Hilary Koprowski: Black and White Keys

works for solo piano

20 pp., $14.95, Presser Order number 490-01031 (VOXH-6)

nakedman.gif The composer says:

As a pianist, I was particularly “addicted” to the Mazurkas of Chopin. Here, in these priceless gems of piano music, Chopin proved himself to be “a 20th Century composer who visited the 19th Century” (if I correctly remember this description of him). Modern harmonies infrequently encountered in other compositions of Chopin’s are strikingly employed in the Mazurkas particularly those composed during his last period of creativity. Not many modern composers write mazurkas. Szymanowski was an exception. He was a model for me to try my hand in composing two mazurkas, one as a joke and the other in a more serious mien.
The Etude was composed when I studied Bartok’s harmonies, but following Chopin’s example in Etude op. 25, No. 10, I have “sneaked into” the middle of the piece a melody of a Polish popular song. The Sonata is a “tour de force.” Many masters contributed their influence: Mozart’s Minuet in the 3rd movement being quite obvious, the 4th movement’s Rondo is based on a lively Argentine dance, the Gato. Elegy for Icarus is an expression of sorrow for the passing away of my beloved companion. Its transcription for organ is published separately there I have described at length my feeling of acute loss.

hilary.jpgHilary Koprowski was born in Warsaw, Poland. He graduated in piano from the Warsaw Conservatory but turned to medicine, obtained his M.D. degree in Warsaw in 1939, and adopted scientific research as his life’s work. He continued his musical studies in Rome, where he graduated from the Santa Cecilia Academy in 1940. It is only now, following great success and notoriety in his career as a scientist, that Dr. Koprowski has allowed himself the time to pursue his musical interests that have always meant so much to him.

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