Zygmunt Krauze piano
Martijn Dendievel conductor
György Ligeti Concert Românesc (Romanian Concerto) [14’]
II. Allegro vivace
III. Adagio ma non troppo
IV. Molto vivace – Presto
Zygmunt Krauze Piano Concerto No. 4* [21’]
Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93 [26’]
I. Allegro vivace e con brio
II. Allegretto scherzando
III. Tempo di Menuetto
IV. Allegro vivace
* world premiere
Piano Concerto No. 4
Of all the musical instruments, the piano is the closest to me. I have spent thousands of hours with it since I was seven years old, playing and practicing, once with enthusiasm, sometimes with anger, often tired, because it is physical work, but overall happy, as playing an instrument gives strength and happiness.
My fourth concerto for piano and symphony orchestra, like the first one, carries no extramusical message. These sounds have only the content of emotions that I wanted, want to share with the listener, each and every one of them.
The solo piano part has a leading role in the concerto. All important motifs are initiated by the piano, while the orchestra reinforces and develops the musical ideas. In some passages, the soloist has the freedom of partial, notation-controlled improvisation. The freedom to improvise enhances the lively, emotional interpretation, which is why it was used. The orchestral part includes solo moments played by individual instruments to showcase the superb level of artists playing in the Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra.
The first piano concerto premiered in Donaueschingen at the avant-garde music festival in 1976, the premiere of the second piano concerto took place in Tokyo at the beautiful Suntory Hall twenty years later, the third concerto resounded for the first time at the inauguration of the Warsaw Autumn Festival in 2019, and its French premiere in Metz in 2020 received the French critics’ award for the best premiere of the season. I am particularly happy that my fourth piano concerto will be premiered with the fantastic Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra. In addition, on the stage of the Chopin University of Music, of which I am a graduate and also a former professor.
– Zygmunt Krauze
The Jubilarian’s new work will be surrounded by two compositions of a decidedly light-hearted and even humorous nature. The evening will begin with Concert Românesc (1951), an early work by György Ligeti (1923-2006), a master of the 20th-century avant-garde whose centenary of birth passed in May this year. Ligeti’s work contains both the concert audience’s much-loved references to Romanian folklore (in the style of Enescu’s rhapsodies or Bartók’s dances, especially in the first, second and fourth movements) and reveals new avant-garde ideas. The modernist material of the third movement, with the sounds of the French horns imitating alphorns (by extracting a natural harmonic series of aliquots from the instruments), already foreshadows Ligeti’s much later works, such as Trio for Violin, Horn and Piano and the Hamburg Concerto. These modernist elements meant that Concert Românesc was banned by the Communist Hungarian authorities after the first rehearsal and was not performed until its premiere in Budapest in 1971. The composer left Hungary in 1956.
Ludwig van Beethoven’s (1770-1827) Eighth Symphony is not as highly regarded as its great predecessors – the Third, Fifth and especially the Seventh. This has not changed since its premiere on 27th February 1814. Symphonies No. 7 and No. 8 were written simultaneously, and the premiere of the latter – unluckily for it – came less than three months after the premiere of the Seventh, leading to unfavorable comparisons. We know from Carl Czerny’s account that, in the composer’s opinion, the widespread praise of the Seventh was evidence of critics’ and audiences’ failure to recognize the true qualities of the new work. Symphony No. 8 does indeed seem at first glance to be a step backwards. The composer, who had previously revolutionized symphonic form by replacing the minuet in the third movement with a scherzo, here returns to this old-fashioned idea. However, Beethoven successfully throws us off the scent: he places the scherzando in the second part, depriving the symphony of the slow tempo expected in this movement. The abrupt intrusion of music without the usual slow introduction in the first movement and the frenetic pace of the final movement punctuated by rapid stops in the narrative, on the other hand, evoke a spirit of perverse playfulness in Haydn’s style. Is it possible that the former master was the addressee of the unwritten dedication to his pupil’s Symphony No. 8? In addition to the aforementioned gestures, this may be indicated by the “clock” ticking in the second movement, similar to that in the second movement of Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 101. An intentional archaization, then, or a modern development of the scherzo idea? Certainly the Symphony No. 8 is a tribute to the founder of Viennese Classicism.
– Łukasz Strusiński