Tribute to John Paul II

Sacred music will sound again in Czestochowa

'Gaude Mater' 15th International Festival of Sacred Music will be held in Czestochowa on 1-6 May 2005. We talked to Malgorzata Zuzanna Nowak, director of the Festival, about the main trends and concerts of this year's festival, in our previous issue of 'Niedziela'. Today we continue our conversation about concerts and initiatives, which annually accompany the Festival, and also about these forms, which will make this 15th edition unique.

Margita Kotas: - 'Gaude Mater' International Festival of Sacred Music has been accompanied by 'Musica Sacra' Young Composers' Contest for ten years. In what ways will this Festival differ from the last ones?

Malgorzata Nowak: - We have decided to open ourselves to the world, commencing with this year's festival. The promotion of Polish music and composers was a very valuable initiative of this contest but we have reached the conclusion that ten editions directed only to Polish composers is enough and now we should have a much wider look. There have been many international inquiries about the contest and it has been made evident that young composers from various countries are willing to take part in this contest. We have decided to make an international test edition. It turned out that there was a big interest in this contest in the world and 48 works from 17 countries were sent. We appointed an international jury of composers and choir masters to evaluate these works. The contest requirement was to compose a piece a capella to a Latin religious text for a mixed choir. The winner was a Polish composer, which makes us very happy, the second award was given to an Australian and the third to a German. Instead of an honourable mention the jury granted the fourth award, which fell to a Polish woman.

- For several years ardent fans of 'Gaude Mater' have got used to non musical events that have accompanied the Festival...

- It is true. This formula has continued for many years and it has enriched the musical side of the Festival, at the same time being its integral part. This year we are not going to see a performance of Leszek Madzik, which has accompanied the Festival for many years because all his performances have already been presented. We will see Madzik in a slightly different form. We have organized an exhibition of the costumes and elements of scenography of his spectacles. It will be open till 15 May in the Exhibition Pavilion in Staszic Park in Czestochowa. We have put on an exhibition of paintings by Werner Lubos in the 'Gaude Mater' Centre of Culture Promotion at 1 Dabrowskiego Street, and an exhibition of photographs by Arkadiusz Gepchard will accompany the concert in the Evangelical-Augsburg Church on 3 May.
Theatre has been present at the Festival for many years. This year we will stage a plenary performance, together with the A. Mickiewicz Theatre in Czestochowa; its actors will take part in the performance. Henryk Adamek will direct 'Auto Sakramentale' by Pedro Calderon de la Barca and we invite everybody for the performance at 9.30 p.m. at Jasnogorski Wieczernik, which has been rarely used for cultural meetings so far.

- During the Festival there is an academic seminar every year, in which first of all professional musicians take part, but perhaps - what I can see - there are more and more sophisticated music lovers or people who are concerned themselves with the condition of sacred and liturgical music. Could you briefly introduce this year's seminar.

- This year we have organized the seminar ourselves, without the help of the National Cultural Centre. We wanted to show three festival trends during this seminar. The first one will be a meeting with Polish composers - a panel discussion about Polish sacred music. The second one will be synagogal music. We take the occasion of Bezion Miller's visit. The third trend will be a series of lectures on the 300th anniversary of the birth of Fr Eryk Brikner, composer of the Czestochowa monastery, whose numerous compositions have been preserved in the Jasna Gora sanctuary.

- In the last issue we signalled that the programme of the Festival would include three important anniversaries, you mentioned one a moment ago. Please remind us of the events included in the programme of 'Gaude Mater'.

- The programme of the Festival has included the 350th anniversary of the miraculous defence of Jasna Gora, which was not only important to Czestochowa but also to the whole of Poland. The compositions to be performed in the concert entitled 'Polish Music" on 5 May refer to this anniversary. All these works have been written on this special occasion. They may not refer directly to the very historical event but have been inspired by the Marian theme or connected with the person of Mary or the victory itself.
Apart from this anniversary we will celebrate what I have already mentioned - the 300th anniversary of the birth of Fr Eryk Brikner, composer of the Czestochowa monastery, both the academic seminar and the concert of 4 May entitled 'Music from the Jasna Gora collection' will be dedicated to Brikner.
Another important anniversary is the 100th anniversary of St Faustina's birth. Here we will have another Polish premiere performance of the Mystery of God's Mercy: 'Jesus, I trust in you' by Romuald Twardowski, on 2 May.

- Thank you very much for your interview and I wish you a successful jubilee 15th Festival.

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: