MAREK SEWEN (b.1930): Symphony Wielkopolska 1918 for Men’s and Boys’ Choir and Orchestra, Op. 43, 8 Songs of the Wielkopolska Uprising for Choir (Poznan Chamber Choir).
Catalogue Number: 07V050
Description: Sewen's Wielkopolska Symphony was commissioned to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the Wielkopolska Uprising. The symphony is in four movements, and is tonal in the mid-20th century manner, with a touch of the film score about it (the composer did in fact work for a while in Hollywood). The first movement depicts the confrontation itself, in martial battle music which may recall Shostakovich's 7th, 11th and especially (for reasons beyond the chronological propinquity of the events commemorated) 12th symphonies. After an ominous ticking introduction, the second movement emerges as a funeral cortege, doleful and grandly ceremonial, with allusions to Chopin's most famous of all Polish funeral marches. The 'scherzo' is a brisk triumphal march, depicting the victory of the insurgency, and the choral finale is based on the fiery speech that Paderewski gave in Poznań, that directly preceded the uprising (unfortunately the text is not provided). It begins with an introduction in the celebratory mood of the scherzo, followed by the impressive choral section, ending the work in a mood of defiant optimism. The choral works are modern transcriptions - respectful but harmonically and texturally ingenious - of songs from the time of the uprising, notably including several by Nowowiejski, who settled in the region and wrote pieces with the express intent of commemorating the uprising. No texts. The Poznań Nightingales, Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra; Łukasz Borowicz.