Jacek Kaspszyk / fot. Maciej Zienkiewicz
Jacek Kaspszyk / fot. Maciej Zienkiewicz
Orchestral concerts
Orpheus Returns. Andrzej Markowski in Memoriam
29.11
Fri.
7:00 PM
NFM, Main Hall
Programme:

K. Szymanowski Violin Concerto No. 1 op. 35 
***
C. Debussy La mer  
M. Ravel La valse

Performers:

Jacek Kaspszyk – conductor
Elina Vähälä
– violin
NFM Wrocław Philharmonic

Duration:
120 minutes
Venue:
NFM, Main Hall
plac Wolności 1, 50-071 Wrocław
Pricelists:
from 10 to 95 zł

This concert of the NFM Wrocław Philharmonic, conducted by Jacek Kaspszyk, is dedicated to the memory of Andrzej Markowski. The figure of this preeminent composer and conductor has become inextricably linked with Wrocław, and his legacy continues to this day. He was the founder and long-time director of the International Festival Wratislavia Cantans. He was also a two-time winner of the Orpheus Award, awarded since 1963 for te best performances at the Warsaw Autumn festival.

“The whole thing is terribly fantastic and unexpected,” is how Karol Szymanowski summed up his Violin Concerto No. 1 in a letter to a friend. This work was created in the autumn of 1916 in Zarudzie in what is now Ukraine. The author was assisted in working on the solo part by his friend, violinist Paweł Kochański, to whom the composition was dedicated. The concerto had to wait eight years to be performed – it was premiered in Warsaw in November 1922. In it, Szymanowski radically departed from the Romantic tradition and conventional harmony in favour of searching for a new style and way of expression. The result was a fairy-tale and oneiric work, about which one of the critics commented as follows: “written very freely, with extraordinary diversity, full of unexpected combinations, rich and lively, it interested me very much. The orchestra was entrusted with a picturesque and descriptive role; and the violin with lyrical singing. Sound waves flood the soloist’s subtle melody, the harp cascades around it, clarinets surround it, and the two argue fiercely. You could say that the landscape changes every moment, like in a movie.” During the concert at the NFM, the solo part will be performed by the Finnish violinist Elina Vähälä, who has been promoting Szymanowski’s music for many years.

The second part of the evening will be devoted to French music. “The musician is supposed to hear the most delicate sounds and whispers of nature, he is supposed to capture in tones the impressions that the life of the surrounding world arouses in him: the splash of raindrops, the stunning atmosphere of the southern night, the reflections of light on the water,” is how Claude Debussy summed up his artistic credo. It is expressed in many of his works, and a perfect example is three symphonic sketches entitled La mer. Their shimmering, inventive instrumentation uses many orchestral special effects and continues to amaze us to this day. The piece is currently considered one of the greatest masterpieces of musical impressionism. Maurice Ravel’s La valse is widely considered to be an apotheosis of the Viennese waltz. It is an extremely suggestive and perfectly instrumented composition. The title dance develops slowly – from low, bass rumbles and eerie flashes – it escalates and finally accelerates more and more to end with an impressive, catastrophic culmination. At that time, commentators wanted to see this work as a metaphor for the collapse of the old world order after World War I. The composer strongly distanced himself from these ideas, writing that his piece “has nothing to do with the current situation in Vienna, it has no symbolic meaning in this regard: “When writing La valse, I did not imagine the dance of death or the fight between life and death,” he concluded.

Looking at Markowski’s rich life on his 100th anniversary, there was hardly any aspect of Poland’s musical life he was not involved in as a composer and conductor who performed all over the world. He gave countless premieres at the Warsaw Autumn Festival, thus co-creating the canon of 20th century music. In Kraków, he served as artistic director of the philharmonic and organized the Musica Antiqua et Nova and Kraków Spring for Young Musicians festivals. Finally, Wrocław... running the Wrocław Philharmonic, building its new headquarters and establishing Wratislavia Cantans. 

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