Organ Concert to Mark the 120th Anniversary of the Warsaw Philharmonic Filharmonia Narodowa

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Organ Concert to Mark the 120th Anniversary of the Warsaw Philharmonic
fot. Thomas Dagg

Gustav Holst’s artistic personality was initially moulded by German neo-Romanticism – like many composers of his generation, his musical vision and outlook owed a great deal to Wagner and Strauss; and by the turn of the century, he was close to such artists as Parry and Stanford, who were drawn to folk songs and their stylisations. Holst’s work exerted considerable influence on the following generation of British composers; however, in general, its appeal was limited outside his homeland, with one exception – the impressive The Planets suite penned during the First World War. It was inspired not so much by astronomy as by Holst’s fascination with astrology: the belief that the planets shape the human psyche and destiny. Hence, the seven planets depicted through the prism of a colourful orchestral setting are accompanied by qualities borrowed from horoscopes and expressed by means of subtitles.

A cosmological-astrological context also accompanies the symphonic miniature Scorpius (its title refers to the zodiac constellation of Scorpio) composed in 1990 for the Toronto Esprit Orchestra by Raymond Murray Schafer. This Canadian composer’s interests revolve around the captivating theme of sound ecology, often treated as a niche subject, and the relationship between music and the environment. He is the creator, propagator and researcher of the notion of soundscape and many of his works, in various ways set in the natural sound environment of human habitats and nature, refer to this concept.

Percussion was the main passion of the American composer Lou Harrison – he used it in many highly original ways and also enjoyed treating as members of the percussion family previously unrelated instruments. He used both exotic instruments and built his own (including whole sets of them, such as the American gamelan). One of the composer’s final works, Concerto for Organ and Percussion Orchestra (1972), shows his skilled manipulation of this sound – he once claimed that he wanted to create a bridge between the sound of the organ and percussion families, in which idiophones with fixed tuning, i.e. celesta, vibraphone and bells, and their different variants, would be generously represented, as would be the piano.

The Warsaw Philharmonic Patron of the Year – PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna – warmly welcomes you to join us in this concert

Paul Jacobs

Heralded as “one of the major musicians of our time” by Alex Ross of The New Yorker and as “America’s leading organ performer” by The Economist, the internationally celebrated organist Paul Jacobs combines a probing intellect and extraordinary technical mastery with an unusually large repertoire, both early music and contemporary. He has performed to great critical acclaim on five continents and in each of the fifty United States. The only organist ever to have won a Grammy Award. The artist has given landmark performances of the complete works for solo organ by Johann Sebastian Bach and Olivier Messiaen. A fierce advocate of the contemporary music, Paul Jacobs has premiered works by Samuel Adler, Mason Bates, Michael Daugherty, Bernd Richard Deutsch, John Harbison, Wayne Oquin, Stephen Paulus, Christopher Theofanidis, and Christopher Rouse.

No other organist is repeatedly invited as soloist to perform with prestigious orchestras, thus making him a pioneer in the movement for the revival of symphonic music featuring the organ. He regularly appears with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Minnesota Orchestra, Montreal Symphony, Nashville Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, Pacific Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Toledo Symphony, and Utah Symphony, among others.

Paul Jacobs studied at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia with organist John Weaver and harpsichordist Lionel Party, and at Yale University with Thomas Murray (organ). He joined the faculty of The Juilliard School in 2003, and was named chairman of the organ department in 2004, one of the youngest faculty appointees in the school’s history. In 2017, he received an honorary doctorate from Washington & Jefferson College. In 2021, The American Guild of Organists named him recipient of the International Performer of the Year Award.