Zygmunt Konieczny

" Konieczny recorded the score for choir and organ in a liturgical church in Lotz, along with wailing vocals provided by Jurek Cnota. "

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

Zygmunt Konieczny is a composer who is not as highly regarded as some Polish composer of his generation, such as his equivalent Wojciech Kilar. Konieczny´s musical career is impressive, writing music for film, TV and theatre, including his music for poetic songs; one of his specialties. The year of 1967 was not only significant because of the release of a mesmerizing studio album with singer Ewa Demarczyk, Ewa Demarczyk śpiewa piosenki Zygmunta Koniecznego, but also because of his remarkable debut for the short film Odwrót (Retreat).

The 20 minutes short film, shot in black and white, was directed by Jerzy Surdel. It depicts the endeavours of two mountaineers, who after an accident occurs, one of them ascends down the Tatra mountains. There is no dialogue in the film, but sound effects and music play a significant role.

Konieczny recorded the score for choir and organ in a liturgical church in Lotz, along with wailing vocals provided by Jurek Cnota.

The anticipating opening shot of the film reveals the Tatra mountains, supported by rising organ chords and ethereal, gradually intensifying religious, lament voices. It has a strong meditative and disturbing feeling, poetic even, drawing you into the film. Subsequently, Konieczny' music continues on this path. The second cue of the score, heard from 03:55 – 6:33, also introducing the lament singing of Jurek Cnota, whose Arabic sounding waling at the end of cue is truly outstanding. Another impressive moment for Cnota is heard in the amazing scene (10:44) as the mountain climber begins to shout, which is inaudible, and instead replaced by dramatic use of the same lament voice phrase and organ chords. The film ends on a great piece of music for imposing organ.

It is truly impressive how these three musical elements have this consistent, brooding atmosphere, constantly switching musical scales, offering short (melodic phrases) for the three instruments in different setups; two defining elements in the composers works. This enables the music to underscore the vast majority of the film with a hypnotic, musical undercurrent, but still very much with an active function, that easily reaches great dramatic depths when required.

Once in while, the debut of a film composer is so impressive, it makes you wonder how someone could write such breathtaking music ever again. Luckily, Zygnmunt Konieczny is a composer who continued to write scores of such eminence, from the avant-garde score to Jak daleko stąd, Jak blisko (How Far, How Near) to the pathos filled orchestral music to Pogrzeb kartofla (Burial of a Potato).

The composer does not like releasing his scores, holding a grudge towards the commercial aspect, and beliefs they are not meant to be heard out of context. Nonetheless, four releases saw the light of day, but so much of his music, including Odwrót, remains unreleased.

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- (music as heard in the movie 1967)