1. What does music mean to you personally?
Music is my life. Yes – I know, this is a great and maybe clichéd expression, but I can’t imagine the world without it. It’s always present at my home, the radio is on for most of the day. I experience it, I wonder what made the composer write a particular work, I often close my eyes and listen intently – for me, music is a bit like a book for a reader. Because I was gifted with very good hearing – I can catch, for instance, the parts played by individual instruments and I immediately have a picture of the melodic line written on the stave in my head. That’s why I think I understand music …
2. Do you agree with the statement that music is a fantasy?
It is a kind of fantasy – a composer, like an architect, sculptor or art painter, would be nobody without fantasy.
3. If you were not a professional musician, who would you be?
I’m not a professional musician. I graduated from music schools, but I worked in a different industry for many years. Now, after more than twenty-year break, I’m trying to make friends with music again. Who could I be? My mother, grandmother, grandfather and my great-grandfather were teachers. In January 2018, I gave my first lecture at a University for nearly two hundred listeners. It was about the architecture of Lvov, which my great-grandfather was creating. Although it was a debut – I didn’t feel any stress, though I’m rather a homebody and I’m not fond of big events. My primary school teacher destined me the future of a writer, but my beloved wife’s first husband was a writer, so I won’t go this way 🙂
4. The classical music audience is aging, are you worried about the future?
No, I’m not worried. I see that people are tired of everything that’s new; currently handicrafts, everything that is classic and not innovative, are back in style, we appreciate the past and the things we need to put a lot of work into. In Poland, I see a lot of young people at concerts, of course it’s quite a small group, but for decades classical music has been intended for elites.
5. How do you imagine the role of music in the 21st century? Do you see this role being transformed?
Frankly speaking, I don’t know how the future of music will look like. I hope that the era of the so-called contemporary music is heading to the end and we’re going to come back to what is beautiful and tonal. This comeback should refer not only to music. After all, not everything has already been composed! Today, we have much easier access to sources, so let’s use them. Brahms taught Dvorak, Bach rewrote other composers’ scores in order to learn to compose. Today it’s easier and unfortunately this is probably one of the reasons that we are simply lazy. And people still want to listen to beautiful music and such music is created – for instance film music.
6. Do you think that today’s musician must be more creative? What is the role of creativity in the music process for you?
Each artist has to be creative in their own way. It appears to me, however, that we went too far. When looking for newer and newer forms of expression, we got lost. Triads have already been in use, so we started using clusters. Does the audience like them? The narrow group claims that yes. Someone wanted to introduce quarter-tones, but they didn’t catch on. It’s typical for a man to constantly look for something. So let’s look for new melodic lines, but using proved measures…
7. Do you think that as musicians, we can do something that will encourage the younger generation to attend music concerts? How would you do it?
Let’s not try getting it done by force. Young people love music from Disney films, girls are still in love with The Nutcracker or the Snow White without being aware and without thinking that Tchaikovsky’s music is in the background. It is our fault that we don’t try to explain this music to them later. Does your child know the flower waltz? Tell them what the waltz is. That it is performed in triple time, that you can dance to it. Turn on the CD with Strauss’s waltz – it will turn out that your child knows “Over the beautiful Modest Danube”. If we try to “infect” children with the music of the second half of the twentieth century – it may put them off for a lifetime…
8. Tell us about your creative process. What is your favorite song (written by you) and how did you start to work on it?
I started composing recently. The first were preludes – in the harmony referring to the Baroque. I’m a trained organist after all … However, I quickly turned in the direction I love. I grew up listening to Chopin’s music and it appeals to me the most. The first draft works were created on the computer. I quickly wrote them and sent them to a friend asking him to play. He said straight – it’s impossible to play them. I almost took umbrage 🙂 reluctantly, I sat at the piano for the first time for over twenty years. Unfortunately, it turned out that it was true and I would have to put a lot more work into these songs. Very tediously, I corrected all notes, bar after bar… And it was worth it. Many people like the Waltz in C minor written for my wife the most, while my mother likes Impromptu best. I worked the longest on Variation No. 1, Nocturne No. 2 is the easiest to play, but it’s the most expressive. However, I’m most proud of the etudes. I’m immodestly saying that they are really good, especially No. 1,3 and 4. However, I’m eager to hear the opinion of a wider group, as none of them has been played by a professional pianist …
9. Can you give advice to young people who want to discover classical music?
I don’t feel fit enough to give advice to others … If someone has an artistic soul, is a sensitive person – music should find them. As I already said, parents’ role is very important – and if they don’t have a clue about it, school should encourage people through music lessons. The basis is the explanation, the music must be understood. In August 2018, I was at a small concert in the border city between Poland and Germany – Gorlitz. The concert with Chopin’s music was played by great Polish pianist of the young generation, Grzegorz Niemczuk. However, it was not an ordinary concert – Grzegorz divided it into many parts. First, he talked about what he was going to play, explaining the form, the secrets of its creation… Everyone knows Chopin’s revolutionary etude, but in the light of the facts that Poland wasn’t present on the map at the time and my countrymen set off to fight in the Uprising against occupants, that Chopin was away from his family at that time, he wanted to come back and fight – we can understand why the song is so dramatic. How different it is from the Nocturne Es, which he wrote as a seventeen-year old man in love….
10. Do you think about the audience when composing?
I write what I feel. This doesn’t arise from the ubiquitous desire to become famous, to please the audience … Of course, I would like others to love what’ve I created. First, the pianists. If they don’t feel the song and they play it only because, for example, the minister of culture will give a subsidy for this project – nothing will come out of it. They will play, someone will listen and forget. The earlier mentioned Grzegorz Niemczuk played my waltz in Japan, not because he knows me or likes me. We’ve met recently and by accident. He risked a lot by playing a completely unknown song, written by someone who has spent the last twenty years in a pharmaceutical company, at a ticketed concert in Japan. We know how demanding the local audience is. But he played it, because, as he wrote – he loved this song. It’s absolutely the highest form of recognition! If the performer plays from his heart – the audience will sense it. And the success is guaranteed.
11. What projects are coming? Do you experiment in your projects?
I’ve been practicing piano for a few months now. It’s difficult after such a long break, but I have to do it to make the songs comfortable to play. The last song, not yet made available, was not created on the computer anymore but with the use of the instrument, from the beginning to the end. In 2019 I’m planning to compose, although this is just a hobby. I still work in a different job, I have a lot of duties unrelated to composing. And what will I compose? I’m not sure yet… Here, I need something called an inspiration. It is not that I sit down intending to write a waltz and I write it. The chance governs my world in this scope, a motive will pop into my mind and I will work on it later. I dream about writing a sonata, but it is a serious challenge … I’m not going to experiment. Rather, learn, develop – but within the framework of classical harmony.
Translated from Polish by Translatium.pl