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29, 18 Cogitabam in nidulo meo moriar Et sicut palma numerabo dies radis mea in aqua est et ros erit vita mea

Then I thought, `I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand, my roots spread out to the waters, with the dew all night on my branches, (…)

1, 21 Nudus egressus sum Nudus revertar Dominus dedit Dominus abstulit

‘Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return; the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.’

The Holy Bible Vulgate

The Holy Bible Revised Standard Version

Zbigniew Preisner © Anna Wloch

Part two

A suite of film music

Composed by Zbigniew Preisner

  • 1.

    A Short Film About Love: four movements (Dekalog)

  • 2.

    Homecoming (When A Man Loves A Woman)

  • 3.

    Beautiful Country End Titles (Beautiful Country)

  • 4.

    People’s Century Theme (People’s Century)

Be Faithful, Go Don`t be afraid

5, 13-14 You are salt to the world You are light for all the world

Don`t be afraid

,7 Ask, and you will receive Seek, and you will find Knock, and the door will be opened

Don`t be afraid

, 13 Enter by the narrow gate the gate is wide that leads to perdition

Don`t be afraid Be faithful Go.

‘Be faithful Go’ by Zbigniew Herbert, from ‘The Envoy of Mr. Cogito’ used by kind permission of the author.

  • 5.

    Marionnettes (The Double Life of Véronique)

  • 6.

    Bolero (Three Colours Red)

  • 7.

    Tango (Three Colours White)

  • 8.

    Nymph (Dekalog)

  • 9.

    Lacrimosa (Requiem for my friend)

  • 10.

    Van den Budenmayer Concerto in E Minor, sbi 152 (The Double Life of Véronique)

  • 11.

    Song For The Unification Of Europe (Three Colours Blue)

E l z . b i e t a T o w a r n i c k a s o p r a n Anna Sikorzak-Olek harp Konrad Mastylo piano Jacek Ostaszewski soprano recorder Lars Danielsson cello/double bass John Parricelli guitar o

London Symphony Orchestra Kri `s´s Russman conductor Crouch End Festival Chorus David Temple director

Zbigniew Preisner in conversation with Lynne Walker

You are widely known for your award-winning film scores but have successfully branched out with several large-scale concert works which have reached a wide audience on CD. Does Zbigniew Preisner have more than one voice? I don’t think in terms of different styles so I never imagine that ‘this is music for a movie’ or ‘this is music for a concert’. For me there exists only one music – good music. I hate conventional musical forms, or such titles as ‘sonata’ or ‘concerto’ or ‘symphony’. I write by hand, away from the keyboard, and always include an opportunity for improvisation, an engagement with jazz. I need freedom. My music is in-between … wholly creative. I compose what is close to my heart.

When you are composing, who do you think is your audience? I have a small Polish village in mind.

Do you mean Bielsko-Biala in Southern Poland where you were born in 1955? Any village. If those people like my music then maybe millions of others will too.

Where did you study music? I studied history and philosophy in Krakow but, though I learnt the piano, I am largely self- taught as a composer. I always knew that I wanted to write music but there was no conservatoire where I lived. I bought the manuals of harmony and orchestration by the Russian composer Rimsky-Korsakov and I also listened to records. I persuaded friends to form a string quintet and I composed for them. If it sounded wrong then I changed it.

Since the early 1990s, when you began working outside Eastern Europe, you have scored over 30 feature films, the soundtrack albums selling millions of copies, becoming one of Poland’s foremost cultural figures. Was there a turning point in your career? In 1981 I met the Polish film director Krzysztof Kieslowski. I worked with him, along with the politican, lawyer and screenwriter Krzysztof Piesiewicz, for almost a decade. We collaborated on Dekalog (a 10-part television series based on the Ten Commandments), The Double Life Of Véronique, Three Colours Blue, Three Colours White and Three Colours Red, amongst others.

Who do you number among your cultural influences? Pink Floyd – for their philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation and elaborate live shows. And maybe Sibelius and Paganini and Chopin. But figures in literature, philosophy and painting have affected me most: Diaries by Witold Gombrowicz, Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu, and the mystic philosopher Simone Weill as well as Baudelaire.

Silence, Night and Dreams combines elements of classical and contemporary electronic music. In

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