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Max Kowalski, His Music and Life

A truncated version of an article (originally 12, now 35 pages) given in 2000 in London at the International Conference. on Jewish Music.
Views: 3.549 Created 03/26/2009

Max Kowalski(1882-1956) was born in Kowal, Poland. His family moved the next year to Frankfort, Germany, where he grew up, studied and earned Doctorates in both Music and Law (his specialty was Copyrights). His teacher of compostition was Bernhard Sekles and voice, Alexander Heineman. In Germany from 1913 till 1931, Max Kowalski was a prolific composer of beautiful lieder in the Romantic style. Although he was Jewish, Max Kowalski wrote music of all styles and genres, from Japanese, Chinese, Danish, Arabic, French and that of many great German authors,he even wrote a Marienlieder in his Opus 12. He was friend to many other composers, artists and performers and every song cycle he wrote was quickly published until Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich took over the country. In the late 30's Kowalski was very involved with the "Kulterbund" in Frankfort, Germany and his music continued to have popularity in their orchestral concerts. He is mentioned and highlighted by his presence at the last Kulturbund concert(1938) in Martin Goldsmith's book entitled "The Inextinguishable Symphony". By the end of 1938, Kowalski was arrested and spent time in Buchenwald but within a month he was released and he fled to England where he spent the rest of his life teaching voice, singing in a Synagogue and making a humble living. Although no music of his was ever published again, he kept writing new works, 17 new song cycles in manuscripts which singers performed in concerts and on radio. Opus 1 is his first composition dated 1913 and first published by Leukart in Germany. It had been out-of-print many years until Dr. Walter Foster of Recital Publications in Huntsville, Texas took up the committment to bring as many of Max Kowalski's song cycles to the public as possible. So far, 11 of his 17 previously published cycles have been reprinted.

Catalogue of Max Kowalski’s Works

Published Works

Op.   1 Sechs Lieder (1913) Simrock
Op.   2 Die Sonne Sinkt, Drei Gedichte von Frederich Nietzsche (1913) Simrock
Op.   3 Sechs Gesange (1913) Simrock
Op.   4 Zwolf Gedichte aus Pierrot Lunaire (1913)  Simrock
Op.   5 Drei Lieder auf Gedichte von Martin Greif (1915)
Op.   6 Simrock Zwei Klavierstücke (1913) Simrock
Op.   7 Drei Balladen von Conrad Ferdinand Meyer (1914) Leukart
Op.   8 Drei Gedichte von Martin Greif (1914) Leukart
Op.   9 Vier Lieder vierscheidener Dichter (1916) Simrock
Op. 10 Sechs Lieder auf alte Gedichte (1914) Simrock
Op. 11 Sechs Lieder aus dem Rokoko (1921) Simrock
Op. 12 Fünf Marienlieder (1927) Leukart
Op. 13 Sechs Gedichte von Verlaine (1928) Leukart
Op. 14 Fünf Gedichte von Hermann Hesse (1931) Zimmerman
Op. 15 Sechs Gedichte von Klabund (1930) Zimmerman
Op. 16 Fünf Lieder verschiedener Dichter (1931) Leukart
Op. 17 Sechs Lieder aus dem westöstlichen Divan von Goethe (1934) Universal

Unpublished Manuscripts

 Op. 18   Sieben Gedichte von Hafiz (1933)
[Op. 19] Japanischer Frühling (10 lieder) (1934-38)
[Op. 20] Vier zusatzliche Lieder (Japanese verse) (1934-37)
[Op. 21] Fünf Jüdische Lieder (1935-37)
[Op. 22] Drei zusatzliche Jüdische Liede (1935-37)
[Op. 23] Zwölf Kinderlieder (1936)
[Op. 24] Sechs Heine-Lieder (1938)
[Op. 25] Zwölf Lieder von Li Tai Po (1938-39)
[Op. 26] Ein Liederzyklus von Omar Khayyam (1941)
[Op. 27] Acht Lieder (Hafiz)  (1948)
[Op. 28] Sieben Lieder (Meyer) (1949)
[Op. 29] Sechs Lieder (Hölderlin) (1950-51)
[Op. 30] Sieben Lieder (Rilke) (1951)
[Op. 31] Sieben Geisha-Lieder )(1951)
[Op. 32] Sechs Lieder auf Indischen Gedichte (1951-52)
[Op. 33] Fünf Lieder (George) (1952)
[Op. 34] Sechs Lieder auf arabischen Gedichte (1953-54)

Two Piano Works are not listed: Ein Tango fur Vera (1933)
Ein Slow Fox Trot fur Vera (1933)



Max Kowalski: 7 Lieder nach Texten von Conrad Ferdinand Meyer, Otto von Rohr, (Bass), Wolfgang Rudolf (Klavier), undefined Tone Recording Co., 160 West 73rd St., New York, 12“ LP, o. J.

