Hall: Concert Hall
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"These concerts are held to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Henryk Szeryng – one of the most important violinists of the 20th century. Philanthropist and educator, Maestro Szeryng was one of the brightest stars of the Golden Age of the violin."
It took a lot of time before Johannes Brahms felt ready to try his hand at a symphony. He completed his first work in this genre aged more than 43. The second followed soon afterwards (1877), just a year after the premiere of his First. The two symphonies differ significantly in type of expression. The influential critic Eduard Hanslick, an admirer of Brahms’s talent, was delighted with the Symphony in D Major. He wrote: “Brahms’s Symphony No. 1, presented a year ago, was a work for connoisseurs capable of continuously following its complex textures with a magnifying glass. His Second is like the sun: it gives warmth to both experts and amateurs, it belongs to everyone who longs for good music. It radiates a healthy freshness and clarity.”
Brahms’s innovative, monumental Violin Concerto in D Major Op. 77 (1878), composed nearly at the same time, is the fruit of friendship between the composer and the great violinist Joseph Joachim. While writing this work, Brahms intensively consulted the virtuoso, using some of his friend’s suggestions, but also introducing – sometimes in defiance of Joachim’s opinions – many novel ideas of his own. Though formidably difficult to perform, this is not a virtuoso piece, meant as a sheer display of skill. Each element of the complex texture and all the innovative violin techniques are subordinated to the intricate form and rich expressive qualities. Despite some controversies following the premiere (not all the critics and especially musicians liked the idea of a concerto in which the orchestra played such a significant, independent role) thanks to the indefatigable Joachim and later also other violinists the work soon gained recognition as one of history’s finest violin concertos. Henryk Szeryng, born a hundred years ago in Warsaw, to whose memory this evening at our Philharmonic has been dedicated, performed the D Major Concerto very frequently and left behind many still admired and reissued recordings of that composition, under such masters of the baton as Pierre Monteux, Rafael Kubelik, Bernard Haitink, and Antal Dorati.
You are invited to this concert by PKO Bank Polski – Warsaw Philharmonic Strategic Patron of the Year