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musicologists (M)


Stanisław Mierczyński,
music ethnographer, violinist, composer and mountaineer; b. 16th August 1894 in Warsaw, d. 25th February 1952 in Otwock. His first violin teacher was his mother. In 1913 he completed the K. Wróblewski Secondary School in Warsaw. Starting from 1916 he studied violin with S. Barcewicz and theory and instrumentation with A. Gużewski. In 1918 he voluntarily joined the army. He left the service in 1920, having earned the rank of second lieutenant of the military reserve force. In 1928 he graduated from the University of Life Sciences in Warsaw. He was interested in highland music, and noted down the melodies and lyrics early in his life. He conducted research while participating in music-making sessions: he played as the lead or accompanying violinist in the band of Bartek Obrochta, a well-known musician based in Zakopane and, privately, his friend. He also took tours with folk bands abroad: in 1933 he visited Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands; in 1936 he went to Vienna, where a band he led won the gold medal and the 1st prize of the International Song, Music and Dance Competition.
In 1927 Stanisław Mierczyński started to host a programme on the folklore of Podhale on Polish Radio. He also wrote two highly appreciated works on the culture of Podhale: Muzyka Podhala (The Music of Podhale), a collection of 101 melodies (with illustrations by Zofia Stryjeńska and a foreword by Karol Szymanowski) and Pieśni Podhala na 2 i 3 równe głosy (Songs of Podhale for 2 and 3 equal voices) containing 101 melodies and lyrics of 279 songs (two written by poet Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer). His Muzyka Huculszczyzny (The Music of Huculszczyzna) was published posthumously. He also left a range of papers and articles on the music and musicians of Podhale. From 1930 to 1939 Stanisław Mierczyński worked for the Ministry of Agriculture and Agricultural Reform. He would use his holidays to go on filed trips to Orawa, Spisz, Bojkowszczyzna and Huculszczyzna (1934–38). During World War II he was an officer of the Polish resistance – Armia Krajowa (Home Army). After the war, in 1950–51 he led a group of researchers working in the area of Kielce as part of the nationwide Fieldwork Collection of Musical Folklore held by the Institute of Art. PAN.
He wrote several chamber and choral pieces, many of which were inspired by motifs characteristic for Podhale music, e.g. Suita podhalańska (A Podhale Suite) for a small orchestra; Trio góralskie pieśni podhalańskich (A Highland Trio of Podhale Songs) for string instruments; the string trio Na Smytnej hali (In Smytna Pasture); the highland dance Na hali (In a Pasture), and music for the performance Podhale tańczy (Podhale Is Dancing; 1929), directed by J. Strachocki and set to a libretto by J. Rytard and H. Rok-Rytardowa. Many of the works he composed were lost during the war, while the ones that survived are difficult to identify and date. His output is kept at the PWM Edition library.

updated: February 2015 (mkk, ab)