Góry o zmierzchu

Wojciech Kilar

" The music by Kilar is stark and conceptual. "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the music as heard in the movie

Góry o zmierzchu (Mountains at Dusk, 1970) was the first of a small series of films, directed by Krzysztof Zanussi and scored by Wojciech Kilar, in which the Tatra mountains played an important role. It was followed by Iluminacja (1974) and Spirala (1978). Iluminacja features one of the most exemplary scores by Kilar; complex and interesting in structure. It's also worth knowing the composer made his debut with a score to the short documentary Narciarze in 1958, shot in the same area.

The landscape of the Tatra mountains also inspired Kilar into writing a few classical pieces; Orawa, Kościelec 1909 and Kresezany. Kościelec 1909 is symphonic poem, a homage to composer Mieczyslaw Karlowicz who died at the peak of these mountains. Orawa, referring to the stream that runs through the surroundings, was a piece that he remembered as his best accomplishment, a very personal piece that he believed needed no change.

Wojchiech Kilar wrote the music for almost all Zanussi´films until he died in 2013. Generally, the composer could musically communicate things that the unemotional language of some of the films by Zanussi didn´t express. There was such a trustworthy relationship that Kilar basically could write what he felt was right for the film. And still because of unknown reasons Zanussi felt the need to re-use some of the music by Kilar. A good example is found in the recycled theme of Bilans kwartalny, not only in his own tv-film Urok wszeteczny (Deceptive Charm), but also for a short documentary (Z punktu widzenia nocnego portier / From a Night Porter's Point of View) by his befriended colleague Krzysztof Kieślowski.

Góry o zmierzchu tells the story of an old professor and his former student go climbing in the Tatra mountains together. For the professor this is the final climb, revealing once a friend died in attempting to save him in this same place. The former student is only trying to get into the professor’s good graces to get a job, but as time passes, they connect on more existential levels while talking to each other.

The music by Kilar is stark and conceptual. It is introduced in the opening of the film with several parts of the Katowice orchestra playing dissonant and tremolo, including a woodwind, a piano, strings, and plucked bass string. Together, this becomes an reverberating , brooding piece of music, which is just very compelling. This basic concept is revisited throughout the whole film, usually no longer than 20 seconds. A secondary, less used idea is found in I think two scenes accompanied by a similar reverberating mode and several piano notes, non-tremolo, but in off-key performances with small spaces between them. Kilar´ deliberate tension works on various levels. On the surface, it underscores the soon to be revealed tragedy, explaining the tense music from the start, but I feel tries so much more. It is the conceptional approach of the music, even though it is not overtly complex, is likely there to address the overarching themes that become apparent in existential conversation between the professor and the former student. The music is sparse, but brilliant within the frame it was conceived for.

The music remains unreleased.
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 1 votes - average 4.5/5)

Released by

- (music as heard in the movie 1970)