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Warner Classics releases Warsaw Philharmonic archives

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 23.02.2015 15:30
The first concert given by the Warsaw Philharmonic on 21 February 1955 in its hall, newly-reconstructed after war-time destruction, has been released on the Warner Classics label.
Facade of the Warsaw Philharmonic Hall. Photo: wikimedia commonsFacade of the Warsaw Philharmonic Hall. Photo: wikimedia commons

The recording marks the first CD in the series ‘Warsaw Philharmonic Archives’ which is to include digitally-remastered recordings of some of the most important concerts given by the orchestra since 1955.

The CD features works by Polish composers Stanisław Moniuszko (the concert overture ‘The Fable’), Karol Szymanowski (Violin Concerto, with the then 26 year-old Wanda Wiłkomirska as the soloist) and Witold Lutosławski (Concerto for Orchestra), conducted by Witold Rowicki.

It also includes the Polish national anthem and speeches by the then minister of culture Włodzimierz Sokorski and prominent writer Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, who then served as President of the Chopin Society (the historic concert was also the inauguration of the 5th Chopin International Piano Competition).

The history of the Warsaw Philharmonic goes back to 5 November 1901. The inaugural concert was conducted by Emil Młynarski, its first Music Director, and featured Ignacy Jan Paderewski as the soloist. Within a relatively short time, the Warsaw Philharmonic achieved high artistic standards and became the most important institution of promoting musical culture in Poland.

It also played an active role in the European music circuit. Its reputation was enhanced by guest performances by the world’s most renowned musicians of the early 20th century and the inter-war period, including Sergey Rachmaninov, Claudio Arrau, Eduard Grieg, Sergey Prokofiev, Vladimir Horowitz, Artur Rubinstein, Bronisław Huberman, Pablo Sarasate, Otto Klemperer, Igor Stravinsky, Richard Strauss, Maurice Ravel and Artur Rodziński.

Soon after the outbreak of the Second World War, the Warsaw Philharmonic Hall was bombed and towards the end of the hostilities it was reduced to rubble. During the first post-war decade, the orchestra performed in the city’s theatres and sports halls.

Under Witold Rowicki the ensemble regained its position of Poland’s leading symphony orchestra. In 1955–58 it was led by Bohdan Wodiczko. In 1958 Rowicki resumed work with the orchestra and remained its Artistic Director until 1977 when the post of Artistic Director was taken over by Kazimierz Kord. In 2013, after the long tenure of Antoni Wit (2002-2013), Jacek Kaspszyk became the orchestra’s Music Director. (mk/nh)

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