Love and death are topics eagerly dealt with by poets and composers. The concert programme of Szymon Komasa and Michał Rota includes the most interesting and inspiring works on these themes.
Fünf Gedichte für eine Frauenstimme, or Five Songs for a Female Voice was the official title of the first edition of the Richard Wagner series of expressive songs, which went down in history as Wesendonck Lieder. The author of the words was Mathilde Wesendonck, wife of Wagner’s patron Otto Wesendonck. The woman and the composer fell for each other, and some of the composer's biographers even suggested that they had an affair. The theme of forbidden love inspired Wagner, who was working on the musical drama Tristan and Isolde at the same time. No wonder then that the themes of two of the songs found their place in the big work being composed concurrently. Another two composers whose works feature in the programme touched upon the theme of love in their oeuvre too. The Spanish composer and conductor Fernando Obradors is best known for his song cycle Canciones clásicas españolas. This music is lively, full of temperament, characterized by a distinct rhythmic pulsation. All these features clearly reveal its Iberian provenance and give it a strong character.
The cycle of Gypsy Melodies by Antonín Dvořák has enjoyed unflagging popularity since its inception. It is a testament to the great melodic talent of the Czech composer, and its songs are expressive and show diverse moods. Szymon Komasa will perform four of the seven songs of this cycle. At the end of the concert, we will listen to Modest Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death to texts by Arseniy Golenishchev-Kutuzov, which are among the most outstanding works of the Russian composer. In these texts, death is a cruel and ruthless phenomenon – there is no escape from it. In the Lullaby, which opens the series, death appears at the crib of a dying child. In the Serenade, it comes in the form of a knight to save the girl from suffering. The Trepak is a story about a peasant who freezes in the frost, carried away by the Grim Reaper into a dance deceptive with images of hot summer. In the last song, death appears as a victorious commander who gathers under his banner both sides of a conflict, who have fallen in a bloody battle.