It would seem that multiculturalism is a characteristic feature of our time only. We think that operating at the confluence of cultures and the resulting works of art are the domain of our time only. However, when we follow the course of history, we conclude that we are not unique in this respect. Already in the mid-nineteenth century, a telegraph cable across the Atlantic was laid, which was a more important event than the invention of the internet. At the beginning of the 20th century, a cruise to America was shortened to three days.
Ernst von Dohnányi and Béla Bartók are Hungarian composers who found their new homeland just overseas. Both were fascinated by folk culture, which was part of the ideological program of the era started around 1820 (that is why we like to talk about the "long 19th century" as in music, eras are rarely subordinated to calendar changes). Bartók said that "we need to isolate the oldest bits because it is the only way to determine what is new." And although both ‘American Rhapsody’ and the Piano Concerto No.3 are not in the folk style, while listening it is worth having a question about the roots of identity somewhere in the back of the head as again it is a common denominator with nowadays.
Sergei Rachmaninoff also did not write his Symphony No. 2 in his native country, which he left after the 1905 revolution. He was still struggling with depression that he fell into after the premiere of his First Symphony. Cui wrote that it was "some program symphony about the seven Egyptian plagues." Other critics were even harsher. The new symphony was hailed as a masterpiece, although the composer himself, full of doubt, called for its shortening. Of the many themes used in it, we especially recommend the one from Adagio of the third movement. The entire symphony is a path from a slow and dark beginning to a triumphant and spectacular ending. A good story with a happy ending.
Denis Kozhukhin performed during the Verbier Festival in the 2018/2019 artistic season, made his debut at the BBC Proms and has led an extremely intense concert life on four continents. He was also a guest of the Philharmonic Szczecin, where he gave a recital. This time he will come back to us as a soloist and will perform on stage with the musicians of our orchestra.
Kozhukhin I Soddy
Symphony HallFilharmonia im. Mieczysława Karłowicza w Szczecinie
ul. Małopolska 48