Max Kowalski: Sieben Lieder nach Rilke, Willy Berlin (Bariton), Walter Faith (Klavier), undefined Tone Recording Co., 160 West 73rd St., New York, 12” LP, o. J.

Max Kowalski: Pierrot-Lieder, Hans Hotter (Bass-Bariton), Michael Raucheisen (Klavier), undefined Tone Recording Co., 160 West 73rd St., New York, 12” LP, o. J.

Max Kowalski: 5 Lieder nach Hoelderlin, Otto von Rohr (Bass), Wolfgang Rudolf (Klavier), undefined Tone Recording Co., 160 West 73rd St., New York, 10” LP, o. J.

A Clown Behind the Masques of Music, Eine Auswahl von vier verschiedenen Vertonungen von sieben Gedichten aus „Pierot lunaire“; darin u . a.: Max Kowalski, Auswahl aus op. 4, mit Edith Urbanczyk (Mezzo-Sopran) und Dunja Robotti (Klavier), Musicaphon, B00005LZS0, Juni 2001.

Symposium Opera Collection 10: Paul Bender Sings
Paul Bender (1875-1947) Recordings from 1907 to1933 ... Previously unpublished: Pierrot Lunaire (Kowalski) - No.2 Raub, No.4 Der Dandy & No.10 Die Laterne. April 29, 2003


Sechs Lieder Opus 1 (1913)

  1. Die Schwartze Laute
  2. Im Entschlafen
  3. Das Bucklicht Mannlein
  4. Helle Nacht
  5. Wiegenlied
  6. Tanzlied

CD Baby
Suzi More

A New Jersey native, Miss More has performed extensively throughout the United States and abroad. She has been soloist and has appeared in numerous operatic roles performing with the Festival Chorus of New Jersey, the Masterwork Chorus and Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Singers, the Plainfield Symphony, Ars Musica Antiqua, the Garden State Chorale, the State Repertory Opera, Jersey Lyric Opera, Choral Baccarelli (Sao Paulo, Brazil), the Academy of Vocal Arts Opera Theatre (Philadelphia, PA), Montclair Chamber Orchestra, and numerous others. In 1989, she was the award-winning collaborator along with composer Loretta Jankowski, of a song cycle entitled Phoenix, published internationally by Boosey & Hawkes, in December 1993. The work, featuring Ms. More, was presented at both the Los Angeles, California (1989), and Little Rock, Arkansas, national Association of Teacher's of singing (NATS) conventions. She is a recipient of several Lila Wallace/Reader's Digest Incentive Grants, for performance and research. She is a member of the NATS, NJ, NYC and National chapters. Also, a composer of jazz, folk and children's songs. Her voice teachers and coaches include Franco Rossi-Roudett, Terrence Shook, Helen Fenstermacher, Chloe Owens, Daniel Ferro, Marlena Malas, Dorothea Discala, Frank Valentino, Deborah Taylor, and Dolores Cassinelli. She has appeared in master classes with Elly Amelling, Jerome Hines, Judith Raskin, and Daltin Baldwin. Ms. Morehead holds a B.A. degree from Rutgers University, M.A. degree from Jersey City State College, and pursued studies at the Academy of Vocal Arts, in Philadelphia, and New York University.
She has worked as voice teacher, chorus director and Orff specialist at the Newark School of the Arts for over 24 years. As well as has taught several years in the Passaic School district as music specialist.
This CD was originally recorded by Robert Speiden of Plainfield, NJ. It has been mixed and re-mastered by Max Caselnova at Clearcut Recording Studios, Garfield, NJ.
She has produced two CD’s on CD Baby.com.  "Blue" by Suzi More and "Up, Down, Turn Around." Which sell on CDBaby and many digital sites.

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