Compact Discoveries®
a series of one-hour radio programs produced, hosted, and edited by Fred Flaxman
©2011 by Fred Flaxman

Program 183
"Mieczyslaw Karlowicz"

MUSIC: excerpt from Karlowicz: Serenade, Op. 2, third movement), performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Antoni Wit [Naxos 8.572274, Track 3] [under the following]

Hello and welcome to Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman, and I’m going to devote the next hour to beautiful romantic symphonic music by a Polish composer who was a real compact discovery for me, and may well be for you, too: Mieczyslaw Karlowicz [pronounced Mee-et-re-slauf Kor-wol-veech].

We’ll hear first his Violin Concerto in A Major, which I think deserves to be one of the warhorses of the romantic repertoire, and his charming Serenade, Opus 2. But first let me tell you why you probably have not heard of Karlowicz [Kor-wol-veech] before.

MUSIC: Fades out

I think the main reason that Karlowicz [Kor-wol-veech] is not better known today is that he loved to ski. We are all constantly reminded that exercise is good for our health, but what the doctors and the fitness books don’t tell you is that it often can be highly hazardous to your well-being. It can even eliminate it entirely. And that was the case with the talented, young Karlowicz [Kor-wol-veech]. He died in an avalanche while skiing in the Tatra Mountains in 1909. He was only 33 at the time.

His musical output was severely limited by his brief life, as was his ability to promote and perform his own music. Also it is highly likely that some of his chamber music was destroyed in the bombing of Warsaw at the start of World War II in 1939.

Mieczyslaw Karlowicz [Mee-et-re-slauf Kor-wol-veech] was born into a wealthy academic family. He initially trained as a violinist, but after going to Berlin, where he studied from 1895 until 1901, he turned increasingly to composition. The remainder of Karlowicz’s [Kor-wol-veech’s] brief career was spent in Warsaw and Leipzig.

His Violin Concerto was completed at the end of 1902. It received its first performance in Berlin in March of the following year. In the course of the First World War the concerto was all but forgotten, but it has been rediscovered by a number of violinists in recent years. It is in three movements, but the first two are attached.

Our performance today is by the Russian-born violinist Ilya Kaler [EEL-yah KAH-lehr] with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Antoni Wit [Antoni Veet] on a Naxos compact disc.

MUSIC: Karlowicz: Violin Concerto in A Major, Op. 8, performed by violinist Ilya Kaler with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Antoni Wit [Naxos 8.572274, Tracks 5, 6, and 7] [29:23]

Mieczyslaw Karlowicz’s [Mee-et-re-slauf Kor-wol-veech’s] Violin Concerto in A Major, Opus 8, performed by Ilya Kaler [EEL-yah KAH-lehr] with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Antoni Wit [Antoni Veet].

You are listening to the music of the Polish composer Mieczyslaw Karlowicz [Mee-et-re-slauf Kor-wol-veech] on Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

[optional one-minute break not included in total timing of the program.]

The same Naxos recording that contains Karlowicz’s [Kor-wol-veech’s] Violin Concerto also includes his Serenade, Opus 2, the composer’s first orchestral work. It premiered in Berlin in 1897. Its four movements are marked March, Romance, Waltz, and Finale. Once again the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra is led by Antoni Wit [Veet].

MUSIC: Karlowicz: Serenade, Op. 2, performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Antoni Wit [Naxos 8.572274, Tracks 1, 2, 3, and 4 [22:03]

Mieczyslaw Karlowicz’s [Mee-et-re-slauf Kor-wol-veech’s] Serenade, Op. 2. The Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra was conducted by Antoni Wit [Veet].

MUSIC: excerpt from Karlowicz: Serenade, Op. 2, third movement), performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Antoni Wit [Naxos 8.572274, Track 3] [under the following]

And that concludes this hour devoted to two romantic compositions by the tragically short-lived Polish composer Mieczyslaw Karlowicz [Mee-et-re-slauf Kor-wol-veech] . This is Fred Flaxman thanking you for listening. And special thanks to Compact Discoveries internet listener Jean Hadas-Lebel for reviving my interest in the music of this sadly neglected composer.

If you enjoyed this program and would like to hear it again, you can link to it at compactdiscoveries.com and then stream it on demand. You’ll also find a link there to purchase the compact disc featured in this program, as well as information on and the script for this program and all others in the series. This is program number 183.

Please join me again next time for more Compact Discoveries!

ANNOUNCER (Steve Jencks): Compact Discoveries is made possible in part by Story Book Publishers and their latest offering, a tongue-in-cheek memoir by Compact Discoveries host Fred Flaxman called “Sixty Slices of Life ... on Wry: The Private Life of a Public Broadcaster.” And by the financial support of Isabel and Marvin Leibowitz, and an anonymous donor from Palm Beach, Florida. And by contributions to local public radio stations by listeners like you. Thank you.

Total Program Timing: 57:00