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Henryk Jarecki

Henryk Jarecki


Henryk Jarecki, born on 6 December 1848 in Warsaw, died on 18 December 1918 in Lviv, composer, conductor and pedagogue. The son of Józef (1818-1871), organist and composer. At first he studied under his father, later under J. Meller. Although he studied piano, double bass and composing at the Warsaw Institute of Music, his name is not to be found on any list of graduates. For 8 years he had been an outstanding student and a favourite of S. Moniuszko who included Jarecki’s youthful compositions in the programme of his concerts. From 1858 Henryk Jarecki was a member of the ensemble in the Grand Theatre in Warsaw, at first he was a chorister and in 1864-1871 a bassist. In March 1870 he led the performance of the “Mass” by S. Moniuszko (for 3 female voices) in the St. Anne’s Church. In January 1872 he assumed the position of the conductor at the Polish Theatre in Poznań, but merely two months later, thanks to S. Moniuszko’s recommendation, he became the second, and from March 1877, the principal Kapellmeister of the Skarbek Theatre and settled in Lviv. In April 1882, he resigned from his position due to disagreements with the director A. Miłaszewski. In December 1882 he visited Paris and together with the Pasdeloupa orchestra presented his own overture to “Balladyna”. In March he returned to the theatre, appointed by the new director J. Dobrzański, and remained there until its dissolution. There he premiered his operas and other compositions. Both at the concert inaugurating the Polish opera in Lviv and 28 years later, during the farewell concert, Jarecki played the double role of composer and conductor - on 1 April 1872 he conducted his “Overture” for orchestra and on 9 September 1900 amopngst other pieces the “Introduction” to “Jadwiga”. From the beginning he conducted music for theatre plays and wrote his own illustrations. On 12 November 1873 he organised the first concert in Lviv at which only the works of his own composers were performed. With great piety he prepared the performance of his master’s compositions: „Jawnuta” and „Flis” (1873), „Dziadów” (1874), the cantata „Milda” (1876), „Straszny Dwór” (1877), he renewed „Hrabina” in 1887. Apart from the operetta repertoire which dominated during poor seasons (e.g. 1881/1882, 1887/1888), Henryk Jarecki staged 26 operas of foreign composers, including Wagner’s operas : „Tannhäuser” (1897), „Lohengrin” (Polish premiere in 1877, staged again in 1896) and „Rienzi” (1899). He many times performed the „Cavalleria rusticana” by Mascagni (1892), the “Pagliacci” by Leoncavallo (1893), “The Bartered Bride” and “Dalibor” by Smetana (1896, 1898). He introduced many Polish operas to the Lviv scene: “The Ghost of Voyvode” by L. Grossman (1878), „Don Desiderio” by Prince J.M.K. Poniatowski (1878), „Konrad Wallenrod” (premiere in 1885) and „Goplana” by W. Żeleński (1896 in Kraków and 1897 in Lviv). He also staged his own operas: ”Mindowe” (1880), ”Jadwiga” (1886), ”Barbara Radziwiłłówna” (1893) and “Powrót taty” (1897). Many famous singers made their debuts in Lviv under his baton, among others: A. Bandrowski (1883), W. Floriański (1885), M. Sembrich-Kochańska (1886), S. Kruszelnicka (1893), J. Korolewicz (1894). They worked with other prominent singers: T. Arklowa, A. Myszuga, J. Chodakowski, F. Cieślowski. He often conducted during charity concerts and was the artistic director of many events devoted to music and poetry organized independently from the theatre. Compositions of Henryk Jarecki were performed during patriotic anniversary celebrations and literary jubilees, e.g. the “Psalm XCIII” (in 1884 to celebrate the 3rd centenary of J. Kochanowski’s death), the fifth staging of “Jadwiga” (in 1886 to commemorate the 5th centenary of the Polish-Lithuanian union), both versions of the “Psalm XLVI” (on the anniversary of the Constitution of May 3, 1888). Even in Kraków in 1909, Jarecki’s compositions were still performed: the Sokół Choir sang his “Polonez Uroczysty” during the event commemorating T. Kościuszko, his ballad “Hugo” was performed by the joint choirs of the Music Society and Hejnał led by A. Sołtys at the celebration of the centenary of J. Słowacki’s birthday in the Municipal Theatre in Lviv. In his conducting activities Henryk Jarecki reached far beyond the city of Lviv. The programme of the first visits with the Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet in Tarnów, Brody and Tarnopol (during the 3 months’ summer tour in 1877) included solely operas. Guest concerts were resumed after a few years’ break (with operetta dominating the repertoire) and became an important element of the musical life of Kraków in summer (1884, 1885, 1886, 1888). For the first time in 1890 F. Słomkowski, the second conductor, took over some of Jarecki’s conducting responsibilities. Jarecki conducted the “Funeral March” by Chopin, Moniuszko’s “Requiem”, his own “Hymn” and the polonaise “Welcome, King” by Kurpiński during the celebration of bringing the ashes of Adam Mickiewicz to Kraków. In 1892, after the next stay in Kraków, he went to Vienna where his shows were the only representations of Polish stage music at the Music and Theatre Exhibition: on 10 and 14 September he conducted “Halka” and on 11 and 13 the prologue and third act of Moniuszko’s “Haunted Manor” and the first act of Kurpiński’s „Zabobonu czyli Krakowiaków i górali” (“Superstition or Krakovians and Mountaineers”) performed by the soloists from the Lviv and Vienna operas. In 1896 Henryk Jarecki gave another 52 performances in Krakow (including “Goplana” and “Lohengrin”) and in 1898, after one of the best opera seasons in Lviv –“Tannhauser” and “Lohengrin. In the years 1897-1899, during the four vacation months, he took the Lviv ensemble to Warsaw, where in the circus building on ul. Ordynacka he presented operettas to the public, including his own opera „Powrót taty”. In 1897 he gave 97 performances (including „Powrót taty” presented 19 times), in 1898 – 126 (including the operas with the participation of W. Floriański), in 1899-155 together with F. Słomkowski (including the “Tannhauser” and “Lohengrin” with A. Bandrowski). In 1902 Jarecki started to work at the Lviv Philharmonic as the second conductor (alongside L. Czelański), but illness caused by many years of exhausting work at the theatre forced him to resign from his position as soon as two weeks later. From then, in the Pilharmonic he only sporadically conducted his own compositions, e.g. the “Ode to Youth” (1904, the concert to raise funds for the reconstruction of the A. Mickiewicz monument), “War Rhapsody” and “Pneumella” (1905). Henryk Jarecki was a jury member for a few music competitions (in 1887, 1896, 1901, 1904, 1910) and twice in 1912. In 1906 he was appointed the second artistic director of “Lutnia” (alongside S. Cetwiński). From 1905 he took part in the work of the state committee selecting the candidates for music teachers in middle schools and teacher training seminars. During the last years of his life he taught music at the female seminary, he was the choral singing professor at the S. Kasparek school of music and the music director at the Dominican order. The operas of Henryk Jarecki, varied in terms of subject (ranging from the historical drama to the unpretentious and highly popular children’s opera), are architectonically distant from the operas of Moniuszko, but they have little in common with Wagner’s dramatic style, particularly the advanced technique of leitmotif. The premieres of the following operas created an opportunity to recognize the merits of Jarecki, tireless Kapellmeister and talented composer.