The Glory Days of the Siren of Warsaw: The Post-War Story of Syrena Record
default, The Glory Days of
the Siren of Warsaw:
The Post-War Story
of Syrena Record, Photograph from the exhibition 'Jukebox! Jewish Century on Shellac and Vinyl', photo: Polin Museum, center, syrena_rec._polin.jpg
From its birth in 1908, Syrena Record had gone on to rapidly earn a place in Polish and international recording history – and all within some six years before WWI pushed Europe into chaos. In the second of two articles on Poland’s first recording company, Juliette Bretan explores what happened next in Syrena’s tumultuous story.
A new dawn for Polish music
After everything that had happened in part one of our story, it was almost fated that one of Syrena’s first recordings after the end of WWI, pressed in 1918, would be a copy of the Polish national anthem and hymn to independence: Mazurek Dąbrowskiego (Dąbrowski’s Mazurek; also known as Jeszcze Polska Nie Zginęła, or Poland is Not Yet Lost).
The company – and Poland as a country – were coming back onto a map of Europe which had been shattered by war. The promise of a brighter future for Poland was still tangible, however, and in this, Syrena would lead the charge.
Tomasz Lerski estimates that in the early post-war days, ‘patriotic songs were available only on records made by Syrena’ – though, in the case of Mazurek Dąbrowskiego, the residual political complications in Central and Eastern Europe prompted a certain level of censorship, leaving the anthem endorsed as a ‘folk song’.
As it turned out, all was not yet lost for the company, either.
In the 1920s, Syrena’s logo – once that rich, ethereal scene of quivering gramophone and alluring sirens – changed to a simplistic design, with a swirl of gold cursive lettering bearing the name of Syrena against a red background. These were the discs which would be exported mainly to Germany, in a move providing the backbone of the company’s post-war recovery.
Syrena certainly needed propping up: with the loss of its once-famed manufacturing equipment, copious stores of shellac and treasured output during the war, the company was in debt. Its production was chaotic, with only incomplete or error-strewn records pumping from its presses.
But when Feigenbaum, ever the international operator, began another trade – assembling foreign gramophones – Syrena’s fortunes were saved.
The voices of an age
The Irresistible Siren of Warsaw: The Pre-War Story of Syrena Record
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Photograph from the exhibition 'Jukebox! Jewish Century on Shellac and Vinyl', photo: Polin Museum
Once the immediate post-war tumult had passed, the Western world turned to modernity. It was infatuated by the opulence and zest of an energetic culture, cut in gold and bronze, which was taking entertainment spheres by storm.
Poland – and Syrena – were no different.
Its finances secured, Syrena could turn to the latest crazes in contemporary music: the striking sounds of hedonism and freedom. In the mid-1920s, it began to gulp down the electric flavours of contemporary dance music from across the United States, including imports of the Charleston – which never really took off in Poland – but also shimmies, black-bottoms, tangos and foxtrots.
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In fact, Beth Holmgren notes that Henryk Wars, one of Poland’s best-loved musical sons, first stumbled upon his particular musical turf by listening to imported American records in the Syrena Record store in Warsaw in the 1920s. As she shares in her book, Wars himself recollected this event in 1972, which was later recorded in Już Nie Zapomnisz Mnie: Opowieść o Henryku Warsie (You Won’t Forget Me: The Story of Henryk Wars) by Ryszard Wolański:
The performers were bandleaders Fletcher Henderson and Louis Armstrong, the masters of something I’d never heard before. It was called jazz.
Trans. Beth Holmgren
That proved to be the catalyst for a career which would eventually take the Polish musician to Hollywood. Wars was known as the King of Polish Jazz in his later life – but in 1928, he took on the role of musical director for Syrena, the recording company to which he owed so much.
Collaboration with other firms across the continent also allowed Syrena access to the songs of Central and Eastern Europe, encouraging future cooperation in musical projects. This was a far cry from the early years of the company, during which agents were sent to physically observe any events in the Polish entertainment world.
Alongside the rapid, global expansion of the recording industry in Poland, notes Lerski, came a growing interest in the capabilities of radio, including the establishment of the Polish Radio in 1925. Technical issues for live broadcasts at the time meant that playing records during programmes was becoming an increasingly attractive solution. This is not to mention the fact that Syrena’s factory was situated just around the corner from the Polish Radio headquarters – which led to a further boom in Syrena’s fortunes. If the Polish Radio wanted only the best names on its airwaves, then so did Syrena.
