On 5 March 2021, the Krakow Philharmonic hosted a prologue to the 2nd Szymanowski / Poland / World Festival. At this prologue concert, audiences were treated to a performance of Karol Szymanowski‘s Stabat Mater, Op. 53 by the Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, under the baton of Antoni Wit. The orchestra was joined by soloists Iwona Hossa (soprano), Ewa Marciniec (alto), and Jarosław Bręk (baritone).

According to Małgorzata Janicka-Słysz, the author of Karol Szymanowski’s monograph Poetyka muzyczna Karola Szymanowskiego. Studia i interpretacja, Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater (completed in March 1926) occupies a special place in the composer’s oeuvre. A composer with a “Dionysian” vision of the world, Szymanowski composed a masterpiece of religious music. Assuming that the Latin language had lost its emotional qualities, he used the Polish translation of the medieval words by Józef Jankowski. He combined universal values ​​with national values, fusing phrases of Gregorian chant with quotations of Polish religious songs (Gorzkie żale, Stała Matka boleściwa). Stabat Mater was considered to be the fruit of the noblest inspiration, a work endearing with restraint and balance of words and sounds. The work was interpreted in terms of the ideal of national music, and at the same time it was considered a manifesto of the composer’s personal religious feelings.

The 2nd Szymanowski / Poland / World Festival will continue in September 2021, and will celebrate the new creation of the SZYMANOWSKI Visegrad Music Platform. Initiated by the Krakow Philharmonic, this new Platform will connect cultural institutions of the Visegrad Group in order to build a permanent bridge for the exchange of artistic ideas between musical institutions in Central and Eastern Europe, namely the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland. Along with the Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, cultural institutions from Ostrava, Žilina and Budapest are participating in the project.

The Festival and its prologue are held under the honorary patronage of the Hungarian Ambassador in Warsaw, Orsolya Zsuzsanna Kovács; the Marshal of the Małopolska Region, Witold Kozłowski; the Director of the Polish Institute in Prague, Maciej Ruczaj; and the Director of the Polish Institute in Bratislava, Jacek Gajewski.

[Sources: polmic.pl, filharmonia.krakow.pl]