The history of Music Festival in Lancut

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Elżbieta Towarnicka, Mariusz...
Flamenco de Sevilla

The history of Music Festival in Lancut

      The idea of bringing to life the stylish rooms of the beautiful Lancut castle emerged in 1961 and in June that year it have been implemented as the Days of Chamber Music, by the State Philharmonic in Rzeszow and its director JANUSZ AMBROS.
In the marvellous spatial ball hall and in impressing rococo palace theatre the orchestras and chamber ensembles performed, as well as opera ensembles from Poland and – since 1964 - abroad.
      At the first, four-days –lasting festival – apart from the orchestra and choir of Rzeszow National Symphonic Orchestra conducted by J. Ambros, the ball hall of Lancut castle hosted Lodz Quartet, Reeds Trio of National Opera, Quintet of Krakow Philharmonic, Jadwiga Romanska and an excellent Chamber Choir of Krakow Philharmonic directed by Jozef Bok (interpreting the masterpieces of baroque masters) which opened the festival and performed a year later, when the sensation of this time six-days-lasting DAYS was the Chamber Ensemble of Krakow Secondary Music School (“… the group of chamber musicians of Prof. W. Latałła was amazing, playing just marvellously Concerto grosso by F. Geminiani, which goes back to the eighteenth-century...” wrote Jerzy Waldorff).
       Although scheduled with great momentum, the festival in 1963 was cancelled in respect of dangerous epidemic. However later, the Days of Chamber Music were taking place every year, always in May. Both the critics and the audience up today remember the fascinating Bartok Quartet (which appeared in Lancut as the first foreign ensemble) the concerts of madrigalists from Bratislava and madrigalists „Penjo Pemev” from Sofia, beautiful masterpiece by G.B. Pergolesi „La serva padrona”, presented by the ensemble of Warsaw Chamber Opera, a great ensemble of Tadeusz Ochlewski „Con moto ma cantabile”, Bulgarian quintet of Dimo Dimov, a charming ensemble Fistulatores et Tubicinatores Varsovienses, perfect creation of Bernard Ładysz in „Il Maestro di capella” D. Cimarosa, a wonderful performance of Bach „Concert a-moll” by harpsichord player Aimee van Wiele, excellent concerts of French ensemble Andree Colson or Moscow String Quartet, applauded concerts of Poznan Choir of Stefan Stuligrosz, Chamber Orchestra of Karol Teutsch, Lvov Chamber Orchestra and Polish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Jerzy Maksymiuk.
In 1968 also the concerts on the great baroque triple organs in basilica of Saint Bernard Convent in Leżajsk (excellent performances of J. Grubich; Jargoń, G. Lehotko), as well as poetry and music evenings comprising the performances of famous actors (L. Herdegen, D. Michałowska, A. Lutosławska) were included into the programme of the DAYS.
The repertoire presented by the artists during all concerts of the Days of Chamber Music was very differentiated: from “Bogurodzica” of 13th Century, via madrigals of 16th Century up to contemporary music.
Some Polish world premiere took place during the DAYS: opera by G. F. Telemann „Mister Pimpinon” (1966) and W.A. Mozart „Bastien et Bastienne” (1967) prepared by Warsaw Chamber Hall. Reeds Trio of National Philharmonic presented world premiere of „Berlinesa” by A. Jarzębski just at the first festival in (1961).
        Grażyna Bacewicz was listening together with the festival audience to the first performance of her „VII Quartet (Dimov Quartet 1966), whereas Jerzy Maksymiuk conducted the first performance of his own work “Harmonium nocturni” for the string ensemble, set of drums and choir (1969).
The scientific sessions connected with the DAYS appeared to be a valuable initiative, as well as expanding the festival to Rzeszow and Mielec, however the most valuable achievement of the DAYS was making the local community sensitive for music, as this field of art was not so popular there (the reviewers and guests who arrived noticed to their surprise the presence of many learners of music schools from Rzeszow, Jaroslaw, Przemysl, Krosno, and music centres members from smaller towns).
In 1980 the organizing party announced a composing competition for a chamber work dedicated to the Lancut event. The Jury (under leadership of Włodzimierz Kotoński) did not grant the 1st place, the 2nd prize obtained Lidia Zielińska for „6 works for a string quartet”, and the 3rd – Zbigniew Pniewski for „Suita for 2 flutes and sting quartet”. The same year Karol Bula wrote: „...Just here every year a feast of wide range of chamber music making takes place in a very solemn atmosphere, just here Polish musicologists and theoreticians of music appoint their meeting place, to discuss the problems, especially in connection with Polish chamber music...However I have still the impression, that Lancut DAYS are as if at the margin of Polish music life...”.
Since next year the Philharmonic delegated the art management to Boguslaw Kaczynski, who changed the name of the event to Lancut Music Festival and expanded the programme range.
      „Lancut event – wrote Jozef Kanski – received a mighty fresh impulse (...). Previous modest DAYS turned into the most famous festival in Poland – as Krzysztof Penderecki said”, and many other reviewers expressed enthusiastic opinions on artistic and social values of the festival.
For the next 10 lat years, it was the festival (co-organized by TV, which recorded the most of concerts), which programme included vocal recitals (of famous singers i.e. Delfina Ambroziak, Katia Ricciarelli, Stefania Toczyska, Seta Del Grande, Krystyna Szostek-Radkowa), recitals of excellent instrumentalists (Bella Dawidowicz, Marek Drewnowski, Paweł Giliłow, Adam Harasiewicz, Krzysztof Jakowicz, Władysław Kłosiewicz, Garrick Ohlsson, Dymitr Sitkowiecki, Elżbieta Stefańska-Łukowicz, Grigorij Żyslin), as well as the concerts of renown chamber orchestras: J. Maksymiuk’s, W. Rajski’s (memorable „Four seasons” by Vivaldi with participation of four the best Polish violinists – K. Danczowska, B. Górzyńska, K. A. Kulka, K. Jakowicz), K. Teutsch or B. Warchal.
There were also big vocal and instrumental forms: (i.e.: „Polish Requiem by K. Penderecki, „Requiem” by G. Verdi and W.A. Mozart).
The formula of the festival comprised also both the concerts of stars (Gilbert Becaud, Agnieszka Fatyga, Edyta Geppert, Juliette Greco, Wiesław Michnikowski, Wojciech Młynarski, Hanna Banaszak), and the performances of great masters of Polish stage (Teresa Budzisz-Krzyżanowska, Gustaw Holoubek, Zofia Kucówna, Tadeusz Łomnicki, Daniel Olbrychski, Zbigniew Zapasiewicz, Jan Englert, Jerzy Zelnik) as well as the meetings – evenings of memories (Halina and Wojciech Dzieduszyccy, Loda Halama, Marta Eggerth-Kiepura, Mira Ziemińska-Sygietyńska with “Mazowsze” ensemble).
In Lubomirska’s Theatre the concerts and spectacles took place („Parades” by J. Potocki, „La Serva Padrona”, by G.B. Pergolesi „Old Versailles Music”, „to commemorate Wanda Landowska”), Jan Weber told his enchanting story on „People born in Lancut”. There were poetic and music (i.e. „To have a hope” –  K. Prońko, J. Fedorowicz, P. Serafiński).
       The full opera spectacles have been hold (i.e. memorable „The Marriage of Figaro” by W.A. Mozart directed by A. Hanuszkiewicz in completely full Philharmonic concert hall in 1988), music performance (unforgettable „Ludus Danielis” – XIII-century liturgical drama – spectacle of Teatr Wielkiego (the Great Theatre) in Warsaw, directed by Hanna Chojnacka), scientific sessions, music workshops.
During the cycle of performances „Only for children” the youngest audience applauded the wonderful spectacles of famous operas and ballets concerning fairy stories („The Little Red Ridding Hood”, “Hansel and Gretel”, „Nutcracker”, „Coppelia”, „The Little Tiny”, „Mister Twardowski”) there were also afternoon concerts „Only for youth”.
       Since 1991 – after B. Kaczyński resigned – Rzeszow Philharmonics continuous May concerts in the castle – under the name of Music Festival in Lancut, but also recalling the traditions the Days of Chamber Music, taking into consideration various musical proposals.
Hence: apart from great chamber ensembles (The Soloists of Sankt Petersburg, Warszawski Quintet, Sinfonia Varsovia, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Concerto Avenna, Camerata, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra conducted by S. Sondeckisa, Śląski Quartet, Amadeus A. Duczmal, Sankt-Peters Trio, Concerto Avenna (touching concerts „The notes of the castle library”). Borodin’s Quartet, Bartok’s Quartet, Polish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Jerzy Maksymiuk (in historical set of members on the 25th Anniversary of existence of the Orchestra; great, touching concert), The King’s Singers, Sinfonietta Cracovia, Chamber Orchestra AUKSO, Ensemble de Narol, Capella Bydgostiensis, Trio Dimension.
The great oratorio of our orchestra: i.e. memorable first performance in Poland „Messa di Gloria” G. Rossini (conducted by W. dan Vogla), „Mała Missa Solemna” by this composer (The Choir of National Philharmonic), „Ein deutsches Requiem” by J. Brahms with participation of The Choir of Krakow Philharmonic, „Nieszpory Ludźmierskie” by Jan Kanty Pawluśkiewicz and L. A. Moczulski, „Carmina burana” by C. Orffa (The Choir of Krakow Philharmonic) conducted by Adama Natanka, unforgettable great performance of „Elias” by F. Mendelssohn, A. Dvoŕák „Te Deum”, H. M. Góreckiego – „Beatus vir” conducted by Tadeusz Wojciechowski (The Choir of Silesia Philharmonic).
