WEBER | MOZART | DVOŘÁK
19 February 2022, 7:00 p.m.
Witold Lutosławski Polish Radio Concert Studio, Warsaw
Aleksandra Kuls | violin
Katarzyna Budnik | viola
Jerzy Semkow Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra
Marek Pijarowski | conductor
Carl Maria von Weber – Overture to the opera Der Freischütz
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Sinfonia Concertante in E flat major, K 364
Antonín Dvořák – Symphony No. 9 in E minor From the New World, Op. 95
Aleksandra Kuls – photo P. Iwaszko; Katarzyna Budnik – photo B. Kusiak; Marek Pijarowski – photo Ł. Rajchert
Sinfonia concertante in E flat major for violin and viola by Mozart (his second work of this kind after a somewhat earlier piece in the same key for the oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon) was written at the end of the composer’s youth in Salzburg, at a time when he was already radiant with European fame – most likely for a tour that led through Mannheim (then famous for its excellent orchestra) to Paris, probably intended to be performed in these centres, although little is known about its reception; thereafter, it would long fall into oblivion. The title itself indicates a genre that combines the features of a symphony and a concerto, though here elements of the latter dominate. The two instruments engage in a lively dialogue and the entire work is brimming with a cheerful and carefree mood.
The opera (or rather the extensive singspiel with spoken dialogues) Der Freischütz by Carl Maria von Weber which premiered in 1821 was destined to become a milestone in the history of music, lending theatrical and musical expression to many features of young Romanticism. One of its emblems became an immediately impressive and colourfully orchestrated overture, designed to anticipate the motives and mysterious mood of the opera.
Shortly after his 50th birthday, Antonín Dvořák accepted an invitation from the USA to lead the conservatory in New York. His students included talented African-American baritone Harry Burleigh, one of the first to introduce songs from the tradition of negro spirituals to concert halls. He also introduced Dvořák to this music, reminiscences of which were soon to appear in his “New York” compositions, including Symphony No. 9 in E minor Op. 95, started at the turn of 1892-1893. Dvořák recalled that another source of inspiration was provided by Native American music, though he could only have had superficial knowledge of it, perhaps from certain popular shows about the “Wild West”. He also found inspiration from Native American culture in the famous epic by Longfellow of The Song of Hiawatha. The premiere took place at Carnegie Hall on 16 December 1893 under the direction of Anton Seidel and was a dazzling success. In particular, the finale with its thrilling, pompous theme performed by brass instruments made an enormous impression. The author admitted that he avoided direct citations, but had only tried to convey the spirit of America and its “endless landscapes” using a few references, including to the characteristic rhythmic and melodic gestures and scales of African-American and indigenous music. Even the title – From the New World – which was added at the last moment before the premier, indicates that the symphony was “written in America” rather than a “presentation of America”.
Outstanding Polish violinist Aleksandra Kuls added to her many awards from prestigious competitions in 2020 by winning 2nd place at the International Tadeusz Wroński Solo Violin Competition. She also received a special honour from the Director of POSI: participation in the concert in question as the performer of a solo part from a work by Mozart. Kuls will be joined by viola player Katarzyna Budnik, first viola of the Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra since 2014, also a respected soloist and chamber musician.
Marek Pijarowski, who will direct the concert, is one of the leading Polish conductors of his generation, active on many international stages and valued as a teacher and competition juror. After studying at the Academy of Music in Wrocław under Tadeusz Strugała, he perfected his skills in Weimar with Arvid Jansons and in Vienna with Carl Österreicher. In 1975, he was appointed second conductor of the Wrocław Philharmonic and from 1980 to 2002 held the position of head and artistic director of the same institution. He was also Chief Conductor of the Poznań Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra; in 2021, he celebrated his 70th birthday and the 50th anniversary of his artistic work. [pmac]
During the event the rules determined in the Ordinance of the Council of Ministers related to the establishment of the certain limitations, injunctions and bans due to the conditions of epidemic will be in force as well as their update: Current rules and restrictions.
Organiser: Jerzy Semkow Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra
The organiser reserves the right to change the programme or the performers of the concert