Beyond Cohesion: Classical Songs from the Polish Partitions

My ideas in organizing this concert centered on the years during the Partitions of Poland when rightful artistic emphasis was put into keeping the Polish citizens of Prussia, the Russian Empire and Austria-Hungary self-aware and proud.

After the unsuccessful uprisings of 1830 and 1863, a focus on domestic improvement called Positivism appeared which today might be called “organic”. At the same time, classical artistry in song was beginning to reach a degree of importance already felt for years in Western Europe.

The great patriotic hymns of the 19th century and before, continuing to burn in the collective consciousness, were soon joined by a classical component of song which has never enjoyed much of an audience.

The often noticeable doses of folk idiom and coded lyric in these songs showed that one of the goals of Polish art of the era stayed intact, but now composers could take melody and rhythm way beyond the march and mazurka. Chopin already had some years before – to somewhat auspicious result!

And the songs’ relative lack of audience thus far wouldn’t be a crime if the pieces weren’t so beautiful…

Prop Thtr, Chicago, IL
Sunday, June 30, 2013

Mark Piekarz, tenor
Una Stroda, piano

1. Moja piosenka [c.1871] – My Song
Aleksander Zarzycki (1834–1895)
Józef Ignacy Kraszewski (1812–1887)

2. Jeśli jest ten kwiat złoty [c.1873] – If It Is This Golden Flower
Aleksander Zarzycki (1834–1895)
Victor Hugo (1802–1885), tr. Kornel Ujejski (1823 – 1897)

3. Pieśń Jaruhy [1879] – Jaruha’s Song
Władysław Żeleński (1837–1921)
Józef Ignacy Kraszewski (1812–1887)

4. Zawsze i wszędzie – Always and Everywhere
Władysław Żeleński (1837–1921)
Zygmunt Krasiński (1812–1859)

5. Na ligawce – On the Ligawka
Stanisław Niewiadomski (1859–1936)
Marian Gawalewicz (1852–1910)

6. Na początku nic nie było – In the beginning, there was nothing
Stanisław Niewiadomski (1859–1936)
Adam Asnyk (1838–1897)

7. Dumka – Ukrainian Song
Piotr Maszyński (1855–1934)
Maria Konopnicka (1842-1910), “Po rosie, IV”

8. Żórawie – The Cranes
Piotr Maszyński (1855–1934)
Maria Konopnicka (1842–1910)

9. O zmroku niebios – In the Dark Firmament
Eugeniusz Pankiewicz (1857–1898)
Heinrich Heine (1797–1856), tr. Adam Mieleszko-Maliszkiewicz

10. Zawód – Disappointment
Felicjan Szopski (1865–1939)
Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer (1865 – 1940)

11. Pożegnanie – The Farewell
Zygmunt Noskowski (1846–1909)
Władysław Noskowski

12. Dwie zwrotki do Imionnika Jadwigi M. – Two stanzas from the diary of Jadwiga M.
Zygmunt Noskowski (1846–1909)

13. Palmy [c.1910] – The Palms
Ludomir Różycki (1883–1953)
Tadeusz Mićinski (1873–1918)

14. Akwarela [c.1910] – Watercolor
Ludomir Różycki (1883–1953)
Tadeusz Mićinski (1873–1918)

15. Łabędź [1912] – The Swan
Stanisław Lipski (1880–1937)
Maria Paruszewska (1864–1937)

16. Z nową wiosną [1895] – With the New Spring
Mieczysław Karłowicz (1876–1909)
Czesław Jankowski (1857–1929)