Thursday, June 29, 2017

Anniversary of the Death of Paderewski

I came across this announcement last night while I was reading one of my 'Etude' magazines.  Today (June 29th), happens to be the anniversary of when a great pianist passed away.  The announcement explains where and when, and gives a few details about who Paderewski was.

He made quite a stir in the United States as a pianist.  Many cartoons have been drawn about his hair, which in his younger days was apparently like a lion's mane.  I think he was given a nickname of that sort, the Lion of the piano or something like that.  Of course there was swooning involved by all the women wherever he went.  I don't recall ever reading about what the men thought of his hair.  Maybe jealous?

Leschetizky/Paderewski, Paderewski/Leschetizky.... apparently these two names went together at some point.  Here is a quote from the October 1919 'Etude' in a brief response to a question in The Teacher's Roundtable section of the magazine:  "Although proving himself a great teacher, yet Leschitizky did not begin to be so universally sought after, the world over until Paderewski began to cause the musical world to ring with his own achievements." 

I wish I could have attended a concert of his.  It is difficult to imagine  how it really might have been just from reading statements and articles about it.  There are recordings, and he was a composer, and that's as close as we can get at this point. He did perform in a movie at some point, and I've seen the clip, but that's not a solo concert.

After reading the above, I was wondering if he was buried in New York like many other great musical artists of that era.  I learned something interesting, which is that he was buried initially in the U.S., in Arlington, Va.  However, his body was removed and reburied in Poland in the 1990's.  Even more, his heart has remained in the U.S. due to a Polish tradition.  It currently is in Doylestown, Pa, which is only about an hour from where I live.  I don't think I will go visit his heart, but who knows.  There are very nice music concerts there throughout the year.  Here is a link to a New York Times article about all of that.

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