China National Symphony Orchestra Choir,
photo. press materials

A symphonic concert entitled "Sacrum & profanum" took place in Beijing's Concert Hall featuring three compositions by Polish composer, Karol Szymanowski, including: "Stabat Mater", Op. 53", "Love Songs of Hafiz" and "Songs of the Infatuated Muezzin". Szymanowski's works were accompanied by Chinese composer, Quan Xia's "Requiem for the Earth"

"Love Songs of Hafiz" was inspired by thirteenth century Persian poetry, translated by Hans Bethge. The rare melody and clear instrumentation mark the heights reached by European orchestral song at the end of the Romantic period. Szymanowski's later works, by contrast, included oriental-inspired elements and a new sound aesthetic in terms of tone. 

One such piece in this category is, for instance, "Pieśni muezina szalonego" / "Songs of the Infatuated Muezzin", which was inspired by the songs of muezzins during Islamic holy days. The piece is characterised by a strong erotic element - an impassioned sense of love, which borders on idol-worship and serves as a means of transposing human love onto a God-like figure.

A different religious context is reflected in the "Stabat Mater", written by Szymanowski after the tragic death of his niece, Alusa. The composition refers to Mary's grief during the crucifixion. The piece has been hailed as one of Szymanowski's most accomplished works. 

The last piece in the concert's programme was "Requiem for the Earth" which was composed by Guan Xia as a memorial for the more than 69,000 victims of the Wenchuan earthquake on the 12th of May, 2008. Many millions of people also lost their homes in the earthquake. The composer strived to include classical elements of western requiems alongside characteristics typical of Chinese music. "Requiem for the Earth" is known as "China's first requiem".

"The piece is made up of four parts, named as follows: "Looking at the Stars", "Heavenly Wind and Earthly Fire", "Unbound Love", and "The Wings of Angels". Each piece describes a different scene - meditations over nature [and] great love; the type that gives hope to people and strength in the face of adversity...and lends itself to an idealised world. The composition makes use of a special type of flute, the so-called 'flute quiang' used by a minority of peoples in the Quiang province of Wenchuan. A traditional requiem normally finishes with a silent 'extinguishing'. In Chinese requiems, the opposite is true. The ending is meant to convey strength of spirit and the might of the Chinese" (Guan Xia).


Performers:

  • Barbara Kubiak – soprano
  • Yue Shi – soprano
  • Agata Schmidt – mezzo-soprano
  • Yuqiao Song – mezzo-soprano
  • Erdemutu – tenor
  • Keqing Liu – baritone
  • Cheung Chau– conductor
  • Sinfonitta Polonia
  • The China National Symphony Orchestra Chorus.


The concert was part of the International Karol Szymanowski Festival, entitled: "Karol Szymanowski - an artist before his time"

Date: 6th of August, 2011.

Miejsce: Beijing Concert Hall, Beijing

Organisers: APOLLO Music Foundation, the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in China, China National Symphony Orchestra – International bureau, CEA China-Europa-America International Culture & Trade Ltd, Berlin, Laiyin Suny Arts Center, Beijing China.

Project cofinanced by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland

Source: Adam Mickiewicz Institute

Rate:
(17 votes)
A screenshot from De Profundis, 11th Dimension's VR exploration of Zdzisław Beksiński, photo: press materials / 11th Dimension

Created by the Polish studio 11th Dimension, De Profundis allows you to immerse yourself in Zdzisław Beksiński's famously unsettling and surrealistic paintings...

Jonathan Genet in Andrzej Żuławski’s film Cosmos, photo: press materials

Andrzej Żuławski has been awarded the best director prize at the 68th edition of the Locarno International Film Festival. Awards were also bestowed upon...

Kirill Karabits performing at a concert in Kassel, Germany, during the Kultursommer Nordhessen, 2014, photo: © Konrad Ćwik / Culture.pl

Established by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute in 2011, the youth symphony orchestra is preparing itself for its fifth concert tour. Its ninety-four musicians,...

Krakow’s most famous men’s grooming salon by far is Butter Cut, photo: courtesy of www.buttercut.pl

If you want to look your best and do it the manly way, the Poles can show you how it’s done. It's all part of a long tradition in Poland, a country where posh...

Lukas Geniusas during the Chopin Competition in 2010, photo: Chopin Express

DG, the oldest record company in the Europe, is taking a leap of faith: it’s already signed the winner of the 2015 International Chopin Piano Competition, two...

  •  
  • 1 of 536

Seventy years ago, a nuclear bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A Polish author looks back on this bleak moment in a fairy tale for children, raising...

Wacław and Zofia Nałkowska Museum

Museum of the Orthodox Lublin-Chełm Diocese

Janusz Kaniewski. Photo: Courtesy of Janusz Kaniewski Design

He designed for the most successful companies in the world: for Ferrari, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Mazda, Citroen, Suzuki. He designed a logo for Fiat that is...

Over the last decade, Polish actress Agnieszka Grochowska has managed to emerge as a respected film and theatre actress in Poland and in the English-speaking...

  •  
  • 1 of 419

The culinary tastes of the generations born in the PPR (the Polish People’s Republic) were shaped mostly by canteen food and home cooking, which was based on...

Throughout centuries, Poland has been populated by very diverse ethnicities and linguistic groups, all of which have left a mark. Here's a look at some of the...

Judas Priest, British Steel, cover art: Rosław Szaybo

Vinyl records combine visual art with musical mastery - and aficionados take interest in both. Here's a compilation of the most recognized album art created by...

Culture.pl presents a guide of a phantom city - a Warsaw that no longer exists.

Andrzej Wajda during a rehearsal of "The Possessed" according to Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1971, Teatr Stary in Krakow, photo: Wojciech Plewiński / Forum

Forty years since it irreversibly altered the Polish theatre scene, Wajda's adaptation of Dostoyevsky's "The Possesed" resurfaces on the small screen. "The...

  •  
  • 1 of 536