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Zbigniew Preisner
1955 -
Poland
Picture
Z. Preisner
Zbigniew Preisner (20/05/1955) is Poland's leading film score composer, best known for his work for the director Krzysztof Kieślowski. He was born in Bielsko-Biala, Poland. He studied history and philosophy at Krakow, and never received formal lessons in music, instead teaching himself by copying down parts from records.
Preisner is best known for his work on Kieślowski's movies. Some of those movies make reference to a fictitious Dutch composer by the name of Van den Budenmayer, and Preisner writes the music which in the plot of the movie is said to be by Budenmayer.
Preisner's style is basically Romantic, with Jean Sibelius being an acknowledged influence.
Requiem for my friend
Period:Modernism
Composed in:1996
Musical form:free
Text/libretto:Latin mass + Polish texts
Duration:68'22''
In memory of:Krzysztof Kieslowski
Label(s):Erato 3984-24146-2
Requiem for my friend is in two parts.
The first part - "Requiem" - is in nine movements and is scored for soprano, organ, two countertenors, tenor, bass, string quintet and percussion. It was recorded in Warsaw Cathedral and the Emaus Church in Krakow. This part is dedicated to Krzysztof Kieslowski (1941 - 1996), a leading Polish film director.
The second part - "Life" - is also in nine movements and is scored for soprano, voice, countertenor, recorder, alto saxophone, piano, sixty-piece orchestra and forty-piece choir. It was recorded in Studio S2/S4 of Polish Radio, Warsaw and the Emaus Church in Krakow.
The world premiere took place in Warsaw on 1st October 1998 at the Teatr Wielki.
Once, we had a joint conception to create a concert telling a life story. The premiere was planned to take place on the Acropolis in Athens. It was intended to be a large event, a hybrid of a mystery play and an opera. Krzysztof Kieslowski would be the director, Krzysztof Piesiewicz was responsible for the script, and I was planning to compose the music.
Source:Zbigniew Preisner
As the success of his film scores shows, Zbigniew Preisner knows exactly how to compose effective and immediately impressive music with an acute sense of timing. Requiem for my friend, his first work written specifically for concert performance, also shows this ability, but placed in a new context. The first part, "Requiem", employs words from the Latin Missa pro defunctis, and one feels that the ghosts of chant and the polyphonic tradition are often not far away....one occasionally thinks of the Górecki of the Third Symphony or O Domina nostra, or Pärt....This said, however, the work has its own sense of direction and cohesion and the relatively limited resources are put to very effective use....there are memorable things particularly in the "Lacrimosa", which attains a real dramatic power with its repetitive melodic tag, and the "Offertory", whose character is defined by the subtle use of recitative vocal writing.
Source:Text: Gramophone Magazine
Bells, cymbals, tangy chromaticism, a pastoral fiddle solo, the impersonal declamation of the text, the innocence of a countertenor (not to mention the presence of a countertenor in the first place) and the lovely lisping, shushing sonority of passages in Polish: all these transport a listener deep into the imaginary mists of time. (...a disembodied, pulsing "Hosanna" recalls a "Kyrie" in Maury Yeston's remarkable score for the Broadway musical "Nine.")
Author:Matthew Gurewitsch
Source:The New York Times
Eerily atmospheric....Spatial sound and great emphasis on sonority is the key to its mood....it used, to great effect, the huge stage of the Grand Theatre, placing soloists, chorus, and orchestra in the middle of constantly shifting tableau using flaming torches, dry ice, and stunning lighting effects.
Author:Brendan Carroll
Source:BBC Music Magazine
Picture
K. Kieslowski
(dedicatee)