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NOSPR / Alsop / Sumino / Inauguration of the season 2024/2025 - NOSPR

NOSPR / Alsop / Sumino / Inauguration of the season 2024/2025

Seats
Tickets: 70-150 zł
Maciej Komorowski
Performers
Marin Alsop – conductor
Program
Samuel Barber
Symphony No. 1, Op. 9
Władysław Szpilman
Concertino for piano and orchestra
Johannes Brahms
Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56a
George Gershwin
Rhapsody in Blue

Open sales on September 2.
Samuel Barber began composing the Symphony No. 1 in1935, at the age of twenty-five. At the end of 1942 and at the beginning of 1943, he made significant amendments to the score, eventually to dedicate it to Gian Carlo Menotti – his university friend and later life partner. Commenting on this symphonic debut, he admitted that the intention behind it was a polemical dialogue with the classical tradition: „The form of my Symphony in One Movement is a synthetic treatment of the four-movement classical symphony. It is based on three themes of the initial Allegro non troppo, which retain throughout the work their fundamental character.”

The concept of the Concertino by the twenty-nine-year-old Władysław Szpilman– that of a single-movement “small concerto” – is similarly untypical. His first and only composition for piano with orchestra was created in the Warsaw ghetto in 1940. Hence the “compactness” of the form. The graceful character, references to jazz and subtle allusions to Chopin permeate the melodies and harmonic language of the Concertino, showing Szpilman as akin to Prometheus, one who brings light into the darkest places of human despair and sorrow.

In the case of the forty-year-old Johannes Brahms, one could call his Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56a, a “protodebut”. The story of how long Brahms, filled with doubt, was preparing for his Symphony No. 1 (1876), is one of the most frequently discussed aspects of his biography. The 1873 Variations are a significant step in this process. They constitute a prototype of the symphonic idea and texture, and simultaneously a tribute and a token of admiration for the author of TheCreation of the World. „He was quite someone!” was how Brahms wrote about Haydn a year before his own death. “Oh, how pitiful are we against someone like him!”

With his Rhapsody in Blue (1924), today, Gershwin is an iconic figure, standing like the Colossus of Rhodes, towering over the borderline between two orders – those of classical music and jazz. However, when the twenty-six-year-old was entering the conservative realm of American concert halls with his slightly nonchalant Broadway gait, he was crossing a line no one had ignored in such an ostentatious manner before. Paul Whiteman organised the Experiment in Modern Music concert in order to prove that the relatively new form of music called jazz deserved being recognised as a serious and sophisticated form of art. The Rhapsody proved that being first and brave is worth the risk!

Andrzej Sułek

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