Lodz Poland Music
As Poland recently celebrated its centenary of independence, vintage is en vogue, and nothing sums it up better than the lush music emanating from the loudspeakers. The opulence of Polish art between the wars has returned to Poland's airwaves, screens, and stages, with contemporary artists drawing on the culture that helped found the nation in 1918. I was invited to play with the musicians who played to a full house of more than 1,000 people in Warsaw's Old Town at the opening ceremony of this year's International Film Festival in Warsaw in October.
The band that was particularly interested in street music was a young Kapela Sztajer, who performed in the old clothes of her grandparents.
Vaudeville, an old Warsaw cabaret theatre, was also popular, taking place in the Sabat Theatre; the band debuted in the early 1990s and performed a variety of 20th century hits. Meanwhile, Jasna 1, which was more experimental in tone, was a venue that paid homage to Poland's electronic music history by hosting a night to mark the 50th anniversary of the birth of electronic dance music in Poland. The centrally located techno mecca also runs a record label, and Luzztro is home to a wide range of artists, some of whom can be found here and in a number of other venues. Masecki plays in Warsaw's most popular nightclubs and bars, such as Rzeczpospolita and Zbigniew Kowalski.
Rohr, who became chief conductor, was also employed by the Philharmonie, one of the country's largest orchestras and the second-largest orchestra in Europe. Polish orchestra musicians had worked with them, and the authorities approved concerts so that Polish musicians who came from outside the orchestra could be offered concert opportunities, to give the impression that the Germans were prepared to show generosity to the Poles. Accordingly, during the summer months, he was given the task of recruiting the orchestra's staff from those who had previously worked in the orchestras in Poznan and Warsaw. In August of the same year, following a programme of Beethoven's Eighth Symphony and Brahms's First Symphony, he made his official debut, supposedly in front of 1,500 Germans.
As in Poznan, music institutions in Lodz were thoroughly Germanised and a large influx of performers from the Baltic States moved to Litzmannstadt to establish a "German theatre."
In 1944, however, the Germans decided to liquidate the ghetto, and Himmler ordered the authorities in the western parts of Poland that were part of the Reich to deport the Jews from Lodz to Chelmno and Auschwitz. Not surprisingly, Dolzycki soon realized that his career in Poland was over, as all Germans had now fled to Krakow.
Polish students were banned from higher education, musical institutions such as orchestras and choirs were closed, and former Polish citizens were thrown out of their homes, appropriated by German newcomers to run Polish institutions for the benefit of the German community. Polish and Jewish newspapers and magazines were banned and replaced by German propaganda newspapers in Polish. Vacancies arose when Polish musicians employed by the Institute, including Dolzycki, Waclaw Kowalczyk, Zbigniew Szczecin, Andrzej Wojciechowski and others, were taken into custody by the Germans.
In order to allow Polish musicians to continue working unhindered, the Nazi authorities authorised live music performances in cafés. Official Polish music activities were not allowed, but music - making music was continued in private.
The Wroclaw-based Eastern Europe Institute is particularly active in this area, claiming that its research is dominated by national, political and cultural issues in Poland. The Institute of Polish History has also tried to find out more about the role of music in Polish political, social and economic life during the Second World War.
By placing Chopin in the context of such a repertoire, Frank and conductor Hanns Rohr reinforced the deceptive propaganda from Nazi Germany that surrounded the racial background of Polish composers and presented the surname (originally known as Schopping) as having "Alsatian" origins. Nazi musicologists tried to support the military campaign against Poland by writing articles that fully supported the Germanization of Polish culture. The ubiquitous references to the "Germanization" of Poland and its cultural heritage were contrasted with virulent anti-Semitic propaganda.
A typical example of this was the phrase "Vom Schopping" (From Schopping), which appeared in the article "The Germanization of Polish Music" in September 1944.
From a German perspective, Hennemeyer traces the development of musical styles in Poland from a German perspective, beginning his discussion in the Middle Ages and passing chronologically into the 20th century. Although his career as a composer began in the late 1930s, Ryterband came to his own music after the Second World War, during which time he spent a year in Switzerland.