Part I, 19:00
Bartłomiej Wąsik – piano
Barbara Kinga Majewska – voice
Michał Pepol – cello (guest)
„Alternative History”, John Potter
Part II, 20:30
Anna Maria Friman – voice, violin
John Potter – voice
Ariel Abramovich – lute
Jacob Heringman – lute
duration: 80 min
The second concert evening will feature two equally intensely intriguing facets of this year’s festival leading theme - the song.
The first one is a premiere. Barbara Kinga Majewska and Bartek Wąsik will present for the first time the material from their new procject BARDO. The artists knew each other from before as performers and interpreters of contemporary music, but now together they attempt to answer fundamental and simultaneously very personal questions. What kind of music should one covet, being a musician? What kind of music to perform so as not to stop longing for what one does, when one performs it? What kind of music should one wish to hear pouring from beneath one’s fingers and in one’s voice? What kind of music to create to be willing to come back to it again and again?
As the Bardo duo, under the curt title Songs the artists endeavour to be true to themselves, and also – if not primarily – …to their love of songs. They weave the fabric of their music from voice, piano and electronics and roam beyond fixed categories and genres. Their compositions are both charmingly subtle and refined. Already the titles of the songs are filled with matters, conditions, phenomena, actions and a whole range of diverse emotions which direct one’s thoughts at transcendence of the everyday, superficial reality. The artists convince the listener that combining the impulse derived from popular song with the language of contemporary music may lead to truly fascinating results.
The second part of the evening will be filled with a repertoire related to the Alternative History project, in which we join four artists (vocalists Anna Maria Friman and John Potter and lute palyers/vihuelists Ariel Abramovich and Jacob Heringman) in taking a fresh look at the history of music, and sometimes, as John Potter puts it, “in creating it anew”. The motto “a song is just a song” communicates both the drive to discover the music of the past and to adjust it to own musical searchings, as well as the idea of reinterpretation of the song as a genre, which evolved from the sphere in which “it belonged to whoever sang it, when they sang it”, to the sphere of “high art”, in which the composer works on a poetic text and then hands over his or her composition to professional performers.
The artists’ conviction, that it is the emotion that is the most important in a song, not a specialised technique of composition and vocal performance, that a musical composition is not a monument to be revered, but a being open for new adaptations, is expressed in various ways. Therefore, among the pieces which will be played this evening there is a group of songs composed by musicians associated with the world of popular music. John Paul Jones, the base player from Led Zeppelin, and Tony Banks, the keyboard-player from Genesis, took English and Spanish 16th to 19th century texts and arranged them for a quartet of voices and lutes. Sting wrote a poignant ballad with his own lyrics, which was initially intended for Robin Hood. Unique works were created, characterised both by structural complexity, as well as harmonic ingeniousness and “rock” flavour, reintroducing the tradition of lute songs to contemporary times.
Another element of the project is English early 20th-century song, which the artists wish to reintroduce to the modern concert scene with new arrangements. Pieces by Thomas Frederick Dunhill (1877–1946), Ernest John Moeran (1894–1950) and Peter Warlock (1884–1930) will be performed in new renditions for vocals and two lutes, the creation of which made the artists reflect on whether these composers would write lute songs if the 20th century renaissance of early music happened a bit earlier.
We will also hear the song Oft have I sighed by Thomas Campion (1567–1620), by the English poet-composer and doctor, as well as In nomine by the mysterious Picforth, a 16th-century English artist known today only for this single work. We will also have the opportunity to enjoy motets Salve Regina and Inviolata by Franco-Flemish master Josquin des Prés, Renaissance a cappella polyphonies translated into the paradigm of voice and lute. We will also hear a work by Arvo Pärt arranged by the band Pari intervallo. In accordance with Arvo Pärt’s wishes, who was the hero of one of the previous Nostalgia festival editions, the piece already has at least three different versions (e.g. for four wind instruments, organs and a quartet of English flutes). The whole program offers an insight into the fascinating world of music which transcends time and genre, and which the artists also open up for their listeners on the two albums released by ECM Records: Amores Pasados i Secret History.
