Many music lovers associate the last weekend in September with classical music – mainly because of the Polish edition of the La Folle Journée Festival which takes place in Warsaw at that time. During the sixth edition audiences had an opportunity to attend 60 concerts performed by nearly 950 artists.
In line with the main theme of La Folle Journée 2015 – “Passions of the Heart and Soul”, artists from various parts of the world presented their greatest musical passions to the audience – related to human passions, and to profound religious experiences. The sacred dimensions of music were shown, among others, in the concert of the Vox Clamantis ensemble from Estonia, which performed Arvo Pärt’s St. John Passion. The audience were also deeply moved by the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra’s Sunday performance of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki’s Symphony No.3 – the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs.
“Passions of the Heart” appeared, among others, in a recital of opera arias by Norwegian soprano Marita Sølberg and in the concert by Lucas Geniušas, 2nd prize winner of the 16th Chopin Competition. The pianist played the romantic notes of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.4 Op. 58 in G major.
Musical passions were also displayed at the Festival by world-class ensembles, including the Polish early music ensemble Arte dei Suonatori, the Czech Hába Quartett, the French Quatuor Modigliani and the German Spark – the Classical Band. The real star of this festival, however, was Richard Galliano and his Sextet. The French accordion virtuoso of Italian origin performed three times. The ensemble played a varied repertoire, from works by masters of the Baroque – Bach and Vivaldi to the hot rhythms of the tango. A dance-like atmosphere also permeated the recital by guitarist Krzysztof Meisinger who played music by Astor Piazzolla together with the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra. The concert was frantically applauded and the artists were rewarded with a standing ovation!
The variety of the Festival programme let everyone find something for themselves. The Festival audience represented a full age spectrum – from babies and small children to seniors. La Folle Journée also attracted many young people who do not attend classical music concerts all that often. Enthusiastic comments appeared on the Facebook fan page: “Thank you, this was an unforgettable experience:))) I love you for La Folle Journée”. The Festival and related events have attracted an enormous number of listeners – it was attended by approximately 40 000 persons. Many concerts were sold out completely, with many more people walking away empty-handed.
As in previous editions, an important role was played by the Festival’s educational and promotional aspects. Many events were intended for parents with children. These included Smykofonia [Toddler Philharmonic] concerts with Marcin Masecki, Soundercise for Mommy, Daddy and Bouncing Baby, Symfollies with live music and the Guide to the Orchestra performed by the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra accompanied by an ensemble of dancers.
Meetings with “My Master” were a novelty of this year’s festival. These involved artists performing at the festival, as well as its organisers: Richard Galliano, René Martin, Jacek Kaspszyk and also Janusz Marynowski – director of Sinfonia Varsovia. The discussions were broadcast live on a YouTube channel, so listeners could join in without leaving their homes.
Despite the autumn weather, the atmosphere at the Festival was quite hot. Music was played in four spaces of the National Opera simultaneously, and also in the Festival tent set up outside in the Teatralny Square, featuring mainly young performers. “Thank you for a wonderful festival – children and adults. One of the greatest weekends of the year. We’re waiting for the next one.” – this is how the Festival was summed up by the audience on Facebook.
“Contact with the arts leads to an incredible experience. We are happy that you have joined us this year and would like to invite you now to our next, seventh edition of La Folle Journée!” – says Janusz Marynowski, Director of the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra. The Festival has been scheduled for 23–25 September 2016. Its theme will be “Nature”.