Here's a piquant poser for you: A Polish pianist (1860-1941) was born in Kurylowka. He achieved worldwide fame for his interpretations of Schubert and Chopin. After World War I, he served briefly as the first premier of the Republic of Poland. Who was he? To help your getting an answer, his photograph is inserted below:
He was none other than Ignacy Jan Paderewski, GBE – born on this day in Kurylowka, Poland, the 18th of November in the year 1860 (and died in New York City on 29 June 1941) – who was a pianist and composer, politician, statesman and spokesman for Polish independence. He was a favorite of concert audiences around the world, and amazingly his musical fame opened access to international diplomacy and the media.
On 9 May 1890, he made his first appearance in London; on 17 November 1891, he made his American debut in New York City, the first of 117 performances throughout the United States. After that he appeared in virtually every music center of the world, everywhere acclaimed a Titan of the keyboard, and one of the foremost interpreters of Chopin’s music.
Paderewski played an important role in meeting with President Woodrow Wilson and obtaining the explicit inclusion of independent Poland as point 13 in Wilson’s peace terms in 1918, called the Fourteen Points. He was the prime minister of Poland and also Poland’s foreign minister in 1919, and represented Poland at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. He served 10 months as prime minister, and soon thereafter left Poland, never to return.
Upon Paderewski’s death in 1941, President Roosevelt ordered that he be given a state funeral at the Arlington National Cemetery.
Below, you may access six different early piano recordings ( 1922-1930) of his playing various Romantic works, as well as the well-known slow movement of a Beethoven sonata.
Valse Brillante in E flat Major, Op. 18 (Chopin) rec. 22 May 1928
Hungarian Rhapsody No, 2 (Liszt) rec. 26 June 1922
Study in C minor, Op. 10 No. 12 (Chopin) rec. 22 May 1928
Minstrels (No. 12 from 1st Book of Preludes)(Debussy) rec. 13 October 1930
Sonata in C# Minor(Moonlight) – Adagio (Beethoven) rec. 16 December 1926
La Campanella (Paganini arr. Liszt) rec. 18 August 1927
References: Wikipedia; Encyclopedia of Concert Music by David Ewen
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