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European Fin-de-siècle and Polish Modernism. The Music of Mieczysław Karłowicz

Editor: Luca Lévi Sala

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Contents: Essays by Tomasz Baranowski, Andrzej Chwałba, Stephen Downes, Peter Franklin, Stefan Keym, Ryszard D. Golianek, Agata Mierzejewska, Michael Murphy, Jadwiga Paja-Stach, Luca Sala, Renata Suchowiejko, Emma Sutton, Andrzej Tuchowski, Alistair Wightman, James L. Zychowicz

Editor: Luca Lévi Sala
Publication Date: 4-1-2010
Series: Ad Parnassum Studies
Pages: pp. 432
Size: 170x240 mm
Binding: Paperback (Soft Cover)
ISBN: 978-88-8109-467-7
Code: APS 4


In this volume I aim to examine the figure of Mieczysław Karłowicz in the broader sociocultural context which fostered his work. The attempt to contextualize an immense intellectual patrimony — despite being restricted to a tiny number of works when compared to more prolific authors, especially in the context of the xix and the xx centuries — is always a complex and hazardous task. My primary intention in organizing the volume has been to explicate Karłowicz the man as well as Karłowicz the composer, against the complex background of the European fin-de-siècle. The various essays aim to present the reader with an exhaustive reconstruction of Karłowicz’s intellectual work. Karłowicz’s oeuvre offers a broad artistic portrayal of Poland at the end of the nineteenth century as a fast-evolving country, politically divided and filled with contradictions. Hence the necessity to investigate the fin-de-siècle context with its social and historical implications, showing the influence of the European cultural milieu on the composer’s poetics and on his thought. We shall examine the spectrum of relationships and affinities linking Karłowicz’s works to the Polish cultural world (on the wave of the rising ‘autochthonous’ avant-garde movements) and to the wider cultural life pulsating beyond its borders, with special reference to German Wagnerism and Symphonism. Essentially, we are striving to define the uniqueness of his oeuvre, which — in relation to the manifold influences co-existing in Poland, an insubstantial nation from the political viewpoint and divided along three socio-cultural fronts — could be defined as distinctively Polish, yet ultimately European. (Luca Sala)

Series Details

Ad Parnassum Studies
General Editor: Luca Lévi Sala

The series of Studies of the twice-yearly journal Ad Parnassum. A Journal of 18th and 19th-Century Instrumental Music is devoted to individual composers who have made a significant impact in the field of instrumental music.
In this way they remain securely within the journal’s area of interest, though without actually imposing strict limits on the specific themes treated, given that the entire output of the composers concerned may be taken into account, not just the instrumental music.


Fontes Artis Musicae 60/1
... This new collection of essays, expertly edited by Luca Sala, manages what. seems impossible: to re-examine the place of Karlowicz in music history and the rich ramifications of his works without falling off the cliff of wishful thinking ... The place of Kar!owicz in the history of nineteenth and early twentieth century music was particularly underestimated. Thanks to studies collected and edited by Luca Sala, a major step was made toward filling this scholarly gap. The book ... is highly recommended to scholars of late romantic European music. (Maja Trochimcyk)

Nineteenth-Century Music Review No. 82 (2011)
... This volume addresses issue surrounding Karlowicz’s life and works from a number of points of view and provides a wealth of analysis on musical works. The translations are first rate and the music examples, in particular, serve as a valuable source for musicians and scholars of the European fin-de-siècle. An appendix illuminates of six black and white photos the composer’s vision of the Tatras, with images that include the composer on skis in Zachopane. The book concludes with an extensive Chronological Bibliography. Sala includes here a great deal of valuable material for further research on the composer’s music in areas such as reception and cultural history, in addition to specific studies on individual works. The book is lavishly illustrated throughout with photographs, musical examples, manuscript reproductions, and other relevant archival documents. The book appeals to scholars of Polish music and reception history, and to a general readership interested in pursuing the artistic connections that contributed to Karlowicz’s success in Europe and Poland in the period that spanned the two centuries. (Anne Swartz)

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