Monday, December 5, 2011

Tomasz Stanko – Balladyna Theater Play Compositions (Gowi Records, 1994)

Tomasz Stańko - trumpet

Tomasz Szukalski - tenor and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet
Ewa Wanat - vocal
Marcin Wasilewski - piano
Sławomir Kurkiewicz - bass
Michał Miśkiewicz - drums
Piotr Wolski - percussion
Zbigniew Brysiak - percussion

This little-known album by Polish trumpeter / composer Tomasz Stanko contains the music he wrote for the theatre performance of the tragedy "Balladyna" written by Polish playwright Juliusz Slowacki. Not to be confused with Stanko's pivotal album also entitled "Balladyna", recorded almost two decades earlier and released on ECM. The album presents the complete theatre soundtrack for the play, consisting of 23 tracks ranging in length between half a minute to over five minutes. The central theme is repeated many times in different renditions, arrangements, tempi and instrumentations, creating a beautiful and often chilling atmosphere. The music stands on it's own as a completely valid piece of music, which can be enjoyed separately from the theatre performance it was intended for. The performers include Stanko's quartet members: pianist Marcin Wasilewski, bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz and drummer Michal Miskiewicz, as well as saxophonist Tomasz Szukalski, vocalist Ewa Wanat and percussionists Piotr Wolski and Zbigniew Brysiak. In retrospect this is an important piece of Stanko's recorded legacy, similarly to his other soundtrack compositions, which show his rare ability to write wonderful atmospheric music. This is a must to all Stanko connoisseurs, although deleted since many years with (so far) no prospects for a reissue.

Author: Adam Baruch

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