Symphonic Concert Filharmonia Narodowa

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Symphonic Concert
Marc-André Hamelin, photo: Sim Cannety-Clarke

Ladies and Gentleman,

due to reasons beyond the Warsaw Philharmonic, Garrick Ohlsson will not perform in the symphonic concerts on 21 and 23 April 21 2023.
The soloist of these evenings will be another excellent pianist, Marc-André Hamelin, who will present Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15 by Johannes Brahms.
Other pieces in the programme and performers remain unchanged.


The first part of today’s concert will be devoted to two works featuring the symbolic motif of Salome – the Jewish princess described in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, who has been the subject of an incredible number of literary and painterly incarnations over the centuries. Artists have been captivated by the peculiar combination of love, ecstasy, perversion, guilt and the desire for redemption conveyed in the biblical story, in which the princess demands from Herod the head of the prophet John the Baptist on a silver platter. And when her stepfather grants her wish, she kisses the dead prophet’s blue lips. The story became the subject of a pioneering drama by Oscar Wilde (1892), and was adapted for the opera stage by Antoine Mariotte, among others.

The idea of making a musical adaptation of Wilde’s play was also taken up by Richard Strauss in his avant-garde opera Salome, which had its premiere in 1905 at the Dresden Opera House. The focus of the work’s only major orchestral section, added later by the composer – Dance of the Seven Veils – is the princess’ seductive dance, designed to persuade Herod to offer her the head of the dead Jokanaan. The eroticism of the piece is expressed in the sensual lavishness of the sound and texture of the huge orchestra, the quasi-oriental embellishment of the melody (the composer’s hints at the “exotic” carnality of the music) and the use of crescendo and accelerando (suggesting growing arousal).

The French post-impressionist composer Florent Schmitt – one of the leading figures of French musical life in the first half of the 20th century – was also drawn to the Salome motif. In his clearly symbolist piece, the sea (on the shore of which Salome and Herod’s castle is located in Robert d’Humieres’ libretto) serves as a “magic mirror”, and the music and drama are employed to “illustrate a demonic phantasmagoria”, full of syncopations in the rhythmic layer, polyrhythm, percussively treated chords and bitonality.

The evening will culminate with Johannes Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15, which is the first example of his mature symphonic style used for this form. Inspired by Robert Schumann’s attempted suicide (1854), the piece features an expansive, dramatic and elegiac first movement (Maestoso), an Adagio with the consolatory phrase Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini that the composer wrote into the score, and an energetic final variation rondo, alluding in its counterpoint to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, whom Brahms greatly admired.

Michał Klubiński

The Warsaw Philharmonic Strategic Patron of the Year – PKO Bank Polski – warmly welcomes you to join us in this concert

Jonathan Darlington

Jonathan Darlington has held the position of Music Director Emeritus at Vancouver Opera since 2018 after completing a highly successful term of almost 20 years as Music Director. He has led the innovative company in a repertoire ranging from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart through Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini and Richard Strauss to Tan Dun and Jake Heggie.

Whether on the concert platform or in the opera house, Jonathan Darlington has conducted an impressive list of world-class ensembles. Recent additions include the Wiener Philharmoniker at the Staatsoper, the Staatskapelle Dresden at the Semperoper, the Orchestre National de France, the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestre de l’Opéra national de Paris, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and Orchestre de Paris. Recent highlights included performances at Neue Stimmen competition, Classical Tahoe Music Festival, at the Vancouver Opera (Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana), Staatsoper Hamburg (Fledermaus by Johann Strauss the Son), and the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet and Opéra national de Paris, conducting pieces of Johannes Brahms and Henryk Mikołaj Górecki in a Mats Ek’s tribute. Last year, Jonathan Darlington was also named the next Chief Conductor of the Nürnberger Symphoniker.

Upcoming projects of the 2022/2023 season include appearances at Leipzig Oper (Mozart’s Don Giovanni), Hamburg Staatsoper and the Dresden Semperoper, as well as leading concerts with the Nürnberger Symphoniker, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Filarmonica “George Enescu”, Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice, and the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century appearing in Amsterdam (at the Concertgebouw) and in Paris.

The artist possesses a vast symphonic and operatic repertoire from the Baroque to the Contemporary and has a reputation for structuring concert programs that take the listener on a fascinating musical journey owing to their strong inner dramaturgical thread. As Music Director of the Duisburger Philharmoniker (2002–2011) he received the prestigious Köhler-Osbahr-Stiftung and Deutscher Musikverleger-Verband prizes for the quality and creativity of his concert programming.

Jonathan Darlington is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music and a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.