Symphonic Concert Filharmonia Narodowa

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Symphonic Concert
Sharon Kam, photo: Nancy Horowitz

The dazzlingly virtuosic Clarinet Concerto in F minor by the 25-year-old Carl Maria von Weber, Classical in form but pre-Romantic in expression, is among the fabulous fruits of the composer’s collaboration with outstanding virtuosos. In this case, it was Heinrich Bärmann, the most prominent clarinettist of his day, who inspired many new works dedicated to him (and also composed his own).

From his incidental music to Ibsen’s play Peer Gynt (1876), Edvard Grieg put together two concert suites (1888, 1891), selecting for each of them four distinctive orchestral miniatures. Those from the first suite in particular became ‘hits’, familiar not just in concert halls, but also from their frequent use in other contexts, including film.

To mark the 65th anniversary of the death of Jean Sibelius, we will be hearing his Fifth Symphony, the composition of which was also linked to an anniversary – the Finnish master’s 50th birthday, in 1915. That was an initiative from the government of Finland, which wished to express with its commission the esteem in which the nation held one of its greatest sons. The first version of this symphony, although faithful to a neoromantic idiom, includes tentative innovations in form and sound, which were tempered through successive revisions.

Piotr Maculewicz



Sinfonia Varsovia

An ensemble formed in April 1984 with the expansion of the Polish Chamber Orchestra. The impulse behind its creation was the arrival in Poland of the legendary violinist Yehudi Menuhin, to an invitation from Waldemar Dąbrowski and Franciszek Wybrańczyk, director of the Polish Chamber Orchestra. In performances with Menuhin, the ensemble soon won public acclaim in Poland and abroad, and Menuhin took the post of principal guest conductor.

Over the years, Sinfonia Varsovia has performed in the world’s most prestigious concert halls, alongside such conductors as Claudio Abbado, Witold Lutosławski, Lorin Maazel, Emmanuel Krivine and Jerzy Maksymiuk, and soloists of the calibre of Mstislav Rostropovich, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Alfred Brendel, Martha Argerich and Piotr Anderszewski. Since its inception, the orchestra has given more than four thousand concerts on five continents and recorded over 300 discs.

Music director from 1997, and artistic director from 2003 to 2020, was Krzysztof Penderecki. From 2008 to 2012 the role of music director was fulfilled by Marc Minkowski. In 2004, Franciszek Wybrańczyk appointed as director of Sinfonia Varsovia a long-serving member of the ensemble, Janusz Marynowski, who has held the post to this day. In September 2022, Aleksandar Marković became principal guest conductor of Sinfonia Varsovia.