44th Music in Old Cracow Festival

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  • Thursday, August 15, 2019 - Saturday, August 31, 2019

Maestro of cello, virtuoso of harpsichord, legend of Polish violin, American “orchestra of voices” and a gleaming brass quintet – listen and watch closely!
Why? Because the guests of the 44th Music in Old Cracow Festival perform in some of the most beautiful spaces across the city. We will see concerts in the Gothic courtyard of Collegium Maius, among Baroque decorations of the Church of Sts Peter and Paul, against stained-glass windows of the Tempel Synagogue and Stanisław Wyspiański’s exquisite polychromes blooming on the walls of the Franciscan Basilica.

Instrumentarium
According to the composer Max Reger, Bach is the beginning and end of all music. When it comes to Music in Old Cracow, Bach is certainly the beginning: during the inaugural concert on 15 August, the Bernardine Church resounds with Johann Sebastian’s toccatas, fugues and chorales performed by organist Andrzej Białko.
His works also dominate the recital by Pierre Hantaï, acclaimed harpsichordist who recalls first becoming enchanted by Bach’s music when he was just ten years old. The French artist is also famous as an expert on works by English composers of the Virginalist school, so on 26 August the Church of St Martin resounds with music by William Byrd.
Want to hear more Bach? Compositions by the Leipzig cantor are presented by Krzysztof Jakowicz alongside those by Georg Philipp Telemann (who by the way served as cantor in Hamburg). The “Titan of the violin”, “Poland’s Menuhin”, “spiritual descendant of Wieniawski” – critics from all over the globe simply can’t get enough of his skill – performs at the Church of St Martin on 20 August.
The star of this year’s festival, performing during the grand finale, chooses to focus on a classical repertoire rather than Baroque polyphony. Steven Isserlis, one of the finest cellists working today, makes a welcome return to Kraków’s following last year’s acclaimed performance, bringing music by Luigi Boccherini and Joseph Haydn on 31 August to the Church of St Catherine. The accompanying Sinfonietta Cracovia orchestra with Maciej Lulek as the concertmaster presents the String Quintet in F major by Boccherini and Symphony in A major K. 201 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
If you’re a fan of instrumental music, don’t miss the performance by the Spanish Brass quintet (18 August, courtyard of Collegium Maius of the Jagiellonian University); the ensemble is equally skilled at imitating a full symphonic orchestra performing Verdi’s operatic overtures as the organ in Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor. They are also virtuosos of Argentinian tango and jazz borrowed from Chick Corea, and have had music composed especially for their lineup of two trumpets, French horn, trombone and tuba.
Festival guests also include the Lviv Virtuosos orchestra under the baton of Serhiy Burko; they are joined by flautist János Bálint in their performance of compositions by the “Lviv Mozart” Franz Xaver, son of Wolfgang Amadeus (21 August, Jesuit Church). The Kraków Wind Quintet recalls the traditions of Viennese serenade concerts by performing works by Joseph Haydn, Wojciech Kilar and Ferenc Farkas at the courtyard of Nowodworski Collegium (16 August). Magdalena Bojanowicz and Bartosz Koziak bring a selection of compositions for two cellos: from Jean-Baptiste Barrière’s 18th-century Sonata in G major to Suite Op. 16 by David Popper who passed away in 1913 (22 August, Church of St Martin). We will also see Camerata Polonia, an ensemble of Polish musicians working in Austria founded by Marek Kudlicki (28 August, Church of Sts Peter and Paul).

