The celebration of the 75th anniversary of the NFM Wrocław Philharmonic will be a gala concert conducted by the orchestra’s Artistic Director, Giancarlo Guerrero. We will hear attractive, colourful works by the classics of the 20th century: Albert Ginastera, Witold Lutosławski, and Maurice Ravel.
Variaciones concertantes op. 23 were completed in 1953. This is Ginastera’s most important work from the period in his oeuvre known as “subjective nationalism”. The composer tried to incorporate elements of Argentine folk music into the pieces he wrote at that time. In the variations that feature in the programme, he did not use any specific folk melody, but he did use melodic and rhythmic phrases characteristic of Argentinian music. First, the theme sounds, followed by eleven variations in which the individual instruments of the orchestra appear solo or in groups. These are: cello and harp (which depict the theme), strings, flute, clarinet, viola, oboe and bassoon, trumpet and trombone, violin, French horn, all wind instruments, double bass, and finally the entire orchestra. Each episode is different from the rest in terms of pace, character, mood and timbre.
The next piece in the programme, the Double Concerto for oboe, harp, string orchestra and percussion by Lutosławski, was commissioned by Paul Sacher, who served as director of the Collegium Musicum Zürich orchestra from 1979–1980. The composer wrote it with the virtuosos of the eponymous instruments in mind: Heinz and Ursula Holligerach. The work consists of three contrasting movements: Rapsodico, Dolente and Marciale e grotesco. The first is dramatic, the second is melancholic, and the third is a n original stylization of circus and street music. When it was suggested to Lutosławski that he had been inspired by the works of Prokofiev and Shostakovich, he denied it and explained: “I have translated the melodic gestures and the rhythm of street music into my own language.”
My Mother Goose by Ravel is a piece inspired by fairy tales, including by Charles Perrault, written for the children of the composer’s friends, Jean and Mimi Godebski, grandsons of the Polish sculptor Cyprian Godebski. The suite, originally intended for a piano for four hands, soon got an orchestral version, which became one of Ravel’s most popular works. It consists of five movements: the dreamy Pavane of the Sleeping Beauty, Tom Thumb with a playful imitation of birds singing, given oriental flavours by using a pentatonic scale and the sound of gong, Ugly, the Empress of Pagodas, Conversations of Beauty and the Beast, rendered by the contrast between the sounds of the clarinet and the double-bass (the metamorphosis of the Beast is illustrated with a violin solo full of sweetness) and the Enchanted Garden. The extraordinary melodic inventiveness, colourful and suggestive orchestration as well as the specific, oneiric mood of this music has been enchanting generations of listeners.