Archive for the ‘other’ Category

Wait, why Krzhizhanovsky?

3 June 2011 Leave a comment

OK, this is just something that struck me. Until today I wasn’t aware of the existence of this person, but what makes me wonder is the rationale behind spelling his name this way. Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky. Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky?! The guy was born to Polish parents. So his name is Zygmunt Krzyżanowski. Or, if you drop the single diacritical (which is common practice in English), Zygmunt Krzyzanowski. His adopted homeland was Russia, so obviously enough, he spelled his name using the Cyrillic alphabet (Сигизмунд Доминикович Кржижановский). But now suppose someone wants to mention him using the Latin alphabet. What is the point of transcribing (transliterating) the Cyrillic back to Latin using one of the several schemes available, if the name was actually spelled using Latin script in the first place? Am I missing something here?

[UPDATE: OK, I realize that referring to two “exotic” languages, Polish and Russian, may have made my point difficult to understand. So here’s what would happen in an analogous English-Russian situation: Imagine there’s someone called John Smith. John Smith moves to Russia at an early age and embarks on a writing career there (as an exclusively Russian-language author). In Russia he is referred to as Джон Смит. Now, at some point someone decides that the writings of Джон Смит should be translated to English. What name will they be published under? John Smith, I would imagine. However, that would be an inaccurate transliteration of Джон Смит. The two possible “correct” transliterations are either Džon or Dzhon Smit. But we would be getting an artificial “Dzhon Smit” in place of the original John Smith. It doesn’t make sense and goes against the tradition of “reconstructing” the original spelling of non-Russian surnames when transcribing them into Latin script. Obviously, as the Krzyzanowski example shows, that tradition is not a “rule” and, besides, it can sometimes be problematic, as in the case of those names which can be traced to several Latin spellings. But one could point out that nobody spells Шнитке as Šnitke or Shnitke. Instead, he is spelled Schnittke. Or Эйзенштейн – practically everyone spells his name Eisenstein, even though the “proper” transliteration would have been either Ejzenštejn, or Ejzenshtejn, or Eĭzenshteĭn, or Eizenshtein, or Eyzenshteyn. Perhaps both these artists influenced that “reconstructed” use themselves, but that doesn’t make it less rational.]


Polish Focus! 2011

14 December 2010 Leave a comment

Just a quick heads-up for those who will be in NYC or vicinity Jan. 22-28 (2011): The main focus of Juilliard’s Focus! festival next year will be Polish modern and contemporary music! You can read more about it in an article by Joel Sachs. Or go straight to the calendar of events (more to be announced, I am told). Looks like a really great program, including both the Polish modern music warhorses (what a contradiction in terms!) and stuff that probably isn’t very widely known abroad (both contemporary and slightly less contemporary). Wish I could be there. No, seriously: a lot of the music I’ve never heard live, and would love to. (Wait a minute, that doesn’t make much sense. If I ever do visit the States, I seriously doubt whether I’ll be spending a lot of time listening to Polish contemporary music.)

My thanks go to Bruce Hodges for alerting me about this.

Experimenting with pdf editors

29 October 2009 2 comments

Sorry the blog has been sort of lifeless recently. I’ve been busy with thesis formalities over the last month and a half. The second review came in (in September), I had to get my final exam (a viva of sorts) scheduled, get prepared for it, pass it, get my “defence” scheduled, prepare for that (write a refutation of the reviews and put together a presentation of my thesis), and get through with that as well. And then I had to wait for official approval. As of this Tuesday I am allowed to use my new title. 😉

Anyway, this post will be very vaguely related with what I usually write about, but the last 10 days or so in my life have been all about pdf editing. I am involved in the preparation of a Festschrift for a professor I owe a lot to. I’ve been called in as a sort of last minute replacement. The volume was supposed to come out by early November, for the professor’s birthday. But some of the main actors are having health problems, there are also funding issues. It became clear that the book won’t be published until some time next year (and it’s already 2 years in the making). So a group of people decided to prepare a sort of home-made advance copy: have one copy of the text professionally printed and bound. But in order to do that, we had to be able to enter last-minute corrections in the texts. We got the pdf-s of the prepared book from the publisher. The only problem was: how can we easily make corrections in pdf files? Thus began my quest for a cheap and easy to use pdf editor.

I was looking for 2 things:

1) The ability to make corrections in the text, such as deleting words, correcting typos etc. Preferably without having to worry about fitting the text into the space of a line/paragraph.

2) The ability to change paragraph alignment. Through an oversight the entire book is aligned to the left, and we would like it to be justified.

Now, odd as it may seem, there aren’t that many programs around that can do both of those things easily. In fact, out of the 5 pdf editors I have now tried (the top 5 that came up in a Google search) – only one can do both of those things. Heck, only one can do either of them! Yeah, I was surprised…

There are pdf editors around which allow you to edit the text content in a pdf. But most of them allow you to edit only one line at a time. So if you remove too much text, the line is left empty-looking, and you are forced to “manually” move a word or two from the line below. I hope you get my drift: you have to edit every single line of the paragraph one by one, deleting from below the words you have just inserted above. The same goes for inserted text: if it’s too long, you have to personally deal with the part that “sticks out” – move it to the line below, and possibly move the text that’s left over in that line to the one below it. Etc. Etc. Quite a chore.

I can’t rule out the possibility that the editors I have tried do in fact have a workaround for all that. But it certainly isn’t readily available and I don’t have the time to read lengthy manuals at the moment. Especially since one program is capable of performing the task without a problem. It’s called The Infix PDF Editor (from Iceni Technology). First of all, what you get to edit here is not a line but the entire paragraph, with the text automatically flowing between lines. So if there are too many characters in a line, Infix automatically makes all the readjustments. It will even add an additional line to the paragraph if necessary.

