Hubert Rutkowski records music by pupils of Chopin for Naxos
August 15, 2009
Hubert Rutowski in the Mendelsohn Saal, Hamburg
On 5 July 2009 at the Witold Lutosławski Polish Radio Concert Studio in Warsaw, the young Polish pianist Hubert Rutkowski commenced recording a fascinating album for Naxos. Ewa Guziołek-Tubelewicz and Joanna Szczepańska are the recording engineers.
The forthcoming disc, his Naxos début recording, features rarely heard music by Chopin’s pupils:
Thomas D.A. Tellefsen
Le petite mendiante op 23
Valse Des-dur op 27 R*
Quatre Mazurkas op 3
Impromptu in G major op 38
Romanze ohne Worte (Romance sans paroles) R
Mazurka es-moll R
Das Lebewohl von Venedig (Adieu)
Deux Polonaises op 8 (No 1 g-moll, No 2 As-dur) R
Dix Pieces pour Piano op 24, book 2 (No 6 Mazurka A-dur R, No 7 ‘Alla Rumana’ R, No 8 Etude H-dur R, No 9 Cantilène Es-dur, No 10 Impromptu g-moll R)
Nocturne As-dur op 8 no 1
Le Réveil des Oiseaux, Idylle op 44
* R = recorded. The other works will be recorded on 18 and 28 September 2009.
Hubert Rutowski with the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek
Hubert Rutkowski chose works by Chopin’s pupils which have individual characteristics and were not written simply in imitation of Chopin’s music. He remarks, ‘Of course Chopin’s pupils composed under the great inspiration of their master. We can hear it. But my project also tries to show their own original musical voices. There are influences of Schubert and Mendelssohn, as well as Norwegian, Rumanian and Polish folk music.
‘My favorite music, for example, includes the Valse Des-dur by Tellefsen, Romanze ohne Worte, Impromptu b-moll by Filtsch, Polonaise No 1, all Dix Pieces pour piano op 24 book 2 by Mikuli, and the Nocturne As-dur by Gutmann.’
Here is some biographical information about the composers from this first recording session. We’ll provide further information following the second recording session:
Karol Mikuli (1819–1897) was a Polish pupil of Chopin, who became a pianist, composer, conductor and teacher of Armenian or Romanian ancestry.
Mikuli was born in Czerniowce, then part of the Austrian Empire (now Chernivtsi, Ukraine). He studied under Frédéric Chopin for piano (later becoming his teaching assistant) and Anton Reicha for composition. He toured widely as a concert pianist, becoming Director of the Lwow Conservatory in 1858. He founded his own school there in 1888.
His students included Moriz Rosenthal, Raoul Koczalski, Aleksander Michałowski, Jaroslaw Zieliński and Kornelia Parnas. He died in Lemberg, then part of Austria-Hungary (now Lviv, Ukraine) and is buried in the courtyard of the Armenian church in Lviv.
He is most well known as an editor of works by Chopin. Dover Publications currently publishes reprints of his 1879 editions of Chopin’s piano music, originally published by F. Kistner (Leipzig). His goal, as stated in the foreword of the edition, was to provide more reliable editions. He used several verified sources, most of which were written or corrected by Chopin himself. His editions of Chopin’s works were first published in America in 1895.
Mikuli also took detailed notes of Chopin’s comments made in lessons and interviewed witnesses of Chopin’s performances. For many years he was regarded as the primary authority on Chopin and his remarks about Chopin’s playing were often quoted by biographers.
Carl Filtsch (1830–1845) was a Transylvanian a child prodigy and pupil of Chopin. Filtsch was born in Mühlbach (Sebeş) in present-day Romania. His father, a prominent chess player, was his first piano teacher. Carl and his brother Joseph, also a child pianist, arrived in Paris on November 29, 1841 and immediately sought out Chopin to be Carl’s teacher. Though Chopin almost never taught children, and rarely gave a student more than one lesson per week, he agreed to teach Carl, and gave him three lessons per week.
