• MoMA on Polish Music
Thursday, 22 May 2014 Leave a comment
Yet another initiative that I missed earlier this year is a series of essays and other items emanating from New York’s Museum of Modern Art. I came across MoMA’s post – notes on modern and contemporary art around the globe while writing my preceding post about the late Bohdan Mazurek. On 19 December 2013 MoMA published a theme called Polish Radio Experimental Studio: A Close Look, in which Mazurek features.
This really is a superb English-language introduction to one of the ground-breaking initiatives in Western and Eastern European music in the 1950s. PRES was the brainchild of Józef Patkowski. It was a most unlikely development in communist Poland and one that had a profound impact on the sound of Polish music. Many composers, including Penderecki, Kotoński, Schäffer and Dobrowolski, made use of its expertise (principally Bohdan Mazurek and Eugeniusz Rudnik), and soon non-Polish composers also flocked to use its facilities.
The MoMA theme includes the following:
• Daniel Muzyczuk, ‘The Future Sound of Warsaw: Introduction to PRES
• David Crowley, ‘Spatial Music: Design and the Polish Radio Experimental Studio
• Michał Libera: Alchemist Cabinet of the Polish Radio Experimental Studio: Music Scores of and for Experiments
• PRES Music Scores 1959-1972
[browsable scores originally published by PWM]
• Kotoński Music for One Cymbal Stroke (1959)*
• Dobrowolski Music for Magnetic Tape (1963)*
• Schaeffer Symphony – Electronic Music (1964)*
• Dobrowolski Music for Magnetic Tape and Oboe Solo (1965)
• Dobrowolski Music for Strings, Two Groups of Wind Instruments and Two Loudspeakers (1966)
• Kotoński Aela. Electronic Music (1970)*
• Dobrowolski Music for Magnetic Tape and Piano Solo (1972)*
No sound files are included on the MoMA site, but there is a fascinating double CD (2013) from Bôłt Records that brings together the original realisations of the five scores marked * above, plus modern realisations of the same pieces. The two CDs are called PRES Scores and also include then-and-now versions of Penderecki’s Psalmus (1961).