• Zanussi, Wajda and Michniewski on Kilar

As a little supplement to my earlier post today on Kilar at 80, here are two interviews I’ve since discovered by the film directors Krzysztof Zanussi and Andrzej Wajda.  They’re in Polish but with excellent English subtitles.  It’s interesting to observe the different ways in which Zanussi and Wajda talk about their frequent collaborations with Kilar.  Zanussi speaks touchingly and intelligently, referring to Kilar by the semi-formal ‘Pan Wojciech’ (Mr Wojciech).  Wajda is revealing in other ways, freer and more relaxed, and uses the more familiar ‘Wojtek’.

The interviews also offer glimpses of some of the films.  In Zanussi’s case, the excerpts are fairly brief: Struktura kryształu (The Structure of Crystal, 1969), Iluminacja (Illumination, 1973), Brat naszego Boga (Our God’s Brother, 1997).  The excerpts in the Wajda interview are a bit longer: Ziemia obiecana (Land of Promise, 1974), Kronika wypadków miłosnych (Chronicle of Amorous Events, 1986) and Pan Tadeusz (Mr Thaddeus, 1999).  Both accounts display Kilar’s mastery of the complementary score, sometimes in the most minimal way, an approach which often pays dividends in the cinema.

Both interviews have been recently uploaded by the Polish Music Publishers, PWM Edition, as part of its celebration of Kilar’s life and work.  There are also YouTube interviews with two Polish conductors: Antoni Wit (who has recorded several CDs of Kilar’s work for Naxos and other labels) and Wojciech Michniewski.

The interview with Michniewski, who has a background as a composer, is particularly engaging.  He gives a fascinating and anecdotally rich account of his connections with Kilar, concentrating on Orawa (1986) and Siwa mgła (Grey Mist, 1979), including the delightful inscriptions that Kilar wrote in his copies of these scores.

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