Hall: Concert Hall
Subscription: B1 - Symphonic concerts, Z1 - Golden subscription
Price: 50-100 zł
Funded by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage as part of the NIEPODLEGŁA multi‑annual programme for 2017–2021
The brilliant composer, musicologist, critic and teacher Józef Koffler, a modernist who boldly drew on the achievements of the Viennese School, shared the tragic fate of the victims of the Holocaust. He was murdered together with his family in still unclear circumstances. The fortunes of war did not spare many of his works either, whilst those that did survive remained forgotten for many years. Koffler’s memory was revived thanks to in‑depth research conducted by the musicologist Maciej Gołąb, whose efforts were published in a monograph in 1995. Refined in its form, and exquisite in its sound, Symphony No. 1 serves as a perfect introduction to the composer’s oeuvre – although its form is still in the classical style, the material is organised according to the principles of the 12-tone technique (this is one of the earliest examples of its reception in Poland).
In the autumn of 1933, the Warsaw Philharmonic hosted a premiere of Karol Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 2. The premiere was beautiful and yet melancholic at the same time. The performer and recipient of the dedication, the great violinist Paweł Kochański, who was also a friend of the composer, was terminally ill, and despite playing exquisitely – as he always did – the audience was well aware that this performance would be his swansong. And it would indeed prove to be his final appearance.
As with the epoch‑making First Concerto, the Second was also inspired by Kochański’s talent and craft, and also made use of his advice and suggestions for the violin. It is, however, completely different from its predecessor – less extravert, with more succinct themes, and with rich but not exuberant chromatics. Both works have in common not only their beauty but also a great originality in both form and texture. Symphony No. 4 was Witold Lutosławski’s crowning work, and therefore the piece can be seen as a synthesis and summary of his achievements. Commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, it assumed its final shape in 1992 when it was performed in celebration of Lutosławski’s 80th birthday. Here he remained faithful to the two‑movement form that he had developed over many years. The Polish premiere on 25 September 1993, performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of the composer himself, would be the last time he appeared in the country of his birth.