Noskowski | Stojowski

10 October 2020, 7:00 p.m.
Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio of Polish Radio in Warsaw

Zygmunt Noskowski – Symphonic variations in E minor on original theme
Zygmunt Noskowski – “Morskie Oko” concert overture
Zygmunt Stojowski – Symphonic Rhapsody for piano and orchestra
Zygmunt Noskowski – “Elegiac” Symphony No 2 in C minor

Krzysztof Książek | piano
Jerzy Semkow Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra
Antoni Wit | conductor

phot. Juliusz Multarzyński

Maestro Antoni Wit, one of the most valued conductors of his generation, admired on stages all around the world, is a devoted promoter of Polish music. And it is Polish music, representing an expressive and neo-romantic spirit, that will take over the October concert.

Zygmunt Noskowski is one of the most important figures in Polish musical life of the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. A student of Dobrzyński and Moniuszko, he continued his studies at Akademie der Künste in Berlin and remained faithful to the Romantic style, refusing to follow modernist trends, which were becoming increasingly popular in his most creative years. He was also a recognised (although severe) music critic and an excellent pedagogue. His students at the Institute of Music in Warsaw included Melcer, Fitelberg, Szeluto, Szymanowski and Karłowicz; he also chaired the Warsaw Music Society, attempting to raise the level of musical life in the city with varying degrees of success. His extensive legacy includes numerous pieces for piano and chamber orchestra, songs and operas. His most popular output, however, is orchestral music, including symphonies, the symphonic poem Step (considered the first piece of that type in Polish music), the slightly forgotten Symphonic variations in E minor and the well‑liked concert overture “Morskie Oko” – a recollection of his expedition to Podhale in his youth and an early example of his musical fascination with the majesty of the Tatra Mountains. From the three symphonies he composed, Symphony No. 2, referred to as “Elegic”, which accurately reflects its mood, is particularly interesting – especially in the beautiful, sombre and heart-rending part three resembling a funeral march. The dramatic and triumphant finale with the motto “through thorns to the stars” and motifs referring in a covert way (due to tsarist censorship) to the Polish anthem Mazurek Dąbrowskiego bring a significant mood change.

Noskowski’s younger namesake, Zygmunt Stojowski, after a short period of private tuition from Władysław Żeleński in Warsaw, continued his composition studies in Paris and took master’s piano classes from Paderewski, who became his dearest friend, also as a fellow emigrant. The most successful time for Stojowski as a composer, pianist and, above all, a greatly valued pedagogue was the four decades he spent in the United States (from 1905 until his death in 1946). Symphonic Rhapsody for piano and orchestra was created in 1898–1900. After its successful premiere in Berlin in 1900 (Berlin Philharmonics, conductor Josef Řebíček), it became a part of Stojowski’s and other pianists’ repertoire for many years. The piece, featuring references to national music, impresses with the opulence of changing moods, colourful orchestration and brilliant virtuosity of the solo part, which will be performed by Krzysztof Książek, winner of the 2nd prize in the Polish Chopin Competition in 2015, participant of the 17th International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, winner of the 3rd prize and a special award for the best performance of mazurkas in the 1st International Chopin Competition on Period Instruments. It should be noted that the composition was published on the critically acclaimed CD of the Jerzy Semkow Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra (Warner Classics 0190295787561, 2017), recorded by Jonathan Plowright, conducted by Łukasz Borowicz. [Piotr Maculewicz]

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The organiser reserves the right to change the programme or the performers of the concert.