Author Topic: Pawel Szymanski (b. 1954)  (Read 23669 times)

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Offline Maciek

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Pawel Szymanski (b. 1954)
« on: April 13, 2007, 03:59:12 PM »
Another one I'd like to continue from the old forum.

I'll start with a quote explaining a famous concept I forgot to mention previously:

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EWA SZCZECIŃSKA: ... Do you still see the situation of music the same way you saw it 20 years ago, ie. as suspended between blather and banality (między bełkotem a banałem)?

PAWEŁ SZYMAŃSKI: I think this has not principally changed. ... The most popular idea is that art - and that means the artist - should create new values, new language, something that would depart from tradition. ... Such a language cannot be understood because languages are intersubjective; a language and convention that only one person understands - their creator - cannot become a medium of communication. The artist begins to blather. He may want to communicate something but no one can understand it - it is too far from the current cultural stereotypes. On the other hand, those stereotypes are banalities. 200, 300 years ago ... Art would evolve in an extensive manner. I don't think Mozart was aware that he was creating new values, he may have been convinced that he was writing the same way everyone else was; we only owe the fact that he created new values to his great genius.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2012, 12:58:36 PM by Maciek »

Offline Maciek

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Re: Pawel Szymanski (b. 1954)
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2007, 04:45:52 AM »
Inspired by the Postmodernism thread, I'll mention a Pawel Szymanski piece showing nicely his general ideas about composition as a way of "creating new musical contexts out of traditional musical language" (his own words). The piece, La Folia (1979) for tape, involves the idea of collage - as usually with this composer. The piece was prepared with the help of Eugeniusz Rudnik in the Polish Radio Experimental Studio. The composer uses prerecorded sound of a harpsichord played by Wladyslaw Klosiewicz. The traditional language the composer refers to is therefore Baroque.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2012, 01:08:36 PM by Maciek »

S709

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Re: Pawel Szymanski (b. 1954)
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2007, 12:45:58 PM »
Thanks for the background info about La Folia!! I had no idea it was based on a harpsichord recording, and this after hearing it many many times.

Offline Maciek

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Re: Pawel Szymanski (b. 1954)
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2007, 01:18:56 PM »
Well, no wonder. I don't think anyone would have guessed that. Sounds more like some sort of old fashioned synthesizer... ;D

Symphonien

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Re: Pawel Szymanski (b. 1954)
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2007, 10:26:17 PM »
Thank you very much for posting that file Maciek! That's actually the first piece of purely electronic music I've heard. Very interesting indeed. I like how he builds up those themes in very weird counterpoint for the first few minutes, and then when it launches into the crazy old-fashioned synthesiser middle part it sounded kind of funny to me. ;D But after I got over the initial shock, I found that when it culminated in glissando madness it was actually quite moving.

I very much liked the ending too - That obvious harpsichord passage starting approximately 8:05 which seems to change into something halfway to a lute with some sort of distorted recorder coming in later in a Baroque reference sounded like a once-familiar passage now way out of place floating across an alien environment surrounded by those cluster effects and then disintegrating back into synthesiser glissando and fading away...

I suppose electronic music is definitely worth some exploration. And certainly Pawel Szymanski. What else has he written? I can see exactly what he means by artists of today struggling to find something between blather and banality; I agree with him. It relates well to the whole idea of postmodernity as well.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2007, 10:32:10 PM by Symphonien »

Offline Maciek

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Re: Pawel Szymanski (b. 1954)
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2007, 10:32:36 PM »
Thanks for your thoughts, Symphonien! It seems you realy "get" this music because your description fits very well with what most musicologists usually say of Szymanski (and what he says himself) - and not everyone hears those things, they're not as obvious as may seem to you!

I suppose electronic music is definitely worth some exploration.

It definitely is!

Maciek
« Last Edit: January 18, 2012, 01:09:48 PM by Maciek »

Symphonien

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Re: Pawel Szymanski (b. 1954)
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2007, 10:43:56 PM »
Thanks for your thoughts, Symphonien! It seems you realy "get" this music because your description fits very well with what most musicologists usually say of Szymanski (and what he says himself) - and not everyone hears those things, they're not as obvious as may seem to you!

