Chopin Soirée – A Varsovian By Birth

The 12th International Sfogato Music & Arts Festival was inaugurated by the concert Chopin Soirée – A Varsovian By Birth in the Ballroom of Villa Decius in Krakow on September 27, 2021.
This year's edition of the Sfogato Festival takes place under the Honorary Patronage of:
Marshal of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship - Witold Kozlowski
Mayor of the City of Krakow Jacek Majchrowski
Metropolitan Archbishop of Krakow - Archbishop Marek Jedraszewski
Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Krakow
The media patronage over the Sfogato Festival was taken by: TVP 3 Krakow, Radio Krakow, and Krakow the Open City. The organizer of the festival is the Sfogato Music & Arts Society in Krakow, which was established in the Chopin Year 2010 on the initiative of the pianist Marta Polanska. The co-organizer of the Chopin Soirée Concert is the Villa Decius Institute of Culture. The festival tradition is the Chopin Soirée concerts referring in their themes and repertoire to the life and work of Fryderyk Chopin. The subtitle of this year's concert, A Varsovian By Birth, was a reference to the words of the poet Cyprian Kamil Norwid, who, recalling Chopin, wrote: "A Varsovian by birth, a Pole at heart, a citizen of the world by virtue of his talent”. The choice of the subtitle of the concert taking place in the Ballroom of Villa Decius was not accidental. September 24 was the 200th anniversary of the birth of Cyprian Kamil Norwid, who met Fryderyk Chopin in February 1849 at the Marcelina Czartoryska Salon in Paris. Duchess Marcelina Czartoryska - a student of Chopin, who lived in the Renaissance Villa Decius in the years 1869-1894 set up an artistic salon, modeled on her Paris salon, which they used to visit, among others, Fryderyk Chopin and Cyprian Kamil Norwid, for whose works the personality of Chopin was an exceptional inspiration. It is worth mentioning that one of the most famous works of Norwid is the poem Chopin's Piano, which describes the composer's piano being thrown out of the window of the Zamoyski Palace in Warsaw. Norwid's words used in the subtitle of the concert, and referring to Warsaw, also refer to the 18th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition (Chopin2020), when the capital of Poland will also become the capital of world pianism. The Chopin Soirée concert taking place as part of the Sfogato Festival is each year dedicated to the memory of one of the Chopin Competition laureates - the late Russian pianist Alexei Sultanov (1969-2005) - winner of the 2nd prize (1st prize not awarded) at the 13th International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw (1995).
At the beginning of the concert, a recording of the Etude in A minor, Op. 25 No. 11 by Fryderyk Chopin performed by 11-year-old Alexei Sultanov, from the family archive. The program of the evening also included transcriptions of works by Fryderyk Chopin for violin and piano performed by Polanski Duo: Marek Polanski - violin and Marta Polanska - piano and songs by Fryderyk Chopin, Stanislaw Moniuszko, as well as a song by Franz Schubert, traditionally performed at the opening of the festival, which is a metaphor of the festival flower- sunflower performed by Tomasz Jarosz - baritone and Marta Polanska - piano. A special point in the concert's repertoire were two caprices for solo violin by August Fryderyk Duranowski and Joachim Kaczkowski, the first Polish compositions of this genre performed by Marek Polanski - violin. Based on the recording of Duranowski's and Kaczkowski's set of Caprices for solo violin and the entirety of the distinguished dissertation, which is an integral part of the recording, the artist was awarded the title of doctor of arts at the Instrumental Department of the Academy of Music in Krakow. The work was also awarded the Prime Minister's award in the competition for doctoral dissertations as the only one in the field of art.
The concert was complemented by a long conversation with Marek Polanski moderated by Marta Polanska - the author of the Chopin Soirée script - about the artist's latest album - which is a world phonographic premiere - containing the First Polish Violin Caprices by August Fryderyk Duranowski and Joachim Kaczkowski. The artist introduced the audience to the achievements of both composers, the history of the genre of instrumental caprice, and explained why the nature of their work is pioneering in relation to other composers of this genre, including recognized artists such as Niccolò Paganini. There were numerous questions from the audience, as well as Chopin's thread. Marek Polanski recalled the Warsaw letter from Fryderyk Chopin to Jan Bialoblocki, in which the composer admired Joachim Kaczkowski's piano Polonaise. The audience welcomed the concert and the conversation with great enthusiasm, emphasizing the excellent selection of the repertoire for the time and the extremely charming place that is Villa Decius.
/Information of the Organizers/
Photos: Tomasz Zmarz
Paintings: Kazuko Narumi (Japan)