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Impression from 100th Witold Rowicki's birthday Anniversary Concert

08 March 2014

Warsaw Philharmonic

On 21 and 22 February 2014 the Warsaw Philharmonic gave concerts celebrating the 100th anniversary of Witold Rowicki’s birthday, held under the patronage of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Bogdan Zdrojewski. Before the concert a documentary film about the Conductor, “Cień pod kamieniem” (Shadow under the Stone), directed by Tomasz Dobrowolski and produced by the Documentary and Feature Film Production Company (WFDiF) was shown.

The first piece played during the evening was Witold Rowicki’s Concert for Bassoon and String Orchestra, Op. 5. It was performed by Leszek Wachnik, first bassoonist of the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. Both the work and the soloist were received by the audience with rapturous applause. The second point of the programme was Karol Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 35. The orchestra partnered a young violin player, Aleksandra Kuls, winner of many international competitions. Exactly 59 years earlier (on 21 February 1955), during the concert which inaugurated the opening of the reconstructed Warsaw Philharmonic house and the conferring of the name of National Philharmonic Orchestra of Poland to the institution, the same concert by Szymanowski was performed by also very young Wanda Wiłkomirska with the Orchestra of the Warsaw Philharmonic conducted by Witold Rowicki. The last piece was Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25, composed by Johannes Brahms and wonderfully arranged for the orchestra by Arnold Schoenberg. The Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Witold Kasprzyk was a superb partner of the soloists, in its execution of the Brahms’ piece the orchestra surpassed itself, electrifying and rousing the entire audience thanks to its conductor.

The concert was also broadcast on Internet owing to Channel 1of the Polish Radio. The invited guests who honoured those magnificent evenings with their presence included: First Lady Anna Komorowska, Minister Maciej Klimczak, Wanda Wiłkomirska, Elżbieta and Krzysztof Penderecki, Antoni Wit, Tadeusz Strugała, Marian Gołębiowski, Jerzy Artysz, Konstanty Andrzej Kulka, Wojciech Michniewski, Tomasz Bugaj, Antoni Wicherek, Hanna Lisowska, Szymon Kawalla. After the concert a meeting was held and all those who made special contribution to the organisation of the Maestro’s 100th birthday anniversary celebrations received medals prepared especially for this occasion by a renowned sculptor Bronisław Krzysztof. The concerts were also accompanied with an exhibition “Witold Rowicki 1914-1989” prepared by the National Library of Poland. It presented a rich collection of photographs documenting all stages of Rowicki’s life, some of his memories, and fragments of a book “Zapiski Dyrygenta” (Conductor’s Notes) published just before the anniversary. Another interesting exhibit were original scores from 1943 of the Concert for Bassoon and String Orchestra, Op. 5, which was performed during the anniversary concerts.

During the concerts you could also buy “Zapiski Dyrygenta” published by Oficyna Wydawnicza Przybylik and “Witold Rowicki in memoriam” with two CDs published by the Warsaw Philharmonic.

Photographs by: Grzegorz Śledź

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