Yeah, some composers take more time than others and there are several well-known ones I have yet to come to terms with but that Szymanski piece was just one of those pieces that connected with me quite quickly.

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It definitely is! Check out some of the stuff that loudav made available through his AGP project! There are some great pieces there! I can also upload a few more of the Polish electronic classics (never released on anything, not even LP!) later, if you want (in the Little-Known Polish Composers thread).

Maciek

Wow, looks like a good site! Thanks a lot, and I'll be sure to check it out. And if you could upload some more in that other thread that'd be great!

Offline Maciek

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Re: Pawel Szymanski (b. 1954)
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2007, 11:27:48 AM »
Here's a longish quote from Szabolcs Esztenyi who asked Szymanski to write a piece for him (the Two Studies):

Quote from: Szabolcs Esztenyi

These are Studies in the strict sense of the term, from beginning to end - there must be tens of thousands of notes, the systems are heaped one upon another immensely and at the same time there is an enormous, striking simplicity of the initial structural premise in both of them.
...
The first Study is based on vertical structures, on chord-like structures. ... Pawel used the method of superimposing two, three, four and even more layers which are out of phase - it is, scientifically speaking, authentically "simultaneously multimetric". Different metres are used synchronically and the listener has the right to move from one layer to the other or to enjoy the harmonies and the differences between the layers.
...
However, the second Study ... is stretched out in time. The musical matter is a single-voice melody which sometimes does a loop. The loop is again based on an arithmetic operation. This Study is performed by both hands playing the melody using very quick repetitions, and the second hand always plays one sound more than the first hand, so here again they are out of phase. And smaller loops appear, currents, mists, clouds of sound. It is impossibly difficult to perform.
...
My conclusion is that what Pawel offered here, in both the Studies, is revelatory, I'd even say they are a work of genius. Never before has any composer in any piece used similar composing devices. ... Of course, I can't say I've seen every piece ever composed but I am 65 years old and I have never encountered a single Study of this calibre. ... I noticed that from the very beginning of my work with these pieces, as a pianist, I had to build myself anew, practically from scratch. ... I had to get back to my starting point as a pianist and learn everything about rhythm from the beginning.

I'm glad at least one great pianist shares my views... ;D

Cheers,
Maciek
« Last Edit: January 18, 2012, 01:17:15 PM by Maciek »

Offline Maciek

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Re: Pawel Szymanski (b. 1954)
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2007, 01:48:38 PM »
Szymanski - 3 Georg Trakl Songs. Version for soprano and chamber orchestra

The piece was first written for soprano and piano in January 2002, then Szymanski prepared the version with chamber orchestra in February of the same year. In 2003 he prepared an alto version for Jadwiga Rappé (with piano) - she performed that version for the first time in 2004 in the National Philharmonic (Warsaw). In 2005 the soprano and piano version was first performed by Urszula Kryger and Tomasz Herbut in Wurzburg. Tha chamber orchestra version was first performed in November 2006 during the Pawel Szymanski Festival in Warsaw by Urszula Kryger and The Orchestra of New Music (Orkiestra Muzyki Nowej) conducted by Szymon Bywalec.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2012, 01:18:34 PM by Maciek »

Symphonien

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Re: Pawel Szymanski (b. 1954)
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2007, 10:01:30 PM »
Thanks a lot for that Maciek! I'll listen when I have time.

Symphonien

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Re: Pawel Szymanski (b. 1954)
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2007, 11:22:12 PM »
Wow! Thank heaps! A lot of music there to get through. :o

Not just the electronic stuff, but the rest of it looks interesting as well! I'll work my way through it all some time, but I've been very busy lately. And I've also just recently discovered Nancarrow's Player Piano Studies for the first time. Amazing music... ;D
« Last Edit: June 04, 2007, 11:36:02 PM by Symphonien »

Offline Maciek

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Re: Pawel Szymanski (b. 1954)
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2007, 11:24:07 PM »
Yes! I don't know all of them but they are amazing! :o

Symphonien

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Re: Pawel Szymanski (b. 1954)
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2007, 11:37:52 PM »
Indeed they are! I have the complete set, and the only thing that makes me tire of them is the sound of the player piano getting a bit grating on the ears after a while.

