GWO in Europe 2010 – Days 3 & 4, Poland

Posted on January 26th, 2010 by

Sala Koncertowa, Wroclaw, Poland

Sala Koncertowa, Wroclaw, Poland

As Day Three dawns, the Gustavus Wind Orchestra’s early wake-up call announces the day for departure from Prague and the Czech Republic and the journey into Poland. Along the way we stop for a visit to Hradec Kralove, considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in Bohemia. Following a city tour and lunch, we leave the Czech Republic behind us.

Our next stop is in Wroclaw, a city known as the Venice of Poland and the City of Islands because of the intricate system of rivers, streams and canals around and throughout the city. Located on the Odra River, Wroclaw has been a center of commerce for this region since the 3rd Century BC. Its location on the river and the rich deposits of amber helped develop the city as the commerce center of lower Silesia – commerce strong enough to allow it admission to the Hanseatic League even though it is not a port on the Baltic. Like much of central Europe, at various times the region has been under the rule of the Monguls, the Czechs, the Germans (who named the city Breslau), the Hapsburgs and Prussians, and a short time of independence before 1939 and Nazi Germany’s invasion. The city’s architecture, culture, art and customs reflect this history as a pawn of the largest or strongest of its neighbors or the whim of an advantageous power marriage.

As the day ends, we enjoy a restful evening and the rich night life of the Venice of Poland.

Day Four opens with a better look at the City of Islands and it’s renowned University. As we tour the

city, we notice posters on kiosks located around the city. Excitement for the concert grows with each

Radio Poland's Concert Posters, Wroclaw

Radio Poland's Concert Posters, Wroclaw

sighting. The performance is sponsored by Radio Poland and is performed in its Sala Koncertowa im Jana Koczmarka. The translation is a bit vague but it could well mean “concert hall with great acoustics” as noted by bass trombonist, Ben Wolf. “It’s great to hear the woodwinds. From my seat in the back row, that’s not always the case.”

An enthusiastic audience greets the wind orchestra as it returns to the stage for the performance. They are particularly enthusiastic about Philip Sparke’s DANCE MOVEMENTS and Michael Kamen’s ROBIN HOOD, “PRINCE OF THIEVES.” (excerpt from ROBIN HOOD) The mood turns quickly somber with the opening trumpet solo by Karl Boettcher of Eric Ewazen’s HYMN FOR THE LOST AND THE LIVING, dedicated to all those affected by the events of September 11, 2001. Professor/Organist David Fienen adds his talents to the performance in a solo work and joins the ensemble for the concert finale of THE GREAT GATE OF KIEV by Modest Mussorgsky.

With Concert Two in the books, the GWO returns to the hotel, pleased with its gift to a city so gifted with art and culture. Across the street from the hotel is the city square where Christmas lights still brighten the nightscape of the city, still celebrating on this wintry night in January.

 

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