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Organ culture in post-war Poland, 1945-2012

Description

Throughout the history of Western art music, political and religious institutions have exerted powerful influence through their patronage and censorship. This is especially relevant to the organ, an elaborate and expensive instrument which has always depended on institutional support. The

Throughout the history of Western art music, political and religious institutions have exerted powerful influence through their patronage and censorship. This is especially relevant to the organ, an elaborate and expensive instrument which has always depended on institutional support. The fascinating story of Polish organ culture, which has existed since the Middle Ages, reflects the dramatic changes in Polish politics throughout the centuries. An understanding of this country's history helps to construct a comprehensive view of how politics influenced the developments in organ building and organ playing. This paper describes the dynamics of the Church, government and art institutions in Poland during the years 1945-2012. A brief summary of the history of Polish organ culture sets the stage for the changes occurring after WWII. The constant struggle between the Church and the communist regime affected music making and organ culture in Poland from 1945-1989. The political détente that occurred after 1989 led to a flowering of new instruments, restorations and performance opportunities for organists. By exploring the relationship between Polish organ culture and prevailing agendas in the 20th century, the author demonstrates how a centuries-old tradition adapted to survive political and economic hardships.

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Date Created
2012