Respected Ladies and Gentlemen,
Duszniki is a place often associated with the Chopin Festival and his piano music. The Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy International Chamber Music Festival will bring out the music of a different renowned composer – the composer whose time in this region has never been mentioned enough.
In historical sources we can find information that Felix Mendelssohn stayed in Duszniki many times, starting in 1823. His uncles ran ironworks in the Ironworks Valley for 32 years (which is nowadays called Strążyska Valley). Young Felix played with a local orchestra, composed, and rested there.
Guides and history experts state that it is the charms of the Strążyska Valley and Duszniki-Zdrój, which was at that time called Bad Reinerz, that inspired Mendelssohn to compose the concert overture to William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, and that the stay at what is today called the Wilnianka holiday resort apparently inspired him to compose "Wer hat dich, du schöner Wald".
Felix Mendelssohn’s connections with Duszniki and his stay in Lower Silesia will also be the subject of lectures presented by experts in the history of the Kłodzko region and works by composers who worked in Lower Silesia. These lectures will accompany festival concerts and will be celebrated with song recitals.
This year’s festival will be inaugurated by a concert at Frédéric Chopin Manor. In the program you will hear Piano Sextet by Felix Mendelssohn. This youthful composition was only published after the artist’s death. We hope that the restoration of this piece to public awareness thanks to an international group of musicians will provide an unforgettable artistic experience. The second work will be Piano Quartet in G Minor by Johannes Brahms, well-known to any chamber music connoisseur.
Following Mendelssohn’s trail further on, we want to present music by Johann Sebastian Bach, as the main inspiration in the education and creative process of our festival hero. It is commonly believed that it is thanks to Mendelssohn that St Matthew Passion re-entered the music stage. The program of the concert will consist mainly of pieces composed by the Leipzig cantor, and the performers will fill the space of the baroque Saints Peter and Paul Church with music, playing on historical instruments.
The next day, at the headquarters of the Foundation of the International Chopin Festival there will be a concert during which we will hear Sonata in D major for piano and cello op. 58 by Felix Mendelssohn and Piano Trio op. 17 by Clara Schumann. By performing these pieces on original instruments from the middle of the 19th century, we want to revive the proper sound color of these pieces, which will allow you to feel the creative aura of the composer and his epoque to a greater extent. It also creates new perspectives on this music.
The Jazz Concert that will take place on the premises of the “Wilnianka” holiday resort, will allow the audience to directly admire the nature that surrounds the whole valley. The building was erected around 1820 for the owners of a factory that cast metal products – the Mendelssohn brothers, and it has remained largely unchanged. It is exactly where young Felix Mendelssohn stayed on his visits from 1823. Presently it is one of the buildings of the “Stalowy Zdrój” center for physical therapy and holidays. In the nearby colonnade the artists will present their original program consisting of improvisations based on the composer’s pieces.
In the final concert of the 6th Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy International Chamber Music Festival you will hear Piano Quintet by Juliusz Zarębski and another outstanding masterpiece by the 25-year-old Felix – String Octet op. 20.
We hope that all of our preparations – both on the organizational and the artistic level – will encourage you to actively participate in the festival. We warmly invite local inhabitants and visitors to the town to all the festival events.
See you in Duszniki!
Artistic Director of the Festival
“Bridges of Culture” Association of Artistic Initiatives