addition to the orchestra and choir, the score calls for piano, electric cello and bass, vibraphone, Hammond organ, glass harmonica, recorder, guitar and voice. Some unusual instruments and combinations of instruments recur in your scores. Why? It’s not the instruments so much as the identities of specific musical personalities that I have in my mind. I look for special, unforgettable sonorities, the sound of a pure voice and the other-worldly tones of a choir. Teresa Salgueiro, who takes an important vocal role in Silence, Night and Dreams, has a fantastic voice, very high, very clinging, very clear. I don’t appreciate the operatic way of singing, or the elusiveness of that language. The experience of hearing music should be like being in church: that is why I like listening to music by candlelight.
What took you from the world of film in a new direction, towards your previous large-scale project Requiem for my friend? Kieslowski, Piesiewicz, and I had the idea of a presenting a multi-media performance – something between classical music, opera and rock concert. We planned to present it on the Acropolis in Athens, then develop a series of performances in special locations around the world. [Life was suddenly cut short for Kieslowski whose death in 1996 brought an end to their plans as such.] The result was a kind of ceremony, a mystery, which everyone can experience in their own way. [Its premiere in 1998 with performances worldwide, including London, the following year, followed by a best-selling CD, established Preisner as having a highly persuasive voice outside the cinema.]
For your latest post-Kieslowski work, Silence, Night and Dreams, you’ve
turned to texts in Latin and English from the Biblical Book of Job and Gospel of St. Matthew, as well the words of Pope John Paul II (‘Do not be afraid’) and the Polish poet Zbigniew Herbert (‘Be faithful Go’). What was the inspiration behind this work? Each of these – silence, night and dreams – are significant elements in my life and art, and I wanted to incorporate references to the plight and resolution of Job, a righteous man sorely tested by God. He never complained, he just accepted his fate. Though I am writing for a secular age, whether the listener is Christian, Muslim, Jew or whatever, certain truths apply to everyone. People today have become alienated from one another. New technological 'advances' are taking us in a direction that dissuades us from interaction and introspection. Not long ago we were reading by the light of oil lamps. Now, even in my old Polish village, we divide our attention between the T , our computer screens and our mobile phones. These huge technological leaps haven't been supported by any philosophical or psychological thought, nor by any great art. They’re not making us happier. People neglect their souls. They’ve forgotten how to make time and space in their lives.
You sound a rather serious person. I’m neither as sad and serious nor spiritual as my music or its inspiration suggests. I’m actually quite a fun person but I like creating something deeper in my music. I don’t care what happens after my death. I am composing for people now and if my music touches them that is my reward.
Lynne Walker © 2007 Lynne Walker writes about music and theatre for The Independent, as well as contributing on the arts to a variety of publications.
Teresa Salgueiro Teresa Salgueiro is known as the voice of the internationally renowned Portuguese group Madredeus. Since 1987 they have recorded twelve award-winning CDs, sold more than five million copies worldwide and performed in some of the most prestigious concert halls around the world, giving more than nine hundred concerts to date. In 2006 she released her first solo album Obrigado in homage to all the artists, musicians and composers with whom she had the opportunity to work during the course of her career. In 200 , in addition to working with Preisner, she developed two diverse and distinct solo projects: Você e Eu in which she sings Brazilian repertoire from the 1930s to the 1970s with the jazzy Brazilian Septet of João Cristal and La Serena, accompanied by the Lusitânia Ensemble, in which she interprets songs from the Mediterranean, Africa and Latin-America.
E l z . b i e t a T o w a r n i c k a
T h e P o l i s h s o p r a n o E l z . b i e t a T o w a r n i c k a h a s sung leading roles with the Krakow Opera including La Bohème, La Traviata and Tosca. She has performed in music festivals and concert halls throughout the world. Her repertoire also includes oratorio-cantata parts and songs. She participates in many recording sessions for Polskie Nagrania and her singing is a trademark of many of Preisner’s film scores.
Krišs Russman Krišs Russman studied conducting with Jorma Panula, making his debut with the National Symphony Orchestra in Riga. Engagements followed with La Traviata and Il Pagliacci at the National Opera in Riga, Tosca at the Hungarian State Opera and Kraków National Opera, then Cosí Fan Tutte and Madame Butterfly at the Prague State Opera. He has since conducted the
Danish Philharmonic, Athens Symphony, Augsburg Philharmonic, Carlsbad Symphony, Durban Symphony, Cape Philharmonic, Kristiansand Symphony and Nordic Chamber orchestras. This season he makes his debut with the Bucharest Philharmonic and the Xiamen Philharmonic in China. This is his first appearance with a British orchestra.
Silence, Night & Dreams is released on EMI Classics. Published by Chester Music Ltd.
Produced by the Barbican in association with !Como No!
Media Partner Plan B
Management Laurence Aston,
C l a r i s s a
E l z . b i e t a D
m o c h o w s k a .
Sounddesign David Sheppard, Lightingdesign Charles Balfour www.preisner.com www.myspace.com/zpreisner
Special thanks to: Andy Wood, Francisco Ribeiro, Laurence Gilmore, David Angus, John L. Walters, Bryn Ormrod, Min Yen Ong, Max Standing, EMI Classics, Chester Music, Sally Hope Associates, Sound Intermedia, Cogency, Gonçalo Villas-Boas, Adam Klocek, Elzbieta Misinska, Natali Drosou.
This concert is part of the Only Connect series, the Barbican’s innovative series that brings together the worlds of film, music and art by inviting exceptional musicians, composers, artists and filmmakers to develop collaborations and present new work.
There will be an interval in tonight’s concert. Smoking is not permitted anywhere on the Barbican premises. No cameras, tape recorders or any other recording equipment may be taken into the hall.
This programme is printed on 100% recycled materials.
The Barbican is provided by the City of London Corporation as part of its contribution to the cultural life of London and the nation.