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Marjan Rawicz

Born in Poland in the year 1898, Marjan (often spelled Maryan) Rawicz studied music in his homeland and sought further instruction in Vienna.
He apprenticed with Richard Robert [1861-1924], whose students included George Szell and Rudolf Serkin. One day in 1930 or 1931, while engaged as a pianist at an Austrian resort in order to finance his law studies at Krakow University, Rawicz met Walter Landauer, a piano student at the Vienna Music Academy. Legend has it that Landauer overheard Rawicz whistling a tune that he'd been hearing in his own head for the better part of a week, became excited and introduced himself. After identifying the melody as a polka penned by Bedrich Smetana, Rawicz played it on the piano; this exchange kindled a camaraderie that would evolve into a lifelong working relationship.
Rawicz and Landauer would now develop into an enormously popular piano duo, specializing in "light classical" medleys. By 1932 they were performing over the air in Vienna; they played concert halls throughout Europe in 1933 and emigrated to England in 1935. During WWII, the British government, fearing Germanic espionage, forced large numbers of immigrants -- many of whom had been chased off of mainland Europe by the Nazis -- to leave their homes and occupy Spartan internment camps on the Isle of Man. Among the "suspicious" artists locked up at Hutchinson Camp, Douglas, were Hanover Dadaist Kurt Schwitters and the widely acclaimed team of Rawicz and Landauer. Both men later became British subjects. Postwar tours included the U.S., Europe, Australia, and South Africa; their greatest popularity was achieved through BBC radio broadcasts, and as a result of collaborations with that master of mood music, Annunzio Paolo Mantovani. Marjan Rawicz passed away in London on January 30, 1970. His piano partner survived him by 13 years. ~ arwulf arwulf, Rovi


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