First organized by the Warsaw Chamber Orchestra in 1979, The "Ad hymnos ad cantus" Festival aims to link the old architecture of the city with early, little-known works of music.
First organized by the Warsaw Chamber Opera in 1979, THE "AD HYMNOS AD CANTUS" FESTIVAL OF EARLY POLISH MUSIC IN THE HISTORICAL BUILDINGS OF WARSAW aims to link the old architecture of the city with early, little-known works of music. The name of the event, referring to the title of a Stanislaw Sylwester Szarzynski's concert for voices, aptly represents its symbolic sense and the organizers' intention to bring history closer to the audiences and to propagate unknown music by early Polish masters.
Over time the Festival formula has been expanded to include works by foreign composers active in Poland and writing for Polish ensembles. The range of the music – from medieval (monodic and early polyphonic) to the times of Chopin
- has not changed, however, and baroque works have remained the event's staple.
A major contributor to the selection of the repertoires of subsequent Festival editions has been the Warsaw Chamber Opera's Centre for Documentation and Research on Early Polish Music. Established in 1984, it has discovered and researched a number of works by known and unknown composers which were put on the Festival programmes. Indeed, until 2000 the organizers aimed to include at least one first performance in each edition, the Festival providing a genuine forum for sharing the latest discoveries in the field of Polish music. The audiences could thus get acquainted with the music by such composers as Jozef Bolechowski, Bazyli Bohdanowicz, Wojciech Dankowski, Jan Engel, Antoni Milwid, Piotr from Grudziadz, Wincenty from Kielcza, Maciej Radziwill, Wislaw from Rugia and Marcin Zebrowski. The Festival concerts also featured new works by Krzysztof Borek, Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki, Bartlomiej Pekiel, Marcin Mielczewski, Damian Stachowicz as well as Jozef Elsner
and his students Ignacy Feliks Dobrzynski
, Karol Kurpinski
, Juliusz Zarebski
and Maria Szymanowska.
Until 1999 the Festival embraced a variety of forms and genres of music, from minor medieval works to polyphony, concerti and larger religious compositions, to opera. Since the 21st edition the organizers have tended to present more chamber music at the expense of oratorios and cantatas, and to focus the programme on one performer or composer (Jozef Elsner
in 2001). Until 1998 the Festival was held in September, but was moved to spring from the 20th edition. In 2002-04 the Festival got suspended, mostly for financial reasons, and was not revived until 2005, its autumn timing re-instituted. The 24th edition was marked by first performances of works by Szymon Ferdynand Lechleitner and Jan Engel, whereas the programme of the following, 2006 event, featured compositions by Franciszek Lessel
, Antoni Stolpe, Mikolaj Zielenski, Wojciech Dankowski, Feliks Janiewicz and Adam Jarzebski.
A small-size event intended for a limited audience that can be seated inside the confined space of the Opera house, the Festival nevertheless soon earned a reputation as an elitist artistic endeavour.
Polish Music Information Center
Polish Composers' Union
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Phone: (+48 22) 628 30 96, 628 53 55
Fax: (+48 22) 629 32 33