Mieczysław Karłowicz

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Mieczysław Karłowicz
Mieczysław Karłowicz Łaski Diffusion.jpg
Born11 December 1876
Died8 February 1909
CitizenshipCongress Poland,  Russian Empire

Mieczysław Karłowicz ([miɛt͡ʂɨswaf ˈkarwɔvit͡ʂ], 11 December 1876 – 8 February 1909) was a Polish composer and conductor.


Mieczysław Karłowicz was born in Vishneva, in the Vilna Governorate of the Russian Empire (now in Belarus) into a noble family belonging to Clan Ostoja. His father Jan was a Polish linguist, lexicographer, and musician. As a child, Karłowicz studied violin, for which he later composed his only concerto.

Karłowicz studied in Warsaw with Zygmunt Noskowski, Stanisław Barcewicz, Piotr Maszyński, and Gustaw Roguski. He later studied in Berlin with Heinrich Urban, to whom he dedicated his Serenade for Strings, which he composed and performed while Urban's student. From 1906 to 1907 he studied conducting with Arthur Nikisch.


Karłowicz's Stone in the Tatras, marking where his body was found. Swastika, inspired by Podhale folk art, has no connection with Nazism.

Karłowicz's music is of a late Romantic character. He was great admirer of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky whose Symphony No. 6 he praised. Tchaikovsky's influence can be heard in Karłowicz's earlier works, most notably the E minor symphony and the Violin Concerto. Like most of the late Romantics he also fell under the considerable influence of Richard Wagner, especially with Tristan und Isolde. Nevertheless, he managed to develop an original musical language expressed in harmony and orchestration, the latter of which he mastered like few other composers and wrote some of the most colourful orchestral music ever found.

Karłowicz's music inhabits a primary place in the history of Polish music between Frédéric Chopin and Karol Szymanowski. Among his works are a Symphony in E minor (Rebirth, Op. 7), a Violin Concerto in A major (Op. 8), incidental music to a play The White Dove, and six tone poems, which include The Returning Waves, Eternal Songs, Lithuanian Rhapsody, Stanisław i Anna Oświecimowie, Smutna opowieść, and Epizod na maskaradzie. The Violin Concerto was written for and dedicated to his former teacher Stanisław Barcewicz, who premiered the work under Karłowicz's baton in Berlin on 21 March 1903 with the Berlin Philharmonic.[1]

He also wrote a number of songs for voice and piano, setting words by Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer, Adam Asnyk, and others. Much of the rest of his small output was lost during World War II. Karłowicz spent much of his later life in Zakopane in southern Poland, often enjoying one of his favorite hobbies, photography, in the nearby mountain scenery. Karłowicz died at the age of 32 in an avalanche while skiing on an excursion in the Tatra mountains in 1909. He was buried at Warsaw's Powązki Cemetery.

Recent bibliography[edit]

  • Luca Lévi Sala. Mieczysław Karłowicz, in Oxford Bibliographies Online, 2018 (http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199757824/obo-9780199757824-0232.xml
  • Luca Lévi Sala, European Fin-de-siècle and Polish Modernism. The Music of Mieczysław Karłowicz, Bologne, Ut Orpheus Edizioni, 2010.
  • Christophe Jeżewski, Le Retour d'un génie. Pour le centenaire de Mieczysław Karłowicz, in "Europe", n°961, Paris, May 2009.
  • Janusz Mechanisz: Mieczysław Karłowicz, Polihymnia, 2009, ISBN 978-83-7270-610-2
  • Henryk Anders, Mieczysław Karłowicz. Życie i dokonania, Poznań, ABOS, 1998.
  • Wightman, Alistair. Karłowicz, Young Poland and the Musical Fin-de-siècle, Aldershot, Ashgate, 1996; Polish translation by Ewa Gabryś, Karłowicz. Młoda Polska i muzyczny fin de siècle, Kraków, PWM, 1996 (Monografie Popularne).
  • Leszek Polony, Poetyka muzyczna Mieczysława Karłowicza, Cracow, PWM, 1986.
  • Paul-Gilbert Langevin, Musiciens d'Europe, "La Revue Musicale", Editions Richard Masse, Paris, 1986.
  • Elżbieta Dziębowska, éd. Z życia i twórczości Mieczysława Karłowicza, Cracow, PWM, 1970.


Solo Voice

  • Zamuconej Op. 1 No 1
  • Skąd pierwsze gwiazdy Op. 1 No 2
  • Na śniegu Op. 1 No 3
  • Zawód Op. 1 No 4
  • Pamiętam ciche, jasne, złote dnie Op. 1 No 5
  • Smutną jest dusza moja Op. 1 No 6
  • Mów do mnie jeszcze Op. 3 No 1
  • Idzie na pola Op. 3 No 2
  • Na spokojnym, ciemnym morzu Op. 3 No 3
  • Śpi w blaskach nocy Op. 3 No 4
  • Pod naszymi okny Op. 3 No 5
  • Z erotyków Op. 3 No 6
  • Nie płacz nade mną Op. 3 No 7
  • Najpiękniejsze piosnki Op. 4
  • Csasem, gdy długo
  • Rdzawe liście
  • Po szerokim
  • W wieczorną ciszę
  • Zaczarowana królewna
  • Pod jaworem słowa


  • Serenade for Strings, Op. 2
  • Incidental music from Bianca da Molena, Op. 6 (The White Dove)
  • Symfonia "Odrodzenie", Op. 7 (Symphony "Renaissance")
  • Concerto for Violin, Op. 8
  • Powracajace vale, Op. 9 (Returning Waves)
  • Odwieczne pieśni, Op. 10 (Eternal Songs)
  • Rapsodia litewska, Op. 11 (Lithuanian Rhapsody)
  • Stanisław i Anna Oświecimowie, Op. 12 (Stanislaw and Anna Oswiecimowie)
  • Smutna opowieść, Op. 13 (A Sorrowful Tale)
  • Epizod na maskaradzie, Op. 14 (Episode at a Masquerade)


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Culture.pl
  2. ^ Warszawska Orkiestra Symfoniczna. It was composed of two opera orchestras of Warsaw Chamber Opera (cf. Orkiestra Symfoniczna Filharmonii Śląskiej, "Mieczysław Karłowicz. Poematy symfoniczne").
  3. ^ "Moszkowski & Karlowicz: Violin Concertos". www.hyperion-records.co.cuk. Hyperion Records UK. April 2004. Retrieved 19 February 2019.

External links[edit]