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Symphonic Concert - Written in Free Poland
Event type: Symphonic concert
Hall: Concert Hall
Subscription: B1 - Symphonic concerts, Z1 - Golden subscription
Price: 50-100 zł
Bolesław Szabelski
- Toccata from Symphonic Suite, Op. 10  [5']
Karol Szymanowski
- Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 61 [20’]
Intermission [20']
Claude Debussy
- La Mer [24’]
Witold Lutosławski
- Symphony No. 4 [23’]

Funded by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage as part of the NIEPODLEGŁA multi‑annual programme for 2017–2021







Like the majority of artists of his generation, Bolesław Szabelski composed mainly in what is broadly understood as the Neoclassical style. He often drew on Baroque music and employed the period’s typical forms and polyphony techniques. The Toccata from his 1936 three-movement Suite for orchestra is a shining example of this inspiration. In the post-war years, the Toccata triumphed on the concert stages of Poland and the world, and still remains Szabelski’s most frequently performed piece.

Karol Szymanowski penned his Violin Concerto No. 2 in 1932–33 for Paweł Kochański – an outstanding violinist and a close friend of the composer. Its world premiere would turn out to be Kochański’s last public performance – after his death Szymanowski dedicated the work to his memory. This single-movement concerto includes two contrasting sections divided by a virtuoso solo cadenza (written by Kochański). The first section is close in its form to that of a sonata-allegro, while the second – an extended rondo – echoes with tunes from the Podhale region.

One of Claude Debussy’s most popular works, La Mer (The Sea), which bears the subtitle “three symphonic sketches”, was composed in the years 1903–1905. The subsequent movements of the piece – De l’aube a midi sur la mer (From Dawn to Noon on the Sea), Jeu de vagues (Play of the Waves), and Dialogue du vent et de la mer (Dialogue of the Wind and the Sea) – generally correspond with the traditional symphonic cycle, although the composer strongly denied such associations. Despite its lukewarm reception at the premiere, La Mer soon became an important symbol of musical impressionism, and remains one of the French composer’s works most familiar to audiences.

Witold Lutosławski’s Symphony No. 4 – written in 1991- 92 – was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. It abounds with devices typical of the composer’s mature style, including a two-phase form, elements of chain technique, and fragments (relatively few) of controlled aleatoricism. As far as the general character of the piece is concerned, however, it departs significantly from Lutosławski’s earlier works. A reflective, intimate, and sometimes even melancholic tone prevails, although dramatic and tempestuous moments are numerous too. 

Paweł Markuszewski


This concert was produced under the patronage of PWM Edition as part of the project TUTTI.pl promoting the performance of Polish music.

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