WarszeMuzik 2020: music in the Umschlagplatz Memorial

pomnik UmschlagPlatz

Sunday concerts as part of the WarszeMuzik festival will take place at the  Umschlag Platz Monument in Warsaw for the second time. It is impossible not to notice the uniqueness of this place. The Umschlag Platz Monument is an important area both for those who follow the Warsaw trail of places commemorating the Holocaust but also for those who would like to listen to chamber music on a summer Sunday afternoon. One might wonder whether the monument area - surrounded by stone walls, without a roof, located by the busy Stawki Street - is the right place to listen to music. However, it turns out (as we already know from last year's experience) that resounding music takes on a symbolic meaning in such an environment. It brings life to a place where life has been forgotten. Which, through music, resembles the presence of those who are no more. If we treat the UmschlagPlatz Monument as a memorial, then thanks to the music this memory has a chance to last.

In this year's series, we will have the opportunity to participate in four concerts. They all present chamber works, where cello, violin, viola, and flute are accompanied by piano.

During the first chamber recital, the Crakow Duo (Jan Kalinowski - cello and Marek Szlezer - piano) will perform two Sonatas for cello and piano composed in the 20th century. Sonata in A minor op. 10 by Ludomir Różycki - a representative of Young Poland in music - will be confronted with Alexander Tansman's Second Sonata composed in 1930. The Duo will also present the last of the three miniatures, Op. 29 by Maurycy Moszkowski - the "Lullaby" composed in 1882. An important element of the concert will be the presentation of Jan Radzyński’s Mazurka for piano. Radzyński was born in 1950 in Warsaw and lives in the USA.

During the next concert, we will hear the duo of violinist Maria Sławek and pianist Mischa Kozłowski. Artists will present the works of five composers. We will again have the opportunity to experience the work of Jan Radzyński - Mischa Kozłowski will perform another Mazurka for solo piano. The artists will also present "Suite Polonaise" by Szymon Laks, a composer who survived the concentration camp in Auschwitz. Next to this work will be the piece called "Nigun & Dance" by Artur Gelbrun - born and educated in Warsaw - who settled in Tel Aviv after World War 2. The musicians will also present to the public the works of Mieczysław Wajnberg - the patron of the WarszeMuzik festival. This will be the "Three Pieces" for violin and piano, created in 1934 in Warsaw.

The guests of the third concert will be the violist Aleksandra Demowska-Madejska and pianist Wojciech Pyrć. The Wajnberg theme will have its continuation from the previous concert in "Sonata for viola and piano". The piece written in 1945 was originally intended to be performed by clarinet with piano accompaniment. Here the solo part was edited for viola by Julia Rebekka Adler. In addition to Wajberg, we will also hear a composition by Alexander Weprik. The composer was born in Podole region, raised in Warsaw, and spent the rest of his life in the Soviet Union where he survived both World Wars. The viola and piano duo will also present Weprik’s poem "Kaddish" created in 1925. We will also have a chance to listen to a „Romance" by Ignacy Friedman who received the international acclaim more as a pianist than a composer and a ”Serenade" by Jerzy Fitelberg - son of the famous Polish conductor Grzegorz Fitelberg. It is worth to mention that all compositions presented during this concert will be Polish premieres.

The final concert of the cycle will be performed by festival curators - flutist Ania Karpowicz and pianist Marek Bracha. The artists will present the interpretation of three unique sonata forms. The first of them was composed in 1926 by young Alexander Tansman, in this piece you can hear the composer's fascination with the Paris of the 1920s, a neat combination of Polish elements, jazz, and klezmer motifs. Another Sonatina is from 1948, written by Tadeusz Zygfryd Kassern. The composer, who survived two uprisings in Warsaw, left for the US as a diplomat and in 1948 settled eventually in New York City. Finally, there will be the Sonata of Erwin Schulhoff, written in 1928, one of many Jewish composers who died in the Holocaust. You can hear not only motifs taken from the music of Ashkenazi Jews but above all an uncompromising talent for writing music.

 The cycle will end with a return to the beginning - "Lullaby" op. 1 from 1935 by Mieczysław Wajnberg written for the composer's sister - Esti who, like almost half a million Warsaw Jews, set off from Umschlag Platz on her last journey.

I warmly invite you to WarszeMuzik UmschlagPlatz chamber music concerts 2020,
Marek Bracha