This year marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, as well as the 10th anniversary of the death of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki. On this occasion, on 28 February 2020 at 7:30 p.m. the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir conducted by Bartosz Michałowski will present Miserere and Ad Matrem by Henryk Mikołaj Górecki and the only oratorio in Ludwig van Beethoven's oeuvre – Christ on the Mount of Olives.
Ad Matrem for solo soprano, choir and orchestra from 1972 marks a noticeable turning point in the work of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, who died ten years ago. A great deal of his music written in the years that followed is – to a greater or lesser extent – religious in tone. Another distinct feature of his post-1972 oeuvre is the use of the human voice, which was absent from his previous pieces. Penned in the memory of his late mother, the evocative Ad Matrem marked the beginnings of a more contemplative-repetitive style, which Górecki went on to fully develop in his famous Symphony No. 3 four years later.
In terms of expression, the monumental Miserere for mixed a capella choir stands even closer to the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs. This piece, which is over thirty minutes long and maintained in a lento tempo, can be defined as “mystical minimalism”.
Ludwig van Beethoven’s only oratorio – Christ on the Mount of Olives – has never been one of the core works in the concert repertoire, but the 250th anniversary of his birth is an ideal occasion to remind audiences of its existence. There are those who claim, perhaps with some justice, that it is not the most outstanding achievement of the composer of the Emperor Concerto; nevertheless it contains several fragments that instantly testify to his genius. Beethoven himself confessed that he composed the oratorio in great haste, and therefore was unable to come up with anything innovative and instead turned to familiar forms from Händel’s and Haydn’s oratorios that he admired. On hearing the piece for the first time, the listener would not be mistaken in thinking that he is dealing with some kind of early-Romantic German opera or even a singspiel by Mozart! After all, it features the rhythm of marching soldiers, St Peter’s interventions in the form of a rage aria, and many phrases that sound as if they were taken directly from Fidelio.
Press Materials of the Warsaw Philharmonic
More information at: http://www.filharmonia.pl/