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



Damian Wilma

Graduated from the Vocal and Drama Department of the Feliks Nowowiejski Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz, where he studied singing in the class of Wojciech Maciejowski, since 2018, Damian Wilma has honed his vocal skills under Helena Łazarska. He graduated from the Interdepartmental Postgraduate Singing Course at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw in 2013. In 2021, he was awarded a doctoral degree in musical arts. From 2014 until 2017, he was a member of the Opera Academy of the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera, where he collaborated with Izabella Kłosińska, Eyton Pessen and Matthias Rexroth. Since 2014, he has appeared in the productions of the National Opera in Warsaw, performing the parts of, inter alia, Le Dancaire (Bizet’s Carmen), Bardos (Kurpiński’s The Miracle, or Cracovians and Highlanders), Novice’s Friend (Britten’s Billy Budd), and Nobleman of Brabant (Wagner’s Lohengrin).

Three years ago, he began to collaborate with the Polish Royal Opera in Warsaw, where he made the role of Guglielmo (Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte) his own. He took part in the staging of Lehár’s The Merry Widow by the Mazowsze Music Theatre in Warsaw (2019), where he appeared as Raoul de Saint-Brioche. In 2018, he sang the part of Papageno (Mozart's Die Zauberflöte) at the Music Theatre in Lublin.

As part of the “Z muzyką do ludzi” project in Jarosławki, he played the role of Pimpinone (Telemann's Pimpinone), Aeneas (Purcell's Dido and Aeneas), Janusz (Moniuszko's Halka in Vilnius version). As a student, he appeared in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin – the title part, Handel's Serse – as Arsamene, Millöcker's Der Bettelstudent – as Jan, and de Falla's La vida breve – as Cantaor.

He was twice holder of a scholarship from the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, and was also a recipient of the Award of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, given to the best students in the 2014/2015 academic year. He is the winner of numerous vocal competitions, including: First Prize and two special prizes in the International Vocal Competition “Iuventus Canti” in Vráble (Slovakia, 2014), First Prize in the chamber music category for his duet with the pianist Oleksandr Yankevych at the International Piano and Chamber Music Competition “Muzika be sienų” in Druskininkai (Lithuania, 2014).