This would mark the birth of Interwar Polish celebrity culture.
On the political front, however, Poland was still suffering from certain levels of post-war turmoil. With poverty and ramshackle infrastructure holding together the diverse corners of the newly independent state, it would be no match for Syrena’s golden musical touch. Just as Feigenbaum had begun the company’s career by turning to global pioneers, the multicultural makeup of Interwar Poland would be quite literally inscribed into the tender grooves of the company’s discs, with the use of imported matrices.
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The very Polish popular music which bled straight from Syrena’s presses in the Interwar years was a tour de force of diversity – siphoning out woozy waltzes, sexy foxtrots, pasodobles and slowfoxes, not to mention polkas and rumbas. Lerski’s view is that ‘there was scarcely a single home in Poland that did not have at least some of the company’s records’.
But if Syrena had proved to be the skeleton of Polish Interwar music because it could appeal to everyone, Polish tango – vulnerable, its notes aching with melancholia – was at its enthralling heart.
A vast number of the tangos cut from Syrena’s presses in the Interwar years were written or composed by Jewish musicians who were redefining their futures in the modern Polish state. Those musicians – with their backgrounds in Yiddishkeit and Klezmer seeping the accents of Jewish folk into Polish renditions of international dances like tango – would go on to pen some of the most classic numbers of the age.
Andrzej Włast, the ‘King of Trash’, was one of these musicians. With the composer Zygmunt Białostocki, he would write the sensational 1932 tango Rebeka, a song laced with Hasidic melodies and bearing an almost tangible heartbreak. Premiering at Morskie Oko, Rebeka would end up becoming one of the best-loved songs of the era. The historian and musician Jane Peppler writes that it was apparently requested so often at clubs that it would be requested for a second time even whilst the first was still playing.
Rebeka would also be released in Yiddish as Rivkele, a song with a different plot to the original, and performed by the Lvovian musical sweetheart Tadeusz Faliszewki.
Włast, who could allegedly slip between genres and spout lyrics faster than he could drink a cup of coffee, was also renowned for his satirical szmonces, popular in Interwar cabarets and reproduced on Syrena’s glittering discs. Włast worked alongside the father of Polish tango, Jerzy Petersburski – a musician who had been catapulted to fame via Syrena’s opulent discs with his hit Tango Milonga – but also with Petersburski’s energetic, talented cousins, Artur and Henryk Gold.
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The latter of the Gold pair had begun his career conducting military bands, but he would go on to become one of the biggest names in Poland interwar music – hand-picking a troupe of musicians to play those enchanting modern sounds taking the country by storm.
That band took Henryk straight to the doors of the Adria; there, he would also dabble in new renditions of the voguish styles siphoned from America. Eventually, he would make his own recordings for Syrena, merging pinches of the age-old Polish romantic and sentimental melodies with Jewish inflections and a more modern, brassy sound, dripping in glissandos and vibrato.
There were also songs with more explicit Jewish themes recorded on Syrena, such as the yearning 1935 hit List do Palystyny (A Letter to Palestine), performed by Adam Aston. His voice, sumptuous and plush, was the backing track to a substantial proportion of Polish-Jewish interwar musical culture – he even recorded a Hebrew-language version of the classic To Ostatnia Niedziela (The Last Sunday) as The Last Sabat or To Ostatni Szabas, which appeared under the name Ben Levi. Pekka Gronow also points out the global marketability of some of Syrena’s Jewish numbers, some of which even found their audiences in Finland:
‘Der Rebe und Gabe’ […] is in many ways typical. In the 1920s and 1930s, many Eastern European cities had Jewish theatres presenting plays, revues and musical comedies in Yiddish. On the label, Kaniewska and Brajtman are billed as artists of the Jewish theatres of Vienna and Bucharest. ‘Der Rebe und Gabe’ (also known as ‘Gabe vos vil der Rebe’) is a Yiddish traditional song which has also been documented in folk tradition in Western Ukraine and Belarus […]. It is a comic song mocking a rabbi who collects gifts of food from his parishioners. It has not been possible to determine the exact date of recording, but Lerski estimates that it was recorded between 1929 and 1935. It is not known how the record was distributed in Finland, but in addition to this item, the Orvomaa collection includes eleven more recordings on the Syrena label, with dates between 1910 and 1935.
