Archive for April 20th, 2011

1897, April 20 – BIRTH OF JERZY PETERSBURSKI

Composer, Pianist (Aries) – Jerzy Petersburski was the composer of the mythical tango “Ta Ostatnia Niedziela” (This Is The Last Sunday) which was to have a dramatic and macabre role in history…it became known as “Suicide Tango” for young disillusioned Polish army officers would shoot themselves in the head while playing it in the background…furthermore the nazis would have Jewish musicians play this tango as they led Jews to their death in the gas chambers…in fact Arthur Gold, Peterburski’s cousin who had played “Ta Ostatnia Niedziela” professionally in pre war Warsaw, would lead the orchestra at Treblinka which played it as jews were led to their death; Gold himself would eventually meet the same fate…a Russian version of this tango became the theme song in the 1997 Russian film “Burnt By The Sun” which won the academy award for Best Foreign Film…the tango was used in another academy award winner Shindler’s List which premiered in 1993

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Jerzy Petersburski was born into a well-known Warsaw family of jewish musicians…he is credited with having popularized tango in Poland which adopted tango with an intensity unparalleled anywhere else in the world; tango became synonymous with Polish popular music…it is even more surprising when one considers that unlike Paris, Madrid or Berlin, tango came to Warsaw primarily through gramophone recordings and not visiting Argentinean orchestras…interestingly, tango in Poland is mostly of Jewish origen…after the war Jerzy Petersburski lived in Buenos Aires for twenty years where he worked for “Radio El Mundo” during which he composed the hit song “All Roads Lead to Buenos Aires”…toward the end of his life he returned to Poland settling in his beloved Warsaw…in 1928 he composed “Tango Milonga” which became an instant hit all over the world…in English it was called “Oh Donna Clara” and was recorded by Al Jolson in America and Edith Piaf in France and even Florindo Sassone in Buenos Aires

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