The world-premiere of Paweł Szymański’s new score for orchestra is the centrepiece of a major event to mark 100 Years of Polish Independence with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. The 15-minute overture was inspired by Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points, the President’s famous statement of principles for peace following World War I and contributed to the foundation of the modern state of Poland.
Conductor Michał Nesterowicz leads the BBC Symphony Orchestra in this performance, joined by Polish-Canadian pianist Janina Fialkowska for Paderewski’s passionate and romantic Piano Concerto. The concert also includes Elgar’s characterful symphonic prelude Polonia (dedicated to composer and statesman Paderewski) and Lutosławski’s eloquent First Symphony.
The concert, a collaboration between Adam Mickiewicz Institute and BBC, is a landmark event for the UK among the worldwide celebrations of Polish Independence.
In Fourteen Points, Szymański reflects not just on Polish Independence, but also on President Wilson’s vision of peace and stability for Europe, almost unimaginable after the war in 1918. He does not forget the catastrophe that followed in 1939 however, nor the fact that Wilson’s vision of Polish independence was tarnished, in the composer’s view, by Communism. Although the piece consists of fourteen brief sections, Szymański will not be drawn on whether there is direct reference to Wilson’s Fourteen Points in the music, but invites people to be free in how they interpret his music.
Fourteen Points was co-commissioned for this special event by BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as a part of the Polska Music programme and POLSKA 100, the international cultural programme celebrating the centenary of Poland regaining independence. Financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland as part of the multi-annual programme NIEPODLEGŁA 2017–2021.
Adam Mickiewicz Institute
The goal of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, a state-funded cultural institution operating under its flagship brand Culture.pl, is to promote Poland and Polish culture abroad. Through the presentation of high-quality initiatives and events in the fields of art, music, and design, the Institute aspires to introduce an international audience to contemporary Polish culture. Adam Mickiewicz Institute has presented more than 5500 events, attracting an audience of more than 52.5 million across five continents.
For years now the Adam Mickiewicz Institute actively supports performances of Polish classical music by renowned international artists worldwide, aiming to increase its popularity across the globe under the brand Polska Music. As well as initiating international stage productions and concerts, commissioning new work, and nurturing contemporary composers, Polska Music also promotes recordings, books and events.