International Chamber Music Festival ‘Sacrum et Musica’

21 September 2019, 6.30 p.m.
Church of the Holy Cross, 55 Zawadzka Street, Łomża

Roman Widaszek – clarinet
Jerzy Semkow Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra
Wojciech Rajski – conductor

Mikołaj Górecki – Concerto for clarinet and orchestra
Antonin Dvorak – Symphony No. 9 in E-minor, “From the New World”, Op. 95

In the 1890s, Antonín Dvořák accepted an invitation from Jeannette Thurber, founder of the National Conservatory of Music in New York. Work in the modern metropolis turned out to be very interesting and inspiring. One of the students at the conservatory was an Afro-American, Harry Burleigh, a talented baritone who was one of the first people to perform negro spirituals in concert halls. The Czech composer, fascinated with the pieces, said in one of the interviews, that if American musical art wanted to seek its own identity, it should seek it in these songs (and in Native Indian music, although Dvořák did not know it so well). The new Symphony No. 9 in E minor “From the New World”, started by Dvořák in 1892/93, was expected to reflect the idea. Its first performance at the Carnegie Hall in December 1893 was an overwhelming success. Shortly after, the piece started its triumphant tour around stages of the world, and until today it is considered one of the composer’s greatest achievements. There are numerous discussions analysing the actual scale of American or programme-related influence on the piece. The issue was partly explained by the author himself, who said that he avoided any direct borrowings, trying to reflect the spirit of America and the memories of its “endless landscapes” by using several references to characteristic rhythmic or melodic gestures and scales of Afro-American and Native American music.

Mikołaj Górecki’s Concerto for clarinet and orchestra premiered on 16 November 2018, during the inauguration of the 6th edition of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki Days in Katowice. It was performed (with the Silesian Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Jacek Rogala) by Roman Widaszek, one of the most outstanding Polish clarinetists of his generation, who the piece was dedicated to – it is worth noting that many other contemporary pieces for clarinet were dedicated to this world-class artist, which proves the broad recognition he gets for his versatile talent and excellent technique. The new Concerto, composed of two parts: Molto lento / Con passione, breathtakingly explores the rich variety of colours, moods and magnificent possibilities of the beautiful instrument.  The performance will be conducted by Wojciech Rajski,  long-term conductor of the Polish Radio Orchestra, founder and artistic director of the Sopot Polish Chamber Philharmonic, originator of the Sopot Classic International Music Festival. [Piotr Maculewicz]

Free admission! The concert is organized by Witold Lutosławski Chamber Philharmonic in Łomża.