productions at the famous Reduta Theatre.

In 1931 upon his return to Poland, he continued teaching music until 1939 after which he relocated to Lublin for a short while. World War II broke out on September 1, 1939. After the end of the war he worked for the State Higher School of Music in Poznan, and was appointed director of the National Opera Academy. He was also one of the organizers of the prestigious H. Wieniawski International Violin Competition. Between 1951 and 1962, Tadeusz worked for the faculty of the Fryderik Copin University of Music in Warsaw, followed by a position as director of the Polish Society of Composers.

Among many of the students who graduated from composition study included the likes of Zbigniew Bargielski, Augustyn Bloch, Joanna Bruzdowicz, Wojciech Lukaszewski, Tadeusz Wojciech Maklakiewicz, Boleslaw Ocias, Witold Rudzinski, Marek Sart, Aleksander Szeligowski and Antoni Szuniewicz.

Today Lvov is belongs to the Ukraine. But from the 15th century until the outbreak of World War II, the city was in Polish hands. Then, it was named Lwow, and was the most important jewel of Poland, a great cultural centre to which the major contributors were Polish and Jews, but also Germans, Ukrainians and Armenians. Lwow, then, as now (in Lviv) had an opera house, symphonic orchestra, conservatory of music and an elite music society. In the hub of this great musical atmosphere, Tadeusz acted as a social organizer, welcoming visiting musicians such as Felix Weingartner, Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner, who often performed their famous works.

Tadeusz Szeligowski died in Poznań on January 10, 1963. He is now buried in the Poznan Skalka crypt of Merit




Orchestral works

The Peasant King - Overture to the comedy of Piotr Baryka for orchestra (1926)
Kaziuki - St. Casimir's Day, suite for orchestra (1928–29)
Concerto for Orchestra (1930)
Archaic Suite for orchestra (1930)
Little Suite for orchestra (1931)
Clarinet Concerto (1933)
Andante for clarinet and orchestra (1933)
Blue Bird - suite for orchestra (1936)
Epitaph on the death of Karol Szymanowski for string orchestra (1937)
Carol Suite for string orchestra (1939)
Piano Concerto (1941)
Suite for small orchestra of Lublin (1945)
Kupałowa night - suite for orchestra (1945)
Nocturno for orchestra (1947)
Comedy Overture for small symphony orchestra (1952)
The peacock and girl ballet suite for orchestra (1953)
Four Polish Dances for symphony orchestra (1954)

Chamber music

Lithuanian Song for violin and piano (1928)
String Quartet No. 1 (1928–29)
Ricercar for 4 voices, instrumental or vocal (1931)
String Quartet No. 2 (1934-1935)
Trio for oboe, viola and cello (1935)
Fish ball, song for children's team (1937)
Air grave et gai air for English horn and piano (1940)
Nocturno for cello and piano (1943)
Dance for cello and piano (1943–45)
Poem for cello and piano (1943–45)
Pastorale for cello and organ (1943–45)
Sarabande for cello and organ (1943–45)
Orientale for Cello and Piano (1945)
Quintet for wind instruments (1953)
Sonata for flute and piano (1953)
On the meadow, suite for 2 pianos (1955)
Trio for violin, cello and piano (1955-1956)
Polish love songs for recorders (1959)

Solos (Pianoforte)

Variations on a folk song for piano (1927)
Guitars of Zalamea, for piano (1938–39)
Sonatina for piano (1940–41)
Russian Dance, for piano (1942)
Sonata in d minor for piano (1949)
Two etudes on double sounds for piano (1952)
Small pieces for piano (1952)
Odds and ends for four hands, for piano (1952)

Vocal Score

For solo voices

Nos qui sumus - motet for two male voices (1929)
O vos omnes - motet for three female voices (1929)
Timor et tremor - motet for contralto and tenor (1929)
Missa de Angelis for 3 female voices (1942)
Ave Maria for three female voices (1943 )
Regina Coeli Laetare for 3 female voices (1943)
Populations meus for 3 female voices (1943)
Veni Creator for 3 female voices (1943)

