"You are a dear soul who plays polo, and I am a poor Pole who plays solo." - Ignacy Jan Paderewski
Ignacy Jan Paderewski (November 6, 1860 - June 29, 1941) was a Polish pianist, composer, diplomat, politician, and the third Prime Minister of Poland. From his early childhood, Paderewski was interested in music. Initially he took piano lessons with a private tutor. At the age of 12, in 1872, he went to Warsaw and was admitted to the Warsaw Conservatorium.
It was in Vienna that he made his musical debut in 1887. He soon gained great popularity and his subsequent appearances (in Paris in 1889, and in London in 1890) were major successes. His brilliant playing created a furore which reached to almost extravagant lengths of admiration; and his triumphs were repeated in the United States in 1891. His name at once became synonymous with the highest level of piano virtuosity.
Paderewski's No.1 Minuet in G major
The Minuet was recorded in May of 1917 in New York. Paderewski's performance of his Minuet in G has two elements that nearly all others lack. Those elements are charm and subtlety. Paderewski,the composer, plays this composition as he conceived it. In other words, as a delightful, charming minuet. This is not a piece that is well served by the "anything you can do, I can play faster," type of pianist.
Ignacy Jan Paderewski Theme and variations
Paderewski Concerto A Minor 1st.Mov. Pt 1 Wild 1970
Paderewski composed the Piano Concerto in A minor Op.17 in 1888 after he gave his first recital in Paris during March of that year. (This was really his debut as a pianist). He finished scoring it in 1889. Paderewski composed the work in the two small rooms that he had rented in Vienna when he began his studies with Leschetizky in 1884. Having played Saint Saens' C minor concerto in Paris shortly after his debut there, he found the French composer to be "perfectly enthusiastic" about his performance of that composition. That encouraged Paderewski to take the score of his recently completed concerto to Saint Saens in order to seek his opinion of the work. Paderewski was met at the door by a very busy Saint-Saens who said that he had no time to look at the score or listen to Paderewski play it. However, he relented saying,"Well,you are here,so I suppose I must recieve you." In his memoirs Paderewski says,"He took the score and read it as I played it. He listened very attentively. At the Andante (Romanza) he stopped me saying,'What a delightful Andante! Will you please repeat that?'Finally he said,' There is nothing to be changed. You may play it whenever you like. It will please the people. It is quite ready. You needn't be afraid of it, I assure you.'" Paderewski dedicated the concerto to "My master, Leschetizky." The conductor, Hans Richter who was "among the most eminent and finest interpreters of Wagner, and not only Wagner, but all of classical music," had heard Paderewski play, at Leschetizky's invitation, the concerto at Leschetizky's home. In his memoirs Paderewski relates that Lechetizky "was alive to everything concerning the life of a musical student--and was well aware of the prestige of having Padereski's concerto performed at one of richter's concerts. So also did Leschetizky's student and wife (the second of four) the great pianist Annette Essipova who said "Oh,I must play that concerto. I have been studying it for several weeks and I claim the privilege of being the Godmother of that work." Paderewski continues," And then Leschetizky took it up and insisted upon it too." Reading between the lines, it is obvious that Paderewski had wanted, at least before reflecting about it, to perform his concerto himself as "it was the mark of the highest distinction for any composition, and for any artist to play at a Richter concert, but Madame Essipoff-Lechetizsky, who was present said, 'Oh,I must play etc.'" Later in his memoires Paderewski says ,"As a matter of fact, I was glad to have her do it, because I had not studied the concerto sufficiently for a great public performance. So it was that Madame Essipoff (Essipova) played my concerto for the first time a few days after Richter read the score, and it had an immediate success."
Paderewski played the concerto many times thereafter and was giving performances of it through the 1920's. Jesus Maria Sanroma,a student of Cortot and Schnabel, was the first to record the work with Arthur Fiefler and the Boston "Pops" Orchestra in 1939. Paderewski was present during the recording of the concerto. Thirty one years later, Arthur Fiedler again conducted a recording of the work ,this time leading the London Symphony Orchestra with Earl Wild as soloist.
Ignacy Jan Paderewski - Fantasie Polonaise for Piano and Orchestra Op.19
Played by Thomas Tirino (piano) and The Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Bartos.
In 1948 the Ignacy Paderewski Foundation was established in New York City, on the initiative of the Polish community in New York with the goal of promoting Polish culture in the United States. Two other Polish-American organizations are also named in his honor and dedicated to promoting the legacy of the maestro: The Paderewski Association in Chicago as well as the Paderewski Music Society in Southern California.
Due to the unusual combination of the notable achievements of being a world class pianist and a successful politician, Paderewski has become a favourite example for philosophers, and is often discussed in relation to Saul Kripke's "A Puzzle about Belief" for having a name that denotes two distinct qualities, that of being a politician and that of being a pianist.
Nowadays there are streets and schools named after Paderewski in many major cities in Poland. There are also streets named after him in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, and Buffalo, New York. In addition, the Academy of Music in Poznań is named after him. Paderewski even has his own star on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles.
The Paderewski name is honored throughout Polonia
In 1925 Paderewski was made an honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire. This entitled him to the postnominal letters GBE but not to be known as "Sir Ignacy" (despite the erroneous claim in Time magazine), that title being reserved for British citizens.
Doctorate honoris causa of universities in Lwów (1912), Kraków (1919) and Poznań (1924), as well as several universities in the United States
Ignacy Jan Paderewski
Quotes by Ignacy Jan Paderewski
1860-1941, Polish Pianist, Composer, Patriot
"If I miss one day of practice, I notice it. If I miss two days, the critics notice it. If I miss three days, the audience notices it."
"When they began to talk, I would stop."
"You are a dear soul who plays polo, and I am a poor Pole who plays solo."
"I established a certain standard of behavior, that, during my playing, there must be no talking."
Ignacy Jan Paderewski
Były Premjer Polski, Jeden z Duchowych WodzówWychodźtwa w Okresie Wojny Światowej
Learn more about Ignacy Jan Paderewski HERE.
Paderewski plays Chopin Valse Brilliante Op 34 No 1
(This is an actual performance by Paderewski.)
A bronze bust of Paderewski was unveiled in Cleveland, Ohio on July 16, 2011. Click on the photo to see the sculpture.