There were also recordings by the leading cantor Gershon-Yitskhok Leibovich Sirota, the ‘Jewish Caruso’; also on tap were klezmer bands and Yiddish theatre, as well as sketches by the Jewish comedy duo Dzigan and Shumacher. Writing about Syrena’s relations with Polish and Yiddish theatres, Lerski notes that:
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Sometimes the whole variety show would be recorded but, as a rule, only the most important spoken and musical numbers. The performers used were variety show artists or dance-hall singers under contact with the studio. Sometimes Syrena Record would engage the theatre orchestra from such a review, record musical and spoken excerpts from the show and then release the record on the day of the première. Often such records could be purchased in the theatre itself.
Trans. Barbara Dudycz-Hajgiel
With popularity of Jewish music growing more and more, by 1937, Syrena would be cutting discs of Hebrew covers of Polish and international hits, with labels in both Hebrew and English.
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The opening ceremony of the 'New Momus' cabaret at the 'Oasis' halls in Warsaw. In the photo: Artistic team of the cabaret. At the table from the right: the director Zygmunt Woyciechowski, the literary director Jan Brzechwa, the actor Eugeniusz Bodo, the actress Vera Bobrowska, the comedian Władysław Walter, the actor Wacław Ścibor-Rylski, the actress Loda Niemirzanka, the actress Irena. On the right are: the director of the orchestra, Henryk Gold (first on the right) and the conductor Zygmunt Białostocki (second on the right). 1933. Photo: www.audiovis.nac.gov.pl (NAC)
With this growing need to record stage performances and concerts, the focus of Syrena’s projects soon turned to the quality of recording studios. During the Interwar period, says Lerski, these were often subject to noise disturbances, including echoes and feedback.
The Syrena company decided in 1929 that the best idea would be to build new studios at Wiśniowa Street in Warsaw. When investments in this new technology required monetary foundations, Syrena became a joint-stock company, with Hilary Tempel at its head.
Adopting its warmest sound yet, combined with the latest in microphone technology, the record label’s name transformed into a full-bodied dose of modernity: Syrena-Electro.
This came with a label change, too, complete with that typical emblem of the jazzy Art Deco world, the sunburst – resplendent and glorious across Syrena’s crown, illuminated in gold on deepest indigo. In front was the stamp of a lyre, flanked and tangled with two solid spotlights of golden gramophone horns.
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Sleeve designs from the era would also boast a verdant splash of palm trees; dazzling, lounging young women, smothered in chiffon, splashed across chaises longues; or fingers of intoxicating notation stretching from the paper towards the company’s listeners.
Even the labels for Syrena’s advertisements possessed a certain sense of the swish, jazz-age charm about them, with many featuring photographs of Mieczysław Fogg, Aston, Gold – and even lesser-known, faddish starts, like Vera Bobrowska, a singer and alleged spy.
Advertising for Syrena itself aside, the company also spearheaded contemporary Polish commercial campaigns, pressing songs which were quite literally about washing powders and shampoo. Of course, these could be performed only by the most enchanting crooners of the time – Faliszewski and Aston, among others.
Throughout its 21-year career, Syrena records were aimed at the middle class, with its comfortable prices. Though it did have a considerable classical repertoire, it did not consign itself to highbrow appeal either, as it also made room for more up-and-coming artists. Many first began their careers recording for Melodja Electro, the little-brother company of Syrena, which pressed lesser-quality shellac for cheaper prices.
Even when the Great Depression loomed across the globe, the record label did not falter. Syrena kept pressing, and the artists kept singing – but with the wider global situation deteriorating, Syrena’s officials decided to reduce production costs and so precipitated a decline in the quality of discs. This was a measure they hoped would be temporary.
The war meant that it would not be.
Records of Interwar Poland
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'Ball at Old Josek's'; Fanny Gordon, Brodziński, Krzewiński; waltz; 1963 (probable date); Warsaw: Ignacy Rzepecki; photo: Digital Library of Polish Song
Away from the nonchalance of light music, Syrena was also home to more exclusively Polish numbers.
The company was one of the first to record the classic urban ballad, Bal u Starego Joska (A Ball at Old Josek’s), which can still heard today in the city’s Praga district, sung in a Warsaw patois. The song was uneasily real: the true story of a restaurant and nightclub, Josek’s Eatery, run on Gnojna Street, an artery of pre-war Warsaw’s diverse centre. The Eatery and Gnojna do not exist today – since wiped out by war and death – but at the time, it was the venue which could bring together individuals from every social milieu. It has been remarked that nobody would visit Warsaw to sell their goods in the Interwar period without stopping at Josek’s.
