With Schubert's 5th Symphony, the eighth edition of Krzyżowa-Music faded away on 4 September in Kreisau, conducted from the first desk by Viviane Hagner. This year, 50 selected musicians from all over the world gathered around our artistic director to intensively study 45 masterpieces of chamber music and then perform them in 11 acclaimed concerts. The great classics were performed as well as many rediscoveries of rarely or almost never heard works. And contemporary music was also given a particularly large amount of space in actually every concert this year with a piece by our great Greek composer in residence, Konstantia Gourzi.
The power of music to unite across all linguistic and cultural boundaries was particularly sought after in this crisis- and war-torn year and was also found at Krzyżowa-Music, as we shared Kreisau with the guests from Ukraine who had found refuge there.
As it was still school holidays, their summer life and the hustle and bustle of their children and young people in particular took place largely on and around the central lawn, which gave Kreisau an almost cheerful and southern atmosphere despite its tragic background. After initially hesitant and shy contact, we were able to have a barbecue together with the Ukrainians; a children's concert arranged for them in the ballroom finally opened hearts, and every now and then the faces familiar from the campus were also to be found in our concerts.
The encounter with contemporary events was even more direct on 17 August at an open-air pre-concert in the grandiose market square of the Renaissance city of Zamość - with Ukrainian songs and Schubert's C major String Quintet. The German embassy had been given asylum there after the Russian attack on Kiev, and this concert was a gesture of thanks for their hospitality to the citizens of the city. In addition, it is planned that young people from Zamość will later meet in Kreisau for joint projects with young people from its German twin towns of Weimar and Schwäbisch Hall.
One hundred years ago, the Polish violinist Bronisław Huberman was not only the greatest virtuoso of his time, but also, together with Count Coudenhove-Kalerghi, an enormously committed champion of a united Europe and thus not without influence on the thinking of the Kreisau Circle - for there were indirect lines of connection to them as well. In our two symposia, the presentation of the personality of this exceptional musical figure and later founder of the Palestina Orchestra, together with lectures on music ostracised under National Socialism and our current aid campaign for Ukrainian musicians affected by the war, led to a joint reflection on how artistry and contemporary events are interdependent.
Through Krzyżowa-Music, Krzyżowa/Kreisau has become a real household name in the international classical music world and stands not only for its high artistic quality through the encounter character of the musicians with each other on the one hand, but also with the visitors admitted to all areas on the other hand, for an open community also in the cultural sector. And it was especially nice to observe this year that Polish visitors and the Polish music scene are increasingly turning to us and perceiving us as their own. So the initially still tender roots are growing stronger, even in the third year of the pandemic. In the frightening world situation, however, there is growing concern that education and culture will be hit particularly hard if savings have to be made. Since Krzyżowa-Music is almost exclusively supported by private commitment, we can only hope that we will continue to succeed in convincing our supporters.