Two concerts within the framework of the 14th Festival of the Polish Music in Cracow

13.07.2018, 7.00 p.m.

The youthful Polonia overture, the work of twenty-year-old Richard Wagner, was created under the influence of a spontaneous impulse, the emotion he experienced when observing the Polish refugee festival in Leipzig in 1832, on the occasion of the anniversary of the May 3rd Constitution. At the time, the orchestra performed Polish national songs, which the participants of the festival joined in. The composer noted that he heard one word many times that day (he quoted it in Polish): “ojczyzna” [homeland]. The interestingly instrumented overture, impressive but not yet fully characteristic of Wagner’s mature style, quotes, among others, the melody of songs such as “Witaj, majowa jutrzenko” [“Welcome, May Dawn”] and “Dąbrowski’s Mazurka”.
Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s relatively rarely performed Symphony No. 3 in D major shows the 35-year-old composer at a time when he achieved technical perfection in the management of orchestral material, but he was still looking for his own style, moving more towards the “international” trend. Subsequent symphonies emphasise Russian idioms more strongly, though not as intensely as in the case of the artists of the so called Mighty Handful (who willingly accused Tchaikovsky, or later Anton Rubinstein, of “cosmopolitanism”). The traditional four-movement scheme of the cycle is expanded here with an additional part of Alla tedesca in the character of a subtle waltz, polonaise rhythms echoing in the finale. Tchaikovsky liked them very much (a great example is the famous polonaise from Eugene Onegin), but the name “Polish Symphony”, given it by British critics, does not correspond to the intentions of the author, a loyal subject of the Romanovs, indifferent to the fate of the Poland they enslaved. The polonaise was simply very popular in Russia at the time and was “annexed” as a symbol of courtly splendour, but it was a court of the Tsars.
Henryk Wieniawski’s mature Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor, composed over many years, is still one of the most popular violin concertos of its era. The great violinist composed it for himself, using the rich palette of means of violin virtuosity available to him, so admired on stages all over the world; however, the demonstration is not the only important thing here. In his youthful, extremely difficult Concerto in F sharp minor, it is even more exposed. Wieniawski was also famous for his melodic and lyrical playing, so these qualities are also present here, especially in the charming Romance. The performer will be Małgorzata Wasiucionek, a renowned soloist and chamber musician, a graduate of the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in the class of Prof. Roman Lasocki. She also studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg of Prof. Pierre Amoyal. She is the winner of many prestigious competitions.

Małgorzata Wasiucionek | violin
Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra
Matteo Pagliari | conductor

Richard Wagner | Polonia, Overture for Orchestra (WWV 39)
Henryk Wieniawski | Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 22
Pyotr Tchaikovsky | Symphony No. 3 in D major “Polish, Op. 29
there will be no intermission

20.07.2018, 7 p.m.

Although the “Polonia” Symphony is one of the greatest achievements of Ignacy Jan Paderewski (it is also one of his last works, after which he almost abandoned creating new ones, devoting himself to political and concert activity) it can be heard relatively rarely, mainly due to the enormous, demanding cast and the powerful size of the work.
The symphonic fresco in three movements (there were four planned) is a programme work that the composer wanted to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the tragic January Uprising. Just like the moving graphics by Artur Grottger that inspired Paderewski, the work paints with gloomy themes, presenting the suffering of the nation under the yoke of the partitions, but it also evokes echoes of old glory, while the finale gives hope for independence, quoting Dąbrowski’s Mazurka, among others. The work had its premiere in Boston in 1909, and the Polish audience could hear it the following year.
Edward Elgar’s relatively little known symphonic poem Polonia (1915) was written on the initiative of Emil Młynarski and was dedicated to Paderewski (it contains a quotation from, among others, his Fantasie Polonaise, next to references to Chopin, the Polish anthem and “Warszawianka”). Its performance was to support the Polish Victims’ Relief Fund, established on the initiative of H. Sienkiewicz and I.J. Paderewski. Thomas Beecham conducted the solemn concert at Queen’s Hall in London on the 6th of July 1915, but the composer himself was invited to lead the Polonia.
there will be no intermission

Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra
Su-Han Yang | conductor

Edward Elgar | “Polonia” Symphonic Prelude, op. 76
Ignacy Jan Paderewski | Symphony in B minor “Polonia, op. 24

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