Things were solemn and moving, joyful and surprising…
To celebrate its jubilee, on Thursday night, the Poznań Philharmonic organised 75th Anniversary Concert. Staged traditionally at the University Auditorium, the event was held exactly 75 years after the first official concert by the Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra. At the time, the ensemble played under the baton of its founder (and chief conductor in the decade to follow), Stanisław Wisłocki; now, it was led by the current chief conductor and music director of the Poznań Philharmonic, Łukasz Borowicz. Then, the outstanding, world-famous pianist Raul Koczalski was the star of the evening; today, it was another outstanding, world-famous pianist, Rafał Blechacz. The jubilee evening was hosted by Róża Światczyńska and Antoni Hoffmann.
Before, however, music was performed, Andrzej Dera, Secretary of State at the Chancellery of the President of Poland, presented Poznań Philharmonic‘s musicians and staff members with state distinctions awarded by the President of the Polish Republic.
Officer’s Crosses of the Order of Polonia Restituta have been awarded to Wojciech Nentwig (for meritorious service to Polish culture, as well as for outstanding achievements in organisational and social work), and to Łukasz Borowicz (for outstanding achievements in artistic and creative work, as well as for promoting musical culture), while Knight’s Crosses of the Order of Polonia Restituta – to Tomasz Gubański and Sławomir Jarmołowicz (for meritorious service to Polish culture). Musicians and staff members of the Poznań Philharmonic have also received gold, silver and bronze crosses of merit, as well as honorary decorations “For Meritorious Service to the Province of Wielkopolska”, which were presented by the Marshall of the Province, Marek Woźniak.
Several beautiful words of congratulations and gratitude for the entire staff of the Poznań Philharmonic were uttered from the stage on this unique evening, including Marshall Woźniak’s address, in which he recalled that since 1999 the Poznań Philharmonic had been an institution of culture of the Wielkopolska Province Self-Government, and added that as at January 2023, it would be taken over by the Municipality of Poznań. Jacek Jaśkowiak, the Mayor of Poznań, recognised the Philharmonic with the Silver Seal of the Town of Poznań (complete with a pledge to quickly complete construction of the institution’s own seat).
The musical part of the evening opened with Uwertura komediowa (Comedy Overture) by Tadeusz Szeligowski, the first director and patron of the Poznań Philharmonic, which was performed in the presence of the composer’s granddaughter Bogumiła Szeligowska-Wojtecka, and grandson Tadeusz Szeliga-Szeligowski.
After the overture, it was Rafał Blechacz who took to the stage, this time… with a microphone.
– How come you play in Poznań so often? – the pianist admitted such questions are by no means rare. But he answers them with a question: – And why are we always eager to return home? The Poznań Philharmonic has become my home, and if this home celebrates a jubilee, I just have to be here.
He added it was his tenth concert with the Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra, and twelfth in Poznań.
And then the Piano Concerto in A minor by Robert Schumann sounded; there were, naturally, encores and standing ovations.
The latter part of the evening was devoted to Polish music: Rapsodia litewska (Lithuanian Rhapsody) by Mieczysław Karłowicz, and Kościelec 1909 by Wojciech Kilar.
Several-minute long standing ovations wrapped up the evening – this is how music-lovers thanked the musicians for the beautiful concert, and the entire team of the Poznań Philharmonic for their efforts.
The jubilee is over… Our institution has entered the seventy-sixth year of its operation. On Friday, another concert is coming…
photo: Piotr Skórnicki, Antoni Hoffmann