Muzyka Centrum '94
click to listen to the excerpt of the piece
This CD contains six pieces written by six Cracovian composers connected with Muzyka Centrum. The composers are of different ages and I am the oldest, which is interesting, because not so long ago, in similar circles, I was the youngest. The composers are of various ages and their music varies both in terms of technique as in the aesthetics of sound - and that is how it should be. The objections to modern music - that it is not uniform, that it is not stylistically unequivocal, that it does not directly reflect modern reality - are unjustified. Sensible art does not arise from a social contract: it is the sum of various tendencies, experiences and individual ideas. CD recordings of serious music are a rarity in Poland. The composers who make these recordings are well known, people who not so long ago were still officially supported by the state. At the roots of our private efforts to release a CD was a conscious need to achieve a wholly different aim - not self-creation, but a presentation of the possibilities of music, of new musical ideas, new techniques, and also the use of computers in the realization of new sound. The composers presented here are conscious of the role that new techniques in composition and new sound media - still eschewed by most composers - can play in the changes that are happening to music. The Muzyka Centrum group of composers and performers, established 17 years ago (the first concert took place on June 13, 1977), formed the basis for a new ethical understanding of music. Those 240 or so concerts that we have put on to date are not performance productions, but largely disinterested work on pieces that had no tradition of performance, and whose expressive and purely technical potential had to be decoded from the very outset. Profit was never our aim. I stress this because some of the groups that perform new music do harbour such groundless and hopeless dreams, with predictable results. The interest in new music reaches a very narrow audience. We could, with pride, name ten or so people who have attended almost all of our concerts. In times like these, when musicians often outnumber the audience in concert halls, great satisfaction is derived from so much interest. I do not believe that new music is more difficult than older music, perhaps it just shouldn't be listened to the "old >fashion" way. We know that the public most readily accepts the music of compromise, music that links newer elements with familiar expression, experienced many times over. Works of this type are "understandable" and often greeted with great approbation. But new music does not live by compromise. We are gradually approaching the end of the century, and what is more, the millennium. During the last century music changed beyond measure. Would someone a hundred years ago have thought that soon a new type of music would appear, one governed by its own laws? And yet Jazz appeared. Sch"nberg set out the canons of non-tonal dodecaphonic technique, Alois H ba introduced (along with a few others) the division of microtones, Edgar Varse wrote pieces for percussion instruments only, and Olivier Messiaen introduced into his works the peculiar musical transcription of bird song. Iannis Xenakis introduced mathematical models into music, and John Cage -chance, indefiniteness and the prepared piano. Today, no accomplished composer stops at the creation of only one type of music. Composers have experience both in chamber and orchestral music, electro-acoustic, instrumental theatre and open music. New music has opened up huge possibilities for composers. And this is what our record testifies to. It contains pieces typical of the composers' individual styles, and others that go beyond their own types of music. And I think that this music gives some clue as to new currents in style and expression; the record presents not only us as composers, but also various new directions in new music.
Dr Boguslaw Schaeffer
BOGUSLAW SCHAEFFER (b. 1929, Lviv)
Studied composition (A. Malawski) and musicology (Z. Jachimecki) in Kraków. For a short period in the 1950's he worked for Polish Radio, Polish Music Press and the Institute of Musicology at the Jagiellonian University. Since 1963, he has lectured in composition at the Musical Academy in Kraków. He is also Professor of composition at the Hochschule fur Musik "Mozarteum" in Salzburg. He is the author of many books on contemporary music, including: "Introduction to Composition" (1976), and various histories of music. He has composed approximately 320 pieces, 29 theatre productions. He is also a graphic artist. Since 1969, approximately 60 concerts of his music have been performed around the world. The Boguslaw Schaeffer Multimedia Festival in Opole in 1993 was devoted to his work as composer, dramaturgist and graphic artist. He has been awarded a number of prizes, including: 17 prizes for symphonies and chamber pieces, the Ministry of Art and Culture Award (1971, 1972, 1980), the Polish Composers Union Award (1977), the City of Kraków Award (1977), and the Wroclaw Festival of Polish Dramatic Arts Award (1987) for his work in theatre.
