Clarity and distinctness of form are among the distinguishing features of the whole of Grażyna Bacewicz’s oeuvre. Her First Cello Concerto, from 1951, is a three-movement work that respects the canonic sonata cycle model, and at the same time is filled with a modern musical language not devoid of chromaticism. In our concert, this neoclassical work will be interpreted by one of the most outstanding Polish cellists: Marcin Zdunik.
Fourteen Points was written by Paweł Szymański for the centenary of Polish independence. The title of this overture evokes the fourteen-point peace programme prepared by American president Woodrow Wilson in 1918; following the cataclysm of the First World War, that document presupposed the existence of an independent Poland. Szymański’s overture was first performed in November 2018, at the Barbican Centre in London, by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the conductor of today’s concert, Michał Nesterowicz.
The ideas of a struggle for independence – this time Finnish – also resound in scholarly interpretations of Jean Sibelius’ Second Symphony in D major, completed in 1902. Such connotations are supposedly suggested especially by the exalted finale. In earlier studies, this work was dubbed a ‘symphony of independence’. The composer himself seems to have maintained a distance with regard to such interpretations, and his Second, with its charmingly buoyant character, remains the best known of all his seven symphonies.