Known around the world as “Armistice Day” or “Veterans’ Day,” November 11 is also Poland’s Independence Day, commemorating the restoration of Poland’s sovereignty after World War I following more than a century of partitions. Just like all other Polish diplomatic outposts around the world, each year the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles coordinates several events locally that honor this important anniversary.
This year, the Polish Music Center at USC was chosen to host a concert, featuring two outstanding Polish artists, violinist Mariusz Patyra and pianist Krzysztof Herdzin, in a program largely devoted to music by Polish composers. Opening with Wieniawski’s grand Polonaise de concert, Op. 4, the two soloists set the tone, with brilliance and musicianship competing throughout the concert for the audience’s attention. Thoughtful interpretation of Chopin’s posthumous Nocturne in C-sharp minor provided a moment of intimate reflection before Mr. Patyra took the stage to perform Paganini’s famed Caprice No. 24 for violin solo. His bravura playing was followed by Mr. Herdzin’s intricate and beguiling solo improvisation on Chopin’s Etude Op. 10 no. 3.
With smaller works by Josef Suk, Fritz Kreisler and Antonin Dvořak rounding off the program, the audience remained firmly anchored in the Central European, fin-de-siècle milieu. Paganini’s monumental I Palpiti variations augmented by a Paganini encore closed this highly successful presentation at USC’s Newman Recital Hall. The Honorable Mariusz Brymora, Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles and his family were in the audience, alongside a large group of local Polonia, students and fans of Polish romantic-era music.