Bartosz Chajdecki

" mesmerizing score by Bartosz Chajdecki "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the regular release

Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński is one of Poland's best known poets, who died at a young age on the fourth day of the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. Baczyński is not a regular biography, instead director Kordian Piwowarski opted for a semidocumentary; a present day lecture with poem citations, mix with archive footage, testimonies from survivors and a traditional film approach of the life of Baczyński. Musically, the film offers a few period pieces, contemporary songs and a mesmerizing score by Bartosz Chajdecki. Coincidentally, another biographical film (called Papusza) of another Polish poet, Bronisława Wajs, was released in the same year. Its approach is less artistically satisfying and very different, while the score by Jan Kanty Padluskiewicz is very good.

Several Polish composers, in the age of 30 to 40 years old, have emerged and proven their exceptional skills; Rafal Rozmus, Antoni Lazarkiewicz, Patryk Scelina, Bartosz Chajdecki and the list goes on. The music for the first two seasons of the TV series Czas honoru introduced me to Chadjdecki' music, and I have been greatly affected by the majority of his other scores since, including Baczyński.

The music is performed by a classic array of orchestral (solo) instruments, strings, woodwinds and brass instruments in a contemporary hybrid with the use of guitars and synthesizers. I would like to draw special attention to the superb cello playing by Jan Kalinowski, a musician who has made a great impression with his performances of works by composers such as Marek Stachowski, Witold Lutosławski and Ludomir Różycki. The vivid singing of soprano Liliana Pociecha, also heard in Czas honoru, is another remarkable addition to the talented people Chajdecki lined up for his score.

Several pieces on the release are either (partly) unused, or more or less buried under the other sounds from poem readings, dialogue and (archival) sound effects in the film, by which some musical details become almost imperceptible. A few pieces of score overlap with poem readings, which at times is nothing short of magic, yet after a while the effect wears off.

There is a great wealth of emotions to be found in the music, yet three music ideas stand out the most. First, there is the compelling, intimate light strings and piano chords, whose subtle use gives the score a heart and soul, and a sense of solace and solitude, in connection to Baczyński as a person, while also proving as a useful asset to underscore the bond with his wife in the film. Chajdecki also builds up momentum, evident in the two Preludium cues. And third, the solo soprano is another good musical component, very strongly represented in the film.

The mixed form of the semidocumentary makes for some really strong musical moments, within scenes devoid of dialogue This is evident in the beginning of the film in the Tatra mountains, filmed as a beautiful music video, supported by the spellbinding Tatry.

The first Preludium track, a grand musical piece, serves as a prologue to the resistance, overlaid by a poem citation along the road, but not on the release. While the second Preludium (Wersja II) is more or less buried by a poem and sounds of heavy artillery, following the beginning of an attack and the dramatic consequences, it still remains impressive in the film. Liliana Pociecha´ beautiful soprano voice is heard quite briefly on two separate occasions, but more prominently in a scene that glorifies Baczyński, followed by getting himself hit by a sniper. Here, the music and beautiful, angelic voice of the soprano is overly dramatic, a larger than life experience, devoid of sound effects and poems. Her voice appropriately re-occurs during the end credits.

Baczyński is an impressive score in terms of the technical and emotional content. It is one of those scores not likely to be forgotten, and the most impressive work by Bartosz Chadjecki so far. The CD release is a rather complicated listen, as it includes score, poems (sometimes with score) and songs. In the film experience, the poems are mostly as moving as the score, fully enhancing the poetic, semidocumentary feel, on the CD they tend to harm the listening experience.

1. "Miasto" B.A.Ch Film Ensemble/Brian Massaka/Wojciech Famielec 2:02
2. "Preludium" B.A.Ch Film Ensemble 4:34
3. "Samotność" B.A.Ch Film Ensemble 1:31
4. "Tatry" B.A.Ch Film Ensemble 1:30
5. "Spojrzenie" * Jan Gabriel Szutkowski 1:57
6. "Wojna" B.A.Ch Film Ensemble/Liliana Pociecha 1:56
7. "Retrospekcja" B.A.Ch Film Ensemble 3:46
8. "Pragnienia" * Weronika Lewandowska 1:41
9. "Spojrzenie" (live) Marek Szlezer/Jan Kalinowski 4:03
10. "Elegia" * Kuba Malinowski 1:56
11. "Preludium" (Wersja II) B.A.Ch Film Ensemble 3:17
12. "Jesień pragnień" * Jan Gabriel Szutkowski 1:27
13. "Uwertura" B.A.Ch Film Ensemble/Zofia Wojniakiewicz 1:42
14. "Szpital" * Kamila Janiak 1:58
15. "Wojna" (Wersja II) B.A.Ch Film Ensemble/Liliana Pociecha 1:56
16. "Byłeś jak wielkie stare drzewo" * 1:47
17. "Podróż" B.A.Ch Film Ensemble/Liliana Pociecha 1:52
18. "Z głową na karabinie" * Janusz Jamanta Kulesza 1:09
19. "Wybór" * Jan Paweł Kowalewicz 1:51
20. "Miasto" (Wersja II) B.A.Ch Film Ensemble/Brian Massaka 2:46
21. "Baczyński – Pieśń o szczęściu” Czesław Śpiewa/Mela Koteluk 3:17

Total duration 47:58

(written 05-03-2020)
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Released by

EMI Music (regular release 2013)