Mozart | Panufnik | Schubert

28 September, 7 p.m.
Royal Castle, Warsaw

Performers:
Daniel Stabrawa – violin and conducting
Jerzy Semkow Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra

Programme:
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Violin Concerto No.1 in B-flat major, K.207
Andrzej Panufnik – Violin Concerto
Franz Schubert – Symphony No.5 in B flat major, D.485

Schubert’s Symphonies No. 5 and No. 6 mark the end of the period in which this form was the composer’s preferred one; the pieces were composed for a small, half-amateur orchestra which comprised his relatives and friends (Schubert himself played the viola). Symphony in B-flat major is said to have been performed in the Schottenhoff guesthouse, under the baton of Otto Hartwig, an active animator and conductor of such performances. Only in 1841 did it have its public premiere… Schubert composed Symphony No. 5 when he was 19 years old. Although the piece was composed for a small ensemble, the composer took the best out of it – the music itself is very light and subtle. Excellent proportions, transparency, multitude of beautiful melodic ideas and their originality make Symphony in B–flat major one of the most popular works of all of the symphonies he composed in his youth.

Andrzej Panufnik, an outstanding Polish composer who resided in Great Britain since the 1950s, has developed his own individual style, a rich and genuine harmonic language in particular; at the same time, he had always been fond of clear forms and showed a visible preference for beautiful melodies and a euphonia of sound, which linked him to the Neoclassical current. All these features can be found in the Violin Concerto composed at the commission of the great violin player Yehudi Menuhin. Shortly before the commission, the composer, who was the son of the splendid luthier Tomasz Panufnik, was given his father’s precious violin previously owned by Dawid Ojstrach. Deeply touched by this gift, he was even more eager to accept the commission. “I believe that when I composed a piece for violin, I was deeply affected by my childhood memories, such as the smell of wood my father made his instruments of, or my mother’s play. Thus, for me, the piece was a form of a journey back, inevitably saturated with the spirit of Poland […] I therefore decided to focus on the violin as an instrument with a warm, expressive sound” – he wrote about his piece. The Concerto’s values and an excellent interpretation of Menuhin contributed to its immense popularity. The piece was played by numerous violinists, eagerly recorded and still remains one of Andrzej Panufnik’s most famous works. The excellent soloist and conductor, Daniel Stabrawa – the first concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic and, since 1995, the director and conductor of Capella Bydgostiensis, will complement the concert’s programme with a youthful, charming and melodic Violin Concerto No. 1 by Mozart (similarly to Schubert’s Symphony No. 5, composed by a teenage genius). [Piotr Maculewicz]

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