The Concert Overture in E major was the first published attempt at tackling an orchestral form in the oeuvre of Karol Szymanowski. As we listen to it, we cannot fail to notice what an important source of inspiration for the young composer was the output of the late Romantics, and especially Richard Strauss. First performed at the beginning of the twentieth century, alongside works by other composers from the Young Polish Composers’ Publishing Company, this work adhered to the group’s postulate to refresh Polish music in the spirit of prevailing avant-garde currents in the West.
A decade or so earlier, before the representatives of the Young Poland movement set about their artistic reforms, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, while staying in Normandy, decided to immerse himself in Polish national traditions. His Fantaisie polonaise in G sharp minor for piano and orchestra is based on original, but stylised melodies and rhythms characteristic of Polish dances. Soloist in this work will be Yulianna Avdeeva, winner of the 16th Chopin Competition, who is a regular guest performer at the Warsaw Philharmonic.
Our retrospective journey through Polish music of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries will conclude with Krzysztof Penderecki’s ‘Christmas’ Symphony.