Hello, after a year. Part one: Music

I’ve suddenly realised that I’ve had such a busy year that I haven’t found time to put anything on the blog. I’ve just let it ferment like a wine – the question is whether it overferments. Well, anyway, it’s now November 2014 (last post October 2013). Here are some things over the year from last October which really stick in the mind.

The Pomeranian Philharmonic’s season of 2013/2014. This was their most memorable season to date.  At their best, they sounded like a world-class orchestra – particular mention goes to their double bill of Beethoven: his 5th Symphony and 5th  Piano Concerto, with Eugen Indjic at the piano and Tadeusz Wojciechowski the conductor. The Concerto (dubbed ‘the Emperor’)  was suitably imperial since the pianist  was able to tease a gloriously aristocratic sound out of the piano. Beethoven’s 5th Symphony is such an old warhorse it’s difficult to make it sound fresh, and yet  the orchestra gave it that necessary freshness and bite to make it startling and to remind you that Beethoven was a revolutionary composer in his day.

Another memorable concert also featured a concerto; the Bruch violin concerto, performed by the very talented young violinist Jakub Jakowicz, who made Bruch’s lovely melodies soar and swoop ; we could see and hear clearly why good concertos are often described as a conversation  between soloist and orchestra, because this performance weaved backwards and forwards and the standing ovation for the soloist was fully deserved. The conductor in this one, Jerzy Maksymiuk, is no stranger to serious music lovers, and as he himself has said, Bydgoszcz is one of his favourite places in which to give concerts. Stravinsky’s beautiful late-romantic work  “The Firebird” was performed with a robust romanticism by the orchestra under the maestro’s baton.

Another memorable concert was only mixed in its memorability. The Pomeranian philharmonic’s performance of the Mozart Symfonia Concertante and Rimsky-Korsakoff’s Second Symphony (‘Antar’) with Wojciech Rodek the conductor. I suspect the orchestra and the four soloists knew the Mozart too well and so gave it a rather throw-away performance, but when they tackled the Russian composer’s Romantic symphony, they went all out for it, and played its shimmering sensuality and brassy marching melodies with verve and gusto.

As for foreign orchestras and choral groups visiting the Philharmonia, we were treated to Nigel Kennedy at one end of the season, and in the spring, a magnificent performance of Dvorak’s lovely Stabat Mater with the Pomeranian Philharmonic, The Academic Choir of Bydgoszcz University and the German conductor Kerstin Behnke, a German soprano, an Australian tenor and a German baritone, as well as a Polish mezzo. One of the most appealing things about classical music is its antiparochial flavour.

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