Poland History and Music
HISTORY: THE NEW MILLENNIUM AND EU MEMBERSHIP
The reforms implemented by the government of J. Buzek made the bloc of right-wing parties grouped around Solidarność unpopular, to the point that the new electoral consultations of 2000 reconfirmed the presidential mandate of the Social Democrat Kwasniewski and the 2001 policies decreed the clear victory of the party of the president and therefore of his candidate for premier Leszek Miller. In March 2003, after the breakup of the coalition government, a new executive was formed between the Social Democrats and the Labor Union (UP). On the international level, also thanks to the good economic results achieved in recent years, the country’s integration into the Western European system continued: joining NATO(March 1999), in fact, according to ehotelat.com, Poland was included in the first group of candidate countries for entry into the European Union; in June 2003 the popular referendum on accession was held, which saw the favorable votes prevailing with over 77%, and in May 2004 the country joined the European Union. The next day, following the resignation of Miller, involved in a financial scandal, a new center-left government led by Marek Belka was formed. In the legislative elections of September 2005, in which only 40% of those entitled to vote, the Law and Justice (PiS) and Civic Platform (PO) parties established themselves, with 28.2% and 26.3% respectively, both center-right formations. The economist Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz was subsequently designated prime minister. In October, the presidential elections won by L. Kaczyński took place, leader of the PiS. In July 2006, the resignation of Prime Minister K. Marcinkiewicz triggered a government crisis that was quickly closed with the appointment by the president of his twin brother J. Kaczyński. The ultra-conservative government inaugurated a phase of “decommunization” of the country, forcing many citizens to declare their collaboration with the past communist regime. The early legislative elections took place in October 2007 which saw the pro-European party PO prevail with 44.2%, while the PiS obtained 31.3%. In November, PO leader Donald Tusk was appointed premier. In October 2009, President Kaczynski ratified the Lisbon Treaty. On 10 April 2010 a plane carrying a Polish political delegation crashed near Smolensk airport; President L. Kaczynski died in the accident, as well as several ministers, the governor of the country’s central bank and the chief of staff of the army, as well as other leading exponents of the political and economic administration of Poland. House Speaker B. Komorowski became the new interim president, until the presidential elections in June, when he won the ballot against the former prime minister J. Kaczyński, effectively becoming the new president of the country. The legislative elections won by the OP, the Citizens’ Platform, led by Prime Minister Tusk, were held in October 2011, who was awarded for his pro-European and anti-populist policy. In September 2014, Tusk resigned to take up the post of President of the European Council; Ewa Kopacz became prime minister. In May 2015, the presidential elections were held, won by the nationalist Andrzej Duda. In October 2015, the PiS won the political elections; the conservative Beata Sydlo became prime minister.
Polish musical life has always been conditioned by the country’s troubled political history. Only popular music has thus been able to maintain its own continuity of evolution and inspiration. In particular, the Polish dance had a wide notoriety in Europe since the century. XVI with different names: vault polonica, polonaise, polka. In the sphere of the so-called cultured music there are the first testimonies of singing with several voices, of religious inspiration, since the formation of the Kingdom of Poland (10th century). A moment of great flourishing was the Renaissance, when, stimulated by the experiences of the Flemish, Italian and French schools, there were the composers Waclaw Szamotulczyk (ca. 1534-ca. 1567), Martinus Leopolita (ca. 1540-89), Mikolaj Zielenski (1550-1615), Marcin Mielczewski (ca. 1590-1651), Adam Jarzebski (ca. 1590-ca. 1649). Throughout the Baroque period, Polish music experienced a serious crisis and was unable to produce representative figures. Only at the end of the eighteenth century did a revival of the local tradition begin. The changed misery into happiness by Maciej Kamiński, performed in 1778, is considered the first Polish national opera and paved the way for the experiences of Michał K. Ogiński (1765-1833), Karol Kurpiński (1785-1857), K. Józef Elsner (1769-1854) and above all Stanisław Moniuszko (1819-1872), the most important figure of the Polish nineteenth century. F. Chopin (1810-1849), a pupil of Elsner, was formed in this climate of renewal and largely absorbed elements taken from popular song, but his artistic activity, taking place outside Poland, had more of a European and cosmopolitan character than Polish. At the beginning of the twentieth century the protagonists of Polish music were the symphonists of national inspiration Mieczyslaw Karlowicz (1876-1909), Ludomir Rózycki (1884-1953) and Grzegorz Fitelberg (1879-1953), but the only one who managed to achieve international fame was Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937), linked as much to the popular song of his land as to the great European tradition. Among the composers variously linked to the currents of the contemporary avant-garde, we remember Witold Łutosławski (1913-1994), Michal Spisak (1914-1965), Tadeusz Baird (1928-1981), Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-69), Henryck Górecki (b.1933), Włodzimierz Kotoński (b.1925), Zygmunt Krauze (b. 1938) and Krzysztof Penderecki (b. 1933), the best-known personality in the international arena. Famous from Chopin onwards was the so-called Polish piano school which found the most representative figures in Józef Hofmann (1876-1957) and I. Paderewsky (1860-1941). A renowned violin competition in Poznan, correspondent of the even better known Chopin piano competition in Warsaw, is dedicated to the great nineteenth-century violinist Henryck Wieniawski (1835-80). The renowned scholars Hieronim Feicht (1894-1967), Zofia Lissa (1908-80), Józef Michal Chominski (1906-94) were trained at the musicological school of Zdzislaw Jachimecki (1882-1953) and Adolf Chybinski (1880-1952). The musical activity is still vast, thanks to the solid school structures and the numerous specialized institutions.