Barbara Kinga Majewska
Vocalist, songwriter, publicist, initiator of projects devoted to contemporary music. Graduate of vocal performance and music pedagogy at Hochschule für Musik Detmold. She studied solo vocal performance at the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in Stockholm and musicology at Warsaw University. Winner of prestigious scholarship programs, participant of various masterclasses. She took part in the world premiere of Sławomir Wojciechowski’s Victory over the Sun (Polish National Opera - The “P” Project) and Paweł Mykietyn’s The Magic Mountain, she also performed at the world premieres of works by many other Polish composers of the young generation. She is also the holder of the grand prix of the first edition of the “Kropka” Polish Critics’ Competition.
Pianist, composer and arranger, winner of many international competitions, phonographic prizes and Politika’s Passport 2014. He is the co-founder and member of the Lutosławski Piano Duo and the Kwadrofonik quartet. He performed at Carnegie Hall, Chicago Symphony Hall and at the Berlin Philharmonic, where he presented his own orchestration for two pianos and a percussion of Igor Strawiński’s The Rite of Spirng with Kwadrofonik. He is the author of the New Warsaw project, which received the Gwarancje Kultury award, a collection of 12 new renditions of songs about Warsaw (in collaboration with Stanisława Celińska and Royal String Quartet), as well as – recently – Kocham, Lublin, Szanuję – the score to a film impression about his home city.
Vocalist-tenor, former Edison Fellow at the British Library a retired lecturer at the University of York. He undertakes such disparate artistic projects as - on one hand - the world premieres of contemporary composers, and - on the other - doing the supporting vocals for The Who or Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. He is the former member of The Hilliard Ensemble and the co-founder of the band Red Byrd. He has recorded Being Dufay in collaboration with the composer of electronic music Ambrose Field for the ECM label, four albums with The Dowland Project, as well as two albums with the musicians collectively known as Alternative History – Amores Pasados and Secret History. He published a book with Cambridge University Press entitled A History of Singing (2012) in collaboration with Neil Soreil.
He studied the lute and the vihuela at Schola Cantorum Basiliensis and in France. Together with the countertenor José Hernández Pastor he recorded two records of Spanish Renaissance music, while with the lute player Jacob Heringman he released Cifras Imaginarias which features intavolations of 16th century vocal compositions for a duo of vihuelas. He presented English lute songs from 16th and 17th century with John Potter, and 16th century Spanish and Italian music with the sopranist María Cristina Kiehr and the tenor Giovanni Cantarini. He is the co-creator of the albums Amores Pasados and Secret History. He is an active pedagogue and he conducts masterclasses at conservatories and other educational institutions all over the world.
Anna Maria Friman
She studied at Barratt Due Institute of Music in Oslo and at Trinity College of Music in London, she received a PhD degree at the University of York. Apart from singing she also plays the hardanger, which is a type of traditional Norwegian violin, and arranges music for her own vocal ensemble Trio Mediæval, which cooperates with many modern composers (including Gavin Bryars, and Julia Wolfe) and bands (e.g. Musikfabrik, Bang on a Can All-Stars), she also performs Medieval and traditional music. Moreover, Anna Maria Friman performs and records with John Potter, Ariel Abramovich and Jacob Heringman (the albums Amores Pasados and Secret History), as well as with a Ensemble Serikon, and as a duo with her husband – trumpeter Arve Henriksen.
A USA-born lutenist, soloist, accompanist and chamber musician permanently residing in Great Britain. He published many enthusiastically received solo albums with Renaissance lute repertoire (including compositions by Valentin Bakfark) and lute intavolations of works by Josquin des Prés. He collaborates with celebrated vocalists such as e.g. Emma Kirkby, Barbara Bonney, Michael Chance, John Potter and Anna Maria Friman, and bands (including The English Baroque Soloists, The Taverner Consort). He is the co-creator of the albums Amores Pasados and Secret History. He also records film scores (e.g. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Robin Hood, Hobbit). Moreover, he has been very active in the recent years in the sphere of crossover and improvised music.