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Ulanowsky and some among his colleagues did what they could to educate and elevate the public perception of the role of the accompanist from that of merely an obliging background provider for the soloist. Naturally, there were those among music lovers, as I occasionally later encountered them, who fully appreciated the intimate collaborative relationship between artists needed to produce great performance. As one told me, "I would get tickets if your father was playing, because I assumed that anyone he would be accompanying must be pretty good!" In his day, however, it too often remained the case that even renowned accompanists of his caliber received a perfunctory mention at the very end of a review, even when the artists they accompanied gave them something closer to equal billing in the program.

From recently rediscovered envelopes stuffed full of reviews and mementos from Ulanowsky's career, I offer a few examples here, with a little chuckle here and there that I think my father might share with us. I would like to begin with one that is, for me, unforgettable, from a recital with Elizabeth Schwartzkopf.

Boston, MA, October 17, 1955

"Miss Schwarzkopf herself could scarcely restrain her enthusiasm for the inspired playing of her accompanist. She forced him to share the applause after every song and after every group. At one point she turned to the audience with an expression of nothing less than awe and shaking her head in almost disbelieving admiration played a piano with her fingers in the air as if to say that never had she received accompaniment of this order; that it was impossible; that such sympathy, tact, brilliance and skill could not possibly exist."

Schwartzkopf review

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Boston, MA, December 7, 1964


"Not so many years ago the lieder recital was the order of the day. .. Hermann Prey—in his Boston recital debut—restored these joys to us for one brief afternoon. … Anything Herr Prey chooses to sing is worthy of the listening. …he can enter the soul of a song and take his listeners with him…. …His way with [Schubert's] Erlkönig was alive with dramatic power; and in this, as in every number, Herr Prey had the magnificent support of Paul Ulanowsky at the keyboard. As most music lovers know, Ulanowsky is to the United States what Gerald Moore is to Great Britain. Accompanists don’t come better."

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 Troy, NY, April 30, 1943

"Miss Brown's accompanist Paul Ulanowsky, was all that a skilled accompanist should be -- a fine musician, whose performance at no time intruded upon that of the artist, but always subtly complemented it, so that their performances were as one."

Ulanowksy and Brown

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Canada, November 7, 1960

"We had just on a third of the set [of Hugo Wolf songs] last night...from the baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau with veteran Paul Ulanowsky at the piano, adding up to one of the finest and most moving evenings of music experienced in many years."

"And Mr. Ulanowsky's piano parts were just what we have always imagined Wolf's ought to be. On his own evidence he composed "poems for voice and piano", not songs with piano accompaniment. And voice and piano here were absolutely equalized, nuance for nuance, motive for motive, line for line. A truly wonderful job."

Wolf in Excelsis

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Hunter College, New York, Nov. 14, 1960

"To commemorate the 100th birthday of Hugo Wolf, Mr. Fischer-Dieskau confined his program to twenty songs..., all of them settings of poems by Edward Moericke. These remarkable works, genrally short but packed with musical subtleties, posed an exacting assignment. With the inestimable collaboration of Paul Ulanowsky at the piano, Mr. Fischer-Dieskau sang perfectly. ... Mr. Fischer-Dieskau and Mr. Ulanowsky gave [the songs] reality in as perfect a tribute as the composer could have wished.

Fischer-Dieskau Hunter College recital

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Jordan Hall, Boston [Date?],
recital with Bidu Sayao

"Finally, we must respectfully hint to the management that it is inexcusable not to print the name of the accompanist on the program. Last night this was the more shameful in that he was a very good one."

(Unfortunately, the reviewer also failed to get the name, which is nowhere to be found in the review!)

Bidu Sayao recital

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Jordan Hall, Boston, Jan. 1938

"...Lambros Demetrios Callimahos, flutist, played a very rewarding program...

"...a graceful and thoroughly melodious bit of writing, in which Mssrs. Callimahos and Ulanowsky played as one man."

"It is seldom that so well balanced a performance of this particular combination is heard."

Evening of Flute Virtuosity

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Town Hall, New York, 1940s

"The initial Schubert group culminated with 'Der Erlkoenig.' "

"Much of the success of this song was due to the splendid accompaniment of Paul Ulanowsky, whose support throughout the program was of a superior order."

Program Given by Lehmann

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