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The song was inspired by the French Les Apaches genre, originating with the renowned convicts of Paris during the Belle Époque period – so renowned that a fascination with lawlessness soon seeped into European popular culture. The criminals were known for their frenzied dance style, which bore similarities to the tango and waltz. Bal u Starego Joska, the Polish take on this French immorality, used a hypnotic waltz rhythm and name-dropped various Polish criminals of the era, including Bloody Feluś, King of the Thieves of Warsaw. There was also Stefan Maciejowski, the first civilian executioner of Interwar Poland – who, in the song, waits under the gallows for the protagonist to face his fate. The song even features a Warsaw slang which mimicked the suburban slang of the Parisian underworld.
It was the reliance on the current social universe which helped to make Syrena a success for so long and for so many. On the one hand, the label was recording about the Spanish military coup of 1923 – but on the other, one of its most enthusing Polish hits was the song Jadzia, celebrating the appeal of Jadwiga Smosarska, the best Polish actress of the period.
And then there was Nikodem – sung in separate versions by Aston and Faliszewski – which epitomised the Polish celebrity culture of the time. Nikodem was based on a recent novel by Tadeusz Dołęga-Mostowicz, Kariera Nikodema Dyzmy (The Career of Nikodem Dyzmy), about an opportunist young man – and the song ran the same way, its chorus exclaiming that ‘Nikodem’ was better even than Eugeniusz Bodo, a heartthrob singer and actor of the Interwar period. Although exaggerated, it was set in Warsaw’s very real – and very renowned – Hotel Europejski (European Hotel), referring to the hordes of celebrities, foreign and domestic, which flooded through the doors of this parallel imaginative world. They ranged from the Polish politician, diplomat and artist, Bolesław Ignacy Florian Wieniawa-Długoszowski, to the famed French actress and singer Mistinguett.
It can be said that Syrena truly catered to all – for those with more smutty inclinations, for example, the company even had a special catalogue of lewd recordings, sold only from under the counter.
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Back to the classical origins of many of its stars, Syrena also stamped out orchestra and chamber music from Warsaw, as well as from the Symphony Orchestras of London, Paris, and Vienna. Classical pieces pre-dating WWI were reissued, and around 24 recordings were cut of Polish compositions in the 1930s alone.
Lerski writes that these classical pieces sometimes took the company outside its famed studios – on one occasion in 1935, Syrena is even known to have undertaken a very cramped recording session in the auditorium of the Teatr Wielki. He also estimates that as much as 10% of the company’s ultimate repertoire at the time of its liquidation was classical pieces.
One of Syrena’s most prized endeavours in this field, however, was a set of discs of Stanisław Moniuszko’s opera Halka. With recording lasting across almost a year between 1929 and 1930, Lerski describes the Halka discs as ‘beyond the capabilities of any other Polish record company’, calling it Syrena’s ‘greatest recording achievement’:
The whole 80 minute opera was recorded onto 14 records and the complete set, published in a luxurious gilt album in 1932, was highly praised by the critics.
Trans. Barbara Dudycz-Hajgiel
That gilt album, bound by metal fittings on each corner and emblazoned with a stamp of the Syrena logo on the front cover, must have seemed like the height of success for a company which, by 1930, had only been in operation for 18 years. It was the only time an entire opera had been recorded in Interwar Poland. But Syrena’s development was still on the rise.
By the 1930s, the new trend in Polish entertainment was a budding native film industry. In Syrena’s early days, the driving force behind Polish record production had been concerns regarding an inundation of foreign imports. Similarly, in post-WWI Poland, efforts were tireless to forge a native film industry, pulling out all the stops in the latest technology.
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Naturally, then, Poland’s first sound picture, The Morality of Mrs Dulska (originally: Moralność Pani Dulskiej), had Syrena – along with other leading lights of the Polish music business – at its heart. Based on the 1906 play of the same name by Gabriela Zapolska, the film had aspirations to become an early home-grown success story. In her book The Law of the Looking Glass: Cinema in Poland, 1896–1939, Sheila Skaff notes that:
Although the creators of ‘The Morality of Pani Dulska’ decided to add sound only after production had begun, they tried to make the technical excellence of its illustrated song and dialogue recording a top priority […] coproducer Maurycy Herszfinkel hired the Syrena Record recording studio, a group of musicians from the Warsaw Philharmonic, and composer Ludomir Różycki to coordinate the music and image track.
