The maddest classical music festival is over! The anniversary edition of La Folle Journée that took place in Warsaw from 26 to 29 September attracted throngs of music-thirsty listeners. In the course of four days, the festival brought together an audience of more than 38 000 people at 61 concerts!
The musical madness once again attracted crowds of listeners. The audience listened to 57 concerts in the venues of Teatr Wielki – the National Opera and four at the home of the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra during the Prelude to the Festival proper. More than 1000 artists from all over the world presented themselves on the various stages of the Festival. This corresponded very strongly with this year’s theme “Travel Diaries”. Many works performed at the concerts were inspired by distant cultures and have become staples of the standard repertoire. Most composers whose works comprised programmes of concerts at this year’s La Folle Journée could easily be referred to as globetrotters. Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Alexandre Tansman, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and George Gershwin are just some of those names. Thanks to their compositions, listeners could travel musically to the United States, Africa, various capitals of European countries and to the Orient.
This “travelling” repertoire was performed by some of the best Polish symphony orchestras, including the National Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra of Teatr Wielki – the National Opera, The Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Warsaw, the Polish Chamber Orchestra, Sinfonietta Cracovia and Sinfonia Varsovia, followed by the most talented orchestras from music schools all over Poland. The five stages of the Festival saw performances by many renowned soloists, including Ewa Tracz (soprano), Szymon Komasa (baritone), Frank Braley (piano), Diana Tishchenko (violin), Nicholas Angelich (piano), Victor Villen (bandoneon) and Emmanuel Rossfelder (guitar).
The majority of works performed at this year’s La Folle Journée were chamber music. There were 13 chamber music ensembles of varying formations and artistic profiles. These included the Wajnberg Trio, Quatuor Psophos, the DesOrient ensemble, ProModern and the Atom String Quartet. The Festival in Warsaw was also visited by Ensemble Masques from France. The Ensemble took their listeners on a voyage into the fascinating world of music from the 16th and 17th centuries. Some concerts combined classical music with the traditional music of various cultures, including India, Spain and Scandinavia. Jazz also appeared at the Festival, including a performance by the Chopin University Big Band.
A new feature this year was the Prelude – four concerts of chamber music in the home of the organiser of the Festival, the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra. The Prelude took place on Thursday evening, on the day before the beginning of the Festival proper. Listeners had an opportunity to hear contemporary, Argentinian and oriental music. For the first time, the Festival Tent set up in front of the Opera in the Teatralny Square hosted the Silent Disco, during which DJs mixed the sounds of acoustic instruments with club music.
La Folle Journée is a unique event, whose popularity keeps increasing from year to year, not only among music lovers, but also among those who do not listen to classical music on a daily basis. Please make a note to join us next year, during the last weekend of September 2020. The Festival will be devoted to the music of Ludwig van Beethoven.