Driven to Beauty
The official promotion of the Olympic Symphony record, composed by Marek Sewen in memory of the tragically deceased POC President Piotr Nurowski, took place on March 3rd at the John Paul II Olympic Center.
Among those attending the meeting were: Piotr Nurowski's wife Elżbieta Nurowska, his daughters Joanna Perłowska and Justyna Muszyńska, brother Marcin Nurowski as well as granddaughter Amelia Perłowska. Also present were composer Marek Sewen and the Art Director of the Polish Radio Orchestra Łukasz Borowicz, who conducted the orchestra during the recording. It took place between 7 and 10 January 2014 at the Witold Lutosławski Polish Radio Concert Studio. It was the first performance of the symphony score.
The POC President, Andrzej Kraśnicki, greeted President Nurowski's family and all attending guests. Other guests included Andrzej Siezieniewski, President of the Polish Radio and POC media patron, Bogna Kowalska, Deputy Head of the Polish Radio Orchestra, Dr. Iwona Grys, author of publications about Olympic music, Adam Krzesiński, POC Secretary General, Olympians, friends of President Piotr Nurowski as well as music lovers.
Henryk Urbaś, who led the event, recalled the traditions of Olympic music, links between music and sport as well as Olympic Art Competitions. He emphasized the Polish Olympic Committee's 95-year-long support for artists in the widely understood area of cultural activities. It was enough to recall only three names: Zbigniew Turski, Michał Spisak and Krzysztof Penderecki, names of those who created the Polish Olympic legacy, to show that Marek Sewen's Olympic Symphony, under the baton of Łukasz Borowicz, would find its well-deserved place among the pantheon of renowned Polish musical compositions.
Composer Marek Sewen told how Piotr Nurowski inspired him to write the musical work before the Olympics in Beijing in 2008, about the difficulties of creation, about musical motives and certain events connected to the score; its manuscript is currently kept at the Olympic Library in Lausanne.
“Eventually came the time to write the musical notation down, to present how the music sounds. The tragedy [of President Nurowski's death] postponed such possibility. Then happened a very pleasant situation, when I met Ms. Joanna Perłowska at the Music Academy. She engaged herself in the project to such an extent that today we can hear how the symphony sounds. Thanks to the POC President, Andrzej Kraśnicki, POC Secretary General Adam Krzesiński as well as President of the Polish Radio, Andrzej Siezieniewski, the symphony was recorded very quickly,” he recalled. The composer also thanked the conductor, who “is the creator of the work's vivid form. This music came to life thanks to him. I enjoyed it very much.” The orchestra, which cordially welcomed Marek Sewen and the magnificent music work, passed its thanks through the hands of Łukasz Borowicz.
Borowicz and Sewen shared interesting facts about their composer - conductor cooperation, talking extensively about the symphony's Olympic motives and the circumstances of the work's first performance. Łukasz Borowicz summed up the discussion with the following words: “work connected with the creation of music is the same as an athlete's path towards victory; it involves overcoming adversities of the body or possibilities of a musical instrument.” The conductor prepared himself to the recording for a very long time “like an athlete to competitions,” as he spoke about himself. “What is most beautiful, both in sport and music, is the search for refinement and perfection, impossible to describe with words or definition, yet, possible to express through a work of art.”
President Piotr Nurowski indomitably advocated for the re-introduction of Olympic Art Competitions into the program of the Olympic Games, participation of artists in sport life. He showed respect towards the athletes and coaches, often repeating that “it is they who do sport, they are at its heart and it is they who the POC is supposed to serve.” The second part of the four-part Olympic Symphony, describes the life and personality of Piotr Nurowski. “It begins energetically, dynamically, which resembles youth, then the pace calms and slows, with a dynamic fragment in the middle, symbolizing a creative and rich life, which in the end frees an extended final phrase.”
Ms. Joanna Perłowska, daughter of President Piotr Nurowski, after overcoming heavy emotions, thanked Marek Sewen “for the way in which he appreciated Dad.” She described the circumstances which helped to record the album, expressed gratitude towards the Polish Radio, the Polish Olympic Committee and Łukasz Borowicz who wonderfully conducted the orchestra. “People pass away, but memory about them will last forever, just like the music we heard and which has gathered us here today. Thank you very much”, concluded Perłowska.
Symfonia olimpijska / Olympic Symphony Opus 37 - download the CD booklet (2 MB)
Phot.: Szymon Sikora
Translation: Piotr H. Kowalski, phkowalski (at) pkol.pl