String and Jazz Chamber Concerto

2nd October (Wednesday), 7 pm - Great Hall of the Artus Court
“Strings and Jazz” – chamber concerto
Tickets: 30/25 (BUY TICKET)

Atom String Quartet:
Dawid Lubowicz – violin
Mateusz Smoczyński – violin
Michał Zaborski – viola
Krzysztof Lenczowski – cello

Medium - Dawid Lubowicz

Namysłowiak - Krzysztof Lenczowski

Ad Libitum 2 - Krzysztof Lenczowski

Happy - Mateusz Smoczyński

Aria - Krzysztof Penderecki

Miniatura III - Krzysztof Penderecki

Melody of prairie- Michał Zaborski 

Ballada o śmierci Janosika - Dawid Lubowicz

First Breath - Michał Zaborski

Quasimodo - Zbigniew Seifer

A concert commemorating the 40th anniversary of Zbigniew Seifert’s death

The ensemble Atom String Quartet have been guided by the idea of blending stylistic manners since their very inception. It is indeed with extraordinary imagination and original lightness that this classical string quartet experiments with classical and jazz music, weaving numerous threads of folklore, pop and rock music into their performances. This is how Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski sang their praises: ‘Four of the nicest musical thugs and their appropriately named ensemble’.

The Toruń concert, part of the Fifth International Karol Lipiński Violin Festival and Competition, is a musical tribute to Zbigniew Steifert. The programme of this event includes original compositions by the members of the ensemble. Some of them come from the double album entitled ‘AtomSphere’. The composition that is particularly strongly inspired by folklore is A Ballad on Janosik’s death by Dawid Lubowicz, a native of Zakopane, who has discovered jazz-like expressiveness in the folk melodies of Poland’s mountain regions. The main theme of Medium (a piece from Lubowicz’s album Inside), with its nearly impressionistic parts for the piano, also resounds with folklore ornaments. Ad Libitum II by Krzysztof Lenczowski is an heterogeneous collage composed of violin cantilenas and tremolo accompaniments of other string instruments. Michał Zaborski’s First Breath, with its classicising structure based on a mellow theme for the viola, is accompanied by the counterpoint parts of the violin that are punctuated by the pizzicato of the cello. The piece entitled Happy by Mateusz Smoczyński is permeated by life-giving energy, its swinging themes sparkling with diversity owing to the phenomenal solos of the members of the band. In addition, we will also be listening to the following compositions: Namysłowiak by Krzysztof Lenczowski (from the album Made in Poland) and Melody of the Praire by Michał Zaborski (from the Feeling Earth and Supernova albums).

The music of Zbigniew Steifert will feature prominently in the programme. As Rafał Garczyński wrote: ‘Zbigniew Seifert played a similar role for the jazz violin as Jaco Pastorius did for the bass guitar, Charlie Parker for the saxophone, Clifford Brown for the trumpet and Art Tatum for the piano. He was a virtuoso, which did not prevent him from being a great musician.’ Seifert is commonly viewed by jazz lovers as a virtuoso violinist. Little attention is paid to his compositions, which are as characteristic to his music as was his mastery of the instrument. This is only one of the reasons why Seifert’s Quasimodo will be played during this special concert. No less important is the fact that the versatile musicians of the Atom String Quartet, heirs to Seifert’s musical spirit, are not only outstanding instrumentalists but also composers.

The ‘classical material’ will include several pieces by Krzysztof Penderecki, filtered through the imagination of the Quartet’s musicians. Aria, one of Three pieces in old style composed for string orchestra in 1963, ‘flows slowly (lento) with mild modulations … the melody is gently accompanied by a discreet shadow of another.’ Both melodies evoke an elegiac mood, sometimes tragic, but, as is often the case with Bach’s music, the final chord gives a beacon of hope. The composition was part of the soundtrack to the widely renowned film directed by Jerzy Has, The Manuscript Found in Saragossa. Miniature, in its turn, marks the beginning of Krzysztof Penderecki’s explorations of new tonalities. The works were conceived as a musical equivalent of three poems by Jerzy Harasymowicz from the collection Genealogy of Instruments: Ocarina, Basolia, Violin. Penderecki’s compositions, however, do not illustrate them in a straightforward manner, but offer abstract and allusive references to poetic inspirations. Today, we will hear Miniature III with its lively dialogue of musical instruments.

Atom String Quartet is one of contemporary music’s most essential string quartets, regardless of genre.

Ian Patterson - All About Jazz

Atom String Quartet is one of the most intriguing string quartets in the world, and also one of best Polish jazz bands. The group combines the capabilities of a string quartet (i.e. two violins, viola and cello) with improvisation in its broad sense. The set of instruments of a chamber music ensemble, which is most classic and firmly established in music tradition, enables the artists to search for new sound and formal achievements. It is difficult to define, in an explicit way, the music style of the group. Its music output, besides jazz, shows sources of inspiration coming from Polish folk, music of various regions of the world, and also contemporary and classical music.