16 September 2020

Death of Jan Krenz

The Polish conductor Jan Krenz died yesterday, 15 September, aged 94. I heard him on 19 October 1962 conducting the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Nottingham Albert Hall. The programme began with Michal Spisak’s Concerto Giocoso (1956), followed by Walk to the Paradise Garden (Delius), Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (Rakhmaninov – soloist Wladyslaw Kedra), and Tchaikowsky’s Fourth Symphony; all superbly played, and very exciting for a sixteen year old schoolboy only in his second season of serious classical concert-going. (Nearly sixty years later, I’ve never lost that initial excitement, I’m glad to say!) And a great occasion for Nottingham with its large Polish community, which turned out in force. (Many had served in the Polish Air Force during the War, based in Nottinghamshire, and had stayed on and married local girls.) Earlier in the year the Czech Philharmonic had come, conducted by Karel Ancerl, and the following February we were to hear the Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gyula Nemeth. I note from the programmes that all three concerts were promoted by the City of Nottingham Corporation, in association with Borsdorf and Company. Those were the days!

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