Oratorio Music Concert Filharmonia Narodowa

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Oratorio Music Concert
Matthew Halls, photo: Benjamin Ealovega

The history of masterworks of early music is generally enclosed within a cycle covering the genesis, oblivion and rediscovery of a given work (normally occurring during the nineteenth or twentieth century). George Frideric Handel’s Messiah is a rare case of a work that escapes the last two categories. Even after its composer’s death, when times and tastes altered radically, Handel’s oratorio continued to enjoy unwaning popularity, becoming over the years one of the most frequently performed choral works in history. Like a mediaeval icon placed in a series of new frames, Handel’s original score was arrayed in a succession of new guises, in order to satisfy changing aesthetics and performance practice. Originally scored for typical – although modest for Handel – forces of soloists, choir and rather small orchestra, this work was reworked, enriched with different instruments (such as clarinets and horns in the version by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart or percussion with cymbals in the mid-nineteenth century) and performed by monumental ensembles numbering several hundred to several thousand musicians. Today, Handel’s masterwork is performed by both amateur and philharmonic ensembles, and also by musicians specialising in so-called historically informed performance. The triumphant ‘Hallelujah’ chorus remains to this day one of the most popular pieces of Baroque music.

Bartłomiej Gembicki


Bartosz Michałowski

Bartosz Michałowski graduated with distinction in choral conducting from Poznań Music Academy. In 1998–2005, he was assistant to Stefan Stuligrosz and conductor of the ‘Poznań Nightingales’ Boys’ and Men’s Choir, with which he 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. In 2015, he won the Orphée d‘Or of the Académie du Disque Lyrique, and was nominated for one of the Polish record industry’s Fryderyk awards. In 2020, he received a Fryderyk for a recording of Szymanowski’s opera Hagith (with the Warsaw Philharmonic Choir). He also received two nominations for the International Classical Music Awards 2022. Michałowski is the founder and artistic director of Poznań Chamber Choir, one of the leading Polish ensembles of its kind, and of the ‘Opus 966’ Polish Composition Competition. He also devised the ‘Pisz muzykę – to proste!’ (‘Write music – it’s easy!’) composing workshops for children and coproduced the ‘Obrazogranie’ (‘Picture playing’) project at the National Museum in Poznań.

As Director of the Warsaw Philharmonic Choir, he has conducted 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, Messiah by Handel, Christ on the Mount of Olives by Beethoven and Litanies of Ostra Brama by Moniuszko. He prepared the ensemble for the first ever performance of Anton Rubinstein’s sacred opera Moses (conducted by Michail Jurowski) and for a performance and the first ever recording of Moniuszko’s opera The Pariah in Italian, and has also helped prepare vocal-instrumental concerts of the Warsaw Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra, collaborating with such eminent conductors as Andrzej Boreyko, Ton Koopman, König, Matthew Halls, Martin Haselböck, Jacek Kaspszyk and Krzysztof Penderecki.

He has participated in renowned festivals including the Schleswig-Holstein 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 Jozef Frakstein (Poland). He holds a PhD and is a lecturer at the Chopin University of Music.