It has been a year since the death of Wojciech Kilar. He passed away to Lord on 29 December 2013. Despite the time passing, it is still difficult to accept the death of the composer, who had been one of the clearest people of the Polish music life since the mid of the last century. First he co-created the native avant-garde. Later not only lots of music lovers, but also ordinary listeners were impressed with his with his melody innovation. With a great resonance in the wide world.

He remained in his music

The consolation is a lively memory about him. Not only among his grateful compatriots. And also awareness, that, after all, ‘he did not die completely’. Not only because we have to say about such a deeply religious man that he passed away to Father’s Home, but also because his wonderful music is still alive and present. And not only in our Polish culture. One can only look at Kilar’s repertoire of concerts which were performed during the previous year, and also valuable and beautiful fragments of his music composed for over a hundred films, both the Polish and foreign ones, which still sound on radio and television, and in whole – sometimes in cinema halls. Recently – during a presentation of a new film by Krzysztof Zanussi ‘A foreign body’. Unfortunately, already as the opus posthumunum – the posthumous work.

Kilar’s concerts in Poland and abroad

And those last year’s concerts are, for example, a performance of the Symphonic Orchestra from Norwegian Trondheim, which in the mid of August during the Festival ‘Chopin and his Europe’ performed a famous symphonic poem ‘Krzesany’ in the National Philharmonics in Warsaw. An unusual example of the creative modern inspiration with a famous highlanders’ dance. This excellent pieces of music, composed by Kilar in 1974, which became a great artistic even of Warsaw Autumn in a short time, could be recently, because in September 2014, heard also……in a less known city Daeg in South Korea. And it was where Antoni Wit directed the international orchestral band with a baton, consisting of students of Warsaw Music University named Fryderyk Chopin and Korean University Keimyung.

And a week before, the Ukrainian Symphonic Orchestra of Stanisławowska Philharmonics, performing for the audience of the amphitheatre in Konstancin-Jeziorna, performed fragments of Kilar’s compositions from 15 films, among the others, from ‘Pan Tadeusz’, ‘Zemsta’, ‘Illumination’, ‘Bilans kwartalnego’, ‘Pianist’, ‘Trędowata’, because Kilar’s talent ennobled even literary works of an inferior attempt, addressed to a big audience. A beautiful waltz from this film with an impressive polonaise from ‘Pan Tadeusz’ and a lyric theme from the film ‘A chronicle of amorous cases’, also performed in the Cracow Philharmonics FMF Youth Orchestra under the direction of Monika Bachowska during another Festival of Film Music.

Whereas it would be necessary to mention important concerts performed in October in Katowice and in Bydgoszcz, during which the poem was performed twice, which was inspired by a highlanders’ song and dedicated to Andrzej Bachleda. The poem for baritone and orchestra was entitled ‘Grey fog’. During the second of the mentioned concerts, during a Music Festival in Bydgoszcz, dedicated to the old-time music of Eastern Europe, Wojciech Kilar was commemorated with the performance of his other three music vocal and instrumental compositions from the 70s and 80s of the last century, and which have a deep religious meaning: ‘God’s Mother’, ‘Angelus’ and ‘Exodus’. In relation to it, it is worth reminding that the first music composition in this set, composed in 1984 to the text of the Angel’s Greeting, was prepared by the composer, especially for unveiling the baroque altar of the Miraculous Image at the Jasna Góra Chapel, after a thorough renovation and maintenance.

A Silesian man from Lvov

Reminiscing the great composer and his music shining with various colours, one cannot forget the fact what kind of man he was. And he was a man of an unusual personal charm, an extremely modern artist, strongly emotionally related to traditional values. He was called a Silesian man from Lvov, as he was born in a beautiful city there. He travelled with his concerts all over the world, he was a great patriot and he spent most of his life in Katowice, and on the verge of mystics, his spiritual life was related with the Jasna Góra sanctuary.

It is movingly proven by excellent portrait photos, expressing the artist’s deepness and taken by his friend from Częstochowa, Zdzisław Sowiński and placed in a small photographic album ‘Wojciech Kilar. Now, now, now and ….amen’. This album, maintaining a permanent and timeless actuality was published in the mid of the year 2012, under the honourable patronage of the prior of Jasna Góra at that time, Fr. Roman Majewski, by the Association of Friends of ‘Gaude Mater’ and the Museum in Częstochowa, on the occasion of the 80th birthday of the composer, as well as on the occasion of the mentioned International Festival of the Sacral Music in the city of Jasna Góra, during which there were his music compositions performed. This publication presents the jubilee artist not in a jubilee but a private way. And even in an intimate way – either at home, in a lonely way, by the piano or among trees in a garden, with his wife, Barbara, and by her grave, and in the cloister of Jasna Góra. Engrossed in a prayer just next to the Image of Black Madonna with Her Baby, which had been taken off the altar and being renovated.

This ‘amen’, written after multi dots in the end of the subtitle of this collection of about 30 photographs, is the synonym of faithfulness in the Hebrew language, so significant for a moral attitude of Kilar. But, also, as it is generally known, the Judeo-Christian prayer formula, proclaiming at the end of a pronounced intention: may it be so! A year after the regrettable death of the excellent composer and an orchestra director, as well as an excellent man , one can refer its sense only to memory about him and his works. However, if it remains alive as it has been till now, the great absent composer will remain with us forever. This is what we, Poles, should wish to one another.


„Niedziela” 2/2015

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl