The Polish composer Frederick Chopin will be celebrated Tuesday, January 5 at 8PM with special guest Polish soprano Iwona Sobotka joining classical pianist Brian Ganz, an acclaimed performer of Chopin’s music. The program will include several seldom heard songs set to Polish poems which explore romantic love, the power of nature as well as a bawdy drinking song. The evening will also include Chopin’s Impromptu No. 1 in A flat minor, two nocturnes, and audience requests for selected Chopin compositions.
This special Strathmore preview concert will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis, 333 Dubois Road in Annapolis. Tickets are $15 at the door.
For more information, visit www.tinyurl.com/UUCA-concerts or call 410-266-8044 Monday through Thursday.
“Chopin loved the human voice, and he made the piano sing as no other composer has before or since,” said Ganz. “It’s exciting to bring these lyrical bel canto-style songs to Annapolis audiences as they are so seldom performed,” said Ganz, who added that Chopin never published these works. “And I am thrilled that Iwona will be the one to bring those songs to life. The beauty and depth of her voice brought me to tears the first time I heard her sing. In fact, I could hardly get through our first rehearsal, the experience was so emotional.”
Chopin’s songs are set to Polish poems, mostly written by the composer’s contemporaries, including the composer’s friend Stefan Witwicki and the poet generally considered the greatest of his generation in Poland, Adam Mickiewicz. The poems explore elements of Romanticism.
Sobotka achieved instant international acclaim as the Grand Prix winner of the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition of Belgium in 2004. The renowned soprano has performed all over Europe, in the Americas and Japan, in such prestigious venues as the Berlin Philharmonie, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, Salle Pleyel in Paris, Royal Albert Hall in London and Suntory Hall in Tokyo.
Equally at home on the concert and the opera stage, Sobotka also is widely acknowledged for her interpretations of Polish vocal repertoire – in particular the works of Karol Szymanowski. In 2004, she contributed to a complete collection of his songs released by the Dutch label Channel Classics and was distinguished by National Academy of Recording Arts in Poland with the Fryderyk Award, named for Frederic Chopin and comparable to the American Grammys, for the most outstanding recording of Polish music.
Widely regarded as one of the leading pianists of his generation, Ganz has appeared as soloist with such orchestras as the St. Louis Symphony, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Baltimore Symphony, the National Philharmonic, the National Symphony and the City of London Sinfonia, and has performed with such conductors as Leonard Slatkin, Marin Alsop, Mstislav Rostropovich and Piotr Gajewski.
Ganz’s Extreme Chopin concerts at Strathmore Music Center began in 2011 with the 6th installment January 9, 8PM. These sold out concerts have received glowing reviews. Perhaps the first pianist to perform all Chopin’s works, Ganz noted, “… that significance is eclipsed by my excitement in sharing works that even lovers of Chopin may never have heard. There are so many works of great beauty and emotional power, but there are also quite a few buried treasures that deserve to be heard. It’s fascinating to hear, for example, the different authentic versions that exist of some very well-known works. There are marvelous surprises in store for Chopin lovers.”
This Tuesday special bonus concert is not part of the 4th Friday Ganz and Friends concert series; series tickets cannot be used. The next 4th Friday concert is January 22, 8PM at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis with Italian guitarist Flavio Sala performing Mi Guitarra y Mis Amores (My Guitar and My Loves). For 4th Friday concert programming see www.tinyurl.com/UUCA.