When the great number of patients started do visit Szczawnica, Józef Szalay organized music for his guests. The spa centre’s avenues were full of the sounds of light chamber music, the Highlanders bands took part in rafting. The contemporary, outstanding Szczawnica Chamber Choir tries to join both these traditions.Since the time when first cottage were built there, one could hear the singing, maybe the pagan one. The Ruthenian shepherds also sang their eastern songs. The Highlanders played horns and pipes, violins and bass viols. In the church, at home, on the cemetery you could hear double-voice singing.
When the valuable properties of the Springs were discovered and the patients arrived, many things changed. The founder of the spa resort, Józef Szalay, organized summer concerts in order to make the time in the resort nicer. Both in the rooms, where the guests gathered, and in the spa park one could hear light chamber music, and dance pieced in the evening. But when an important guest arrived, like Seweryn Goszczyński in 1872, patriotic songs were sung, accompanied by a piano. “Theatre, concerts, reunions, excursions, lotteries and tombola – these are the words you can hear when taking a walk”.
The gossip-like society of the spa resorts was criticized by authentic mountain tourists. But the musicians from town were brought there for them. The Highlanders bands accompanied the excursions, Dunajec Gorge rafting in particular. But the native inhabitants still sang their
In 1973 a team of musicologists from KUL arrived at Szczawnica and started to record the religious folk music. Several dozens of various songs were recorded. After many years they were used by the Szczawica choir in quite a modern way…
Szczawnica Chamber Choir was established in 2006. Recruiting amateurs and led by the professional conductor – Agnieszka Zarska – became recognizable and famous in a short time. Among the differentiated repertoire you could fins also modern versions of the former religious songs of Szczawnica Highlanders.
This is how the Project Szczawnica 1973 muzyczne odkrycia was made, and an intriguing CD was recorded. You can hear archive recordings entwined with the same songs arranged by great modern Polish composers.
You can find the details of the concerts calendar on the website: