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The world premiere of Roman Maciejewski's "Songs of Bilitis"

10.03.2010

The world premiere of Roman Maciejewski's Songs of Bilitis will take place in Poznan on 16th March. The solo part will be performed by Marzena Michałowska and she will be accompanied by the Poznan Philharmonic conducted by Marcin Sompoliński.

The world premiere of Roman Maciejewski’s Songs of Bilitis will take place in Poznan on 16th March. The solo part will be performed by Marzena Michałowska and she will be accompanied by the Poznan Philharmonic conducted by Marcin Sompoliński.

The Songs of Bilitis is a cycle of songs for soprano and symphony orchestra written by Maciejewski in 1935 as a new version of the piano version from 1932. Unfortunately the original version with piano has been lost and the version for orchestra was never finished by the composer and so it remained until 2001 when Sebastian Krajewski undertook this task. This is the version that will be presented on March 16th in Poznan.
 

The cycle consists of 3 parts: The Flute, The Tomb of Bilitis, Remembrances of Mnasidika. The author of the text is the French poet and writer Pierre Louÿs (1870-1925), and the author of the Polish translation - Leopold Staff. The composition lasts around 12 minutes. Louÿs’s poetry had already been set by Claude Debussy.
 

Bilitis is the name of an ancient Greek poet, a student of Sappho, the alleged author of a set of love songs ("Les Chansons de Bilitis"). The real author of this poetry was Pierre Louÿs who used literary fiction, to lend credibility to the alleged translation of the work. The heroine, a Greek courtesan, Bilitis, appears in three incarnations: first as a young shepherdess, going through her first experience of love with her boyfriend. Then, already in the wide world, on the island of Lesbos, powerful love, as much deeply sensual and subtly emotional, joins her in union with another beautiful girl. Finally, in the profession as a courtesan, insinuated though without a hint of vulgarity, every man is able to buy her.