Anyway, as for those 3 songs, I'm not much into singing (at least, not yet) but I actually did enjoy them. Very mystical sounding, but that 3rd one was just beautiful. Szymanski's style here sounds so familiar to me, yet I just can't place it, where it's from... he's truly made it his own. He seems to have a great skill at writing something completely original without having to resort to extreme complexity ("blather"), yet manages to avoid "banality". (I like these terms, he expresses the dilemma of writing contemporary music perfectly!)

Offline Maciek

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Re: Pawel Szymanski (b. 1954)
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2007, 12:36:06 AM »
What can I say? I'm glad you liked it! And thanks for keeping the thread alive!
« Last Edit: January 18, 2012, 01:19:26 PM by Maciek »

Offline Maciek

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Re: Pawel Szymanski (b. 1954)
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2007, 01:26:41 PM »
Important piece of news I managed to miss until today:

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RESULTS of the 2007 International Rostrum of Composers

CATEGORIE GENERALE / GENERAL CATEGORY

OEUVRES RECOMMANDEES / RECOMMENDED WORKS

Paweł SZYMAŃSKI (Pologne/Poland) Drei Lieder nach Trakl

This, of course, happens to be the piece I've uploaded a couple of posts above and that Symphonien commented so favorably on. :D

The news were released on June 11th.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2012, 01:20:37 PM by Maciek »

Symphonien

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Re: Pawel Szymanski (b. 1954)
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2007, 09:35:41 PM »
Wow! Very interesting indeed. Good to know that Szymanski is being highly regarded in the contemporary music scene.

Looking forward to hearing some more of his works soon when my download finishes. :D Thanks Maciek!

Offline Maciek

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Re: Pawel Szymanski (b. 1954)
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2007, 01:45:31 AM »
Well, he's more than 50 - it's high time he was recognized. ;D Anyway, Szymanski's pieces have already made it to the "recommended" UNESCO list at least twice before. This happened to his early (1979) piece Gloria and to Miserere (1993) which you are going to hear soon.

Offline Maciek

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Re: Pawel Szymanski (b. 1954)
« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2007, 04:27:09 AM »
Gloria is definitely an early piece but most of Szymanski's characteristic traits are already there. Just that perhaps he hadn't achieved a complete mastery over them just then. Or maybe he had...?

Maciek
« Last Edit: January 18, 2012, 01:21:11 PM by Maciek »

Offline Bonehelm

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Re: Pawel Szymanski (b. 1954)
« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2007, 04:35:09 PM »
Here you go! It's definitely an early piece but most of Szymanski's characteristic traits are already there. Just that perhaps he hadn't achieved a complete mastery over them just then. Or maybe he had...?

Gloria performed by the Polish Radio Choir and Orchestra in Cracow, conducted by Tadeusz Wojciechowski:

DownloadLink: http://rapidshare.com/files/39429717/Szyma_ski_Pawe__Gloria__1979__na_ch_r__e_ski_i_orkiestr__ChiOPR_w_Kr_Tadeusz_Wojciechowski.mp3

File-Size: 14,24 MB

Maciek

That's wonderful. Thanks very much for the link, Maciek.

Offline Maciek

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Re: Pawel Szymanski (b. 1954)
« Reply #19 on: July 25, 2007, 12:36:47 AM »
A completely different kind of piece is Szymanski's A Study of Shade for orchestra (from a series of 2 studies for orchestra) - slow, meditative, brooding, with the music seemingly standing still all the way through. He has written a few more in a similar vein (Singletrack for piano, for example) but they certainly do not dominate in his output. It is also worth noting that parts of A Study of Shade have an uncanny resemblance to his Quasi una sinfonietta (the slow movement) and the soundtrack he wrote to the documentary State of Weightlessness (later made into a suite of sorts called Film Music).
« Last Edit: January 18, 2012, 01:22:16 PM by Maciek »