Theatre du Chatelet was the prestigious setting for the inaugural gala concert performed by the Kraków Philharmonic. The grand venue, opened in 1862, has a history of opera and dance performance. The Philharmonic concert presented the best in contemporary Polish music, inspired by Highlander traditions and folklore
The repertoire included Karol Szymanowski's "Harnasie", Op. 55 and Henryk Mikołaj Górecki's "Harpsichord and Orchestral String Concert," Op. 40.
Szymanowski's "Harnasie" is a ballet-pantomime derived from highland folklore. It is a kind of mythological generalization of highland culture - the plot is symbolic, the characters have no names, they are simply "the Girl", "the Shepherd" and "the Robber". It tells the story of an expected wedding, with the bride falling in love with a robber shortly before taking her vows. Work on the ballet lasted eight years and it was completed in 1931. It premièred in Warsaw in 1935 although today it is largely performed in parts, the most famous scenes illustrating highland folk culture (i.e. "Taniec góralski" / "The Highlanders' Dance", and "Hala" / "In the Mountain Pasture"). Other examples of Podhale folklore are found in Szymanowski's mazurkas as well as his acclaimed "Stabat Mater".
Górecki's influences are also located in the diverse, local folk culture. Of his home town of Silesia he once said: "It is old Polish land [but] there were always three cultures present: Polish, Czech, and German. The folk art, all the art, had no boundaries." His tutor, the composer Bolesław Szabelski (a former student of Szymanowski's) was especially influenced by Polish highland folklore.
The performances featured conductor Paweł Przytocki (who has performed with such orchestras as the Budapest Concert Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica de Xalapa in Mexico, Real Filharmonia de Galicia in Spain and the Everett Symphony Orchestra in the Unitetd States) and tenor Rafał Bartmiński (who has performed in London's Sadler’s Wells, the Lithuanian Opera, Spain's Peralada festival, and across Japan in Martina Ottaw's production of Strauss's Salome).
Organised by: The Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic in Kraków the Polish Embassy in Paris, the Polish Institute in Paris.
Source: Adam Mickiewicz Institute
For more on Szymanowski, see: www.karolszymanowski.pl