Choral Music Concert Filharmonia Narodowa

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Choral Music Concert
fot. Bartek Barczyk

Critics have often emphasised the convergence of the creative paths of two great composers who began their careers in the stifling artistic climate of the USSR: Arvo Pärt (Estonia) and Valentyn Sylvestrov (Ukraine). Both searched for new expressive devices, initially following the avant-garde of the West, before eventually turning to silence, mysticism, and dialogue with tradition, although each did so in his own, very personal way. For both of them, this turn took place in the mid-1970s – for Sylvestrov, for example, it came in the cycle of Silent Songs, which later led to his exploration of the highly emotional post-Romantic style (Symphony No. 5) as well as an intense interest in Orthodox chant and Ukrainian national music (as well as in a strong reaction to the dramatic events of the present day, such as his Diptych to the words of Taras Shevchenko). Participation in the world premiere of a work by a composer of such class and renown is always an honour and experience for musicians, and an important and exciting event for audiences. This is precisely what we should expect in this April concert, when the Warsaw Philharmonic Choir will perform for the very first time Sylvestrov’s Psalm – a cycle of eight variations on the Ukrainian song Oj, zza hory kam'yanoyi.

The best-known medieval text describing the horror of the Last Judgement is the Dies irae sequence, which is included in the liturgy of the Mass for the Dead and has been spectacularly set to music on many occasions. However, it is not the only one such example. A similar role is performed by the hymn Apparebit repentina dies (the first words of each of its stanzas form an acrostic of the alphabet), which in 1947 served as the basis for a motet for choir and brass written by Paul Hindemith. This unusually impressive and poignant work, full of contrasts and perfectly exploiting the full sound palette of the ensemble, is relatively rarely performed, which makes its appearance in the concert programme all the more interesting.

 

 

Valentyn Sylvestrov's composition commissioned by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.
Financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage as part of the 2017–2022 NIEPODLEGŁA Multi-Year Programme



 

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Bartosz Michałowski

Director of the Warsaw Philharmonic Choir since 2017.

Bartosz Michałowski graduated with distinction in choral conducting from the Academy of Music in Poznań. In the years 1998–2005, he was assistant to Professor Stefan Stuligrosz and conductor of the Boys’ and Men’s Choir of the Poznań Philharmonic (known as the Poznań Nightingales), with which he has performed extensively in Germany, France, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Austria, Russia and Japan.

He won first prize in the 9th Polish National Choral Conductors Competition in Poznań, as well as a special prize for his diligent work on voice production with choirs. In 2015, he won the Orphée d‘Or of the Académie du Disque Lyrique in Paris, and was nominated for a Fryderyk Award. In 2020, he received a Fryderyk Award for a recording of Karol Szymanowski’s opera Hagith (with the Warsaw Philharmonic Choir). He also received two nominations for the International Classical Music Awards 2022.

Bartosz Michałowski is the founder, Artistic Director and conductor of the Poznań Chamber Choir – one of the best Polish ensembles of its kind. He is likewise the founder and Director of the ‘Opus 966’ Polish Composition Competition, and devised the ‘Pisz Muzykę – to proste!’ (‘Write music – it’s easy!’) composing workshops for children and youngsters. He also co-produced the ‘Obrazogranie’ project at the National Museum in Poznań.

As the Director of the Warsaw Philharmonic Choir, he has conducted – both in the Warsaw Philharmonic concert hall itself and in external venues – Szymanowski’s Kurpian Songs, masses by Kodály and Gretchaninov, Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle, Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Requiem, and oratorios: Paulus by Mendelssohn and Messiah by Handel. He prepared the ensemble for the first ever performance of Anton Rubinstein’s sacred opera Moses (cond. Michail Jurowski) and has also helped prepare a dozen vocal-instrumental concerts of the Warsaw Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra, during which he has collaborated with such eminent conductors as Ton Koopman, Christoph König, Matthew Halls, Martin Haselböck, Jacek Kaspszyk and  Krzysztof Penderecki.

He has been invited to participate in renowned festivals including the SchleswigHolstein Musik Festival and Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival, and has collaborated regularly with renowned institutions and orchestras. He has numerous first performances to his credit.

In addition to gaining experience as a conductor, Bartosz Michałowski has spent many years working on enhancing his skills and knowledge in the field of voice production, completing masterclasses with Poppy Holden (Great Britain), Christian Elsner (Germany) and Józef Frakstein (Poland). Bartosz Michałowski holds a PhD from the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music.

 

[2022]