Historical interpretations of Friderick Chopin works

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Raul Koczalski - biography


Raul Koczalski, a Polish pianist and composer, was born on 3 March 1885 in Warsaw, and died on 24 November 1948 in Poznan. A child prodigy, he began music lessons the age of three with his mother, and next he studied with Julian Gadomski. He made his first public appearance on 15 March 1888, after which his parents took him to St Petersburg to play for Anton Rubinstein, who assured them that "if his talent continues to develop as gloriously as it has so far, it will certainly guarantee him a prominent position in the art of performing." In 1891 he commenced studies in Lemberg (now L'viv), first, under Ludwik Marek, and in the following year under Karol Mikuli, Chopin's pupil. In 1896, in Leipzig, he gave his thousandth concert. As a twelve-year-old, apart from stage successes, he boasted a number of exceptional awards such as The Order of the Lion and Sun, conferred on him by the Shah of Persia, a medal from the Turkish Sultan, and the title of the Court Pianist conferred by the Spanish king. Even at such a young age, he had a wide-ranging repertoire including several dozen pieces by Bach, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Godard, Haendel, Hummel, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Moszkowski, Ludwik Marek, Paderewski, Rubinstein, Schubert, Saint-Saëns, Weber and Chopin. His Chopin repertoire embraced, inter alia: 2 Concertos, the Sonatas in B flat minor and in B minor, Polonaises, Mazurkas, Waltzes, Preludes, Impromptus, Nocturnes, Scherzo in B minor, Ballade in G minor, and Fantasy in F minor. Before the outbreak of World War I, he toured widely in many European countries wining fame and receiving huge acclaim. For the duration of the war, he was interned in Germany as a foreigner. Between the two World Wars he lived in Germany, where he was universally acclaimed as the world's greatest Chopinist, and from where he went on tours of Poland, France and Italy. Despite many invitations from America, he did not give concerts there. By order of Goebbels, for the duration of World War II, he was interned in Berlin. In 1945 he moved to Poznan, where he accepted the position of a professor at the Państwowa Wyższa Szkoła Muzyczna (The State Higher School of Music). His repertoire included all works by Chopin, he gave a series of Chopin recitals, and all Beethoven sonatas. His compositional output embraces nearly 200 opuses including piano compositions, songs, symphonic and chamber pieces, concertos, operas and ballets. He is the author of a book on Chopin and his music, and wrote a number of press articles. His pupils included Detlew Kraus, Monique de la Brucholerie, Hanna Rudnicka-Kruszewska, Wanda Łosakiewicz and Irena Wyrzykowska-Mondelska.

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