An audiovisual film-concert hommage to renowned Polish composer Krzysztof Komeda, performed live at Polish Filmdays 2019, featuring Dawid Sulej Rudnicki on piano. You can listen to all the songs created for this work on this Soundcloud playlist.
Krzysztof Komeda was a Polish film music composer, creating the scores for Roman Polanski’s films Knife in the Water (1962), Cul-de-sac (1966), The Fearless Vampire Killers(1967), and Rosemary’s Baby (1968). Komeda’s album Astigmatic (1965) is widely regarded as one of the most important European jazz albums.
For Polish Filmdays 2019, I created a live audiovisual work for cinema, that combines the music of Komeda, the characters he wrote it for, their expressions, the imaginary worlds the exist in, all live reactive and superimposed with live cameras of us musicians performing, in addition with film and TV clips of Komeda himself.
The main idea was primarily to combine my own “sound” and ways of performance as a media artist, with the music and texture of Komeda, and the cinematic imagery of the films he composed for. I worked with his whole catalogue, studying his music both as a performing artist and as a composer, and also immersing myself in his textures and “soundscapes”, getting to know the atmospheres he built. Not to recreate them, but to have them as heavy sources, influencers, guides and references when creating a new work.
The festival connected and paired me with another invited artist, Polish pianist Dawid Sulej Rudnicki, also invited to interpret the works of Komeda, and we had a pleasant day of cinema rehearsals, figuring out how to combine our performances – we decided on a fully combined work, where we both play and improvise together on the pre-produced tracks , and I extended the visual parts to allow for extended segments of piano improvisation following the characters and images on screen.
The performance setup consists of us positioned next to the theatre screen, in a forest of tablets, each displaying long loops of faces of individual characters that Komeda wrote for. They are “stuck” in cinematic loop, like a living portrait of a specific moment. Multiple cameras on us and our instruments are then capturing us performing “together” with the actors: Surrounded by their expressions, we are echoing the music written for their emotions. On the main cinema screen there are then similar “stuck” loops of the worlds, landscapes and specific key moments in the films he composed for.
All is then combined in multiple layers simultanesouly gently drifting in and out of focus, allowing the audience both space to absorb the music, but also to drift away in images of the characters he wrote for, morphed with images of the musicians remixing, echoing or improvising on his music, which again are morphed with images of Komeda himself, performing or composing or expressing his ideas in interviews.
The end result should be a “living, interactive memory” of both his work and him as an artist. The work was performed live in Fredrikstad Kino at Polish Film Music Days, October 19th, 2019.