Warsaw Philharmonic & Jacek Kaspszyk
Nejtek / Szymanowski / Mahler
Date of EventFriday, 18.5. 2018 from 20.00
Expected end of the concert 22.15
Event placeMunicipal House – Smetana Hall
Price350 - 1 700 CZK Sold out
- Michal Nejtek: Ultramarine (world premiere of a work commissioned by the Prague Spring)
- Karol Szymanowski: Violin Concerto No. 2 Op. 61
- Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 4 in G major
- Warsaw philharmonic
- Jacek Kaspszyk - conductor
- Boris Brovtsyn - violin
- Slávka Zámečníková - soprano
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This eagerly anticipated concert will open with the world premiere of a composition titled Ultramarine by Michal Nejtek, who has composed this work on commission for the festival. Then the Violin Concerto No. 2 Op. 61 by Karol Szymanovski will highlight the artistry of the violin virtuoso Boris Brovtsyn, who will be appearing with the Warsaw Philharmonic under the baton of Jacek Kaspszyk, one of the most prominent figures of the contemporary Polish music scene. In Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 in G major, the rising star operatic soprano Slávka Zámečníková will be introducing herself. She was the overall winner of the 2016 Antonín Dvořák International Singing Competition, where she also won the special Prague Spring Prize. This will be her festival debut.
Michal Nejtek is a composer with experience in many genres. With his own ensemble, he plays experimental jazz, he has arranged songs for the Plastic People of the Universe, and as a pianist he has appeared with David Koller and Michal Pavlíček. As a composer of classical music, however, he is developing his own peculiar post-modern style. In his works, he often takes inspiration from the poetry of Raymond Carver, as is the case with the orchestral work Ultramarine (Songs In The Distance), which was written on commission for the Prague Spring festival. Its world premiere will be heard at this concert, and in the autumn of 2018 it is also to be performed at the famed Warsaw Autumn festival.
Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) composed his Violin Concerto No. 2 Op. 61 at the request of the legendary violinist Paweł Kochański, who had long desired to have a new work by the composer in his repertoire. In comparison with his First Violin Concerto, in this work Szymanowski departed the farthest from the traditional models of German music. Here, like in his other compositions, he does not resort to complicated chromaticism, and he remained faithful to the traditional harmonic system. Of course, his treatment of harmony – from complex modulations to his wealth of invention with melodies and virtuosic figuration – makes this concerto truly unique. At its premiere in October 1933, Kochański played the solo part in spite of the severe pain caused by his liver cancer, which was at an advanced stage by then. This was his very last performance. The composer was deeply sorrowed by Kochański’s death. Before sending the concerto to be printed, he added a dedication to the score: “In Memory of a Great Musician, my dear and unforgettable friend Paweł Kochański.”
During his lifetime, Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) was primarily regarded as a great opera conductor whose name was mostly associated with the Vienna Court Opera and the Metropolitan Opera in New York. His legendary comment “My day will come” first began to be fulfilled during the 1960s and ’70s, when Leonard Bernstein rediscovered Mahler’s symphonies and songs for the world. Luchino Visconti’s famous film Death in Venice, which uses the music of the Adagietto from Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, also played a considerable role in popularising the composer. All his live, Mahler carried with him the consequences of a quite gloomy childhood, and as an adult he created a monumental epos of nine symphonies (and a tenth, unfinished one), which – although each is different – are still remarkable for their interconnectedness, something for which there is no equivalent in the world of classical music.
Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 in G major is graced by a soprano solo in the final movement. Its first performance in 1901 confused the Munich audience, although in the context of Mahler’s symphonies this is a more accessible work. Here, too, the composer used texts from the collection The Youth’s Magic Horn.
About the interprets
The Warsaw Philharmonic is an ensemble with many years of tradition, and its history is connected with such great figures as Vladimir Horowitz, Arthur Honegger, Maurice Ravel, and Richard Strauss. Today, the orchestra appears regularly at prestigious international music festivals nearly everywhere around the globe (Vienna, London, New York, Tokyo), and it collaborates with the traditional Chopin International Piano Competition and the famed contemporary music festival Warsaw Autumn. It records regularly not only for Polish Radio, but also for the Naxos label, on which it has released nearly sixty recordings, mostly of the Polish twentieth-century classics – Szymanowski, Penderecki, Lutoslawski, Gorecki, and Kilar.
After his sensational success at the Herbert von Karajan Competition in 1977, Jacek Kaspszyk very soon made his way to the top tier of conductors worldwide. He has collaborated not only with orchestras in his native Poland, where he held a number of important artistic posts (music director of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, artistic director of the NFM Wrocław Philharmonic etc.), but also with top orchestras around the world (New York Philharmonic, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Shanghai Philharmonic). He has won a number of awards, including the Elgar Society Medal for exemplary interpreting of that composer’s music. He has been the chief conductor of the Warsaw Philharmonic since 2013.
The Russian violinist Boris Brovtsyn is a respected soloist and chamber music player. His large repertoire includes about fifty-five violin concertos and hundreds of chamber works, some of which he has himself premiered. As a soloist, he has played under the baton of Neeme Järvi and Antoni Wit, while his chamber music partners have included Janine Jansen, Gidon Kremer, and Mischa Maisky. For his recording of chamber works by Schubert and Schoenberg, he shared the prestigious ECHO Klassik Award with Janine Jansen.
“…a truly enormous talent…”
The Slovak soprano Slávka Zámečníková is currently a member of the Opera Studio of the Berlin Staatsoper Unter den Linden under the leadership of Daniel Barenboim. She is a laureate of several international competitions (Antonín Dvořák International Singing Competition in Karlovy Vary, Otto Edelmann International Competition in Vienna etc.) and on the opera stage she has sung such roles as Musetta (La bohème), Pamina (Magic Flute), and Woglinde (Rheingold). She is a graduate of the Bratislava Conservatory, and since 2014 she has been studying at the Hanns Eisler Hochschule für Musik in Berlin.
This concert is organised in collaboration with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of the Polska Music programme and is held with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland as part of the multi-annual programme NIEPODLEGŁA 2017–2021.
This concert was supported by the Polish Institute in Prague.