Let the Mad Weekend of Music Begin!


A veritable feast of the art of sound begins this Friday – the 10th edition of La Folle Journée – “Travel Diaries”! Musical journeys into the farthest corners of the world, concerts throughout the whole day, renowned soloists and recognised ensembles – this, in a nutshell is the most fitting description of this weekend in Warsaw!

Some of the most beautiful works of symphonic and chamber music inspired by distant journeys and applauded by audiences all over the world – these will be heard during the 10th anniversary edition of the Festival between 27 and 29 September in Teatr Wielki – the National Opera in Warsaw. “This year’s edition of La Folle Journée takes a look at works written by composers who not only were true artists, but who also travelled extensively. Works they composed are often considered to be staples of standard repertoire. They are record of the composers’ impressions of their travels, musical interpretations of other cultures and landscapes painted with sounds” – says Janusz Marynowski, director of the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, the organiser of the Festival.

The “Travel Diaries” theme will be reflected in the programme of concert No. 50 “Orient-Occident” (29 September, 3:15 p.m.). Musical diaries from Jacques Ibert’s trips to European cities and Camille Saint-Saëns’ voyage to Algeria will be presented by the National Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Dawid Runtz. Several hours later (29 September, 7:15 p.m.), concert No. 59 “Around the World in 60 Minutes” will feature musical impressions of North America, Singapore and China, gathered into Alexandre Tansman’s cycle Le tour du monde en miniature. This set of miniatures for piano solo will be performed by Nathanaël Gouin. The pianist will then be joined by violinist Éric Lacrouts and cellist Astrig Siranossian to perform Claude Debussy’s Piano Trio in G major. Concert No. 13 “Four Corners of the World” (28 September, 11:00 a.m.) will show a family aspect of musical travels. Conducted by Mihhail Gerts, Sinfonia Varsovia will perform, as the title of the concert suggests, works representing musical traditions from various places around the world.

The Festival’s local aspects will be shown in concert No. 30 “Łódź Roots” (28 September, 6:00 p.m.), featuring the music of two emigrant composers – Alexandre Tansman and Mieczysław Weinberg. Their compositions will be performed by the Wajnberg Trio, an ensemble made up of talented musicians – violinist Szymon Krzeszowiec, cellist Arkadiusz Dobrowolski and pianist Piotr Sałajczyk. Concert No. 49 “Train to Florence” will transport listeners 1500 km south (29 September, 2:30 p.m.). The performing ensemble will be a string sextet made up of renowned soloists and chamber musicians: Diana Tishchenko (violin), Anna Maria Staśkiewicz (violin), Mateusz Doniec (viola), Tomasz Rosiński (viola), Marcin Zdunik (cello) and Astrig Siranossian (cello). The ensemble will play Andrzej Panufnik’s Trains of Thought – a composition inspired by a speeding train and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence, whose leading motif originates from Tuscany.

If you wish to remain in sunny Italy, the programme of concert No. 29 “Tchaikovsky in Italy” (28 September, 5:00 p.m.) reflects the culture of that country. Young Ukrainian violinist Diana Tischenko and the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra will perform Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major, with Grażyna Bacewicz’s Kaprys polski and Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien. The climate of the Apennine Peninsula will be recalled again by Sinfonietta Cracovia directed by Jurek Dybał performing the performing the Symphony in A major “Italian”, written by another great travelling composer, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. This will take place at concert No. 55 “Pages from an Unwritten Diary” (29 September, 6:00 p.m.). Before the Symphony, however, we will have an opportunity to listen to Mendelssohn’s Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage and Krzysztof Penderecki’s Sinfonietta No. 3.

A special treat awaits lovers of opera – concert No. 11 “Time for Arias” (27 September, 9:30 p.m.). The programme of this concert includes arias by Georges Bizet, including the famous Habanera from Carmen and by Giacomo Puccini (fragments of Madame Butterfly and other operas) and also Karol Szymanowski (Roksana’s aria from King Roger) and Igor Stravinsky (a fragment from the opera Oedipus Rex). There will also be arias from contemporary works Powder Her Face by Thomas Adès. The opera tells the story of an English duchess whose story caused a scandal in the 1960s. Then, concert No. 24 “Mozart at the Opera” (28 September, 3:00 p.m.) will take listeners into the exquisite world of Mozart’s operas. Arias, duets and overtures from The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, Abduction from the Seraglio, and The Magic Flute will be sung and performed by Ewa Majcherczyk (soprano) and Szymon Komasa (baritone) with the orchestra of Teatr Wielki – the National Opera under the direction of Bassem Akiki. Concert 20 (28 September, 2:00 p.m.) will be a special event of this year’s La Folle Journée – a solo display of the pianistic abilities of American virtuoso Nicholas Angelich. The pianist is known for his interpretations of 20th century music. At the concert he will perform works by Serge Prokofiev.

The Festival madness will be preceded by a Prelude – four chamber music concerts hosted by the organiser of the Festival – the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra. These events will take place in the Orchestra’s home at 272 Grochowska Street in Warsaw in the evening of 26 September – the day preceding the start of the Festival proper. Tickets to Prelude are almost sold out, but it is still possible to buy tickets for many other events at the Festival.

Tickets may be purchased at the box office of Teatr Wielki – the National Opera (pl. Teatralny 1), at the ZASP ticket outlet (Al. Jerozolimskie 25) and on-line: www.teatrwielki.pl and www.eventim.pl. The Festival also features free events – these take place in the Festival tent (Nautilus Hall) set up in front of the building of Teatr Wielki – the National Opera.

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