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Results of the first stage of the 62nd Tadeusz Baird Young Composers Competition

BairdThe results of the first stage of the 62nd Tadeusz Baird Young Composers Competition were announced on 27 February 2021.

The Jury composed of: Olga Hans (chairwoman), Aldona Nawrocka (secretary), Marcin Bortnowski, Justyna Kowalska-Lasoń, and Artur Kroschel, selected the following works for the second stage of the Competition:

Isomorphic Reflection – emblem Coal2

…Breathe – emblem D.502

Grand Père – emblem Lavage de cerveaux

Kanczendzonga – emblem Perseus

Secco – emblem TotoXro

Co w lesie piszczy – emblem XXX12321

The works qualified for the second stage will be performed during a concert followed by the announcement of the results and the awards ceremony, which will be held in June 2021.

The concert date and the list of performers will be announced in a separate release.

Music is a woman! Opera Concert – online

POSIA concert on 5 March 2021 at 8.00 p.m. by three outstanding, young yet impressively merited soloists – Iwona Socha (soprano), Łukasz Gaj (tenor), and Adam Szerszeń (baritone) – accompanied by Jerzy Semkow’s Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra, will recall the most beautiful pieces of Italian opera from the Romantic and Neo-Romantic eras. The event is dedicated to all ladies on the eve of their beautiful holiday.

Opera was born under the skies of Italy, and although in the Baroque era it became popular in many countries in its local varieties, for a long time Italy remained the operatic centre, a point of reference and a model for new fashions and trends. Even though not all the composers of works presented this evening were Italian, each in some way referred to what came from Italy – Mozart wrote his most famous operas to Italian lyrics by the excellent librettist Lorenzo da Ponte. We will hear well-known and much-loved examples of this inspired collaboration. The new, Romantic trends in Italian opera manifested themselves in a style whose name says it all: belcanto, which particularly emphasises the beauty, expression and virtuosity of the voice. Gaetano Donizetti was among its masters, and his arias will also be performed. Giuseppe Verdi, whose 120th death anniversary was celebrated this year, also imbued his brilliant works with this spirit. The outstanding artists will present a representative selection of the finest compositions by this great Italian musician.

Verdi’s successors both benefited from his achievements and polemicised with them. They created new trends, including verismo parallel to literary naturalism, which revolves around simple, often sad stories of ordinary people instead of focusing on stilted and pompous figures from distant history or mythology – here Pietro Mascagni, Ruggero Leoncavallo and the great Giacomo Puccini acquired great merits. Even the digressions – pieces composed by the Seine by Gounod and Massenet included in the programme – have an Italian context: both musicians were winners of the so-called Rome Prize, founded for the laureates of a prestigious competition in Paris to enable art students to study in Italy.

Piotr Maculewicz

Media patronage: Polish Music Information Centre POLMIC.

Broadcast on YouTube channel and www.sinfoniaiuventus.pl 

The New Epiphanies Festival 2021

JPII"Who is able to stand?" is the slogan of the 12th edition of the New Epiphanies International Festival organised by the Centre for the Thought of John Paul II, a cultural institution of the Capital City of Warsaw. This year's edition will be held online between 17 February and 28 March 2021. The programme features nine theatre premieres, a series of early music concerts, workshops and a culinary event.

Last year's edition was interrupted by the pandemic. The organisers are curious how the artists will interpret the theme of the Festival this year. Behind the festival events stand new and exciting artistic discoveries as well as insights and ideas that allow one to move on, even from the most difficult position. The main theme of the 12th edition is the apocalypse understood both in the literal sense as a revelation, and in the sense given to it by tradition – as a catastrophe. Michał Senk, director of the Centre for the Thought of John Paul II, points out: "The leitmotif of this year's Festival – the apocalyptic 'Who is able to stand?' – is an opportunity to face the subject of the End Times in conditions in which we see that the biblical vision is penetrating directly into our reality”.

This year's theatrical programme consists of nine premieres, including Cassandra (21 February) directed by Zofia Gustowska with music by the guitarist and composer Michał Lazar. "In this year's early music programme, we look at different ends of the world: the extinction of genres, instruments and styles," emphasize Sonia Wronkowska and Łukasz Kozak, curators of the music programme. The futuristic approach, i.e. the biblical apocalypse, is just one of the possible interpretations of the theme of the Festival. The humanistic approach, in turn, draws attention to the fate of individual people, for example, great musicians falling victim to an epidemic. In history, we have experienced the great extinction of the clavichord or viola da gamba, Polish traditional music or the Earth's ecosystems. Stylistic breakthroughs brought an end to some music genres, and allowed others to develop”.

All Festival events – including the free ones – are ticketed.

