Maestro Jerzy Semkow In Memoriam Concert

2 November 2019, 6 p.m.
Warsaw Philharmonic (Concert Hall)

Sylwia Olszyńska | soprano
Agata Schmidt | mezzo-soprano
Karol Kozłowski | tenor
Adam Kutny | baritone
Warsaw Philharmonic Choir
The Jerzy Semkow Polish Orchestra Sinfonia Iuventus
Bartosz Michałowski | conductor, choir director

Paweł Łukaszewski – Corpus Christi Responsoria for choir a cappella (Jerzy Semkow in Memoriam) – premiere performance
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Requiem in D minor KV 626

Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra has always been grateful and proud that it was Maestro Jerzy Semkow who founded it in 2007 and whose name the orchestra has borne since 2018. Together with the Warsaw Philharmonic (and with the participation of its outstanding choir), where the world-famous conductor performed a number of times and was always greeted with great enthusiasm, the Sinfonia Iuventus will celebrate the 5th anniversary of Jerzy Semkow’s death with a performance of the all-time masterpiece – Mozart’s Requiem and the first performance of Paweł Łukaszewski’s Corpus Christi Responsoria dedicated to the memory of Maestro Semkow. The concert will be hosted by Bartosz Michałowski, choir manager.

Absorbed in the work on The Clemency of Titus and The Magic Flute, in the summer of 1791 Mozart accepted an order for composing a Requiem; as it turned out later, the anonymous principal was an excentric count, Franz von Walsegg, who wanted to perform the piece in the memory of his late wife. However, he wanted to present it as his own composition. Mozart agreed, initially unaware of the fact that it will be his opus ultimum. When at the end of the year he developed a fatal illness, the Requiem was far from finished. After Mozart’s death, his wife Constance asked the composer’s students and friends to finish the piece. Franz Xaver Süssmayr not only finished the parts started by Mozart, but he also composed all the missing parts – Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei – from scratch. Although the work was not entirely original, Requiem soon became a legendary piece and the most famous musical version of missae pro defunctis; there were composers who attempted at creating alternative endings, Süssmayr’s version, however, is performed most often.

Paweł Łukaszewski is, as a composer, interested in a variety of musical genres. It is, however, religious – particularly choral – music that he composes most eagerly. His pieces are valued not only by Polish audience and artists, but also outside Poland. Paweł Łukaszewski’s a cappella pieces often sound incredibly spectacular (owing to the composer’s excellent knowledge of choral practices and broad experience in singing and choirmastery), are also full of contrasts and suggestive expression. A characteristic feature of his music is exceptional harmonic sensitivity: a creative dialogue with the tradition of ancient modality, and major-minor tonality, which he himself defines as “renewed tonality”. Paweł Łukaszewski’s music is always very challenging for choirs. Its most brilliant performances always make an unforgettable impression on the audience. [Piotr Maculewicz]

Tickets available from 16 September 2019. Organiser Warsaw Philharmonic.