The final installments of the concert series “Ballads and Romances,” organized by the National Institute of Music and Dance, are due shortly. As part of the project, Polish artists are set to perform in Hamburg, Tokyo, Osaka and Rome, showcasing the relevance of Romantic ideas as expressed in timeless musical pieces.

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The “Ballads and Romances” series consists of 5 concerts and has been presented to international audiences since May this year as part of the “Mickiewicz x 44” program. The first concert was held in Italy (Rome, Verbania) while the subsequent once were presented in Germany (Hamburg), Japan (Tokyo, Osaka) and Italy (Rome). The recitals explore the reception of Adam Mickiewicz’s poetry in the vocal lyric pieces by Maria Szymanowska, Fryderyk Chopin, Stanisław Moniuszko, and Carl Loewe.

Romanticism is an era of improvisation, which is why two great improvisers have been invited to participate in the project: cellist Marcin Zdunik and pianist Aleksander Debicz, who will present a contemporary reading of the Romantic message inspired by Mickiewicz’s poetry and Chopin’s music. The program will also be performed by other outstanding Polish artists: pianist Marek Bracha and vocalists Lilianna Zalesińska and Robert Gierlach. To foster relationships with foreign artists, Italian pianist Marina Cesarele has also been invited to participate in Robert Gierlach’s vocal recital in Rome.

The upcoming concert will take place on October 22, 2022 at 7 pm at the Hochschule für Music und Theater in Hamburg as part of the 4th Chopin Festival Hamburg. It will feature Marcin Zdunik (cello) and Aleksander Dębicz (piano). The concert will reveal the different facets of the eponymous terms, along with their literary, musical, and colloquial significance. At the same time, the concert evokes the 19th-century art of improvisation, both musical and poetic, the latter of which was championed by Mickiewicz. The concert will also immerse the audience in the German and Austrian musical traditions, thus placing Polish Romanticism in an international context. Among others, the repertoire features improvisations patterned after Schubert, Brahms, Wagner, and Schönberg.

The upcoming concerts will be held in Tokyo (November 4) and Osaka (November 13), respectively. They will take the form of recital-lectures performed by pianist Mark Bracha, who will give talks to Japanese audiences on the origins of Romanticism in music and the birth of Chopin’s Ballade for solo piano. Bracha’s talk will be illustrated with pieces by late Beethoven, Chopin, Tellefsen, Brahms and Debussy.

The final European concert in the Ballads and Romances series will take place on November 10 at the Polish Institute in Rome. The night will feature a vocal recital by Robert Gierlach, accompanied by Italian pianist Marina Cesarele. The Italian audience will have a chance to listen to an excellent rendition of songs by Chopin, Moniuszko and Loewe, set to the poetry of Adam Mickiewicz, which will be translated into Italian and included in the concert programs. As a complement to the core repertoire, the artists will perform songs by Schubert and Schumann.

The ballads by Loewe, a German composer who spent 46 years of his mature life in Stettin, deserve special attention. Set to excellent German translations of Mickiewicz’s ballads, they are indicative of the Polish poet’s influence on the culture of Romantic Europe. Lowe’s ballads precede those of Moniuszko, who likely had the opportunity to hear Loewe’s compositions during his stay in Berlin, says Lech Dzierżanowski, Deputy Director of the National Institute of Music and Dance.

The “44 x Mickiewicz” program is an original program of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, addressed to cultural institutions subordinate to and supervised by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland. The program was launched in connection with this year’s celebration of the Year of Polish Romanticism. The program’s premise is to carry out projects showcasing the ideas of Polish Romanticism as a point of intersection of many cultures, views and trends in art, and to demonstrate the influence of these ideas on Polish and foreign artists, thus creating a platform for dialogue mediated through the language of art and artistic expression. The program features cooperative projects casting Polish Romanticism as a vehicle for modernity. One of these projects is implemented by the National Institute of Music and Dance.

Media contact:
NIMiT/ Agnieszka Wyszomirska + 48 887 240 011