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29 October 2014

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You are in: Northamptonshire > Entertainment > Film & Arts > Film & Arts Features > The Warsaw Philharmonic at Derngate theatre

Kuba Jakowicz from Warsaw Philharmonic.

Kuba Jakowicz played a solo

The Warsaw Philharmonic at Derngate theatre

Read a review of the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra who were at Derngate theatre on the 2nd March.

By Richard Hollingum - Senior Lecturer in Radio at the University of Northampton

It is an odd thing; you go to a concert to hear one piece of music and you come away being impressed by another one. And this is not a one off experience but probably occurring more times than not.

The concert given by the National Orchestra of Poland, the Warsaw Philharmonic, on Sunday and the Royal & Derngate is a good case in point. Of the three pieces, it would be surprising if most did not go for the opportunity to hear the Bruch Violin Concerto. But this was nowhere as good as Shostakovich’s Symphony No 5 that made up the entire second half.

The Bruch, full of emotion, full of passion and full of strength seemed to be sadly lacking in all of these. Kuba Jakowicz, the 27-year old soloist, looking remarkably akin to a computer programming student, had the right bodily actions but somehow there was some line of code that did not work properly.

That and the apparent tension between the orchestra, the conductor, Antoni Wit, and Jakowicz. What was it? Were the members of the orchestra miffed about having a soloist who is, perhaps, not of them? Was the conductor heading towards his Wit’s end?

Perhaps this would not be so apparent nor so important except that this lack of togetherness had dissipated by the second half. Shostakovich brought about a sharp contrast - and what a contrast.

The orchestra, who appeared to be just going through the routine twenty minutes earlier, were now alive and picking up the Symphony No 5 and hurling it at the audience. This work is fascinating to listen to and to watch. The violins leading the cellos, the cellos forcing themselves back to the fore, the brass wading in heavily, triumphantly and the quieter passages generally leading us into a false sense of security before the next forceful blow.

Visually the anticipation is heightened with the bows of the cellos and double basses preparing themselves, the viewer not knowing if this is for a heavy barrage or a feathering, the result delightful whichever happens. This is a piece of extremes with riots of colour fading to black and back to colour again, textures slipping away prior to re-forming, re-crumpling before our eyes and ears.

So, why the change? It is not possible to state, only to surmise. Wit is a champion of contemporary music, the Little Suite by Lutolawski giving an early demonstration how exciting this orchestra can be. It is a shame that the Bruch stands out for the wrong reasons – and possibly why it was not the final piece – but let us rejoice for the opportunity to hear the Shostakovich in all its glory.

By Richard Hollingum - Senior Lecturer in Radio at the University of Northampton

last updated: 06/03/2008 at 09:55
created: 06/03/2008

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