Alexandra Nowakowski, soprano

Michał Biel, piano

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Release date: 9/2/2022

Executive Producer: Gillian Riesen

Artwork: Emitha LLC

Photography: Kinga Karpati & Daniel Zarewicz

OP. 58
by Karol Szymanowski 

1. No. 1 Lecioły zórazie

2. No. 3 Uwoz mamo

3. No. 4 U jeziorecka 

4. No. 9 Zarzyjze, kuniu 

OP. 7
by Ignacy Paderewski

5. No. 1 Gdy ostatnia róża zwiędła

6. No. 2 Siwy koniu

7. No. 3 Szumi w gaju brzezina

8. No. 4 Chłopca mego mi zabrali

OP. 18
by Ignacy Paderewski

9. No. 1 Polały się łzy

10. No. 2 Piosnka dudarza

OP. 74
by Fryderyk Chopin

11. No. 1 Życzenie

12. No. 16 Piosnka litewska

13. No. 19 Dumka

14. No. 12 Moja pieszczotka

15. No. 10 Wojak


21. Przasniczka

by Stanisław Moniuszko
20. Ja ciebie kocham
by Stanisław Moniuszko

16. Matko już nie ma cię

17. Łza

18. Dobranoc

19. Powiedzcie mi

by Stanisław Moniuszko

22. Pieśń Nai

by Stanisław Moniuszko

“O! Polsko, kraino!” This desperate cry in one of Chopin’s durges is what inspired me to choose “KRAINA” as the title of this album of Polish art song. In Polish literature we often hear this cry to the motherland – we either cry to her or she cries to us. “Kraina” can be literally translated as “land,” but in the Polish language can also be interpreted as “motherland” or “homeland.” In Polish, Poland translates to “Polska” – she is feminine, as is “Kraina.” And there is something distinctly feminine about her, a mother that remains forever in the hearts of her children even if they are forced to leave her.

As a Polish American my motherland has called to me my whole life. I grew up with one foot on American soil and the other on Polish. As a Pole, I wanted to dive deeper into the repertoire of Poland. As an American, I wanted to celebrate a culture that for decades was persecuted and conquered, unable at times to practice their religions or attend school, and least of all, compose music. Due to the war and oppression Poland suffered, its’ music became not so much about celebrating Polish culture, but preserving it. To the naked ear, we may not hear the same complexities in this music as traditional art song repertoire; rather, we hear a culture desperate to hang onto who they were; to their folk songs, to beautiful melodies, and to themes that defined the Polish people during this period in history, war and love. We hear songs that could be sung at home by families with or without musical abilities, like “Dobranoc” from Moniuszko’s “Singing Books for the Home”. Moniuszko is perhaps the most prolific Polish song composer we know of. His seemingly simple melodies exist for a greater purpose - inclusivity. Szymanowski, probably one of the most gifted Polish composers in terms of musical complexity, had a wide variety of influences, including the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and finally Poland itself, all of which you hear in his music. He was also one of the few openly gay Polish composers. Paderewski composed melodies that allow the singer to text-paint to their heart’s desire. And of course, Chopin, the most famous of them all, wrote not just for piano, but also for voice. Although, his songs were mostly written on the corner of napkins for his various lovers, and he never actually intended for them to see the light of day. These vastly different compositional offerings are exactly why Polish music deserves it’s place on the stages of the world, and I am so excited to bring them to you." 

- Alexandra Nowakowski

NOTES ON THE ALBUM - coming soon!

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