Famous Polish composer marks Polish centenary in Kiev

Krzysztof Penderecki (pictured) is, according to the Guardian, “Poland’s greatest living composer.” Photo: PAP/Tadeusz Żmijewski

Latin choirs of Krzysztof Penderecki’s “Credo” mesmerised the audience of the 29th Kyiv Music Fest and left a very meaningful Polish mark in the history of the oldest Ukrainian classical music festival organised in the year 2018 when Poland celebrates its independence centenary.

“This grand opening hosts the eminent Polish musical master – professor Krzysztof Penderecki who himself conducted his monumental masterpiece ‘Credo’,” Polish conductor Roman Rewakowicz and the head of Pro Musica Viva foundation that promotes Polish music in Ukraine and vice versa told the Polish Press Agency.

Krzysztof Penderecki is, according to the Guardian, “Poland’s greatest living composer” and an award-winning one two, having received multiple Grammy awards, the Wolf Prize in Arts in 1987 and the University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition in 1992. Although at first experimental and avant-guard, in the 1970s he returned his music to its more traditional form.

Mr Rewakowicz conducted the first part of the concert dedicated to the Ukrainian classical music of Bohdana Frolyak and Igor Shcherbakov. The second part started with thunderous applause as Krzysztof Penderecki appeared in the orchestra pit to conduct his very own piece, performed by the National Symphonic Orchestra of Ukraine.

The violin was played by Ukrainian Oksana Lytvynenko and the much praised singers were Polish nationals Iwona Hossa, Karolina Sikora, Anna Lubańska, Adam Zdunikowski and Robert Jezierski.

“Each time I visit Ukraine I do it with great joy, because you have an amazing audience here, excellent performers and a wonderful atmosphere. My thanks go to the magnificent solistes, the conductors and the choirs,” said Mr Penderecki after the concert.

According to Mr Rewakowicz, the Kyiv Philharmonics performance is the first part of the “Independence Music” triptych dedicated to the centenary of Poland regaining its independence in the scope of which Polish and Ukrainian musicians perform Polish-Ukrainian repertoire.

The other two parts will also take place in Kyiv on October 31 and December 4 and their performance was made possible thanks to the Pro Musica Viva foundation collaborating with Polish and Ukrainian governmental institutions.

Mr Rewakowicz also reflected that “culture is a language that glides over words and difficult, at times, hurtful details. Culture is hope and rapport, and music is exceptional in the sense that, while not needing translation, it gives hope and brings understanding.”