75th Anniversary Recital & Supper

On Friday 17th there will very special music Recital, performed by a quintet formed especially for the occasion by established musician Michał Cwizewicz. Not only is this recital being performed by outstanding musicians but it will feature the World Premiere of a piece composed specially for our Club, "String Quartet for Ognisko". The programme will be an exploration of some of the most extraordinary chamber repertoire, inspired by the turbulent times into which Ognisko Polskie, the Polish Hearth, was born. This is a must for all music lovers. After the Recital there will then be the chance to enjoy a delightful supper in the Restaurant.

The Cwizewicz Chamber Ensemble's Gala Concert for Ognisko's 75th Anniversary will be an exploration of some of the most extraordinary chamber repertoire, inspired by the turbulent times into which Ognisko Polskie, the Polish Hearth, was born. Opening with the introspective and melancholy Violin Sonata in E minor, Op. 82 by Edward Elgar (1857-1934) a work completed just weeks before the cessation of the most brutal war humanity had endured.  Not only did this conflict fundamentally change the fabric of British Victorian society with which the composer's music is synonymous, it also led to Poland regaining sovereignty after 123 years of partition, important for Elgar who just three years earlier had written and conducted the Symphonic Prelude Polonia for the Polish Victims' Relief Fund. The Sonata was one of four works, including the famous Cello Concerto, written at the country house "Brinkwells” in 1918-19 during Elgar’s last major creative spurt before his death in 1934.

Following from the very English sound-world of Elgar, a work by Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991), one of Poland’s pre-eminent composers of the 20th century, who like so many members of the Ognisko Club spent much of his life living in London.   His Piano Trio, Op. 1 was written in 1934 when the 19-year had decided to try his hand at the complex musical forms but ended up producing a beautifully concise work, brimming with panache and temperament and already the clear and rich voice of the gifted composer. With the manuscript of the Trio destroyed during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, Panufnik reconstructed the work ten years later, the same year that he emigrated to the UK.


After many years of acclaimed research into the distinct music of the Podhale region in Poland, the Błyskawica (Lightning) for String Quartet marks a return to composition for Krzysztof Cwizewicz. The youngest work in this performance and commissioned especially for this Gala, it is also the one which will transport us furthest back into Polish history. Folk dances evolved over centuries are juxtaposed with the medieval and oldest-known Polish hymn, the Bogurodzica (Mother of God), and one which was sung before the Battle of Grunwald. Alongside  the quasi-minimalistic influence of Górecki and bare intervals of medieval chant, there is also the clear mark of the ethnomusicologist-composer, who reaches as far as the Javanese Gamelan’s Imbal technique to develop the Polish dances into a frenetic interlocking texture of virtuosity for the entire quartet.

The grand finale of the recital will see all strings and piano combine to perform the romantic and epic Piano Quintet Op. 34 by Juliusz Zarebski (1854-85). Arguably, one of the greatest romantic chamber works to emerge from Poland, it is dedicated to Franz Liszt, Zarębski’s teacher and friend. Hailed as “devilishly talented as both pianist and composer” by Alexander Borodin, the Quintet marks the coming of age of a young composer who, succumbing to tuberculosis, would die soon after the work’s completion. The Quintet is full of glorious passion, formal invention and virtuosity, whilst its emotional ardour and sincerity is that of a man who was well aware that this work would be his last. The quintet was championed and recorded by the Warsaw Quintet - their pianist was Władysław Szpilman, star of 1930s Polish Radio and survivor of the Warsaw Uprising and the Holocaust.

Date: 17 July 2015

Time: 7 p.m. for the Recital & 8:45 p.m for the supper

Member Ticket Price: £10 for the Recital & £30 for the supper

Non-member Ticket Price: £10 for the Recital & £35 for the supper

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