The theatrical portrait of Tomasz Sikorski, a forgotten avant-garde pianist and one of the most interesting composers of the 20th century, was sketched by Katarzyna Kalwat in TR Warszawa. Holzwege is a mixture of elements from concerts, improvisation, and musical experiments. Jan Dravnel, Sandra Korzeniak and Tomasz Tyndyk are all part of the cast.
Holzwege ('wandering' in German) is an attempt to understand the work and personality of the pianist who – as one of the actresses says in the play – ‘carried death inside since he was born’, ‘wandered around with this death and infected others’, around whom ‘the atmosphere of death thickened’. Tomasz Sikorski, who died prematurely in mysterious circumstances, is presented in the play through documentary materials, through literary fiction interpreted by the actors Jan Dravnel, Tomasz Tyndyk, and Sandra Korzeniak, and through a piano recital. His pieces Zerstreutes Hinausschauen, Sonant, Hymnos and Echoes II were played on stage by his friend Zygmunt Krauze, composer of the score for Iwona, Princess of Burgundia – an opera based on Witold Gombrowicz's play – and The Trap, based on Tadeusz Różewicz's play. Dramatist Marta Sokołowska who wrote the text for Holzwege, explained:
The play is not Sikorski's portrait, but rather a struggle with our beliefs, truths, maybe even our dreams about Tomasz Sikorski. Somewhere in the background we were concerned with the act of creating. Through Sikorski's personage we analyze the mechanisms of how a famous character is created, of how it is taken out from the void and becomes recognised by the society. I was inspired by Tomasz Sikorski's works, and then became interested in the conditions in which he grew up, lived and died. I think that Sikorski's art was influenced by the context in which he functioned.
Sokołowska adds that words and music are treated equally in the play. Holzwege is a collage of different elements – concert, improvisation, musical experiments. As she underlined, music is not an addition, but a ‘legitimate participant and a commentary to what happens among the actors’.
The director Katarzyna Kalwat noticed, that ‘Sikorski is not a widely known composer’. As she said, this was a starting point for the creators' search.
95 per cent of people on the street probably couldn't say who he was. That is why we wondered, whether this play, our search, our struggles give us the possibility to make a pop icon out of Sikorski. We asked ourselves, whether creating an unforgettable persona in a play is even possible. Can this mechanism of creation even exist here?
Tomasz Sikorski (1939-1988) was a pianist and a composer. He studied composition in the Music Academy in Warsaw under the guidance of his father Kazimierz Sikorski, and piano with Zbigniew Drzewiecki. He created sonorist and minimalist pieces. He worked, among other places, in the Experimental Studio of the Polish Radio and as a lecturer in the school he graduated from. He received scholarships from the French and American governments. He composed, among others, Antyfony for a soprano, piano, horn, bells, 2 gongs, 2 tam-tans and tape-recorder (1961-1963), Homofonia for 12 wind brass instruments, piano and gong (1970), Zerstreutes Hinausschauen (Widok z okna oglądany w roztargnieniu na fortepian, 1971), a radio opera The Adventures of Sinbad for a soprano, a tenor, 6 reciters, a female choir and an orchestra (1971-72), Holzwege for a symphonic orchestra (1972), Muzyka nasłuchiwania na 2 fortepiany (editor's translation: Music of intent listening for 2 pianos, 1973) and Samotność dźwięków na taśmę (Solitude sounds for a tape, 1975). He played concerts in Stockholm, Athens, Brussels, USA and Japan.
Author: Anna Legierska, transl. NMR, January 2016.