20.04.2017 - 2.05.2017 Events, Music

Bach, Poland and Polish style in his Music

Lectures by Szymon Paczkowski

Thursday, April 20, 2017 – Tuesday, May 2, 2017 

In 1736, Johann Sebastian Bach became Royal Polish and Electoral Saxon Composer (Königlich-Polnischer und Kurfürstlich-Sächsischer Hof-Compositeur), during the era when the Elector of Saxony, Augustus III, also sat on the Polish throne. Bach’s well-known and frequently-cited title raises curious questions concerning the composer’s Polish connections in the 18th Century, yet the topic remains surprisingly unexplored, even by Polish researchers.

Szymon Paczkowski, a distinguished Bach specialist from the University of Warsaw, will present a series of lectures, reviewing current knowledge of this issue, and will outline promising areas of research. What we know of Bach’s contacts with Poland and with Poles raises many fascinating questions about the work of Bach’s pupils in Poland, the image of Poland in Bach’s music, the reception of Bach’s music in 18th-century Poland, the transfer of Bach sources to Poland and further afield in the east, and more. Dr. Paczkowski will also examine the popularity of the so-called “Polish style” in the music of the time and attempt to explain the presence and importance of Polish elements in Bach’s music.

The lecture will also provide an opportunity to present Szymon Paczkowski’s latest book, Polish Style in the Music of Johann Sebastian Bach (Rowman & Littlefield 2016), which is the first in-depth exploration of the so-called “Polish style” in Bach’s music. The book explores the semantic and rhetorical functions that undergird the Polish style in Baroque music. It demonstrates how the notion of a Polish style in music was developed in German music theory, and conjectures that Bach’s successful application for the title of Court Composer at the court of the Elector of Saxony and King of Poland would induce the composer to deliberately use elements of the Polish style. 

The lectures are presented by the CUNY Graduate Center, Temple University, University of Madison-Wisconsin, and supported by the Polish Cultural Institute New York.

Polish Style in the Music of Johann Sebastian BachUse code: 7A30AUTHF for a 30% discount


Thursday, April 20,  2017, 5:30pm

The Graduate Center, CUNY, Room C201-202

365 Fifth Ave,New York, NY 10016 

Friday, April 28, 2017, 1pm

Temple University, Room 142 of Presser Hall

1801 N Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19122

May 2, 2017, 4pm

University of Madison-Wisconsin, Room 2441 Humanities Building

455 N Park St., Madison, WI 53706 


April 21, 2017, 7:30pm

Bach Festival & Symposium

UMass Amherst, College of Humanities & Fine Arts

Department of Music & Dance

Bezanson Recital Hall, Fine Arts Center, N Pleasant Street, Amherst 

Panel Discussion: Contextualizing Bachs Mass in B Minor

Moderated by Ernest May; with Michael Marissen, Daniel R. Melamed, Robert L. Marshall, Jan Stockigt and Szymon Paczkowski

Bezanson Recital Hall, Fine Arts Center, North Pleasant St 

Saturday, April 22, 2017, 10:15am

Scholarly symposium, Paper Session II   

Paper “Music in the Lutheran Court Chapel in Dresden in the Time of Bach”

More about Szymon Paczkowski

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