The contemporary press might have eventually condemned the quality of sound-on-disc and poor synchronisation for this particular film, but a trend had been set. Syrena recording equipment would hold a monopoly on film recordings for two years, until other firms managed, slowly, to catch up.
The most diverse of outputs
Though the majority of Polish songs of the era were recorded in voices bearing the typical Interwar stage accent, reared in Lviv, Syrena’s budding industry in exports and imports meant far more diverse voices could be heard from Polish speakers. The company surged with numbers which had been first written and pressed in nations including Germany, Hungary, France, England and Romania, among others. Some were re-recorded for Syrena in a swish, modern melding of their original argot and Polish, whilst others were explicitly international. Ukrainian folk songs were a hefty feature, with Syrena cutting at least 70 discs with the Surma chorus of Lviv – by the 1930s, entire catalogues were being printed in the Ukrainian language.
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Lerski points out that Syrena’s work was never limited to popular music, with that genre making up only around 40% of its production. In 1934, the company had its first governmental order, a commission from the War Ministry, which turned the company back towards its patriotic roots. But even before then, Syrena had cut records to commemorate major Polish historical events, such as the 250th anniversary of the Relief of Vienna by the Polish army. They also recorded poetry and prose – read, naturally, by Poland’s finest actors of the era – for use in schools, as well as abroad.
It was even so well-known that a short film was produced in 1936, Jak Powstaje Płyta Gramofonowa? (How Is a Gramophone Record Made?), featuring the Syrena recording studio. Featured in the clip was Syrena's artistic director Iwo Wesby, crooner Tadeusz Falizewski, proponent of Hawaiian guitar Wiktor Tychowski, and a recording of Żołnierskie Tango by Chór Juranda.
Syrena may have decanted many a popular Polish number from international origins, but by the late 1920s, the company was also being recognised abroad. Syrena even found itself in the eye of a rather boisterous storm involving early record collectors, within the pages of the 1929 American Phonograph Monthly Review:
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[The previous author] is wrong, I think, in alleging that the historical fiends scour the country to get records for which they care nothing, except to be able to boast about having them in their collections. Collecting of historical records derives not from such a naively boastful and cold blooded spirit as that. […] He comes into this world with a positive genius for letting the good things of today slide by in order to acquire the not-so-good things of yesterday. [...] The record which I have been using more than anything else for the past few weeks may not seem to [the previous author] to fall under the historical heading but it comes in that category to me. It was bought for seven cents in a New York hock shop by Mr. A. J. Franck, an astute metropolitan collector, and passed on to me […] It is a Syrena-Grand record (a brand of which I have never otherwise heard), pressed in Russia. The tunes, however, are authentically American, one being “That Haunting Melody,” which Al Jolson made famous in 1911, and the other, “Solo Man’s Trombone.” No doubt some enthusiast, going by their titles, will now arise to say that in paying seven cents Mr. Franck got stung, but he will be in error. Both songs are sung by a gentleman labeled “Mr. Johnnie Black,” in a Yiddish accent that could be cut with a knife.
Flash-forward ten years, and Syrena would be planning to open an agency in New York – as well as planning a record deal with global superstar of the recording world, HMV. By then, Syrena’s catalogue of decadent, golden numbers was speaking – or, rather, singing – for itself.
The end of an era
Syrena and other record companies were forced into closure as soon as the war broke out in 1939. Syrena’s factory was bombarded in the early days of the war and then plundered during the occupation, when its treasured matrices, the progenitors of Polish Interwar music, would be seized and sent to Germany – where they would be used by the Nazis to cut military records.
Among what remained, there was a slither of hope. The engineer Mieczysław Wejman, who had survived the initial destruction of Warsaw, slipped into the ruined Syrena factory and picked his way over the shattered shellac to rescue as many records and pieces of equipment as he could. He took this collection to his basement – and began, once again, to press Syrena records. With record production outlawed by the Nazis, these records, stamped by Wejman out of his home and the closed-down premises of Syrena’s pre-war rival, Odeon, were Syrena’s final notes – consisting mainly of bootlegged Fogg, carols and patriotic songs.
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It was not only Syrena which was lost – one of Feigenbaum’s first music shops, a prosperous spring from which the Syrena journey had begun in those early days of the 20th century, also closed as the war began. That shop had operated out of Poland’s cultural heartland, opposite the Teatr Wielki (Great Theatre) – where, a mere four years earlier, Syrena had manoeuvred its bulky recording equipment into the auditorium to record the Great Symphonic Orchestra of the Warsaw Opera.
