Natalia Ponomarchuk is one of the leading Ukrainian conductors, a graduate of the Ukrainian National Academy of Music in Kyiv. Sinfonia Iuventus under her baton will open this evening’s concert with Myroslav Skoryk’s Hutsul Triptych – a three-part suite composed in 1965 from the music to the film Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (Тіні забутих предків, 1964). This work draws on folk themes from the Hutsul region, illustrating the story of Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky – a writer of the turn of the twentieth century. It is intriguingly programmed with Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Sinfonia antarctica, inspired by the Antarctic expedition of Robert Falcon Scott, whom the composer met during work on his music to the film Scott of the Antarctic in 1948.
Those two illustrative symphonic works will be accompanied by one of the most popular cello concertos: Camille Saint-Saëns’ work from 1872. His First Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 33 was dedicated to Auguste Tolbecque, who gave its first performance on 19 January 1873. During our concert, this highly demanding work will be performed by Rafał Kwiatkowski, who has worked with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra on more than one occasion, including on a recording of Witold Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto in 2004 (DUX 2015).