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The Beginnings of Polish Musicology

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Małgorzata Sieradz

The book presents the history of the only strictly scientific Polish musicological periodical Kwartalnik Muzyczny. It shows how the editorial board of the periodi-cal met with true approval and harsh criticism. The subject allows the author to present the beginnings of Polish musicology and its evolution through three epochs: the late partitioning period, the interwar period of Poland’s independ-ence, and the early years after the Second World War
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Introduction

Introduction

At the beginning of the second decade of the twenty-first century, Polish musicology celebrated the centenary of the founding of the first departments at national universities – in 1911 at the Jagiellonian University under the direction of Zdzisław Jachimecki, in 1912 at the University of Lviv led by Adolf Chybiński. At the same time, though following the initiative of a musicologist not associated with any of these universities – Henryk Opieński – the activity of the first Polish music magazine which fulfilled the standards of an academic publication was inaugurated in Warsaw. In 1911 Kwartalnik Muzyczny started to appear. The periodical, which appeared for the first time exactly at the birth of Polish musicology, linked three epochs. For the first time, it accompanied the academic community at its dawn in enslaved Poland, for the second time – at the time of intensive development during the interwar period of free Poland and – ultimately – in the time of the revival of academic structures during the difficult years of the communist regime of the 1950s. Three visions of the periodical appeared over a dozen or so years of its history. The first Kwartalnik, initiated as an organ of WTM, appeared in the years 1911–14. Closed as a consequence of the turbulence of history, it reappeared in 1928, this time as a magazine of the Warsaw SMDM and TWMP and functioned until the year 1933 (the tradition of the academic journal was sustained and continued in the pages of Polski Rocznik Muzykologiczny whose editorial survived until the first days of World War II). The third incarnation took place fifteen years later, in 1948, in the reality of the turn of the 1940s and 1950s, dominated by the new ideology. Adolf Chybiński, one of the fathers of Polish musicology, was connected to the journal from the very beginnings of its existence – first as its primary author and consultant on issues of merit, and later the editor-in-chief; he bridged all editions of Kwartalnik Muzyczny.

The only magazine addressed to the small group of Polish musicologists that was taking shape, as well as musicians and music enthusiasts eager to deepen their knowledge at an academic level, had to contribute to concentrating this young environment around the title and getting people to join initiatives undertaken by editors. On the other hand, it was also the source of disputes, which created groups of supporters and critics of this type of literature and of ‘mummified’ and ‘paper’ musicology (typical for ‘technical history’ based on building a base for musicological research through arduous archival and library inquiries and making detailed and tedious analyses supported by deep specialist theoretical ←9 | 10→knowledge that were the domain of the founder of the Lviv musicological school, Adolf Chybiński). The quoted terms appeared in the press from the group of supporters of the musicology proposed by the second founding father of Polish musicology, Zdzisław Jachimecki. Opposition to the Lviv methodology was ‘living history’ cultivated by the head of the department at the Jagiellonian University and by a group of journalists, mainly from Warsaw, associated, among others, with the editors of the popular monthly Muzyka which was founded and led by Mateusz Gliński. Its expression came in publications filled with interdisciplinary erudition and a beautiful literary narrative, the lack of scientific value of which was repeatedly criticised by Chybiński and his supporters.

The formulation of the title of this work in its final form imposed two perspectives from which to look at the topic: through the history of the journal and through the history of the environment. This dualistic approach, in turn, obliged me to expand the contexts – firstly – determination of the place of Kwartalnik Muzyczny against the background of the entire Polish music periodical history and – secondly – tracing the history of various institutions that musicologists of the first and second generation created. At the same time, the foreground was occupied continuously by Adolf Chybiński, a key figure, who was the foundation for the entire era encompassing the first four decades of Polish university studies of music.

The literature which has so far brought us closer to the history of this discipline in Poland is quite rich, but above all abounds in occasional reports and contributions. Therefore, the information contained therein had to be supplemented with reading and analysis of official documents surrounding the work of organisations and institutions from the scene – statutes, reports of activities, summaries from conventions and meetings (for example, WTM, PTMW, PTM, ZKP and others), often either completely unknown or unused. For the purpose of making the whole story below, the most significant were the collections of correspondence stored in several Polish libraries as well as – most importantly – those in private hands and never before accessible. This included the family archive of Józef Michał Chomiński containing the professor’s legacy, including files with incoming and outgoing correspondence, the latter in the form of duplicate copies. In total from the period up to 1952 nearly six hundred documents, including from and to: Ignacy Blochman, Ludwik Bronarski, Mieczysław Drobner, Stanisław Golachowski, Włodzimierz Poźniak, Bronisław Romaniszyn, Marian Sobieski, Bronisław Edward Sydow, Zdzisław Jachimecki, Zygmunt Estreicher, Alicja Simon, Roman Palester, Roman Ingarden, Konstanty Régamey, Bolesław Woytowicz, Stefan Kisielewski, Zygmunt Mycielski, as well as representatives of Lviv’s musicology – Hieronim Feicht, Stefania Łobaczewska ←10 | 11→and Zofia Lissa, and their common master – Adolf Chybiński. Amongst this group, there were also official writings – including from MKiS, with PWM, ZKP, PIS, the editorship of Ruch Muzyczny. Documents from the private archive of the Chomiński family were supplemented with funds collected in university libraries in Warsaw, Cracow and Poznań (archives of Adolf Chybiński, Zofia Lissa, Tadeusz Ochlewski, Ludwik Bronarski and others).

Though work on this monograph lasted for many years, it was by no means a ‘path through torment.’ It was the result of a continuous, ever-deepening fascination with the described matter. I also saw justification for this research in the kind of warm interest expressed in conversations with me by many representatives of the contemporary musicological milieu in Poland, often indicating to me the trails that were worth following. I pass this monograph to international readers with the hope of creating interest in four decades of the history of Polish musicology and Polish musicological journalism.

Małgorzata Sieradz

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