04. 11. 2024
19:00 p.m.
Kino Vesmír
from 250 CZK

K1 Polish chamber music

A passionate interest in Polish contemporary music, led by Penderecki and Szymanowski, is a characteristic feature of the Airis String Quartet from Krakow, Poland. In the Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy String Octet, the Airis String Quartet will expand to include additional musicians from the JPO.


Karol Szymanowski
String Quartet No. 1 Op. 37

Krzysztof Penderecki
String Quartet No. 3 “Leaves of an Unwritten Diary”

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
String Octet in E flat major, Op. 20

Krzysztof Penderecki
Agnus Dei from Polish Requiem (arranged for string octet)


Airis String Quartet:
Aleksandra Czajor-Kowalska – first violin
Grażyna Zubik – second violin
Malwina Tkaczyk – viola
Mateusz Mańka – cello

Moravian-Silesian String Octet:
Jakub Kowalski – first violin
Aleksandra Czajor-Kowalska – second violin
Grażyna Zubik – third violin
Petr Grabovský – fourth violin
Malwina Tkaczyk – first viola
Dominik Cvek – second viola
Mateusz Mańka – cello
Martin Raška – double bass


The first string quartet by Karol Szymanowski, this most prominent representative of Polish music in the first half of the 20th century, was written in 1917. The composition of the quartet was interrupted by the outbreak of the Russian Revolution, so that the premiere could only take place in Warsaw in 1924. The work balances between impressionistic colour effects and the newfound inspiration by Transcarpathian musical folklore.

Kryzstof Penderecki is considered one of the key representatives of the musical avant-garde of the second half of the 20th century. The subtitle of the Third String Quartet “Letters from an Unwritten Diary” refers to the autobiographical subtext of the work. References to Penderecki’s early and late music appear in the quartet, and the melody of an East Galician folk carol, which the composer heard from his father as a child, is particularly striking at the end.

Although the String Octet is Mendelssohn’s early work – he wrote it in 1825 at the age of 16 – it is one of the masterpieces of chamber music. This virtuosic, almost orchestral composition surprises with its innovative instrumentation and instrumental conception. The concert closes with Penderecki’s arrangement of Agnus Dei from the Polish Requiem. The monumental vocal-orchestral Requiem from the 1980s commemorates the heroes and victims of Polish history. Penderecki dedicated Agnus Dei to the memory of his friend, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński.