Home > Polish 20th century and contemporary music, Polish performers, webcast alerts > London Sinfonietta chanelling Warsztat Muzyczny

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.)

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  1. 17 November 2008 at 12:02

    Wow, what a concert! I don’t suppose you recorded the webcast?

  2. maciek
    17 November 2008 at 12:35

    It’s a long tragic story, with internet connections going down, cables falling out of sockets, files being accidentally overwritten in a frenzy of quick repairs etc. etc. etc. I think this must have been the most jinxed webcast recording session I’ve ever put myself through. By far. The gist of it is: I’ve only managed to record the last 3 pieces (+ a big and useless chunk of the Szymanski). I still have not managed to fully recuperate. It was one of my most distressing computer experiences in a long while…

  3. maciek
    17 November 2008 at 12:52

    I did listen to the entire concert on the radio, though. My impressions:

    The performance of the Szymanski was much, much better than the one I already had, and I’m completely shattered by the fact that I can’t listen to it again. The Serocki was excellent as well, though I have to admit I am very deeply imprinted with the Warszat Muzyczny performance (I have it on tape) and that will remain the indelible epitome of musical perfection for me (for one thing, the WM version seemed much lighter in tone, more playful in spirit, musically hilarious). I was a little bit disappointed with the Gorecki, it seemed a bit chaotic in comparison to a fond memory I have of Nonstrom performing the piece several Warsaw Autumns ago (but memory may be failing me). The Kilar piece turned out to be much more attractive than most of his avantgarde period (which I’m generally not too fond of) and, surprisingly, much more minimalistic. The Krauze was very typical, so if you like him (I do, I think you do too?), it was very nice.

    I’ll try to cut the stuff I’ve recorded and post it here. But it may take anywhere from a couple of days to 3 weeks, depending on how much time I have. Perhaps there’s someone out there who managed to catch the whole thing? I wish I knew someone working at the radio, so I could just get it from there…

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