End of the 2019/2020 Artistic Season | POSTPONED

27 June 2020
Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio of Polish Radio, Warsaw

Vadim Brodski | violin
Jerzy Semkow Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra
Kai Bumann | conductor

Johannes Brahms – Violin concerto in D major, op. 77
Johannes Brahms – Symphony no. 4 in E minor, op. 98

Kai Bumann dyrektor artystyczny Filharmonii Pomorskiej
phot. Archiwum Filharmonii Pomorskiej w Bydgoszczy

Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77 is Johannes Brahms’ only work for violin and orchestra. While creating it, he consulted Joseph Joachim (who was not only a violin virtuoso, but also a very talented and popular composer of his time). The two musicians worked together at a distance by sending each other sketches and comments by post. Brahms benefited from many of his friend’s suggestions for violin texture and articulation, but he also introduced – sometimes contrary to Joachim’s opinions – many of his own innovative ideas. This is why many eminent violinists of the time considered the concerto “impossible to perform”. Despite the enormous level of difficulty it presents, the work does not fall within the trend of virtuoso concertos performed purely as showpiece concerts. Every element of its complex texture and all the innovative features of the violin technique remain in the service of the work’s exquisite form and its rich expression. The particularly impressive finale is reminiscent of the composer’s youth: his collaboration with the virtuoso Reményi and his joint performances of Hungarian Dances with Joachim (who was also of Hungarian origin); the elaborate, brilliant rondo is maintained in the style of all’ongarese (or rather alla zingarese – as 19th century, Hungarian music was erroneously identified with Gypsy music popular in the region). The finale of the concert is one of Brahms’ most joyful and witty ones, and at the same time constitutes one of his most beloved musical works.

The solo part will be performed by Vadim Brodski, a Polish-Ukrainian violin virtuoso, descendant of the excellent musician Adolf Brodski, the first performer of the Violin Concerto by Pyotr Tchaikovsky. Throughout his career Vadim Brodski received first prizes at all international violin competitions in which he took part: Wieniawski (Poland 1977), Paganini (Italy 1984), Tibor Varga (Switzerland 1984). Vadim Brodski plays the Gennaro Gagliano violin from 1747.

The last of Brahms’ four symphonies premiered less than two years before his death. Like many of his late works, it is also permeated by a mood of melancholy, especially present in the touching first movement. The final fragment consists of some unusual passacaglia, atypical in symphonic music, variations that refer to the Baroque form (also by quoting a thematic motif from the cantata Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich by Bach, whom Brahms greatly admired). The entire symphony, despite its traditional structure, contains many innovative and formally original elements. It has become one of the most important works of the late-Romantic symphonic canon, and is also considered to be Brahms’ greatest orchestral achievement.

The concert will be conducted by Kai Bumann, an esteemed German orchestra conductor who has lived and performed in Poland for many years now. Kai Bumann has worked as the artistic director of the Pomeranian Philharmonic in Bydgoszcz since 2015 and he is also an esteemed opera conductor, whose work is greatly admired, among others, at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, the Polish Grand Theatre – National Opera, and the Warsaw Chamber Opera. [Piotr Maculewicz]

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