On December 3, 2017, Concerto Rosso—a new work by Polish composer Hanna Kulenty—was given its world premiere in the Main Hall of the National Forum of Music in Wrocław, Poland. The premiere was performed by the Atom String Quartet (Dawid Lubowicz – violin, Mateusz Smoczyński – violin, Michał Zaborski – viola, and Krzysztof Lenczowski – cello) and the NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra, led by Christian Danowicz.
Below are Kulenty’s own thoughts on the composition, as provided by her publisher, Donemus:
‘Concerto Rosso’ (2017) is a sort of concerto grosso, because it was written for string quartet and string orchestra, especially for Atom String Quartet and Leopoldinum String Orchestra. I liked to name it ‘rosso’ for a good reason. It fits my new composition style that I came up with a few years ago, called ‘musique surrealistique’. In this style I not only try to ‘transform’ the nature and music conventions but above all the emotions connected with music… It is like drinking a good glass of red wine, after which you can also change a bit or transform… is it not? Of course this is a metaphor and I do not encourage you to get drunk while composing. I myself don’t do this, but what I try to do is to transform reality into my new composition technique. So far I manage to maintain a proper balance between content and form, and the musical language that I cultivate does not disturb (generally speaking) the harmony of the universe…
‘Concerto Rosso’ – although composed in strict measures – gives great possibilities for improvisation. Let me put it like this: I prefer to write exactly what I want to hear. From there you can move away, rather than doing it the opposite way: in a sense I am the architect of the idea where the musical material is more controlled by the performers. I myself improvise and play jazz too … It will be good!
(Hanna Kulenty, November 2017)