The second task, changing text alignment, seems even more difficult for most pdf editors. In fact, of the ones that I’ve tried, Infix appears to be the only one which has that option! Perhaps others have it too, but it’s hidden somewhere. In Infix the alignment icons are part of the default toolbar. So it’s all done as in a standard text editor.

Now, I’m not the sort of person who talks all about their experience with a new piece of software unasked, even when that experience is very pleasurable. But as it happens, the people at Iceni Technology are implementing a clever viral campaign. They promise to reward people who describe their positive Infix experiences with a free lincense. Now, as pdf editors go, Infix is quite inexpensive (a license to edit 3 documents costs 30 dollars). But since what I’ve written above is a sincere description of my experience, I see nothing wrong in sharing it with other people, and hopefully Iceni will reward me with a license, and I’ll save some money. I’ll let you know if they did in the comments section below.

(The demo version of their program is fully functional but leaves a watermark on all pages of an edited document. You can remove the watermark at any point, once you get a license. At least that’s what they say – I haven’t had a chance to try yet.)

Categories: other

Fryderyk winners announced

20 April 2009 Leave a comment


Winners of the Fryderyk award have been announced today (I mentioned the nominees in an earlier post). To see the full results go here. Winners in the classical music category are given below. I’d say DUX, PWA and Paweł Mykietyn should really feel satisfied.


Stanisław MONIUSZKO – Masses (DUX 657)


performers: Marta Boberska, Agnieszka Rehlis, Rafał Bartmiński, Jarosław Bręk, Andrzej Białko, Warsaw National Philharmonic Choir/Henryk Wojnarowski, recording engineers: Małgorzata Polańska, Marcin Targoński


Mikołaj ZIELEŃSKI – Offertoria et Communiones Totius Anni, 1611 (DUX 681)


performers: Emma Kirkby, Andrzej Białko, Capella Cracoviensis/Stanisław Gałoński, recording engineer: Małgorzata Polańska


Karol SZYMANOWSKI – Compositions for violin and piano (DUX 614)


performers: Piotr Pławner, Wojciech Świtała, recording engineer: Małgorzata Polańska


HAYDN, BEETHOVEN, MOZART – Piano Sonatas (Deutsche Grammophon/Universal Music Poland 4777453 or 4777952?)


performer: Rafał Blechacz, sound engineer: Mark Buecker


Mieczysław KARŁOWICZ – Violin Concerto in A Major op. 8, Eternal Songs op. 10, SACD & CD (BeArTon, CDB043.19443343)

performers: Agata Szymczewska, Sinfonia Varsovia/Jerzy Maksymiuk, sound engineers: Julita Emanuiłow, Zbigniew Kusiak


Paweł MYKIETYN – Speechless Song (Polskie Wydawnictwo Audiowziualne PWA 5908259554174)

performers: Jacek Laszczkowski, Maciej Piszek, Jerzy Artysz, Viola Łabanow, Andrzej Bauer, Polish Radio Orchestra, Dafo String Quartet/Jacek Rogala, Przemysław Fiugajski, recording engineers: Lech Dudzik, Gabriela Blicharz, Andrzej Sasin, Aleksandra Nagórko, Antoni Grzymała


Karol SZYMANOWSKI – King Roger (DVD, Polskie Wydawnictwo Audiowizualne PWA 5908259554143)


performers: Andrzej Dobber, Aleksandra Buczek, Rafał Mojzner, Pavlo Tolstoy, Radosław Żukowski, Barbara Bagińska, Orchestra and Choir of the Wrocław Opera, Angelus Chamber Choir/Ewa Michnik, stage director: Mariusz Treliński, sound engineer: Katarzyna Adamik




performers: Choir of the Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic/Violetta Bielecka





Paweł MYKIETYN – Speechless Song (details above)

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2009 Fryderyk Award nominations

19 February 2009 3 comments

You may have noticed, if you ever take notice of such things, that at the bottom of every post on this blog there is a set of links, and one of those links is labeled “Fryderyks”. That link leads to the official web page of the Fryderyk Awards – awards given by what the site claims is the Polish “Phonographic Academy”. Actually, the whole thing is organized by the Polish “Audio Video Producers’ Union” – which might be more or less the same thing, I wouldn’t know and don’t really care.

Wait a minute, what was I going to say…? Ah, yes! A week ago, on the 12th of February, this year’s nominations were revealed. You can find an online list here (on the official site of the award) or you can download the list of classical nominees in pdf format here (from the Polish Music Information Centre’s site). The only problem: both lists are in Polish and neither gives the disc catalog numbers. Isn’t that type of information sort of… basic? And no cover pics either.

After compiling all those discographies recently I feel a slight (ever so slight) urge to put together an English version of the list. But would anyone need it/have a use for it? I seriously doubt it so, at least for the time being, I leave you with what the monolingual people from the “Phonographic Academy” have prepared.

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Song without Words

22 December 2008 7 comments


Two lovely shorts

2 September 2008 Leave a comment

A friend whom I haven’t seen in 20 years has surfaced and it turns out he has become an animator.

Of the stuff I’ve seen so far, this one is certainly my favorite. A beautiful short film called Seize the Night:

Talk to Me is just as lovely. I don’t know, maybe the first half is even better (I love the purple glow in the school scene)…

The author of these little gems is Numair Abbas. To see more of his work and get more info about him check out his website Numairical Values. Rumor has it he’s in the market for some freelance assignments, so if you know anything – don’t hesitate!

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