Oratorio Music Concert Filharmonia Narodowa

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Oratorio Music Concert
Tania Miller, photo: Todd Rosenberg

A twist of fate inextricably linked Karłowicz’s last, unfinished symphonic poem with his own tragic death in an avalanche at the foot of Mały Kościelec in 1909. It was the manuscript for Episode at a Masquerade that was found on the composer’s desk in his Lutnia villa in Zakopane shortly after the dramatic incident. The work was completed and orchestrated by Karłowicz’s close friend Grzegorz Fitelberg, a fervent advocate of the young composer’s outstanding talent. This composition, couched in the scheme of a sonata allegro, displays the composer’s wonderful musical imagination, mastery of development work and perfect deployment of a large orchestra.

Carl Orff’s cantata Carmina Burana, from 1936, is sometimes described as the most ‘overused’ work in the history of music. It is impossible to count the contexts (mainly in film and advertising) into which this exceptionally suggestive and characteristic composition has been woven. So how did Orff’s setting of poetry by thirteenth-century goliards come to be so inspiring and appealing? Well, the large performance apparatus, with a mighty chorus and expanded percussion, the archaicisms and motoric rhythms, as well as the texts, at times close in style to morality plays, laden with sarcastic, iconoclastic humour and eroticism that is far from subtle, have all contributed to the enduring success – unprecedented in the history of music – of Orff’s work.

Urszula Ciołkiewicz-Latek


Danuta Chmurska

A conductor, artistic director of the Artos Choir, president of the Władysław Skoraczewski ARTOS Music Society. As a child she joined the youth choir led by Władysław Skoraczewski; she then continued her career at the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera in Warsaw becoming assistant to Romuald Miazga. Since 1981, Danuta Chmurska has been a music teacher and expert responsible for preparing children’s parts (both solo and chorus ones) for operas, oratorio and cantata concerts, ballet and theatre performances (Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot, Georges Bizet’s Carmen, Krzysztof Penderecki’s Paradise Lost, Modest Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, Karol Szymanowski’s King Roger, Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades and The Nutcracker, Joanna Bruzdowicz’s Gates to Paradise, Alban Berg’s Wozzeck, Katarzyna Głowicka’s Requiem for an Icon, Jan Stefani’s The Pretended Miracle, or Krakovians and Highlanders among others).

She has collaborated with many eminent conductors, including Jacek Kaspszyk, Tadeusz Wojciechowski, Tomasz Radziwonowicz and Gabriel Chmura, often gaining their recognition. According to Danuta Chmurska herself, her greatest choral achievements include preparing choirs for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and also the children’s part in Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, and a piece by Martin Palmeri – Misa a Buenos Aires – Misatango, performed by the Artos Choir in New York’s Carnegie Hall at the composer’s invitation.

While running the choirs of the ARTOS Music Society, she also initiates and organises concerts and other artistic events. She teaches children, the youth and adults how to use their voice as well as interpretation and artistic expression in the spirit of the Society’s patron and Danuta Chmurska’s master – Władysław Skoraczewski.