Full programme is available at: www.noweepifanie.pl 

Resounds Online. Lutosławski / Krzanowski / Kosecka

SVWitold Lutosławski's 10 Polish Dances, Andrzej Krzanowski's Symphony No. 2, and Martyna Kosecka's Clarinet Concerto will make up the programme of the February edition of the "Resounds. New Polish Music" series on 27 February 2021 at 8.00 p.m. A pre-concert meeting with Martyna Kosecka, Szymon Bywalec and Magdalena Stochniol (music theorist), hosted by Agata Kwiecińska, will start at 7:00 p.m. Both the meeting and the concert will be live streamed on Sinfonia Varsovia’s YouTube channel and Facebook.

The February concert will start with rarely performed neoclassical miniatures by Witold Lutosławski, one of the most important composers of the 20th century. Sinfonia Varsovia under the baton of Szymon Bywalec will present his 10 Polish Dances (1951), a suite inspired by Silesian and Kashubian folklore.

Then we will hear Symphony No. 2 for 13 string instruments (1983-84) by Andrzej Krzanowski, a representative of the 'Stalowa Wola generation' (named after the festival in Stalowa Wola, where numerous composers made their debuts). The three-part chamber piece was commissioned by Elżbieta and Krzysztof Penderecki and dedicated to them.

In Concerto for clarinet and multipercussion (2019), Martyna Kosecka refers to the division into the movements marked as Hésitant (with hesitatiion) and Direct (directly) proposed by Lutosławski. As in her other works, she explores unconventional combinations of colours and microtonal harmony. Radosław Soroka (clarinet) and Karol Krasiński (drums) will perform as soloists.

More information: www.sinfoniavarsovia.org 

Wrocław | Polychoral

PendereckiThe National Forum of Music invite you on 28 February 2021 at 6 p.m. to a concert featuring 20th-century choral music. We will hear diverse works by four composers, performed by the NFM Choir conducted by Lionel Owl.

Born in 1948, the Danish composer and conductor Bo Holten is a prolific artist with a wide range of interests. The concert will begin with a piece by Holten, In Nomine, written in 1999 and lasting less than 5 minutes. Then we will listen to the Mass for a double choir by the Swiss composer Frank Martin, written between 1922 and 1926. It consists of five canonical sections that make up the ordinarium missae: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei. The composer agreed to have the work performed only at the beginning of the 1960s. He had considered it to be such a personal expression of his religious feelings that he did not want to share it with anyone. It is simple, raw, beautiful and at the same time devoid of musical ostentation.

The next composition will be Krzysztof Penderecki's Stabat Mater, completed in 1963. With this work, the composer surprised the audience a lot, because earlier he had gained fame for his radical, avant-garde compositions, whereas his Stabat Mater seemed simple and beguilingly conservative. While the way of leading the melody in the initial section of the piece may bring to mind Gregorian chant, later the choir sings in falsetto, recites "quasi una litania" and whispers. In the dissonant expressive culmination, Penderecki used clusters characteristic of the twentieth-century avant-garde. At the end, the consonant chords return, creating a pure D major chord on the word "gloria". This unique mixture of styles was used to create a composition that is strikingly original and deeply moving. The programme will culminate in a monumental arrangement of the Our Father prayer, composed in 1909 by Max Reger.

More information at: https://www.nfm.wroclaw.pl/en/component/nfmcalendar/event/8162 

Szczecin | When Spring Comes

Opera na ZamkuWhen spring comes and Time to say goodbye – the concerts performed by the choir and musicians from the Szczecin Opera Orchestra conducted by Małgorzata Bornowska will take place on 27 and 28 February 27 2021 at the Castle Opera in Szczecin.

Szczecin opera singer, actor and director Mirosław Kosiński will take the audience on a sentimental musical journey. The first part of the concert consists entirely of works by Maciej Małecki. We will hear love songs to the poetry of Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer and songs to words by Wojciech Młynarski, Agnieszka Osiecka and Elżbieta Szeptyńska for a cappella mixed choir, expressing the longing for unrequited love, true friendship, lost youth, and the long-awaited spring.

The second part will present the musical evergreens – songs from movies, musicals and the world of so-called popular music, including Moon river from the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's, Time to say goodbye and Besame mucho.

Tickets for unassigned seats are on sale with the venue capacity limited to 50%.

Full programme is available at: https://www.opera.szczecin.pl/repertuar/kiedy-przyjdzie-wiosna 

Warsaw | Symphonic Concert at Warsaw Philharmonic: Górecki, Wagner and Schreker

H.M.GoreckiThe contemporary Polish composer Henryk Mikołaj Górecki was one of the admirers of Wagner's work. The drama about the history of legendary lovers is reflected in one of his last, unfinished compositions: Two Tristan Postludes and Chorale, Op. 82, which will be performed on 27 February 2021 at 6.00 p.m. at the Warsaw Philharmonic.

