Symphonic Concert – Debussy | Brahms | de Falla
June 3rd 2017, 7:00 pm
The Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio, Warsaw
Fifteen long years had to pass from the undeserved failure of the premiere performance of Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor (1859) before Johannes Brahms, already discouraged from composing symphony music, presented his Symphony No. 1, and further seven years before the first presentation of Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major op. 83. In this piece, which had its premiere (this time received extremely well) in Budapest in 1881, Brahms develops the ideas from the previous concerto. He refines it as a strictly symphonic form where the piano part – very demanding and spectacular, yet not only to “show off” – is entwined in an organic manner, rather than in line with classical principles of contrast and dialogue. An evident sign of such assumption is, for instance, the four-part architecture of the cycle – characteristic of a symphony. The composition which is full of contrasting passions, combining pathos with lyricism, will be presented by the twenty-three years old, magnificent pianist Piotr Nowak; a student of Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń from the F. Nowowiejski Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz – a true place for talents honing. The young musician can already pride himself on considerable achievements and has been playing concerts on many renowned stages in Poland and abroad.
Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune is a symphonic poem by Claude Debussy inspired by poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé. Although composed in the last decade of the 19th century, it was perceived to have been a significant harbinger of shifts to come in the next century. The oneiric work with a breathtaking flute solo, full of subtle tones and mysterious harmonies, is the touchstone of finesse of sound for the best orchestras. Sinfonia Iuventus will present this masterpiece under the baton of Piotr Wajrak: a conductor valued for outstanding opera and ballet performances in leading theatres in Poland and abroad, an incredibly sensitive and versatile artist, and a fantastic teacher (professor of the Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz).
Theatrical skills will be thus required by the attractive suites derived from the music (colourful, fiery, imitating the Andalusian folklore) of the ballet titled The Three-Cornered Hat. The author, Cádiz-born Manuel de Falla, having completed his education in the Madrid conservatoire, hesitated over whether to become a pianist or a composer. Eventually, he turned towards composition and from the start paid much attention to stage music. In 1914, he picked up once again an idea he had in 1905 but abandoned it at that time: he intended to create music for Pedro de Alarcóna’s popular novel El corregidor y la molinera (The Magistrate and the Miller’s Wife). Initially, he thought of an opera however Alarcón did not consent to such form of using his text so Falla composed a pantomime bearing the same title, intended for a chamber ensemble, and successfully staged in Madrid in 1917. The performances coincided with a visit of Sergei Diaghilev and his Les Ballets Russes. Amazed with Falla’s composition, the critic suggested to develop it into a ballet which the author willingly did. The world premiere (titled in the new version The Three-Cornered Hat – a symbol of power of the magistrate, the main character of the novel) was delayed due to war. It took place in London in 1919 and turned out a spectacular peak of Falla’s work to date. The choreography was developed by Léonide Massine, Pablo Picasso designed the stage and costumes, while Ernest Ansermet was the conductor.
Piotr Nowak – piano
Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra
Piotr Wajrak – conductor
C. Debussy – Popołudnie fauna
J. Brahms – 2. Koncert fortepianowy B-dur op. 83
M. de Falla – Trójkątny kapelusz (Suity nr 1 i 2)