11th International Music Festival: Chopin and his Europe Before the Great Competition

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From Chopin to Scriabin
33 concerts: recitals, chamber and symphonic concerts; great performers, well-known and little-known masterpieces of European music from Bach to Mahler. Classical music hits: Beethoven, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Wieniawski, Rachmaninov, Paderewski, Sibelius and Elgar in masterful renditions; Polish music from Chopin, Ogiński, Dobrzyński, Kurpiński, Szymanowska, Wolff and Lipiński, to world premières of pieces by Andrzej Czajkowski and Paweł Szymański.
This year’s edition, following the model of previous years, will take an open-minded and curious look at the 19th century to get a feel for its legacy and the role played in it by the Festival’s patron. It will not, however, pass over earlier the artists out of whose work Romanticism grew, not infrequently seeing them as its models. It will also introduce us to the œuvre of later composers – heirs of the Romantic tradition. As has also become a tradition, it will also highlight the significance of the jubilees which the whole musical world is observing this year: Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Alexander Scriabin and Jean Sibelius.
Among the performers who will be appearing are orchestras from Moscow, London, Freiburg and Warsaw; Chopin Competition winners, including those who triumphed at its most recent edition; but also other musicians of great international renown, such as Alexandre Tharaud, Sergej Krylov, Louis Lortie, Nelson Freire, Andreas Staier, Nikolai Lugansky, Jan Lisiecki, Ivo Pogorelić, Truls Mørk, Matthias Goerne, Sol Gabetta and Bertrand Chamayou.
The sensational Apollon Musagète quartet will appear; also planned are two concerts by Tobias Koch – a pianist who has won music lovers’ hearts with his interpretations of Polish music. And this time, he will perform music from Chopin’s era on at least three different pianos, not forgetting, as well, about Michał Kleofas Ogiński – a distinguished artist of great significance to at least three different nations.
We can consider as sensational both the concerts of the Russian National Orchestra conducted by Mikhail Pletnev – which will perform, among other works, Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s ‘Polish’ Symphony, Henryk Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto in D minor and Mieczysław Karłowicz’s ‘Rebirth’ Symphony – and the appearances of one of Europe’s best orchestras: the London Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy, who will lead the ensemble in Elgar’s Polonia, Sibelius’ Symphony no. 2 and Paderewski’s Piano Concerto with soloist Dang Thai Son (the 1980 winner of the Chopin Competition), who will play a piano that once belonged to the composer.
Without doubt, the culminating points of the Festival will include such events as Philippe Giusiano’s performance of Dobrzyński’s Variations on ‘La ci darem la mano’; Matthias Goerne’s vocal recital with Piotr Anderszewski; the Freiburger Barockorchester’s appearance with Telemann’s Concerto Polonaise in B-flat major, along with three Bach concerti, one of which we will hear on a piano from Chopin’s time; and a recital by Sol Gabetta, the winner of an award for her wonderful recording of Chopin’s ’Cello Sonata in G minor, who will be playing at the Chopin and His Europe Festival for the first time.
What promises to be equally sensational is the grand finale concert, during which three contrasting styles of pianistic interpretation will be juxtaposed: in the course of one evening with the Warsaw Philharmonic conducted by Jacek Kaspszyk, we will hear Yulianna Avdeeva, Ingolf Wunder and Krzysztof Jabłoński.
This edition of the Festival, subtitled ‘Before the Great Competition’, will also present in a special manner the Polish participants in the world’s most important Chopin competition, which will begin on 1 October and feature Martha Argerich: from 17 to 26 August, there will be an hour-long Chopin recital daily at 10:00 PM at the Holy Cross Basilica. The young pianists will play in the presence of Chopin’s heart on an original period piano: an 1855 Erard.

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