For choir a cappella

Two Belarusian songs for mixed choir (1930)
Under the canopy of snow - Christmas carol for mixed choir (1933–34)
Angela sang sweetly - motet for mixed choir (1934)
Quail - Belarusian folk song for male choir (1934)
Regina Coeli Laetare for mixed choir (1934)
Already we have time for male choir (1935)
Song of the sailors, for mixed choir (1938)
Psalm Joyful in memoriam of Guillaume Dufay for mixed choir (1938)
Mass for choir (1942)
Stabat Mater for mixed choir (1943)
Pange lingua in mixed choir (1943)
Five folk songs from Lublin region for choir female or child (1945)
Five folk songs from the Lublin region for 3 mixed choir (1945)
Four wedding songs from the Lublin region for mixed choir (1945)
Koszalka - Opałka, scherzo for male choir (1946)
A wyjrzyjcież, youths, song for mixed choir (1948)
Song of the 10th anniversary [version II] for mixed choir a cappella (1955)
Psalm CXVI "Laudate Dominum" for mixed choir and boys' (1960)

Vocal and instrumental

For voice and piano

Wanda, song for voice and piano (1927)
Lithuanian folk songs for voice and piano (1927)
Song of the green for voice and piano (1929)
Lilies - ballad for voice and piano (1929)
Oaks - elegy for voice and piano (1929)
In alder - idyll for voice and piano (1929)
Hops - wedding song for voice and piano (1929)
Floral allegories for voice and piano (1934)
Songs to the words of Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz for voice and piano (1945)
Green brzózko, song for voice and piano (1947)
My Girl, song for voice and piano (1947)
The Rose Highway, song for voice and piano (1947)
Arion for tenor and piano (1949)
Demon for tenor and piano (1949)
Doves for soprano and piano (1949)
The Ballad of Kostka Napierski for voice and piano (1951)
With three Mauretankach, song for voice and piano (1953)
Soledad for voice and piano (1960)

For various vocal and instrumental ensembles

Psalm XVI - oratorio (1931)
Latin Mass for mixed choir and organ (1932)
Cherry Blues for voice, cello and piano (1934)
Ave Maria for soprano, female choir and organ (1943)
Aria for soprano and organ (1943)
Sit down everybody around us, suite 12 popular songs from the years 1810 to 1875 for mixed choir (or soprano and alto) and piano (1945)
Triptych for soprano and orchestra (1946)
Cantata for sport "100 m" for solo voice, choir and orchestra (1948)
Wedding Suite for soprano, tenor, female chorus, mixed chorus and piano (1948)
Wedding in Lublin for soprano, mixed choir and small orchestra (1948)
The young master and a girl, musical dialogue for soprano, baritone, mixed choir and orchestra or piano (1948-1949)
Rhapsody for soprano and orchestra (1949)
Of hearts card, cantata for soprano, mixed choir and symphony orchestra (1952)
Sophie, suite for choir and orchestra (1952)
Renegade, ballad for bass and orchestra or piano (1953)
Song of the 10th anniversary [version] for choir.

Stage works

The peacock and the girl, ballet in 3 acts (1948)
Bunt żaków (Student Rebellion), opera in 4 acts (1951)
Krakatuk, opera in 3 acts with a prologue (1954)
Mazepa, ballet in 3 acts (1958)
Theodore Gentleman, opera in 2 acts ( 1960)


Szeligowski was bestowed with numerous awards, and medals. The following is just a few of them!

1949 – Third prize at the Second Composers' Competition for Chopin's Piano Sonata d-moll.
1949 – Second prize at the Polish Radio Competition for the song The Prince and the girl.
1950 – State prize of the second degree for The peacock and the girl, Arion, and the Lublin Wedding.
1951 – State prize of the first degree for the opera stage Rise of the scholars,
1963 – Prize Prime Minister of Poland for his music for children and youth.
1963 – Music Award of the PCU, awarded every 17 January by the Polish Composers Union (ZKP — Zwiazek Kompozytorow Polskich) for lifetime achievement (posthumous)
The City of Poznań Music Prize (year unknown)
1952 – Gold Cross of Merit (ZŁOTYM KRZYZEM ZASŁUGI)
1952 – Medal Order of Polonia Restituta.
1966 – A commemorative plaque designed by Józef Kopczyński and placed at House 22, Chełmoński street, in Poznań, where he lived from 1947.

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