Please sign in to post.

Krakau - Warsaw - classical music

I am looking to book a vacation to Krakau and Warsaw specifically to
go to as many classical music concerts as I can, but also to take in the gorgeous
architecture during the day.
Does anyone have any tips for accomplishing a trip such as this?

Posted by
5193 posts

Here is some info:
http://en.chopin.warsawtour.pl/events-en/
https://www.inyourpocket.com/warsaw/Chopin-in-the-park_221e
https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/chopins-heart
https://cracowconcerts.com/chamber-music/

There are concerts in Łazienki Park in Warsaw starting in May and continuing until September. Chopin is very, very popular and you'll see Chopin-related sites and events all over. A lot of churches throughout Poland will have individual concerts too.

"Krakau" is actually Kraków. The ending is pronounced as "kov", not "cow".

Posted by
633 posts

Classical music is one of the ever lengthening list of topics where I can claim no knowledge. So perhaps you are looking for something a bit more formal than this, but in Warsaw earlier this year we noticed that it seemed every other church, civic hall, collegiate building etc. was advertising a free/low cost concert that evening. We enjoyed stopping at a couple of them and there were some pleasant tunes & singing. Even better, they have park benches dotted around the city where you press a button and it plays music whilst you sit (I'm guessing Chopin, there were a lot of fiddly piano bits, but I wouldn't actually know).

Posted by
2600 posts

A caveat first - I have not visited these two cities , but I am a classically trained musician ( retired after a fifty year career as a bassoonist ) . Why not Vienna as your first choice ? The music capital of Europe , and spectacular architecture to boot .

Posted by
2600 posts

Nick makes a good point about the focus and genre of concert you are likely to encounter . Agnes has provided some good links , The focus will be on Chopin , undoubtedly a genius , but this could be a bit narrowly focused . You will find greater variety in Vienna and much of your choice will depend on how varied and sophisticated your tastes are. What composers , and styles of classical music do you appreciate ?

Posted by
12868 posts

I'm not a musician, but one reason I might choose the Polish cities rather than Vienna would be the cost of the tickets.

Posted by
1245 posts

I am a classically trained musician who switched careers a while back but still seeks every opportunity to hear classical music when I travel abroad. And next spring I am visiting Krakow and Warsaw as well as other cities.

My approach is to research the specific venues and specific performing arts organizations in each city I'm visiting and see what's playing. I haven't nailed anything down in Krakow yet, but in Warsaw I bought opera tickets at https://teatrwielki.pl/en/.

I simply did various Google searches for classical concert plus the city name and found plenty of options. I'm going to two concerts in Prague, an opera in Dresden, and an opera and a concert in Berlin as well as the one in Warsaw.

Posted by
2600 posts

Lane , which instrument ( or voice ) was your medium ? I assume you will attend the Semperoper , what will you see ?

Posted by
21 posts

Steven, I can't go everywhere, and rather than put a question out about what city to go to, I narrowed it down from the start.
If I asked opinions on where (city) to go, I would get a ton of different replies with at least a dozen cities (if not more),
and I would be back to square one, trying to figure out where to go. And I was in Vienna two years ago.

Posted by
1245 posts

Steven at the Semperoper Dresden I'm seeing Platée by Rameau. I've never seen a Rameau opera before, so it should be fun.

In Berlin I'm seeing Der Zwerg by Zemlinsky at the Deustsche Oper. I'd never even heard of this opera.

And in Warsaw I'm seeing Billy Budd by Britten at Teatr Wielki. (This opera I have seen twice before.)

All three are in the original languages, and all three have supertitles in English.

Posted by
2600 posts

Lane , That sounds wonderful , I am envious . A bit off subject , but from one music lover to another - As I am sure you know , Britten's teacher was Frank Bridge . In 1980 , while poking around in a record shop in Manhattan ( pre CD days ) I came across this recording of Frank Bridge's " The Sea " . Having been unaware of this piece , and only familiar with the Debussy " La Mer " , I bought it out of curiosity . All these years later it is a favorite of mine. I hope you will give this a listen . - https://youtu.be/zHtGXMX4d5o

Posted by
21 posts

Steven, that Frank Bridges music is wonderful, and is exactly what I am looking for, hoping to see (er - listen to).
I am more into philharmonic symphonies than I am 'opera'.

Posted by
2600 posts

I'm glad you liked it . If you don't mind another plug , take a try at these - George Butterworth was an English composer , tragically killed at the Somme in 1916 at the age of thirty -one . He left few compositions behind , and one only wonders what he might have written had he survived . These two compositions are quintessentially English , and recall a time gone by . I can't listen to them with a dry eye - https://youtu.be/AUsisFkLCxo and this - https://youtu.be/l1ApBSs18g4

Posted by
11292 posts

@ Fredman....Krakau is the German spelling for Krakow. You spelled it correctly but in a different language, just as in French Krakow is spelled differently, as you would see in a French language map.

Posted by
772 posts

While it may seem trivial, I would say that referring to Kraków as "Krakau" does bring up some baggage. "Krakau" is what Nazi Germany renamed Kraków during it's occupation in World War II. "Aktion Krakau" is also what the Germans called their liquidation of the Jewish Ghetto in Kraków in 1942.

I would say that it matters, unless there is a specific reason to refer to it as Krakau. I'm not sure if there is a comparable example in the United States, maybe it's like referring to New York as "Nieuw Amsterdam" (as it was originally a Dutch colony).

Posted by
21 posts

Ok, I can understand the spelling differences, I learned something today, not I can go home.... :)
I would pronounce it the same, you are telling me it could be pronounced different as well?
I would say 'crack-cow', you are saying it could be that, or 'crack-owe'?

Posted by
772 posts

How I understand it, the Polish pronunciation for Krakow is 'krakuf', for English speakers, that means something along the lines of ‘krakoof’. Try to say it a couple of times, and you’ll see how easy it becomes. Americans tend to pronounce Krakow as 'krɑːkaʊ', sounding like "crack-cow", getting rid of the final consonants and supplementing it with ‘u’.

In the end, thought, the baggage is not about the pronunciation of the name itself, but rather on spelling Krakow by it's German name "Krakau", assuming that you are not from Germany. Hope this clears things up :)

Interestingly, in Spain, we call the city "Cracovia", which is the city's Latin name.

Posted by
21 posts

I am in the middle of the USA, I am of German and Russian on my dad's side,
Scottish and American on my mom's side. I was born in the USA, have never been
to Germany, aside from a riverboat vacation down the Danube, with that trip starting
in Prague, Vienna, Budapest, ending in Bucharest, flying back via Warsaw, but never leaving the Warsaw airport,
just changed planes there.
It was a wonderful trip, seeing the eery architecture from the communist era in a lot of the cities/countries in
Belgrade, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, as well as something simple as how each city operates
and some of the newer things going on.
It pains me every day to see people here in the USA complaining about stupid things when they have no clue
how good we have it here, but I digress, let's not get off-topic.

Posted by
11292 posts

The spelling is dictated by the particular language. If one wants the correct spelling, then choose that particular language. It's "Cracovie" en français.

Posted by
1456 posts

It isn’t Mozart but you may find some venues for Klezmer music in Krakow. And to my very un-Polish ear, it sounded like the locals called their city ”Krahkoof”.

Posted by
11292 posts

The huge German atlas I have, published 1930, shows the city of Krakow as such: "Krakau (Krakow)" This is from "ANDREES HANDATLAS, achte Auflage."