Similar to several other unfinished compositions, the work was prepared for concert performance by the composer's son, Mikołaj Górecki. The postludes allude to Tristan, as if stopping, stretching in time, reflecting and subtly transfiguring a few selected motifs. The first postlude is based on a fragment of the poignant complaint of the twice-betrayed King Mark from Act II, the second – among others, on themes of the famous Vorspiel.

After his involvement in the events of the May Revolution in Dresden in 1849, Richard Wagner and his wife Minna had to seek refuge in Switzerland, where they were hosted by Otto Wesendonck, a merchant and patron of the composer. The host's wife, Mathilde, was also admirer of the musician's talent, and soon a tender affection developed between them. Wagner rarely resorted to texts other than his own – the exceptions are the poems by Mathilde Wesendonck, arranged by him in 1857-58. Great attention was devoted to what extent this difficult relationship influenced the final shape of the music drama Tristan and Isolde, which was being created at the same time. Wagner himself admitted that writing these songs was a kind of compositional study for Tristan, which was reflected in Im Treibhaus and Träume. The Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Thomas Rösner and soprano Ewa Vesin will present the songs in chamber arrangement by Ronald Kornfeil.

Franz Schreker was valued by his contemporaries especially as a composer of operas, but he created works of various genres, and among his orchestral compositions, the grateful Chamber Symphony from 1916 gained special and relatively lasting popularity. One-movement (but composed of several segments, similar to cyclical forms), the work for 23 performers delights with its rich texture and colour, and a special, dreamlike aura, especially in the introductory episode.

Piotr Maculewicz

More information athttp://www.filharmonia.pl/koncerty-i-bilety/repertuar/koncert-symfoniczny270 

POLIN Music Festival 2021: #online

POLINA special edition of POLIN Music Festival will be held online on 26-28 February 2021. Premieres of the concerts will take place at the POLIN Museum Facebook profile and on the Museum YouTube channel. The music journey will lead the audience from Switzerland, through Belgium, Poland and Ukraine all the way to the United States. We will be listening to the music composed by Bloch, Gershwin, Glass, Freidlin, Piazzolla and Weinberg.

The programme will include six concerts. Violinist Michael Guttman, curator of the Festival, together with cellist Jing Zhao will perform Suite Hebraïque by Ernest Bloch. Polish musicians of the younger generation: Ewa Leszczyńska, Maria Sławek, Marcin Zdunik and Mischa Kozłowski will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the passing of Mieczysław Weinberg by presenting the songs he composed to Yiddish lyrics. Alexey Botvinov and Eric Himy will perform the music by Philip Glass, Jan Freidlin and George Gershwin during their piano recitals. The final concert will commemorate Astor Piazzolla’s 100th birth anniversary. The youngest music lovers, including children with special sensory needs, will learn the secrets of string quartet thanks to the musicians of the Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra.

As part of POLIN Music Festival, the organisers have also planned the premieres of podcasts devoted to the musicians who are heroes of the "Legacy" gallery, a new section of the POLIN Museum core exhibition. They will introduce the works by Bronisław Huberman, Artur Rubinstein and Henryk Wars to the Festival audience.

More information: https://polin.pl/pl/polin-music-festival-2021 

Rzeszów | Symphony Orchestra of Artur Malawski Philharmonic and Massimiliano Caldi

FPThe Artur Malawski Philharmonic in Rzeszów invites you to a symphonic concert on 26 February 2021 at 7.00 p.m.

The programme will include Michał Spisak's Toccata (1942), a work dazzling with orchestral colours, and Pyotr Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4. The piece was written in a highly emotional period in the composer's life. It is a result of his creative successes (after composing Piano Concerto No. 1 and the ballet Swan Lake) and dramatic experiences related to a failed marriage. The confidant of the composer's most secret thoughts at that time was Nadezhda von Meck, to whom Tchaikovsky dedicated his symphony. In one of the letters addressed to his patroness, the composer revealed the meaning of this work. The fanfare first heard at the opening stands for "Fate", with this being "the fatal power which prevents one from attaining the goal of happiness". This motif recurs in the Allegro con fuoco finale.

The concert will be performed by the Symphony Orchestra of Artur Malawski Philharmonic under the baton of the outstanding Italian conductor Massimiliano Caldi. Winner of the first prize at the Grzegorz Fitelberg International Competition for Conductors (1999), Caldi is the principal conductor of the Rzeszów Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra.

More informationhttp://www.filharmonia.rzeszow.pl/