A near capacity audience gathered in St John's Kirk to listen to Anna Dębowska play a programme of Polish Music to celebrate the centenary of the founding of modern Poland.
Anna is herself quite a slight figure at the piano, but her music is anything but! We had a strutting Polonaise, several Nocturnes and a couple of sparkling Mazurkas. The Revolutionary Study in wave upon wave of cascading phrases was stunning.
The Szymanowski pieces took us into the twentieth century, and here the landscape was different. Gone was the swagger and the brilliance and the tenderness, and instead there was an almost muted, filtered feel, and we were really in the world of the miniature - could this have come from the constraints of real life in a communist Poland?
Anna played next a study of Liszt ('The Sigh') which made a nice bookend to the Revolutionary Study we had heard earlier. Liszt was certainly influenced by the innovations of his Polish friend.
The concert ended with a soothing, song-like Nocturne by Paderewski, bringing us gently back to our reality. Marcin Jaroszek, Anna's husband had introduced the programme and he suggested that we were going on a journey, and here there was a sense of coming to a conclusion.
All present, including members of the ZHP scouts and guides, recognised that they had been part of a special evening which will live long in the memory. For the many Poles present, it must have refreshed parts of the soul that support their pride in country, and for the rest of us, we could sense the colour and spirit of the Poland from the past. We are hugely indebted to Anna for the planning of her programme and its execution.