"PROIETTO SIMULTANEO" (early spring, 1984) - is an idea that has haunted me for years. The piece consists in assembling sounds, lines and musical layers; what emerges when a number of pieces are overlap one another? In 1949, the astute Darius Milhaud composed his "String Octet", consisting of two independent string quartets; however, these were composed in such a way as to form a double string quartet, in other words an octet. Various versions of the Proietto, from which, surprisingly, five records were made, were written for instrument (or solo voice) and the same tape, and appeared at irregular intervals. This is one of many possible forms of composing music. On principle, I write each piece separately, independently of other pieces, and only once. In this case, however, I did it differently: as new versions gradually appeared, I tried to make the solo part for the given instrument, or voice, confront the tape in such a way as to create an end result that could be presented simultaneously, of course in a much larger performance space than usual. Someone will say: a game. No, this is a new type of counterpoint, no longer of lines or motifs, but of whole pieces of music. Certainly, it should be performed theatrically, in the broadest sense of the word. This should be action in time, but spread out over the various instruments. Does music benefit when one multiplies it almost by itself? This is the problem, my problem; as I often say, the problems of the music's audience are not my concern. I believe that simultaneous compositions are able to enliven those rather silent spectacles that concert-hall performances of new music have come to be.
KRZYSZTOF SUCHODOLSKI (b. 1953, Tarnów)
Graduated from prof. W. Herman's cello class at the Kraków Academy of Music in 1977. In 1978, he made his first attempts at composition - the music to the animated film "Reflexes", directed by J. Kucia. Since that time, he has worked in film both as composer and sound engineer. In total, he has composed the music to over 200 films and TV documentaries. In 1987, he released his own record - "Suhi" -with his regular collaborators and musicians. He is currently preparing his next record, entitled "Qumba", as well as a record of ballet music - "verso la pace". He works with Bogdan DÔugosze in his own computer studio.
"QUMBA" was the first sound uttered by my daughter Veronica.
ZBIGNIEW INDYK (b. 1955, Kraków)
Graduated from the Kraków Academy of Music in organ-playing (L. Werner) and composition (B. Schaeffer). He performs as a solo organist in many European countries. In 1985, he and W. Marchwica organized the International Bach Mini-Festival in Kraków. His works have been performed at the most important Polish festivals of contemporary music and abroad. In 1993, he was the initiator and co-organizer of the "Nations and Stereotypes" competition for composers.
"ACH ! ..." is more a sigh than a cry; it is the third version of a work from 1987 (my period of fascination with musical rhetoric) and was written especially for the Muzyka Centrum Jubilee Concert on 13.06.1992.
HECTOR FIORE (b. 1953, La Plata)
Studied flute and saxophone at the Conservatory in La Plata. He graduated in composition and conducting from the University of La Plata in 1982. That same year he gained first prize in a composers' competition at UNLP for his piece "Cuarteto". He worked as an assistant at the Department of Musical Analysis at UNLP, and as a lecturer at the Conservatory in La Plata. He was a founder-member of the Composers' Association "Otras Musicas" in Buenos Aires, and conducted many of the concerts performed by the Association. During 1987-90, on a Polish government scholarship, he finished his post- diploma studies in composition, and also worked at the Studio of Computer Music at the Academy of Music in Kraków. Since 1989, he has been a member of the Art Society "Muzyka Centrum". He is also artistic adviser to the "Teatro Lirico di Roma" association in Italy. In 1991, he established his own computer studio in Italy - "Estudio de Musica de Camara Computarizada" - which currently operates in Kraków as well. He composes music for films, theatre and radio. Since 1993, he has run courses at the Computer Studio of the Music School in Bielsko-BiaÔa, and is also a lecturer at the Summer Courses of Contemporary Music in Kraków.
"LAS VASQUITAS SON AJENAS" - a piece that reveals, through the aesthetic of computer technology, an impression of the huge desert landscapes of Latin America. The piece is inspired by Argentine folklore. The title is a citation from a popular song by Atahualpa Yupanqui - "El Arriero": Las penas son de nostos, las vaquitas son ajenas (suffering belongs to us, cows belong to others). The charango - an Argentine folk instrument, one of three (along with the quena and the bombo) that can be collectively defined as "orquesta del aislamiento sudamericano" (the orchestra of South American isolation), is used in the piece as a solo instrument, and also as a source of sounds on the tape. The charango is also an extension of the words of Yupanqui's song.
