Editor's Notes: The above
selections are the results of my tastes and which rendition sounded the
best to my ear. Several versions of many the above melodies can be found
on the internet. Some rejected versions were frankly terrible,
failing to keep the beat or using the wrong instruments.
"Bogurodzica", "Gaude Mater Polonia", and "Serdeczna Matko" could be classified as religious hymns rather than anthems. However, "Bogurodzica" was sung as an anthem by Polish knights fighting the Teutonic Order in the 15th Century, "Gaude Mater Polonia" served as the Polish anthem in the 17th and 18th Centuries, and "Serdeczna Matko" became a substitute anthem during the Partition years in the 19th Century when Poles were forbidden to sing nationalistic songs, like "Boze Cos Poske" (God Save Poland). Have you noticed that Poles throughout history have always thought of Poland as their motherland?
The hymn "Barka" is included because it was a favorite of the late Pope John Paul II and is claimed by Poles, although it was written in Spain by Father Cesareo Gabarain.
Some of the above melodies are not truly Polish in origin. "Barbuska Polka" is questionable. "Bozena Walc" has a Polish name, but may be of Czech origin. "Too Fat Polka" is based on a Czech tune called "Village Tavern Polka" and "Beer Barrel Polka" started out as "Skoda Lasky" by Czech composer Jaromir Vejvoda. "Who Stole the Kiszka" was borrowed from a Ukrainian folk dance by a Polish band leader in Connecticut in the 1950s. "Frailach" is obviously Jewish, but they were Polish citizens as well as many Ruthenians and Gypsies. "Kaczuszki"
was chosen as a humorous selection and because of its popularity at
Polish weddings, but alas it's probably Austrian. "Blue Skirt Waltz" (originally "Red Dress Waltz") is really American with a Slovenian style provided by Frank Yankovic.
The "Clarinet Polka" sounds American, but it was written in Zamosc by Karol Namyslowski as the "Dziadek Polka". So what? I like them all. And lastly, Bobby Vinton was added because I easily succumb to
pressure and extortion.
Extra special thanks to Grace Skowron, Gene Mikrut, and Joe Oberaitis for their helpful collaboration and valuable input and Stan Konefal for his tasteful sequencing. Seeking to preserve a bit of our outstanding Polish musical heritage for everyone, click here for MIDIs sequenced by Stan Konefal.
And here is collaborator Wesley Waniak's late father performing in Warsaw.