Hence the excellent performances of great masters: Urszula Kryger, Tomasz Herbut, Bartłomiej Nizioł, Tomasz Strahl, Andrzej Bauer and Piotr Laul, Renata Scotto, Paul Esswood, Wanda Wiłkomirska, Emma Kirkby, Gary Kaar, Wiesław Ochman, Grigorij Sokolov, Stefania Toczyska, Andrzej Ratusiński, Teresa Żylis-Gara, Ewa Podleś, Cyprien Katsaris, Krzysztof Jakowicz, Ryszard Karczykowski, Gheorghe Zamfir, Olga Kondina, Michali Petri, Piotr Pławner and Bruno Canino, Gwendolyn Bradley, Konstanty Andrzej Kulka, Piotr Anderszewski, Mihaeli Ursuleasy, Olga Pasiecznik, Ewa Małas-Godlewska, Midori, Jadwiga Rappé; great „theme” concerts – i.e. „Evening with Chopin” (Janusz Olejniczak and his guests: A. Bauer, M. Moś, E. Pobłocka, Trio A. Jagodziński), „Afternoon with Jan Sebastian” (Musicae Antiquae Collegium Varsoviense and W. Kłosiewicz), „Evening with flute and guitar” J. Kotnowska, W. Gromolak), „Musical reunion” (A. Makowicz, who dedicated one of composing cycles to the Festival in Lancut and Quartet Vilanov), „Five o’clock with tango” (E. Chojnacka), music spectacle „On the way”, „Wyspiański – how can I get peaceful” (W. Warska, H. M. Górecki, A. Kurylewicz), “Canto Gregoriano e organo”, “The songs by H.M. Górecki” where the Composer performed as a pianist, A. Kruszewski and G. Holoubek, „Before you are at the edge” – the songs by J. Satanowski to the lyrics of Polish poets (performed by H. Banaszak and M. Czyżykiewicz); but also:
- the evenings of: „Piwnica pod Baranami”, opera (W.A. Mozart – „Cosi fan tutte” spectacle of Warsaw Chamber Opera), at the courtyard: „Fado – the music of hear and soul” (Bevinda), performances of: Bułat Okudżawa, Milva, Kalatos ensemble, Armenian music ensemble Kotchnak, Shura Lipovsky (a touching concert of Jewish songs), Piccola Orchestra Avion Travel, ensemble „Kroke”, Anna Maria Jopek, Ewa Bem, Grażyna Auguścik, Leszek Możdżer. There was also a come back to organ recitals in Leżajsk Basilica (A. Białko, J. Gembalski, M. Merunowicz, A. Chorosiński), as well as concerts – youth promotion (Małgorzata Walewska, Piotr Kwaśny, Yurie Miura, Ayako Uehara, Kuba Jakowicz, Rafał Blechacz).
The general director of festival in this time was Wergiliusz Gołabek. The art managers were also: Adam Natanek (1992-1998), Tadeusz Wojciechowski (1999-2004). In 2005 the art management of Music Festival in Lancut was hold by Jerzy Kosek. In 2008 the general and art director of the Festival was Marek Stefański. Currently the director of Music Festival in Lancut is Marta Wierzbieniec, the general director of Artur Malawski Philharmonics in Rzeszow.
       The festival was always assisted by the exhibitions organized by the museum – Lancut Castle with great devotion, helping attitude of the management and workers of the museum. Since years the faithful participants of Lancut festivals were and still are the musicologists, critics and renown commentators: Wojciech Dzieduszycki, Józef Kański, Stefan Műnch, Zbigniew Pawlicki, Jan Popis, Dorota Szwarcman, Janusz Ekiert and – unfortunately now death – Zdzisław Dworzecki and Jan Weber, who initiated founding a memory plate of Teodor Leszetycki, a composer, pianist and pedagogue born in Lancut, which plate is embed on the building of Music School called with his name.
This is – in a brief summary – the history of 45 festivals, which comprised 498 concerts, during which over 890 soloists, 20 trios, 37 quartets, 13 quintets, 46 chamber orchestras, 6 symphonic orchestras, 20 choirs and 51 various ensembles performed (some great artists, and some ensembles several times) with compositions of over 500 compositors (the most often by J.S. Bach, W.A. Mozart, A. Vivaldi and F. Chopin, but also – in 1962 – “Chinese songs” by Ma-Sy Tsun).
       „An unchangeable and precious value of this event remains the unforgettable atmosphere of Lancut castle and its surrounding, which allows the audience to move, at least for a short time, to another world – the world of beauty and culture based on old tradition. Such Lancut evenings provide with us artistic impressions and make our human self better” – wrote Józef Kański.
Jerzy Chłopecki noticed: „The exceptional character of this festival consists (also!) in the fact that the continuous tradition have not been broken. If somebody does not understand what means tradition for culture – such person does not understand the culture. If somebody does not understand how important for building the tradition is continuity – such person does not understand the essence of culture creating activity. The place in calendar is like the place in life for such events as Lancut festival. In parabolic and direct meaning, as it also means the place in the life of people, who recollect the festival which passed and wait for the new one. The festival is alive thanks to this memories and expectations, even when it is just over”.
We are happy to keep up the continuity and the level of our festivals thanks to the great help of our – supporting us financially, as well as with their good attitude and friendship – our DONATORS, MUSIC LOVERS and FRIENDS OF THE PHILHARMONIC.

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