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Józef Władysław Krogulski (1815-1842)

Józef Władysław Krogulski belongs to the group of composers who achieved a recognition among his contemporaries, but forgotten after his death. He was born on September 4, 1815 in Tarnów, as a son of Michał- music, teacher and composer, and Salomea Saszor. He started his musical education under supervision of his father. He possed a perfect pitch and his virtuosic skills were exceptional. As an  adolescent pianist, he was considered a „wunderkind” and has performed since his tenth birthday. He started the concert career at his home -Tarnów. Later, he has concertized in such places as: Warsaw, Kalisz, Poznań, Wrocław, Berlin, Legnica, Dresden (for Queen Augustine), Leipzig, Kiev, Puławy, Zamość, Lublin, Lwów etc. His performances was highly received not only by an audience but also by professional press and critiques.

Beside his performing skills, Krogulski demonstrated a strong compositional talent. He has studied  under auspices of Józef Elsner and Karol Kurpiński. He has almost completely stopped his performing career at the age of 20, to work (since 1831) as a pedagogue devoting to the choral church and secular music.

 Going in the path of his master, Józef Elsner,  has concentrated on leading the choir of Saint Kazimierz and Trinitars, and later became a permanent conductor of choir in Pijar Church. He prepared choirs to the level, they successfully performed many profound masterpieces of famous composers, as well as his own compositions. In 1838, he was actively involved in performing „Passion” in evangelical church. Krogulski got seriously sick during rehearsals to his „Miserere”, what resulted at his premature death on January 9, 1842 in Warsaw.

The musical legacy of Krogulski is gargantual. Next to the Orchestral Overture, he has composed two piano concerti, both performed by the composer in Warsaw. Unfortunately, only first piano concerto survived as an orchestral score. The piece was performed during November uprising, at the partiotic concert (December 15, 1830). Karol Kurpiński wrote at his diary: „the performance of the composition of Józio [Józef Władysław Krogulski], my student, was beautiful.” At the same concert, there was a performance of famous singer-Konstancja Gładkowska. Second piano concerto (1831) has survived only as a piano score. Krogulski  performed his both piano concerti and Variations for piano and orchestra  during the concert at the  National Theater in Warsaw on November 6, 1835. His performance was received with enthusiastic reviews.

Next to these compositions, composer left other piano compositions as: 2 piano sonatas, mazurkas, polonaises,  piano quartet, octet, opera buffa Oj Żoneczka [Oh wife], Cantata „Caravan at the desserts of Arabistan.” and church music (10 masses). These compositions remain under strong inspiration of his contemporary masters: Beethoven and Chopin. They are characterized by strong compositional skills. The piano compositions are characterized by an excellent understanding of the texture of this instrument.

The compositional legacy of Krogulski, was collected by his step-brother Władysław Krogulski (actor, and composer) and later deposited at the Jagiellonian Library in Cracow. On the basis of these materials, as well as those collected by the library of Warsaw Musical Society, many musicologists reconstructed composer’s pieces as: Cantata „Caravan” , piano concerti, church music, providing the opportunity  to listen again to theses wrongly forgotten compositions.

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