On February 1, 2019 at 7:30 p.m., Witold Lutosławski's music will be performed at the National Philharmonic. The outstanding German artist Lars Vogt will perform in a dual role as conductor and pianist. In his interpretation, we will also listen to the Piano Concerto in A Minor by Schumann and Symphony No. 5 by Dvořák.
“Composed in 1938, the Symphonic Variations, arguably one of the best works created worldwide directly before the war, leave us in no doubt as to the essence of the composer’s talent. He focuses here on colour and movement, on attractive virtuosity and lively sound matter, combined with subtle precision in every detail, which shows him as a born miniaturist,” wrote Tadeusz A. Zieliński about Witold Lutosławski’s early cycle. Initiated as a diploma work, the Variations were not eventually used in this role, since they were judged as too avant‑garde by the Warsaw Conservatory teachers.
In the late 1830s Robert Schumann was preoccupied with the idea of creating a concerto of a new type, different from the displays of soloist virtuosity that reigned supreme on the concert stages of that day. In the successive years he returned to this project several times (starting with the concept of a one‑part fantasia), until in 1845 he came up with the Piano Concerto in A Minor Op. 54. Already at the moment of its premiere commentators saw it as the start of a new era for the concerto genre. The work soon conquered concert halls throughout Europe. It was admired (but also initially criticised) for its peculiar synthesis of different genres, the combination of a symphony, a concerto and a sonata. The direction mapped out by Schumann proved attractive for his successors. Great Romantic and neo‑Romantic concertos (especially Grieg’s A Minor Concerto, whose idea is similar to Schumann’s) drew on his concept to a greater or lesser extent.
In Symphony No. 5 Dvořák’s individual style as a national composer and a master of orchestral composition emerges in a distinctive form. Similarly as in the Sixth (composed several years later), the dominant moods in the Fifth are serene, pastoral and idyllic. In the pensive Andante, Dvořák introduces one of his trademarks – the main theme (drawn with broad Slavonic‑ type gestures), entrusted to the cellos. The symphony waited four years for its (well‑ received) premiere. Its Berlin publisher gave it a misleading opus number – higher than those of the next two symphonies.
This concert was produced under the patronage of PWM Edition as part of the project TUTTI.pl promoting the performance of Polish music.