Szabelski | Riepnikow | Prokofiev

March 9, 2019, 7:00 p.m.
Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio of the Polish Radio in Warsaw

Finished in 1951, Symphony No. 7, a four-part composition which is traditional in its form, proved to be Prokofiev’s last work. It was created in the dark times of Stalinism, when the composer was in disgrace of the oppressive government (due to the fact that his half-Spanish wife Lina was convicted and imprisoned for absurd charges). The new work was meant to bring him back the former glory, which is why he composed two alternative endings – one filled with nostalgia penetrating the entire minor symphony (the one he preferred himself) and an optimistic one, which was supposed to please the Soviet cultural authorities, reluctant towards the ‘defeatism’. The work’s premiere was the composer’s last concert, as he died on the exact same day as the murderous Soviet dictator, which made Prokofiev’s death and funeral almost unnoticed… Undeservedly, Opus ultimum, a beautiful and moving piece, has gained less popularity than his other symphonies. Albin Repnikov is one of the most popular accordionists – the master of an instrument that has always been particularly beloved in Russia. Many pieces from his interesting and abundant repertoire belong to the ‘canon’ and are played at almost every competition. The daring concert showing his great imagination and the rich tones of his instrument will be performed by one of the most notable Polish virtuosos: Klaudiusz Baran, who currently is also the rector of the Fryderyk Chopin Warsaw University of Music. Another work to be recalled is Bolesław Szabelski’s Etude for orchestra – a relatively unknown, yet interesting piece composed in 1938 when Szabelski worked in a newly established conservatoire of Katowice (after a period during the war when he fought in the Home Army, he continued to work as a teacher). Katowice was also the city where the work’s premiere was hosted. The same school (currently known as Academy of Music) was attended by Maciej Tomasiewicz – formerly associated with Archetti Chamber Orchestra – who will conduct the concert. His artistic achievements include performances with a variety of important ensembles in Poland and abroad.

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