Lutoslawski’s Twenty Polish Christmas Carols: Festive Colors and Cradle Songs

During the 1930s and 40s, war-ravaged Poland suffered first under the occupation of the Nazis and then the Soviets. In 1946, as the ominous clouds of totalitarianism and cultural censorship gathered, the Polish composer Witold Lutosławski (1913–1994) compiled a collection of nineteenth century Christmas carols from his homeland. Originally written for voice and piano, the Twenty Polish Christmas Carols were premiered by the soprano Aniela Szleminska and pianist Jan Hoffman in Kraków in January, 1947. The piece …

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Remembering Nelson Freire

Nelson Freire, the acclaimed Brazilian pianist, passed away earlier this week at his home in Rio de Janeiro. He was 77. Born in Boa Esperança, Freire began playing the piano around the age of four. One of his earliest teachers, Lucia Branco, studied with a student of Franz Liszt. At the age of 12, Freire performed Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto and was a prizewinner at the Rio de Janeiro International Piano Competition. Shortly thereafter, he …

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