For Syrena, however, the story was reaching a tragic end. In May 1940, Hilary Tempel – Syrena’s chairman, who had masterminded the company through its new identity as Syrena-Electro – was murdered by the Nazis. Many of the Jewish musicians who had been at the heart of the company, like Włast, Białostocki, Artur Gold and so many others, perished in the Warsaw Ghetto or in concentration camps.
Iwo Wesby, the pre-war artistic director of Syrena, managed to escape: he was saved and survived in hiding thanks to the efforts of his good friend Fogg. Feigenbaum, too, survived the war, but he died in Zurich in 1947.
Lerski writes that, even up to the summer of 1942, mail was still being addressed to the Syrena factory in Warsaw. Although bombed and pillaged to rubble and ruin, and eventually bulldozed to make way for the Palace of Culture and Science in the years following the war, shards of Syrena’s once-glorious shellac discs could still be seen at the factory’s old location 50 years later.
According to the historian, the last word in Syrena’s pre-war came in that horrific year of 1942:
The last entry in the register of mortgages was dated 17th August, 1942 and referred to the enforcement of a Social Insurance debt. A remark full of symbolic portent appears below the entry reads – ‘Although the foregoing decision had been announced, nobody presented themselves for the hearing’. The reason for this was that on 22nd July, 1942 the Great Deportation had begun, in the course of which the Jewish population of the Warsaw Ghetto was transported to the extermination camp in Treblinka.
Three years later, in 1945, a governmental pamphlet revealed the fate the company’s material – and Poland’s once internationally-acclaimed pre-war phonographic industry:
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All discs with good Polish music ranging from folk-songs and Army tunes to works by Chopin and Szymanowski were seized by the Germans at the dealers and smashed. Afterwards they were taken to Germany as scrap.
Scrapped, smashed, obliterated: Syrena’s fate, like that of so many gifted individuals operating in the era, ended in the most tragic of ways.
Lerski estimates that only 14,000 titles of the company’s output survived the war – a mere 65% of its total production. And, unlike after the end of WWI, the company would not be so fortunate as to be able to resurrect itself once more. In 1949, the surviving owners of the Syrena Record Company were forced, by the Communist authorities’ nationalisation of its assets, to sign Syrena into liquidation.
But, as it turned out, it was not signed off into history.
A new dawn for Syrena
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Noam Zylberberg, photo: Grzegorz Domański, courtesy of the artist
Wejman’s activities during the war were met with international efforts to retain Syrena’s legacy. Soon after Wejman, Władysław Danilowski was making copies of Fogg and Aston in his US-based Dana Factory – and even of that sparkling Halka opera, the veritable golden boy of Syrena’s output. Some copies of the original Halka also made it through the war and are still preserved and treasured today.
After the war, Fogg went on to issue re-recordings of the songs, trickling from Syrena records, which had built his career – establishing a legacy for himself as the protector of Polish Interwar music.
But the legacy of Syrena is also being resurrected today: musicians like Katy Carr, Noam Zylberberg and Olga Avigail Mieleszczuk, among many others, are issuing new renditions of the Syrena hits, injecting sumptuous measures of Interwar Polish music into a contemporary world.
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Just like its Halka series, a box-size CD collection of Syrena recordings was also released in 2008 – 100 years after the company’s creation – joining thousands of the newly discovered originals logged through online servers and forums.
For Lerski, it is this original, luxurious Syrena which will always remain – to a certain extent – immortal:
The company chronicled all the musical events in Poland that its finances allowed it to record and it occupies a unique position not only in the history of the Polish record industry, but in Polish culture.
Trans. Barbara Dudycz-Hajgiel
Written by Juliette Bretan, Jul 2019
Sources: ‘Syrena Record – Pierwsza Polska Wytwórnia Fonograficzna’ (Syrena Record – Poland's First Recording Company) by Tomasz Lerski (Karin, 2004); ‘The Law of the Looking Glass: Cinema in Poland, 1896–1939’ by Shiela Skaff (Ohio University Press, 2008); polishjewishcabaret.com; tedstaunton.com; budowitz.com; ‘Polish Cinema: A History’ by Marek Haltof; ‘Już Nie Zapomnisz Mnie: Opowieść o Henryku Warsie’ by Ryszard Wolański (Muza, 2004); ‘Syrena Songs’, BBC World Service Music Extra; Music From New Orleans And Warsaw: Records from the Harry Orvomaa Collection by Pekka Gronow (Etno Musikologian Vuosikirja, 2015).