Friday, May 4, 2012

Krzysztof Komeda – Kattorna – Soundtracks From Henning Carlsen Movies (Power Bros, 2005)

Krzysztof Komeda (composer)

Kattorna – Soundtracks From Henning Carlsen Movies (Power Bros, 2005)

Although primarily identified as the soundtrack composer of the movies directed by Roman Polanski, Polish pianist / composer Krzysztof Komeda cooperated with the entire Polish film industry during the revolutionary days of the 1960s New Wave of Polish Cinema, producing a long list of incredible cinematic scores. The post-WWII Polish cinema, struggling with the destruction of the country's intellectual fabric, the Socialist regime and the economic hardships, managed to produce some of the most outstanding works of modern cinematography, equal in their power of expression and revolutionary approach to cinema as a modern cultural media to the achievement of the great British, Scandinavian, French and Italian film makers at the same time. Komeda's soundtracks to the Polish (and Scandinavian) films in the mid-1960s and later Hollywood movies by the end of the 1960s are all absolute masterpieces of style, expression and sheer genius in creating a story-telling, often nerve-wrecking melody lines and wonderful themes, which expanded the visual content of the films and added another emotional dimension. 

The music is of course strongly influenced by the Jazz idioms, often even being pure Jazz. It is performed mostly by Komeda himself, accompanied by the members of his Jazz combos at the time, like trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, saxophonists Zbigniew Namyslowski and Michal Urbaniak and others. Sometimes larger instrumentation is also used, especially in the later scores. What is especially surprising and magical about this music is the fact that is stands alone as well as it functions as a part of the cinematic experience. All the albums with Komeda's soundtracks are simply superb pieces of music and in retrospect constitute an incredible body of work of rarely equaled magnitude and importance. 

Komeda's tragic and painfully premature death ended a career, which in many respects was at its early stage. This album includes the soundtracks of three movies: "Kattorna (Kittens)", "Sult (Hunger)" and "People Meet And Sweet Music Fills The Heart" by Danish director Henning Carlsen. Komeda's incredible talent as a film composer was discovered by the Scandinavian film makers and other intellectuals and Komeda spent considerable periods of time in Scandinavia in the mid-1960s, which was unprecedented for any Polish musician. Unfortunately the music for the first film directed by Carlsen, which Komeda composed the music for: "Hvad Med Os (What About Us)" is not included on this album and was not released to date. Komeda was also supposed to compose the music for a fifth film by Carlson, but his tragic death prevented this from happening. The music from "Kattorna", in a different version, can be also found on the legendary "Astigmatic" album by Komeda. Brilliant stuff!

(Editor) From different film but very similar in mood to these outstanding recordings:

Track listing:
1 -3. People Meet And Sweet Music Fills The Heart
4 -10. Sult
11 -15. Kattorna

By Adam Baruch

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