London Sinfonietta chanelling Warsztat Muzyczny
Somehow I’ve managed to leave out what promises to be perhaps the most exciting concert of the 4th Polish Music Festival.
On the last day of the festival members of the London Sinfonietta will be performing pieces originally written for Zygmunt Krauze’s Warsztat Muzyczny (1963-88, a trombone, clarinet, cello and piano quartet which specialized in all sorts of musical experiment) plus newer compositions with similar instrumentation.
Here’s the program:
Zygmunt Krauze Polychromy (1968)
Wojciech Kilar Training 68 (1968)
Kazimierz Serocki Swinging Music (1970)
Henryk Mikołaj Górecki La Musiquette IV (Muzyczka IV) “Trombone Concerto” (1970)
Paweł Szymański Concerto a 4 (2004)
Włodzimierz Kotoński Pour quatre (1968)
Aleksandra Gryka Üsinn part 2 (2004)
Aleksander Nowak Quantemporette (2008, commissioned by the Festival, world premiere)
I have not (obviously) heard all of these pieces before. Some, like Kilar’s Training, are rarely performed and therefore have high curiosity value (Kilar’s early, hardcore avantgarde pieces are generally a bit forgotten). I can however vouchsafe that the ones I do know: the Serocki, Gorecki and Szymanski are among the best modern Polish chamber pieces you can find. In particular, I have a weak spot for Serocki’s Swinging Music, a sort of aleatory pastiche of jazz, one of my absolute favorite contemporary pieces ever (Serocki was a wonderful, fabulously imaginative composer – his Impromptu fantasque, a sort of woodwind counterpart of Penderecki’s Polymorphia, is another one of those absolute favorites). Gorecki’s Muzyczka IV happens to be one of my favorite Gorecki pieces – it has the same visceral force as the 2nd Symphony, an amazing, almost barbaric energy – and a quaint beauty at the same time. Szymanski’s Concerto a 4, though (currently?) not among my favorite Szymanski pieces, is still excellent – Szymanski happens to be one of the finest Polish composers alive today and one of the few who have developed an entirely individual idiom, a musical language deeply rooted in the past (especially the baroque era) and yet entirely his own.
Krauze’s Warsztat Muzyczny was a legendary ensemble, it had a tremendous influence on Polish contemporary music. It is quite apt that a concert dedicated to the ensemble’s tradition should have a first rate lineup of performers. I’m really excited about this and sincerely hope they’ll live up to my expectations.
The concert starts at 17:00 UTC+1 on Sunday (16th Nov.) and will transmitted live via the Polish Radio 2 webcast. Click the link to start listening – this one is not to be missed!
(It’s also worth a mention that in 1990 Pawel Mykietyn started a clarinet trio which expanded in 1993 to form a sort of Warsztat Muzyczny clone called Nonstrom – and once again, this became perhaps the best contemporary music ensemble active in Poland – they still give concerts today, though not as often as audiences would wish. I believe that apart from the new commission, all of the pieces in the program above that were written after 1993 might have been originally written for Nonstrom – but I’m not sure.)