KAZIMIERZ PYZIK (b. 1955, Kraków)
Studied double-bass (R. Daun), theory of music (A. Fraczkiewicz) and composition (M. Stachowski) at the Academy of Music in Kraków, and the viola da gamba at the Meistersinger Konservatorium in Nornberg (H. Groth) and the Koninklijk Conservatorium in Brussels (W. Kuijken). He divides his concert performances into two clear groups. He plays mainly Baroque and Renaissance music on various types of viola da gamba - from pardessus to violone and, additionally, the lyra viol - appearing in solo recitals as well as with the groups Fiori Musicali and Camerata Cracovia. He also founded his own Consort of Violas da Gamba and is a member of the Viola da Gamba Society of Great Britain. On modern instruments - the cello and the double- bass - he plays mainly 20th century music. As a composer and performer he has been closely linked to the Muzyka Centrum group from its foundation. Aside from this, he collaborates with the MW2 group, the Olga Szwagier Quartet, and also plays solo recitals. At the beginning of his concert career he was a member of the Capella Cracoviensis chamber orchestra and the Kraków Oboe Quartet. He has played concerts in almost every European country as well as in the United States. He has to his credit many radio, TV and vinyl recordings. As a composer, he uses, on the one hand, classical forms and tonal order, realized through specially constructed harmonic systems, and, on the other, experimental forms often realized non-musically. He has composed around 100 pieces. He has won composers' competitions in Poland (the A. Malawski Competition and the National Composers' Competition). His works have been performed at concerts organized by Muzyka Centrum, the Olga Szwagier Quartet, and at all the festivals of contemporary music in Poland, as well as others in Germany, France, Jugoslavia and Denmark.
"MEDITATION FOR SURPRISE" for soprano and double-bass to Halina PodgÖrska's text came into being in 1981. The piece consists of 4 "truths" divided into intervals of "real meditation" recorded strictly in terms of sound, albeit open, mobile in form, and "surprises" notated graphically, which allows for a large degree of freedom in shaping the musical matter. In this straightforward way, the opposition in contemplating chaos and order in the world is revealed. Certain scales and methods of creating sound originating from Hindu tradition were used here, though they have their counterparts in the rich arsenal of 20th century tonal means and methods of articulation.
MAREK CHOLONIEWSKI (b. 1953, Kraków)
Graduated in organ-playing (L. Werner), theory of music and composition (B. Schaeffer) at the Academy of Music in Kraków. Since 1976, he has worked at the Studio of Electro-Acoustic Music at the Academy of Music in Kraków (he is currently an Assistant Professor in composition). In 1977, he established the Art Society "Muzyka Centrum", which has been mainly concerned with concert performances. In 1986, along with K. Knittel and P. Bikont, he established the group "Freight Train". He is the founder of the MCH studio and co- founder of the Ch&K studio (with K. Knittel). He is the author of many audio-visual computer compositions. Since 1987, he has organized a series of concerts entitled "Audio Art". Since 1990, he has taught courses and lectured in computer music in Austria, Germany and Sweden. In 1987, 1992 and 1993, he played concerts and lectured in the U.S and Canada. He is the author of instrumental, electro-acoustic and audio-visual compositions, as well as music for theatre, film, radio and TV. In concerts of contemporary music he mainly performs "live computer music". He is the initiator and artistic director of the Summer Courses of Contemporary Music and Festival of Audio Art in Kraków. He is the artistic director of the Internationale Akademie fr Nue Komposition in Schwaz/Tirol (Austria).
The piece "LIKE BREATHING" was written during a sweltering two-week stay in Hall in Tirol (Austria) in 1991. I used a completely new and original composition technique, which links the process of computer interaction (program "M") with the sequential transformation of musical phrases and motifs (program "Cubase"): This method allows one to completely dispense with the two basic ways of creating music: writing music directly down on paper and aiding the process of composition through direct work with the instrument. Computer interaction is an algorithmic process that consists in the direct creation of sound material. This process consists in simultaneously transforming many elements of the piece and making permanent the result of these experiments in the static (timeless) and dynamic (linked to time) musical memory of the computer system. This technique can be used to create both instrumental music (chamber or orchestral) and electro-acoustic; most interestingly, it can also be used to create many new kinds of sound art, for example, audio- visual composition. "Like Breathing" exists in three independent forms: a purely computer version; a purely instrumental version; and a unified version, which is a combination of the first two. As they perform this version of the piece, the musicians receive the impulses of the computer metronome through their headphones. In this way the computer fulfils the function of conductor, controlling the tempo of the piece. This is one of the ways of solving one of the more important problems connected with the performance of most music for instrument and tape - the problem of synchronizing the computer part with the instrumental parts that are performed "live". The piece was comissioned and premiered by the Tiroler Ensemble fr Neue Musik in Hall in Tirol (Austria). In 1992 the group Relache from Philadelphia premiered, with a composer, the third unified version of the piece at a concert at the Lincoln Centre in New York.