The title of the cycle of four avant-garde prayers by Georgian composer Giya Kancheli Life without Christmas provides the theme for the Nostalgia Festival, which begins on 23 November. Giya Kancheli will be a guest of the festival.
The festival will be opened by pianist and composer ‘Pianohooligan’ Piotr Orzechowski, who for the first time, will perform in one evening all the pieces from the album 24 Preludes and Improvisations.
On the last day of Nostalgia, we would like to invite you to the premiere performance of carols in Arabic from the album Taratil 'id al-milad by pianist and composer Marcin Masecki and opera singer Barbara Kinga Majewska.
Admission to all the festival events is free.
As director of Nostalgia Festival Poznań Michał Merczyński emphasizes, this year's programme combines the music of outstanding artists with meetings, reading the Bible, an album premiere and eating together.
Yes, the title of the festival ‘Life without Christmas’ is perverse, but it does not ask for Christmas not to happen. Rather, like the title of Kancheli's cycle of prayers, it reflects a certain state of mind, says Michał Merczyński.
The highlight of the Nostalgia Festival programme will be the performance of Giya Kancheli’s four-prayer cycle Life without Christmas, scheduled for 24 November. It will be performed by Orkiestra Collegium F conducted by Marcin Sompoliński. The Georgian composer divided the cycle into four parts: Morning Prayers, Midday Prayers, Evening Prayers and Midnight Prayers.
Regarding the name of the cycle, I would not want Christmas to be interpreted literally as the birth of Christ. I would rather see it as an expectation of change, an expectation of joy, of a feast that has not happened yet. I do understand that religion and faith are a great blessing. At the same time, I know perfectly well that whenever elements of fundamentalism appear within them, they become a great evil, says Giya Kanheli of Life without Christmas.
For the first time in Poland, all the individual pieces of the cycle will be performed as a whole at the times of day to which the composer assigned them. The whole concert will last from 8 a.m. until midnight.
The intervals between the subsequent parts of the cycle will feature meetings with Rev. Wacław Oszajca SJ and Rev. Tomasz Dostatni OP, a reading of the Audio Bible by Jerzy Trela and Miłosz Reczek, based on the concept by Krzysztof Czeczot, in addition to screenings of a documentary about Giya Kancheli by Mariusz Grzegorzek and The Emigrants by Syrian director Mohamad Abdulaziz.
We would like our guests’ and listeners’ conversations in an informal atmosphere to be an important part of the concert. Hence, we would like to invite you to Galeria u Jezuitów to eat together: a simple breakfast, lunch and supper. In these settings, we can be a community. My dream is that all of us switch off our mobile phones on that day, adds Michał Merczyński.
During Piotr Orzechowski’s concert, scheduled for 23 November, the ‘Pianohooligan’ will present a series of pieces whose form is a reference to Johann Sebastian Bach’s 24 preludes and fugues, and which are inspired by free jazz, popular songs and folklore.
On Sunday, 25 November, we invite you to a concert by composer, pianist and improviser Marcin Masecki and opera singer Barbara Kinga Majewska, who will perform an original interpretation of Polish and European carols in Arabic. The concert will be the premiere of the album Taratil ‘id al-milad released on Bołt Records and coproduced by the Malta Foundation.
What the works that we will hear during the Nostalgia this year have in common is the fact that their form and content goes beyond cultural limits and barriers, carrying a message of tolerance. Moreover, all the artists have contributed to our festival for years, says Michał Merczyński.
The festival will end on Sunday with a common song. At 9 p.m. at the Malta Foundation premises, we will bring back the popular Café-chantant, where with the accompaniment of the piano, we will present the most beautiful Polish songs. The music and selection of lyrics will be provided by the festival artists, similarly to last year when Paweł Mykietyn and Mariusz Wilczyński sang various songs, including Czesław Niemen's Jednego serca.
The festival will also feature a workshop entitled Krytyka w praktyce (Criticism in practice) delivered with the Meakultura Foundation. The workshop is intended mainly for students of music and humanities. It will conclude with a review of the festival events published in the Meakultura.pl magazine. Recruitment details can be found on http://www.nostalgiafestival.pl/.
Free admission passes will be available for the concerts and the Café-chantant. The first pool will be available from 9 November at the City Information Centre (Centrum Informacji Miejskiej, 44 Ratajczaka Street) in Poznań. The second pool will be available from 19 November. People from outside Poznań can book passes by writing an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The festival name and concept were inspired by Andrei Tarkovsky’s film of 1983, Nostalghia. Both are a reference to nostalgia and hope. From the very beginning, we have been creating this unique atmosphere with the ECM record label and its founder, Manfred Eicher.
The ten previous editions of Nostalgia Festival Poznań have featured numerous artists, including Tigran Mansurian, Kim Kashkashian, Robyn Schulkovsky, Anja Lechner, Eleni Karaindrou, and Valentin Silvestrov, The Hilliard Ensemble, Holger Lampson, Alan Newcombe, Simon Jaunin, Agata Zubel, and Marcin Masecki, as well as Erkki-Sven Tuur, Helena Tulve, The Gurdjieff Folk Instruments Ensemble, Endrik Üksvärav and the Tarkovsky Quartet.
The organiser of the festival is the Malta Foundation.