Concert on the 25. Anniversary of Witold Lutosławski’s Death

10 October, 7 p.m.
Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio of Polish Radio, Warsaw

Paweł Kowalski – piano
Jerzy Semkow Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra
Marek Wroniszewski – conductor

Witold Lutosławski – Little Suite
Witold Lutosławski – Piano Concerto
Igor Stravinsky – The Firebird

Witold Lutosławski is one of the most outstanding Warsaw-based composers of the 20th century. He was born in 1913 in the heart of the city, in Moniuszki Street (next to the Philharmonic), and lived in Marszałkowska Street, Langiewicza Street, Zwycięzców Street, and, finally, in a villa in the district of Żoliborz, in Śmiała Street. Graduate of Warsaw schools, University student, graduate of the Conservatory. In Warsaw, he used to perform at secret concerts during the occupation, took an active part in the reconstruction of musical life after the war, was a prominent figure at the prestigious “Warsaw Autumn” festival, and when he gained international fame, he hosted concerts of his own pieces, performed by the finest soloists. Warsaw is where he died (1994) and was buried. His body lies at the Powązki cemetery.

The Jerzy Semkow Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra wants to pay tribute to the composer on the 25th anniversary of his death with a concert during which two of his pieces from different periods of his life will be played – the Small Suite from the beginning of the 1950s, when the composer successfully attempted at keeping his creative autonomy against the expectations of Communist authorities, creating music that was frequently based on “folk motifs”, but still retained the highest artistic level, and the late Piano Concerto, which combined all of the elements of Lutosławski’s technique with profound and extremely communicative expression. It should be emphasized that the soloist of the Concerto, internationally recognised Paweł Kowalski, is the first (after Krystian Zimmerman) performer of the piece, which he presented in 1989 in Warsaw, under the composer’s baton, and performed with great success a number of times later in Poland and abroad.

The lighter nature of the Small Suite will be a perfect match for the music presented in the second part of the concert, which will include an exceptional set of compositions by masters of Romantic and Neo-Romantic Italian opera, orchestral overtures and interludes. Apart from the classical hit, namely the overture to Rossini’s William Tell, other pieces will include compositions of remarkable beauty, but performed less frequently: overture to Verdi’s Force of Destiny and intermezzo from Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. The attractive Italian programme will be complemented with a suite from the famous movie Leopard (Il Gattopardo) based on Lampedusa’s novel, the author of which, Nino Rota (who received excellent education in composition) is chiefly known as “Fellini’s composer”, but who in this case combined his talent with Luchino Visconti’s art. The concert will be hosted by Marek Wroniszewski, a respected conductor considered to be the best Polish participant of the 10th G. Fitelberg International Competition in Katowice, Deputy Director of the Jerzy Semkow Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra. He has been associated with this institution since October 2017, initially as the assistant conductor and then as the orchestra manager. [Piotr Maculewicz]