Record-breaking anniversary

122 concerts in Warsaw, 4 events in Krakow and 12 in other cities (including Wroclaw, Katowice, Szczecin, Gdansk), 15 orchestras and chamber ensembles, 55 soloists, which will be listened to by a 40-thousand audience. It’s just a number, but the 20th jubilee edition of the Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival inclines for such summaries.

It began with a beautiful accent of Beethoven: performed by excellent soloists and the Orchestra and Choir of the National Philharmonic under the baton of maestro Jacek Kasprzyk the Fantasy for choir, orchestra and piano and the Symphony No. 9 of the patron of the festival were performed. The protagonists, which we will probably remember for a long time after this year’s edition were the fantastic Tonhalle Zurich symphony orchestra with his new artistic director Lionel Bringuier, with an outstanding Chinese pianist Ran Jia, who last minute replaced an indisposed soloist, superb NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg performing also under the direction of new guest conductor Krzysztof Urbanski, along with the legendary baritone Thomas Hampson, very young Santander Orchestra under the baton of Jerzy Maksymiuk and Szymon Nehring (the only Pole qualified for the finals of last year’s 17th Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competitionin Warsaw), Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Alexander Liebreich, and a group of excellent soloists brilliantly executed pieces of “Parsifal” by Richard Wagner, Sinfonietta Cracovia with a regular festival guest – Rudolf Buchbinder and his interpretation of three piano concertos of Beethoven, as well as virtuosos of harp – Xavier de Maistre and percussion – Martin Grubinger, a fantastic violinist Anne Akiko Meyers with Sinfonia Varsovia, and finally conductor Lukasz Borowicz, which in the ongoing years of the festival cycle presentation of “Unknown or rarely performed Operas” presented excellent concert versions of two one-act plays: tragedy “Riders to the sea” by Ralph Vaughan Williams and comedy “Under the boar’s head” by Gustav Holst .

The great performances of chamber ensembles, especially the Emerson String Quartet, Shanghai Quartet and the Szymanowski Quartet will be warmly remembered. With an extremely enthusiastic attitude audience “welcomed” the “Broadway” program performed by a team led by the fantastic French clarinetist Michel Lethiec; he was accompanied by, among others, saxophonist Villu Veski and Meccore String Quartet.

An unusual event was the finale of this year’s Beethoven Festival itself. It was an evening of the 50th anniversary of its first performances, and in 1050 years anniversary of the Baptism of the Poland,  the “St. Luke’s Passion “by Krzysztof Penderecki was performed at the National Philharmonic Concert Hall. More than a 300-piece orchestra, choirs and outstanding soloists, the soprano Johanna Rusanen, baritone David Pershallem, bass Nikolay’em Didenko and reciter Krzysztof Gosztyla was conducted by the composer himself.

“Krzysztof Penderecki had to face not only with the legendary performance of Henryk Czyz, Stefania Woytowicz Andrew Hiolski, Bernard Ładysz and Leszek Herdegen, but with the power of his own interpretation from a few years back. Soloists had to face the memory of creation of Iwona Hossa, Thomas Bauer, Tomasz Konieczny and Krzysztof Gosztyły – among them only the narrator was again in the cast. To face such a monumental piece and with such a special executive tradition is not an easy task, therefore it is important to underline the great performance of David Pershalla and Nikolay Didenko, who have done a great expression of requiring parties for male voices. A phenomenal Johanna Rusanen made an impressive and incredibly difficult, both technically and emotionally, lyrical commentary on the history of the Gospel. Finnish soprano could maintain the tension and color purity even in extreme registers” – emphasizes Krzysztof Komarnicki in his review of this event.

The 20th jubilee edition of the Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival made history. What will be its next scene – we’ll see soon. Meanwhile, on behalf of the organizers we wish you a healthy and peaceful Easter.