Witold Maliszewski (1873-1939) is one of the Polish ‘great and forgotten’ composers. Born in Mohylov Podolski, studied in Tiflis (now Tbilisi, Georgia), and Sankt Petersburg, where after getting a degree in medicine, he became a student of M. Rimski-Korsakov. His career started brightly: with several awards for chamber music compositions. One of them he got in 1905 for his String Quintet in D-minor. Since 1908 he was a professor and Rector of Odessa Conservatory. In 1921 Maliszewski came to Warsaw, were he taught harmony, composition and counterpoint at the Chopin School of Music. He was also the director of the Warsaw Music Society (WTM), a co-founder of the Chopin Institute, and one of organizers of the 1st International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition. From 1931 to 1934 Maliszewski was the Director of the Musical department at the Polish Ministry of Religious Affairs and Public Education.
He composed four symphonies, Piano Concerto in B-Minor, two operas, several monumental works for chorus, soloists and orchestra ( e.g. Requiem, Pontifical Mass), three string quartets, numerous piano works and songs. Many of his compositions were awarded at the music competitions in Poland and abroad. Maliszewski’s music origins from late romantic tradition, but there is always an individual mark on it.
Witold Maliszewski was undoubtedly a person of merit, a very creative and original composer, and yet he has been forgotten by the Poles. For over 70 years that passed since the moment he died, not a work of his has been published, no major composition performed. There are only a dozen or so pages on Maliszewski written by the musicologists. It seems inexplicable. His most brilliant pupil, Witold Lutosławski would hold him in highest esteem. On the other hand, neither Lutosławski is often spoken about nowadays…