“The BPO is Perfect”

That was the headline out of Warsaw that greeted us this morning on Twitter. This is one of the first reviews of our performances that we’ve been able to see in America. Written by Wojciech Giczkowski for his Teatralna Warszawa (“Warsaw Theater”) blog, it was nothing short of glowing!

We did the best we could through Google Translate to share it with you, but we do think some things got lost in translation, and we welcome corrections. Here is the original link:  https://teatralna-warszawa.blogspot.com/2018/03/buffalo-philharmonic-orchestra-is.html

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is Perfect

This year’s 22nd Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival was graced by the performance of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, which has existed since 1938. The team outside the capital will perform in three cities: Katowice, Wrocław and Lublin. American guests will play in Poland under the baton of the world-famous conductor, and also the musical director of the orchestra, JoAnn Falletta, who is known to be Leonard Bernstein’s student. The program of the musicians from the city on the Niagara River, who have received Grammy awards and give over 120 concerts annually, is focused on the presentation of twentieth-century American music. This musical offer can be surprising for many, because it is strongly anchored in the American tradition, i.e. jazz and blues.

At the beginning, we listened to Symphony No. 1 op. 9 Samuel Barber, which was the first piece by an American composer to be presented at the Salzburg festival (1937). JoAnn Falletta directed the musicians to show the emotional and lyric-dramatic nature of the song. It is worth noting that when she became the music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in 1999, Maestro Falletta became the first woman to lead one of the great American orchestras, and Elżbieta Penderecka had been trying for years bringing this great artist and her orchestra to Poland.

The festival audience was the most surprised when Krystian Zimerman at the inauguration with a smile played jazz elements of Bernstein’s “The Age of Anxiety”. Meanwhile, the dynamic Conrad Tao, a pianist and composer playing Piano Concerto in F major George Gershwin, no longer surprised anyone, because everyone knows that the author of “Rhapsody in Blue” wanted to be a composer of classical music, which he decided to combine with energetic American folk music. In the presented composition, we hear Charleston in Allegro, and two blues motifs in Adagio, similar to the motif from the first part. At Allegro Agitato, the orchestra plays the second blues theme, and the piano responds with a secondary motif. Conrad Tao turned out to be a sensational pianist for this orchestra to perform with. He was ideally suited to the interpretation of this humorous and fun piece. The second part of the Buffalo Philharmonic concert opened with the Adagio from Krzysztof Penderecki’s Symphony No. 3. They surprised the audience with a beautiful performance of the melody and created a nostalgic, romantic atmosphere. In their interpretation, the lyrical melody went from strings to horns, flutes and piccolo and to other instruments, and was variationally variation on the background of the orchestral accompaniment, subtly changing the timbre. It was beauty and perfection in one. After the end, JoAnn Falletta turned to the hall and thanked Krzysztof Penderecki on the balcony with a deep bow. The moved audience thanked the composer and performers at the same time. At the end, the orchestra commemorated the 100th anniversary of the birth of Leonard Bernstein and played his “West Side Story symphonic dances”. A well-known remake of the tragic story of lovers from Verona is a famous musical from 1957. In the symphonic version, the variability of moods and emotions shows how great was the inventiveness of the composer, especially in the search for melodies and rhythms. The dances combine three popular sounds associated with the most famous songs from this musical. It was a real American evening of the festival. He warmed even the most frozen viewers who came to the National Philharmonic.