Voices from other worlds
Hungry for new discoveries? Delicious vocal music resounding during this year’s festival transports us to different places and eras. The American chorus Chanticleer appears twice with their repertoire for twelve male voices (usually a cappella) ranging from mediaeval compositions to jazz, gospel and contemporary music. On 29 August, the ensemble comes to the Tempel Synagogue with their programme Trade Winds paying homage to wandering spirits constantly searching beyond the horizon. We will hear Monteverdi and Gesualdo’s madrigals dedicated to water and wind, songs from China, Hawaii, New Zealand, Samoa, Philippines and Korea and shanties once accompanying British sailors in their conquest of the seven seas. Their second concert, held at the Franciscan Church on 30 August, focuses on questions of faith. The programme Faith of Our Fathers features a religious repertoire from the 12th century antiphon O virtus sapientiae by Hildegard of Bingen, via Renaissance works by Josquin des Pres and William Byrd and Baroque compositions from the New World, to gospel and spiritual songs.
The concert by the Monastery of 13 Holy Assyrian Fathers Choir from Georgia, performing chants in Aramaic, will be a unique artistic – and perhaps spiritual – experience. The leader of the ensemble and deacon of the monastery of the Assyrian community in Dzveli Kanda, the schema-archimandrite Seraphime, is one of just two priests around the globe who says the liturgy in the language of Jesus Christ. We will immerse ourselves in the music and spirituality of the oldest Christian communities in the world at the Franciscan Church on 23 August.
We will also take a journey into Poland’s past. On 25 August, the Church of St Barbara resounds with works by composers with links to Wawel Cathedral (Borek, Paligon, Pękiel, Gorczycki), taking us back in time to the days of the Jagiellonian and Vasa dynasties. Royal Rorantists, directed by Stanisław Gałoński – founder and artistic director of the Music in Old Cracow Festival – reach for ancient Polish music: Bogurodzica and Gaude Mater Polonia, a hymn by Wincenty of Kielcza.
The presentation of sounds from all corners of the globe also includes Music from New Spain. We will hear vocal and instrumental works by Ignacio de Jerusalem y Stella, acclaimed Italian violinist and composer who rose to fame in Mexico in the second half of the 18th century. The meeting with Latin American Baroque, little known in Poland, has been prepared by violinist and conductor Piotr Gąsior, Collegium Zieleński and the Festival Orchestra (27 August, Bernardine Church).

***
The festival features also young musicians – perhaps they will return as leading stars one day? At the Old Synagogue, guitarist Dmytro Holovenko recalls compositions by Giuliani and Rodrigo (17 August), the concert hall of the Władysław Żeleński Music High School resounds with Beethoven, Schumann and Chopin performed by pianist Jakub Kuszlik (19 August), while Sandra Siudak and Magdalena Turek present works for flute and violin from late-Baroque Telemann to 20th-century Bacewicz at the Premonstratensian Sisters Church (24 August).
Treasures of music and pearls of Cracovian architecture – the festival has been delighting our ears and eyes for over forty years and is showing no signs of letting up. And no wonder – it offers a double feast! (Barbara Skowrońska)

15 August, Thursday, 8pm
Bernardine Church, ul. Bernardyńska 2
Andrzej Białko – organ
in programme: J.S. Bach
tickets: regular PLN 40, discount PLN 30

16 August, Friday, 7:30pm
Nowodworski Collegium, courtyard, ul. św. Anny 12
Kraków Wind Quintet
in programme: J. Haydn, W. Kilar, F. Farkas
tickets: numbered seats PLN 50, regular PLN 40, discount PLN 30

17 August, Saturday, 7:30pm
Old Synagogue, ul. Szeroka 24
Dmytro Hołowenko – guitar
in programme: J.S. Bach, M. Giuliani, J. Rodrigo
tickets: regular PLN 40, discount PLN 30

18 August, Sunday, 7:30pm
Collegium Maius UJ, courtyard, ul. Jagiellońska 15
Spanish Brass
in programme: J.S. Bach, G. Verdi, M. Mores, R. Cardo, C. Corea
tickets: numbered seats PLN 50, regular PLN 40, discount PLN 30

19 August, Monday, 7:30pm
Władysław Żeleński Music High School, ul. Basztowa 9
Jakub Kuszlik – piano
in programme: L. van Beethoven, R. Schumann, J. S, Bach, F. Chopin, C. Debussy, F. Busoni
tickets: regular PLN 30, discount PLN 25

