Musical Autumn in Kraków

6 September 2021

Cracovian Variations

Salon and Karol Szymanowski, the legendary Wanda, an anniversary and pianists… Kraków’s autumn music calendar abounds with events!


Barbara Skowrońska
Kraków Culture

The 5th Kraków Music Salon (2–30 September) recalls the 19th-century tradition of people meeting in their homes to explore culture and support national identity during the difficult period of partitions of Poland. The programme focuses on home-grown musicians, featuring songs by Władysław Żeleński sung by Urszula Kryger, Karol Kozłowski and Łukasz Hajduczenia and Polish Quintets by Grażyna Bacewicz and Aleksander Tansman performed by the Messages Quartet with Julia Kociuban on piano.

The Kraków Philharmonic showcases music by its patron – a composer “possessed by the idea of Polishness” and a European through and through – during the 2nd Szymanowski / Poland / World Festival (4–25 September). The Symphony No. 4, the Violin Concerto No. 2 and the symphonic performance of Harnasie resound alongside works by other composers from Central and Eastern Europe, including Bohuslav Martinů, Eugen Suchoň, Krešimir Baranović and Zoltán Kodály, presented by ensembles of the Kraków Philharmonic and orchestras from Ostrava, Zagreb and Žilina.

The motifs of a legendary ruler, Polish Romanticism and contemporary composition intertwine in Wanda – the first opera penned by the outstanding conductor and composer Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa. The world premiere of the work, staged by Waldemar Zawodziński and prepared by artists of the Kraków Opera (featuring prominent guests such as Wanda Franek and Tomasz Konieczny) forms a part of the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Cyprian Kamil Norwid: the libretto is based on his dramatic misterium Wanda. Object in Six Images. Performances on 10 and 11 September at the Wawel Castle’s Arcaded Courtyard.
But that’s not all the operatic pleasures! Kraków Opera at Lubicz Street presents the long-awaited premiere of Offenbach’s operetta Orpheus in the Underworld (30 September), while in November it will host Mozart and Salieri (Rimsky-Korsakov’s chamber opera directed by Fred Apke) and Różycki’s ballet Pan Twardowski choreographed by Violetta Suska.

On 13 October, the PWM Edition Polish Music Publishing House celebrates its 75th anniversary at ICE Kraków with the concert Great Encounters: Past Masters and Contemporary Artists. The evening resounds with material from the recently-launched album Great Encounters, with Krzysztof Herdzin, Adam Sztaba, Adam Pierończyk and Adam Bałdych reinterpreting works by Chopin, Paderewski, Wieniawski, Moniuszko and Szymanowski. Performers also include the vocalist Igor Herbut and the percussionist Marcel Comendant; the programme is brought together by the AUKSO Orchestra under the baton of Marek Moś and their acclaimed experimentation exploring myriad genres.

What would culture be without patronage? The question is explored by the Lubomirski Festival, dedicated to the composer Władysław Lubomirski, leading patron of composers of the Young Poland movement. During the Cracovian instalment of the event (11–17 October), we will hear songs by composers supported by Lubomirski including Fitelberg, Różycki and Szeluto performed by the baritone Viktor Yankovski, Piotr Sałajczyk’s piano recital covering composers from Chopin to Szymanowski and the operetta Die liebe Unschuld penned by the festival’s patron.

The article to be published in the autumn issue of "Kraków Culture" quarterly, coming soon!

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