sezon 2002/2003

During the 2002-2003 academic year, the AMU Chamber Choir produced two monumental events; the performance of Johann Sebastian Bach's "St. John Passion," and the Sixth Annual International Festival of University Choirs, know as "Universitas Cantat 2003." Our organization was responsible for organizing and performing in both events and was considered a testament to the strong tradition of choral music the AMU Chamber Choir has promoted since its inception.

After having performed J.S. Bach's "St. Mathew's Passion" twice in previous years, this year we were fortunate to turn to his second great masterpiece, "St. John's Passion." A portion of preparations for the performance took place during vocal workshops in the Cloister of the Holiest Family's Missionaires in Kazimierz Biskupi. The workshops, coinciding with the atmosphere and inward reflection of the season of Lent, helped to heighten our musical and spiritual awareness further enabling us to perform two very successful concerts. During both concerts the Chamber Choir was accompanied by the Chamber Orchestra of the Academy of Music in Poznań under the direction of Marcin Sompoliński.

Announced as a first in a series, a new and exceptionally interesting "speaking concert (lecture concert)" took place on April 8th in the AMU Concert Hall. This is a new form of educational concert in Poland directed mainly to students.

The concert was conceived and hosted by Marcin Sompoliński and Władysław Gnat, a musicologist specializing in Bach's works. Their objective was to present the life and works of the brillant composer of polyphonic forms, to demonstrate where he derived inspiration, to show how fragments of his own as well as other composers' works, eventually in a modified form, were turning into parts of "St. John's Passion". They also illustrated the examples of adapted motifs performed by the AMU Chamber Choir, apart from fragments of Bach's piece, also as well as a fragment of Passion by Ritter. Knowing that contemporary concert-goers, just like we all do, pay much attention to visual images, several short films were integrated by the presenters to illustrate their points of discussion. In a couple of scenes from a TV Theatre play we could watch the composer in his own person!

The other concert, on April 14th, during which we performed "St. John's Passion", was a part of "Holy Week's Concerts" series, and was held in the Franciscan church on St. Przemysław's Hill in Poznań.

Meanwhile, our performance during the opening concert of the International Festival of University Choirs "Universitas Cantat 2003" proved our versatility as a choir. This time we performed as a "show choir". Alone, our entrance at the stage could evoke a slight consternation among the quite conservative audience. It is not often that we see a choir, which perfoms in sunglasses, with combed back manes and thereto higgedly-piggedly, coming out on stage. However this was not the end of surprises: the performed piece - "Biografioły" (Clerihews) by Krzesimir Dębski with lyrics by Stanisław Barańczak, gave expression to the contemporary contestation of great historical figures. The viewers could see a parade of Brezhnev, Byron, Dostoyevski, Goethe, Hammurabi, Hannibal, Homer, Cartois - it all summed up by a rap version of Shakespeare's works.

Yet it would be wrong to suppose, that the hard work during preparations for this year's edition of "Universitas Cantat" was a reason to distract us from our traditional artistic activity. As always, at the beginning of May we perform our traditional Spring Concert in the AMU Concert Hall. Apart from a refined version of "Biografioły". we also performed other contemporary pieces: "Himne" by a South African composer Roelof Temmingh, and "Villarosa sarialdi" by Thomas Jennefelt.

We closed the artist season of 2002/2003 only on the last days of June. We could be heard on June 2nd during 2 major ceremonies. Participation in the first one was a natural result of the fact, that we are a university choir - we provided a musical setting during the grand opening of Collegium Europeanum Gnesnense in Gniezno, one of the most modern AMU external departments. Due to the fact, that this ceremony took place one day before the European referrendum, it had a significant meaning, therefore the President of the Republic of Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski was invited. On the same day, we sang in the AMU Concert Hall, giving proof to our interest in important affairs of our city. During our concert the results of the competition for the design of the Poznań Royal Castle were announced. This time we performed pieces by "Kabaret Starszych Panów" with a comment by Magda Umer.

On June 17th in Warsaw, we performed Puccini's "Messa di Gloria" alongside with the Gdańsk University Choir and Sinfonia Varsovia.

A very important event for us, in a way a summary of the whole artistic season of 2002/2003, was the release of our another CD "Songs for you and me". The CD shows a vast variety of our repertoire: from Morley's madrigals, through impressionistic "Autumn landscapes" by Estonian composer Veljo Tormis, to pieces by Polish contemporary composers.

(by Mateusz Stróżyński)

Audition for a Choir

Joanna Piech-Sławecka - conductor's assistant
tel. 604 525 554; 
e-mail: jps(@)amu.edu.pl

Rehearsals Dom Studencki Hanka
Tuesdays: 6.00 pm - 8.00 pm (women), 8.00 - 10.00 pm (men)
Thursdays: 7.30 pm - 9.30 pm (together)

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