Polish music will again conquer Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (hcmf//). Its audience will hear a new opera by Wojciech Blecharz and Colin Stetson’s reimagining of Górecki’s Symphony No. 3. The performances are part of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute’s Polska Music project.
Body-opera is a continuation of Wojciech Blecharz’s artistic strategy, as well as a collaborative work with Ewa Maria Śmigielska (responsible for installations, video, and costumes) and Karol Tymiński (text and choreography). Blecharz’s opera is a living organism, growing like branches, proliferating like cell groups. It uses different media – music, installation, choreography, sculpture, and video – to play with viewers’ customs, which puts them in a new performative situation to investigate the relation between sound and the body. The performance will take place on 20th November.
Wojtek Blecharz: conception, music, directing Ewa Maria—Śmigielska: installations, video, costumes Karol Tymiński: choreography, texts Beltane Ruiz Molina: double bass Alexandre Babel: percussion Robert Migas, Michał Bereza: sound design Tadeusz Perkowski: lights.
Colin Stetson is a cult multi-instrumentalist who mostly plays the saxophone and the clarinet. On his record Sorrow, which is a reinterpretation of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki’s Symphony No. 3, he plays three types of saxophone, bass clarinet, and synthesizer. Stenton is well known for his solo works (the New History Warfare trilogy, which has been presented on stages worldwide, including at Polish festivals) and cooperation with many outstanding artists like Lou Reed, Anthony Braxton, Mats Gustafsson, Tom Waits, and Arcade Fire. Górecki’s symphony, also known as the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, is one of Stetson’s favourite compositions, and he's been fascinated by it since he was a student. Sorrow is an attempt to incorporate Górecki into different musical traditions, enriching the piece by adding elements of metal and minimal and drone music to it. Stetson and his group’s concert will close the Huddersfield festival on 27th November.
On 18th November, a new piece by Stańczyk entitled Some Drops will be performed by Ensemble Musikfabrik. It’s not the first piece on which Stańczyk, winner of the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award, has worked with the ensemble. In 2015, they prepared Blink Walk for the Music Biennale in Venice. Ensemble Musikfabrik was created in 1990 in Düsseldorf, and moved to Cologne in 2003. The group focuses on cooperating with the youngest composers and conductors, but it also works with recognised contemporary music artists such as Heiner Goebbels, Péter Eötvös, Georg Friedrich Haas, Wolfgang Rihm, Rebecca Saunders, and Karlheinz Stockhausen.
Raphael Rogiński, a guitarist who explores forgotten music traditions and studies the sources of blues and African, Jewish, and contemporary American music, will give a recital on 21st November. His recent recording, Raphael Rogiński Plays John Coltrane and Langston Hughes African Mystic Music, was ranked highly on journalists' annual lists in Poland and abroad.
Huddersfield is a town in northern England with a population of 160,000, three hours by train from London – an unusual place to host a world-class event. However, amongst its audience are the most important music critics and directors of other festivals, which is why the festival can open many doors for artists. The Adam Mickiewicz Institute's Ewa Bogusz-Moore underlined that this was the reason for choosing for this festival as a partner for the next three years.
In 2015 Polish contemporary music was one of the main subjects of the festival. The British audience could familiarise themselves with works by Jagoda Szmytka, Agata Zubel, Zbigniew Karkowski, Tomasz Sikorski, The Moon (Księżyc), and Robert Piotrowicz. Mirt and Maja Ratkje presented their compositions inspired by the Polish Radio Experimental Studio’s activities. In an interview with PAP, the festival’s director Graham McKenzie said:
Poland is an as yet undiscovered yet incredible music world. We avoid showing only individual countries, because it reminds me of some sort of music tourism. Instead, we invite Polish creators and artists to play together with British or international artists. That’s how something new, creative and unexpected is brought to life – that’s the essence of contemporary music.
Contemporary Polish composers draw from the past and courageously explore the future.
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