Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra and Milan Paľa to close the Moravian Autumn festival

20 October 2023, 1:00
Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra and Milan Paľa to close the Moravian Autumn festival

The 52nd Moravian Autumn festival is now coming to an end. On Sunday, it will close at the Janáček Theatre with the Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra commemorating the 90th anniversary of the birth of Krzysztof Penderecki, one of the most important composers of the second half of the 20th century. The evening’s soloist Milan Paľa will perform his Viola Concerto and, in the second half, Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No 2.

The evening will open with Penderecki’s Three Pieces in the Old Style from his incidental and film music. In addition to an aria, they contain two minuets from the film The Manuscript Found in Saragossa. This will be followed by the Adagietto from the opera Paradise Lost, evoking the atmosphere of the first night of love in the Garden of Eden. There will then be a performance of the aforementioned Viola Concerto, which ranks among the most performed works of its kind from the 20th century. It requires both advanced technique and extreme expressive commitment from the soloist. “Only time will tell if Penderecki will go down in history as the Beethoven of the turn of the millennium. It is already clear that he was among those who most influenced the shape of music at the end of the 20th century. He enriched it with unconventional sounds, chose emotionally impactful means of expression, and consciously included spiritual, social and political dimensions in his work,” said music journalist Wanda Dobrovská.

“It’s absolutely exceptional. It’s not usual for one artist to perform two solo concertos in one evening and, what’s more, on two different instruments,” said Vítězslav Mikeš, the festival’s dramaturge. The concert, including the two solo concertos, will take place at the Janáček Theatre on Sunday, 22 October at 19:00.

Folk music influences are the common denominator for the second half of the programme. It will open with Vítězslava Kaprálová's Suita rustica, commissioned in 1938 by the music publisher Universal Edition. Listeners will hear six folk songs, as the composer used two songs of contrasting character in each of the three movements. In his Violin Concerto No 2, Karol Szymanowski also quotes folk-music sources, not directly specific songs but rather the generation of his own “imaginary folk music”. The solo part is sometimes spiced up with the interpretive mannerisms of folk violinists from the Polish Highlands.

Poznań, like Leipzig - whose radio orchestra played at the festival a week ago - is one of Brno’s partner cities. They will perform with their chief conductor Łukasz Borowicz in Brno.

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