WarszeMuzik 2020: music in the remaining buildings of the Warsaw Northern District


In frames of the fourth edition of the WarszeMuzik festival, we will return to wandering around Warsaw Ghetto's remaining buldings. We will visit a tenement house in Chłodna 20 (the Clock House), we will play music in front of the house of Mieczysław Wajnberg in Żelazna 66, chamber music will also be heard in the old tenement house in Chłodna 41, where we were present a year ago with a series of concerts.

Due to the COVID19 pandemic, we cannot, as in previous years, ride bicycles, stop at the gates of the tenement houses, and talk to pedestrians, work with the residents and neighbors. However, we will be present with our concerts, and if sanitary regulations allow - also with our WarszeMuzik loungers. Despite the imposed distance, you will be able to listen to music from the balconies, windows and staircases. 

In 2020, the repertoire we will extend the repertoire with the forgotten works of great composers of the pre-war Warsaw, and add some new contexts.

For the first time in the tenement houses, the music of Józef Koffler will be performed. Koffler was probably the first enthusiast of the dodecaphonic technique in Poland, which he was fascinated by acquaintance with Alan Berg and Arnold Schonberg. He was active in Warsaw in frames of the Board of the Polish Composers' Association. During the opening concert, Hashtag Strings will perform "String Trio" of this outstanding composer, whose life was brutally interrupted by World War II.

The opening concert will also bring the work of a contemporary music composer, the Comoser-in-Residence 2020: Yair Klartag, who will combine musical "archeology" with the art of today. "Half Tiger, Half Poet" for solo violin will be performed from the upper window, symbolically referring to the figure of the greatest poet of the Warsaw Ghetto - Władysław Szlengel. The poet's house in Waliców 14 Street is a witness of the history to this day. During the final concert of the festival, at the POLIN Museum, the musicians of Hashtag Ensemble will premiere the dedication of the composer "Voglio e non vorrei". In the piece, the composer raises the subject of "the work of memory", referring to the history of his grandfather, pre-war chorister of the Great Synagogue at Tłomackie. It will certainly be a fascinating journey in time and a journey to the sources of identity.

The music of Franz Schubert, the first composer in the history of classical music, who worked closely with the synagogue and wrote liturgical music to Hebrew texts, will be heard for the second time as part of the backyard concerts of WarszeMuzik. As Schubert was banned in German-occupied Europe as a friend of the Jewish diaspora, the more willingly we include his simple song-like works in the WarszeMuzik programs. Mieczysław Wajnberg, the patron of the WarszeMuzik festival, was also a great admirer of Schubert's music.

Since the very first WarszeMuzik concert in 2017, the festival is also inspired by the figure of Władysław Szpilman, an excellent pianist, composer, and arranger, whose history became the plot for the Oscar-winning film "The Pianist". The phenomenon of "Columbus" - people who survived the destruction of the city by hiding in its ruins - is still a shocking testimony of World War II. Władysław Szpilman wrote a Mazurka in the ghetto in 1940, inspired by Chopin's style. The unpretentious, simple and nostalgic Mazurka sounded in the ghetto cafes, and today it convinces us of the deep bond with Poland of so many Warsaw Jews from the North District, the forever lost, outstanding figures of culture and art.

I warmly invite you to wander with us through a non-existing city with the sounds of chamber music,
Ania Karpowicz