The 1050th Anniversary of the Baptism of Poland Inaugurated in London
The London Philharmonic Orchestra's rendition of Karol Szymanowski's Stabat Mater inaugurated the celebration of the 1,050th anniversary of the baptism of Poland. In attendance was Piotr Gliński, Poland’s Minister of Culture and National Heritage.
Besides Szymanowski's composition, the concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London also featured Pyotr Tchaikovsky's Symphony no. 3 (known as ‘the Polish symphony’) and Alexander von Zemlinsky's Six Maeterlinck Songs.
During a pre-concert ceremony, Minister Gliński said:
Christianity as a culture, set of values and laws, constitutes the most characteristic strand of Polish and European culture, and Western culture in general. The main composition of the evening is Stabat Mater, a composition about sacrifice and suffering, but I believe that Christianity – through that suffering – leads us towards love; towards that which constitutes the key to faith and the basis of the celebration of this anniversary.
According to BBC Music Magazine, the London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) is one of the best and most prestigious orchestras worldwide. Founded in 1932, its concerts are attended by tens of thousands every year, and enjoyed by up to 2.5 million people worldwide through records and online broadcasts.
Today’s concert is the tangible effect of more than ten years of investment in the promotion of Szymanowski's comeback to world-class concert halls and venues which this composer and Polish culture deserve.
The Saturday concert inaugurated the year of the 1,050th anniversary of the baptism of Poland, during which the Adam Mickiewicz Institute – via the special 966 project – will promote Polish sacral music and present the significance of the baptism for the county’s history.
The anniversary will also be celebrated by the Polish Cultural Institute and the Polish Embassy in London, which are planning a concert by The Sixteen, a music ensemble that has performed at the BBC Proms and Sydney Opera House. At the beginning of May, London will also see a special celebratory mass attended by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster.