Arvo Pärt / Alina
performed by: ANDRZEJ BAUER – cello / JAKUB JAKOWICZ – violin / BARTEK WĄSIK – piano / ROYAL STRING QUARTET
Arvo Pärt Spiegel im Spiegel
Arvo Pärt Fratres
Arvo Pärt Für Alina
Arvo Pärt Fratres
Arvo Pärt Spiegel im Spiegel
Arvo Pärt is undoubtedly one of the best known composers alive and his music reaches far beyond the realm of classical music. Curiously, despite his phenomenal popularity, if you ask someone to hum one of his compositions, they might be hard pushed to do so. This paradox is even more surprising, if you consider that this Estonian composer has long stopped using avant-garde composing techniques, which often steer away from easy to remember melodies. And that seems to be the essence of Arvo Pärt’s works, his chamber music in particular. The composer uses simple harmonious structures, while melody is reduced to such an extent that - and here lies another paradox - it becomes more of a plateau than a line. The best example of such an approach to sound matter and to music in general is the program of the first night of the festival selected by the pianist Bartek Wąsik.
The concert has a mirror-like structure, in which the composition Für Alina serves as an axis. This short piano piece has been written in 1976 for the 18-year-old daughter of Pärt’s friends, when she was leaving to study in London. Just like a young girl setting out to face the unknown in a strange city, Arvo Pärt also opens a new page with this composition, by introducing a new technique to his style, which he called tintinnabuli. Paul Hillier, a singer and conductor cooperating with Arvo Pärt, said that what lies at the heart of the tintinnabuli technique is the fact that similarly to the sound of a bell, which cannot be heard anymore, but still exists in the bell’s vibrations, the music of the Estonian composer dissolves slowly and continues beyond hearing. Für Alina fits onto two music of score, but the composer’s guideline to play the piece “calmly, solemnly, listening closely to one’s inner self” gives the performer significant freedom and opens it up to an existence beyond time. It brings to mind Wagner’s guidelines to Parsifal, in which the composer recommends to play the music “very slowly”, and then “even slower”.
Before and after Für Alina we will hear the probably best known composition of Arvo Pärt – Fratres. The piece, which was initially written for the violin and the piano, will be first played by a string quartet, and then by a violinist and a piano player. Fratres is divided into two parts - the virtuoso introduction is followed by the second part of a more meditative nature, which implements the principles of tintinnabuli. In his comment of the piece the composer writes: “The sound of a given instrument is a part of music, but it is not its most important element [...] the essence of music must remain independent of the instrumental tone”. The meaning of the composer’s words will become fully apparent, once we’ve heard the two arrangements of the same composition.
Pärt’s Fratres has been used in the scores of eight films, while Spiegel im Spiegel was even more popular in that respect, as it appeared in almost twenty films. On Nostalgia festival the piece, whose title is translated as “mirror within a mirror”, will take on an additional meaning, because it will be performed at the beginning of the concert with the accompaniment of the cello, while at the end it will provide a musical bracket, and its finishing notes will pose as a reflection for the music which opened the evening.
Cellist, pedagogue and composer. He has been awarded the first prize at the International ARD Competition in Munich and he is a laureate of the Praska Wiosna International Competition and a receiver of European Parliament and European Council prize. In 2000 he recorded an album with the complete cello suites of Johann Sebastian Bach, which was a first in the history of Polish discography. Andrzej Bauer devotes a lot of his attention to contemporary music, the fruit of which is the authorial project Cellotronicum and the creation Cellonet, which associates the best Polish cello players, and just like its founder, specialise in contemporary music.
Pianist, arranger, and a winner of Paszport „Polityki” 2014, the Gwarancja Kultury award of TVP Kultura and the Polak z Werwą distinction. Barłomiej Wąsik was also granted numerous prizes for his work with Lutosławski Piano Duo and the Kwadrofonik quartet, of which he is a founder and member. The Nowa Warszawa artistic project opened the way to collaborations with artists such as Katarzyna Nosowska or Muniek Staszczyk. He simultaneously began his intensive artistic friendship with Stanisława Celińska and the Royal String Quartet. The Nowa Warszwa project received the Wdecha award and the Gwarancja Kultury award of TVP Kultura.
He learned how to play the violin from his father Krzysztof Jakowicz, under whose direction he studied at Friderick Chopin Musical Academy in Warsaw. He was also the last student of one of the creators of the Polish violin school, prof. Tadeusz Wroński. He performed at one of the most prestigious concert halls on four continents, both with world famous orchestras, as well as chamber music groups, most prominently as a member of the Zehetmair Quartett. Jakub Jakowicz also received Paszport „Polityki” for 2003, while in 2007 he has been awarded the Orfeusz prize on Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music.
ROYAL STRING QUARTET
Royal String Quartet is one of the most dynamic string quartets in the world. The international carrier of the quartet was launched by the invitation to the BBC programme New Generation Artists. At the moment Royal String Quartet plays on the most prominent European stages and festivals. The quartet is collaborating with the Hyperion label, for which they recorded albums with the music of Szymanowski, Lutosławski, Penderecki, as well as an album with Górecki’s complete string quartets, which was listed by international reviewers as one of the most important interpretations of this repertoire. The quartet released their latest album in March 2015, with the compositions of Paweł Szymański and Paweł Mykietyn.
ANDRZEJ BAUER – cello
BARTEK WĄSIK – piano
JAKUB JAKOWICZ – violin
ROYAL STRING QUARTET:
IZABELLA SZAŁAJ-ZIMAK – violin I
ELWIRA PRZYBYŁOWSKA – violin II
MAREK CZECH – viola
MICHAŁ PEPOL – celo