Historical interpretations of Friderick Chopin works

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Paweł Lewiecki - biography


Pawel Lewiecki, a Polish pianist, was born on 8 May 1896 in Nalczyk (the Caucasus) and died on 21 August 1974 in Warsaw. He began music lessons at the age of four, and by the age of six he was showing off at his aunt's salons in St. Petersburg. He completed a music school in Kishinev, and next the Moscow Conservatory under Konstanty Igumnov and Alexander Scriabin. At his diploma concert, in 1917, he played the Rachmaninoff Concerto in F sharp minor reading first-edited copies of the composer's notes, whom he knew from meetings at aristocracy's. He also studied law at the Moscow University. In 1917 he was incorporated into the Tzar's army fighting Bolshevism. Upon the savage murders committed by Bolshevik soldiers on some of his family members, he escaped Russia with those who had survived, and through Besarabia and Turkey he reached Paris. There, in 1919, he obtained new documents with which he could return to Poland. He made his debut in Biała Podlaska with three recitals in 1920. In the following year he played in Warsaw for the first time, which resulted in invitations for him to perform in other cities and again in Warsaw. After the Warsaw recital, a critic wrote: "Lewiecki instantly sketched himself as a virtuoso of an extraordinary scale. The artist's pianistic means are versatile, the tone is huge and vibrant, the technique well adjusted and accomplished, and the force enormous. [...] Personal spiritual awareness is incredible, the artist has a real sense of music and his instrument, he can reach the deepest levels of a work, being able to exercise restraint on his fiery temperament." Between the world wars he widely toured in the Czech lands, France and Poland, promoting works by contemporary Polish composers, such as Paderewski, Różycki, Szałowski, Szeligowski, Maciejewski, Szymanowski, Feliks Łabuński, Sołtys, Statkowski or Friedman, as well as foreign ones, such as Bartók, Koreshchenko, Arensky, Lyadov, Lyapunov, Scriabin, Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff, and in many cases he was their first interpreter in Poland. He was involved in concerts organized outside big music centers by Ruch Muzyczny (Musical Movement). He performed with singers, including Aniela Szlemińska. In 1924 Henryk Melcer offered him to head the piano department at the Warsaw Conservatory, which he did until the outbreak of the Second World War. The war found him giving concerts in the east of the country. As soon as he returned to Warsaw, on 11 November, he was arrested by the Gestapo and jailed at the Pawiak prison. After the intervention of Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha, he was released in March 1940. During the Nazi occupation, he gave underground concerts of Polish music and taught piano classes privately and at the Conservatory, which continued to exist under the name Staatliche Musikschule in Warschau. After the war he became a professor at The Higher State School of Music in Warsaw. In 1949 to celebrate the centenary of Chopin's death, he gave a cycle of Chopin recitals and took part in the famous festival "Żywe wydanie dzieł Fryderyka Chopina" ("The Live Edition of Chopin Works") in Warsaw. His pupils included: Jadwiga Szamotulska, Wanda Łosakiewicz, Janina Garztecka, Józef Kański, Janusz Mechanisz, Wanda Lehrówna, Ken Sasaki.

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