Considered Chopin’s most talented pupil, Filtsch received high praise from Franz Liszt, Friedrich Wieck, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Ignaz Moscheles, the music critic Ludwig Rellstab, and fellow child prodigy, Anton Rubinstein. Filtsch began touring Europe on concert tours at the age of 13. After triumphant concerts in Paris, London, and Vienna, his promising career was cut short by an early death in Venice from an unknown illness.
According to numerous letters from Chopin and his acquaintances, Chopin considered Filtsch the most worthy interpreter of his music. A friend of Chopin’s, Ferdinand Denis, reported in an article in Vienna’s Der Humorist in February 1843 that on one occasion after listening to Filtsch, Chopin exclaimed, “My God! What a child! Nobody has ever understood me as this child has…It is not imitation, it is the same sentiment, an instinct that makes him play without thinking as if it could not have been any other way. He plays almost all my compositions without having heard me [play them], without being shown the smallest thing — not exactly like me [because he has his own cachet], but certainly not less well.”
“If this boy decides to travel, I am finished.” (Liszt)
Thomas Dyke Acland Tellefsen (1823–1874) was a Norwegian pupil of Chopin. He was born in Trondheim, Norway, where he studied with his father, the organist Johan Christian Tellefsen, and with Ole Andreas Lindeman. Thomas gave his first public concert in his home town at the age of 18. In the following year he went to Paris, where he became the pupil of his compatriot Charlotte Thygeson, and later attended some of Friedrich Kalkbrenner’s classes. During the years 1844 to 1847 he was taught by Frédéric Chopin, who also became his personal friend and had considerable influence on his musical taste, style of playing and compositions.
After an extremely successful Paris début in 1851, Tellefsen soon became regarded as one of the outstanding pianists of his time, and was especially admired as an interpreter of Chopin’s music. When Chopin died in 1849, Tellefsen also took over some of his teacher’s pupils, including Jane Stirling. In the 1850s and 1860s, Tellefsen was regarded as a very successful pianist, and he toured several times to England, Sweden and Norway. He died in Paris, and is buried at the Cimetière d’Auteuil.
Hubert Rutkowski was born in 1981. He graduated from the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw in the class of Anna Jastrzębska-Quinn (a diploma with flying colours in 2005). Since 2005, he has been upgrading his piano-playing skills in the master class of Evgeni Koroliov at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg. During 2006–2008 he undertook doctoral studies at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw.
He is a winner of international and domestic piano competitions, including the Main Prize—the Chopin Competition in Hanover (2007); Second Prize—15th Elise Meyer Competition in Hamburg (2006); Distinction “Medalla per Unanimitat”—52nd International Maria Canals Piano Competition in Barcelona (2006); First Prize—All-Poland Piano Festival in Warsaw (2000); and Third Prize—International Fryderyk Chopin Competition in Vilnius (1999).
Hubert Rutkowski has taken part in many prestigious master courses led by distinguished artists, including Halina Czerny-Stefańska, Andrzej Jasiński, Vera Gornostajewa, Victor Makarov, Piotr Paleczny, Hiroko Nakamura, Michel Beroff and Arie Vardi.
He has performed as a soloist and with orchestra, giving concerts in Poland, Germany, Lithuania, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Japan, the USA, Cuba and Cyprus. He has made archival recordings for the German broadcasting stations, SüdWest- Rundfunk and NDR Rundfunk.
His interests focus on the unknown works of pupils of Fryderyk Chopin, and he has made a world premiere recording of piano works by Julian Fontana for Acte Préalable Recording Company. He has also recorded piano works by Theodor Leschetizky for the same label (Polish premiere).
Hubert Rutkowski is a founder and President of the Theodor Leschetizky Music Society in Warsaw.
For more information about Hubert Rutkowski, please visit his website www.hubertrutkowski.com.