20 August, Tuesday, 7:30pm
St Martin’s Church, ul. Grodzka 58
Krzysztof Jakowicz – violin
in programme: G.P. Telemann, J.S. Bach
tickets: numbered seats PLN 50, regular PLN 40, discount PLN 30

21 August, Wednesday, 7:30pm
Jesuit Church, ul. Kopernika 26
János Bálint – flute
Lviv Virtuosos
Serhiy Burko – conductor
in programme: F. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, E. Elgar, F.X. Mozart, O. Respighi
tickets: numbered seats PLN 40, regular PLN 30, discount PLN 20

22 August, Thursday, 7:30pm
St Martin’s Church, ul. Grodzka 58
Magdalena Bojanowicz – cello
Bartosz Koziak – cello
in programme: J.B. Barriere, J. Haydn, J. Offenbach, D. Popper
tickets: numbered seats PLN 50, regular PLN 40, discount PLN 30

23 August, Friday, 8:15pm
Franciscan Church, pl. Wszystkich Świętych 5
Monastery of the 13 Assyrian Fathers Monastery
in programme: Assyrian Church music
tickets: numbered seats PLN 60, regular PLN 50, discount PLN 40

24 August, Saturday, 8pm
Premonstratensian Sisters Church, ul. Kościuszki 88
Sandra Siudak – flute
Magdalena Turek – violin
in programme: G.P. Telemann, C.P.E. Bach, C. Debussy, E. Bozza, S. Karg-Elert, J.S. Bach, G. Bacewicz, N. Paganini, E. Ysaÿe
tickets: numbered seats PLN 40, regular PLN 30, discount PLN 20

25 August, Sunday, 7:30pm
St Barbara’s Church, plac Mariacki
Royal Rorantists
Michał Białko – organ
Stanisław Gałoński – conductor
in programme: music of the Wawel Cathedral
tickets: numbered seats PLN 40, regular PLN 30, discount PLN 20

26 August, Monday, 7:30pm
St Martin’s Church, ul. Grodzka 58
Pierre Hantaï – harpsichord
in programme: W. Byrd, J.S. Bach
tickets: numbered seats PLN 80, regular PLN 60, discount PLN 40

27 August, Tuesday, 8pm
Bernardine Church, ul. Bernardyńska 2
Collegium Zieleński
Festival Orchestra
Piotr Gąsior – conductor
in programme: Music from New Spain
tickets: numbered seats PLN 50, regular PLN 40, discount PLN 30

28 August, Wednesday, 7:30pm
Church of Sts Peter and Paul, ul. Grodzka 52
Alina Mazur – soprano
Camerata Polonia
Marek Kudlicki – conductor
in programme: C. Stamitz, A. Scarlatti, G. Paisiello, G. Caccini, G. Giordani, A. Caldara, F. Durante, I.J. Paderewski, Ch.W. Gluck, A. Caldara, S. Moryto
tickets: numbered seats PLN 50, regular PLN 40, discount PLN 30

29 August, Thursday, 7:30pm
Tempel Synagogue, ul. Miodowa 24
Chanticleer
in programme: Trade Winds
tickets: numbered seats PLN 80, regular PLN 60, discount PLN 40

30 August, Friday, 8:15pm
Franciscan Church, pl. Wszystkich Świętych 5
Chanticleer
in programme: Faith of Our Fathers
tickets: numbered seats PLN 80, regular PLN 60, discount PLN 40

31 August, Saturday, 7:30pm
St Catherine’s Church, ul. Augustiańska 7
Steven Isserliss – cello
Sinfonietta Cracovia
Maciej Lulek – concertmaster
in programme: L. Boccherini, W.A. Mozart, J. Haydn
tickets: numbered seats PLN 100, regular PLN 80, discount PLN 60

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