Jerzy Maksymiuk and Leszek Możdżer are among the most intriguing personalities in contemporary musical life in Poland, although their concert work is not confined to the country’s borders. The former is associated above all with the classical music repertoire, the latter with jazz. The pretext for their extraordinary encounter on the stage of the Warsaw Philharmonic will be a joint performance of the Piano Concerto in F major by George Gershwin – a composer who a hundred years ago effectively brought those two musical worlds together. In the context of his jazz inspirations, he wrote: ‘My ideal was, first and foremost, to express myself, then, to express America. Somewhat vaguely I felt that it would be one and the same thing’.
This ‘young genius who is learning fast’, as Gershwin was described, was also fascinated by French composers of the turn of the twentieth century, especially Claude Debussy. Debussy’s dance poem Jeux [Games], brimful of colours, was composed for Serge Diaghilev’s famous ballet company and had the misfortune of receiving its first performance just before the stormy premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, which absorbed all the attention of the Parisian audience and critics. The plot of this ballet tells of a trio of dancers, an evening game of tennis and – key to the action – the loss of a ball.
The exciting programme of this concert is rounded off by Maurice Ravel’s spectacular Bolero – perhaps the most famous exemplification of an orchestral crescendo.