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English Section

Polish Radio CDs mark 10 years since presidential air crash

07.04.2020 11:15
Public broadcaster Polish Radio has issued two CD albums to mark the 10th anniversary of the fatal Polish presidential air crash near Smolensk, western Russia.
Image:Polish Radio

April 10 will mark exactly 10 years since a Polish plane carrying President Lech Kaczyński, his wife and 94 others, including top political and military figures, crashed near Smolensk, western Russia, killing all those on board.

The disaster has scarred the national psyche and is still a source of controversy and recrimination in Poland.

The Polish officials had been on their way to commemorate some 22,000 Polish prisoners of war and intellectuals who were killed in the spring of 1940 on orders from top Soviet authorities in what is known as the Katyn Massacre.

Joanna Mitko from Polish Radio’s Archives Department says the newly released albums aim to pay homage to President Kaczyński and all the victims of the tragedy.

The first album, entitled Lech Kaczyński—A Testimony, consists of five CDs offering a selection of the president’s key speeches about Polish politics and international events.

The other album, entitled Smolensk—The Last Mission: In Memory of the Victims of the 2010 Smolensk Catastrophe, is made up of two CDs.

CD 1 features statements and homilies delivered during a memorial service at Warsaw’s Piłsudski Square on April 17, 2010.

CD 2 is a live recording of an April 18, 2010 concert at Polish Radio’s Concert Hall that featured two works: Katyn Epitaph by Polish composer Andrzej Panufnik, who spent the best part of his life in Britain, and composer Henryk Mikołaj Górecki's Third Symphony, a piece also known as A Symphony of Sorrowful Songs.

Katyn Epitaph was written in 1967 as a tribute to the victims of the 1940 Katyn Massacre.

Katyn Epitaph was performed during the 2010 concert by the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Łukasz Borowicz, while Górecki’s symphony was performed by the Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra under the same conductor, with soprano Wioletta Chodowicz as the soloist.