Thursday, December 20, 2012

Leszek Mozdzer & Tymon Tymanski Polish Brass Ensemble - Chopin Etiudy Przystanek Woodstock (2012)

Leszek Mozdzer & Tymon Tymanski Polish Brass Ensemble

Antoni Ziut Gralak - trumpet
Bronislaw Duzy - trombone
Marcin Slusarczyk - alto saxophone
Ireneusz Wojtczak - soprano and tenor saxophone
Leszek Mozdzer - piano
Ryszard Tymon Tymanski - double bass
Kuba Staruszkiewicz - drums

Chopin Etiudy Przystanek Woodstock (2012)

By Monika Okrój

This recording is influenced by four personalities and, respectively, four musical circles as represented by Frederic Chopin, Leszek Możdżer, Tymon Tymański and... Jurek Owsiak. Joining together in order to revive Chopin timeless music the project may be seen as searching for common ground between the classical music, modern jazz, yass and… rock influenced mass festivals. To be able to grasp better how such a diversity might work let us look closer at the protagonists of this unique enterprise: 

Leszek Możdżer's improvisations on Chopin's works are among the best in this genre, and certainly the most original. His first album "Chopin - impresje" (1994) was reissued to commemorate the composer's 200-birth year as a "Impressions on Chopin" (2010). Pianist often includes the reminiscences of those albums in his concert repertoire. 

The meeting of Leszek Możdżer with Ryszard Tymon Tymański again on one stage is also significant. Their musical roads came together in the late 80, when formed already legendary jazz band from Tri-city "Miłość" („Love”), from which hatched the concept of "yass" (merger of jazz, punk rock and folk) and subsequently spread over a fair part of then young music scene. 

And there is also Jurek Owsiak – a great figure of Polish charity, the founder of "Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy”. It is a foundation which every year collects money to help the sick, especially children, by buying the necessary equipment for hospitals. His foundation since 1995 also organizes fully sponsored festival “Przystanek Woodstock”, inspired by the Woodstock, with music - willy-nilly - rather different from jazz. 

When Leszek Możdżer was asked to give a concert at the festival, he didn't hide his embarrassment: “this is a specific festival - said in an interview for the Polish Radio Dwójka - hundreds of thousands of free people under the stage. It was a heavy mental strain for me, even though I was only an hour on stage, the whole half a year I was disturbed by this term. I didn't know how it will look like. Two days before the concert I wrote arrangements. I knew that if I take “hooligan-boys” to the team and we play together on the big stage, we will be understood". 

In result, the concert was listened by 200 thousand of people, what can be heard on the recording full of cheers, whistling, vibrant reactions. The evidence of what was happening at this festival is a voice of Jurek Owsiak, or rather what remained from it. Możdżer always so very eloquent and talkative on stage, this time adapted his announcements to the omnipresent noise; sometimes it sounds funny for a jazz fan - "Etude in E-major, E-major, which we love and respect”. So what about the music? The arrangements are various and Chopin's themes - if they occur - very clear. In the original pieces, particularly in etudes, it is possible to hear many, both rhythmical and melodic layers which attests to their richness. This “hooligan” approach to the very sensitive matter on the one hand deprives them of such value, but on the other hand gives back the pure essence. Educational role? Why not? 

In the recording, we find several themes arranged literally, but there are also others, that contain only shreds of themes and chords, as for example Etude in G-flat major, Op 25 no 9, which begins with a strong, funky drum solo, and then develops vigorously along hardbop lines. Another Etude in C major Op 10 no 7, very "brillante" in its essence, is the one where we can hear the melody in parts of wind instruments, sounding like a big band, in a midst of which we can hear Możdżer’s improvises. In the opening Etude C major Op 10 no 1 the pianist fiery plays the original in the background, when the band firmly plays vertical chords. Each piece is actually a separate story, has its own tension, is a source of concern and curiosity, as the famous Etude in C minor Op 10 no 12 “Revolutionary”, played in kind of "tempo rubato" and completely free. And just here, the bass solo of Tymon Tymański makes the silence in the audience. 

The band manages to sneak in an unusual way the wonderful themes even in a pretty romantic version: Prelude in E minor Op 28 no 4, very often played by jazz musicians, was played here almost like a ballad. It's incredible in the end, when Leszek Możdżer plays original Etude in E major Op 10 no 3 - the best proof that Chopin's music was received with approval, that the great music stands no artificial borders. Celebrating 200th years since the birth of this arguably most famous of Polish composers, this album is the most credible evidence that the clashes of different cultures and aesthetics could give great results indeed!

1. Etiuda C Op. 10 Nr 1
2. Etiuda F Op. 10 Nr 9
3. Etiuda E Op. 10 Nr 3
4. Etiuda C Op. 25 Nr 12
5. Etiuda Ges Op. 25 Nr 9
6. Etiuda C Op. 10 Nr 7
7. Etiuda C Op. 10 Nr 12
8. Preludium E Op. 28 Nr 4
9. Etiuda E Op. 10 Nr 3 Solo

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