04 March 2020 The Ambassadors of Polish Music

We encourage you to read the review of the Polish Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert in Frankfurt (Oder), which appeared in the Märkische Oderzeitung newspaper.

Poznan Philharmonic Orchestra and the pianist Rafał Blechacz delighted the audience on the guest concert held in Frankfurt (Oder).

History of music has numerous examples of composers who travelled a lot, living out of a suitcase. In many cases these trips were voluntary, in other – forced by current situations. The reasons were various – from political, cultural, religious or ethnic to social. The guest performance of Poznan Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Łukasz Borowicz held in Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Concert Hall in Frankfurt (Oder), attended also by many Polish listeners, enabled the audience to discover more about Polish emigrant composers. The Orchestra played pieces by Palester, Tansman and Chopin.

Roman Palester belongs to the bygone “forgotten” composers. He was born in the Austro-Hungarian town Sniatyn and died in Paris. His ballet “The Song of the Earth” received a gold medal on the World Exposition in Paris in 1937. An excerpt of this piece, “Wedding Dances”, filled with original rhythms and elements of folklore, could be heard at the concert. The musical meeting began with the thunderous sound of double bass, cello and piano, gradually transitioning into dance orgies. Many motifs remind of Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring”, depicting pagan rituals in a form of a ballet. Even in the fortissimo parts we could hear the orchestra’s specific way of playing, not exaggerating in means.

Brilliant interpreter of Chopin

After the impressive introduction the audience listened to Symphonie Concertante No. 3 for Violin, Viola, Cello, Piano and Orchestra written by Tansman. He was born in Lodz, and emigrated to Paris in 1919 to adopt French citizenship a year later. Then in 1940 he moved to USA due to his Jewish origin, and after six years returned upon the river of Seine to live out his days there. The musical story opens with an ensemble of four soloists of the Philharmonic, who also dominated the other parts of the piece by interlacing it with continuous waves of intense sounds. The second part is a distinctive swing in American rhythms, while the orchestra becomes almost a setting for the four soloists. The third part features mostly wind instruments, executing dynamic tones in a marching, rhythmic way. After a storm of dissonance beautiful themes appear, played by a piano quartet. The fourth part, filled with spontaneous, dancing joy is geared towards an explosive ending.

All three composers were drawn by Paris

Frédéric Chopin also chose to live in Paris after emigration. However, before he became the “ambassador of Polish culture” abroad, his Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor Op. 11 received a warm reception in Warsaw. The brillant style, used mostly in the piano parts, needs to be performed by a pianist who plays with pearl purity, dexterous agility and rich in ornaments fantasy. Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz appeared to be a brilliant interpreter of this masterful piece. After a long, romantic orchestra introduction a captivating wander on the keyboard of clear and brightly-sounding “Steinway” begins. Dynamic figurations, thunderous cascades of tones, reserved and lyrical trills filled with pearl colors and splendid arabesques – the pianist presents the broad repertoire of the sensual art of interpretation in an astonishing way. At the same time he evades different kinds of pastel mollifications, but aims to accentuate the internalized singing, almost like pure poetry. So inspiring! The Laureate of the Chopin Competition held in Warsaw in 2005 thanked for the standing ovation by Frédéric Chopin’ valse and mazurka.

Peter Buske