New Year’s Chopin Concert
At Polish Embassy
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Fredrick Chopin piano compositions and Polish melodies were floating in the air here at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland on January 7, 2016 under the auspices of Ambassador Ryszard Schnepf, in conjunction with the Heritage Society of the National Philharmonic Orchestra (NPO). Charge d’Affaires Maciej Pisarski warmly welcomed everyone, especially the numerous NPO guests, and remarked upon the close working relationship between the Embassy and the NPO, conducted by Maestro Piotr Gajewski, which frequently showcases Polish artists and musicians. In photo: Welcoming the New Year of 2016. Pianist Brian Ganz accompanies mezzo-soprano Magdalena Wor as she sings “A Maiden’s Wish” (Zuczinie) at the Embassy of Poland to celebrate the beginning of the New Year with a dynamic program of Chopin’s compositions and songs entitled “Chopin – Bel Canto of the Piano.”
Pianist Brian Ganz is devoted to the music of Fredrick Chopin, and is recognized as one of the finest conveyors of Chopin’s repertoire. He enraptured the audience with his presentation of the Cantabile in B-Flat Major, Impromptu No. 1 in A-Flat Major, and two Nocturnes in C Minor and F Major, respectively. The Embassy’s historic Paderewski/Steinway piano never sounded as good as it did on this evening as it almost-knowingly responded to Ganz’s amazing commands and entreaties.
With her unrivaled voice and dramatic gestures, mezzo-soprano Magdalena Wor, accompanied by Ganz, held the audience in their thrall as she sang ten short Polish songs by Chopin that are rarely heard. We heard and appreciated vocals such as “Handsome Lad” (Slicznyz chlopiec), “Drinking Song” (Hulanka), “Out of My Sight!” (Precz z moich oczu!), “Double Ending” (Dwojaki koniec) and “Lithuanian Song” (Piosnka litewska). Before each presentation, Ganz and Wor explained the lyrics and plot for the audience’s edification. Some presentations were quite amusing, some melancholy or thoughtful, but they all represented the vibrancy and foibles of life. Polish-American Wor was standing in for Iwona Sobotka who was still stranded in Poland due to American visa issues.
The delightful evening was capped by a bountiful Polish and European buffet – with various deserts – that left no one wanting. Along with the wine and aforementioned music, it proved to be an excellent entrance for the New Year of 2016.
Text & Photos by
Richard P. Poremski
Polish American Journal
Washington, DC Bureau
January 10, 2016