CULTURE

Polish composer prepares for world premiere

The celebrated Polish film score composer Zbigniew Preisner will be presenting a selection of works composed for the films of Krzysztof Kieslowski, as well as a new piece featuring Madredeus singer Teresa Salgueiro on vocals at the Herod Atticus Theater on September 4. The composer recently presented the program for the evening, when Preisner will conduct, in the first part, the Contemporary Music Orchestra of ERT (Greek Radio and Television), the Athens University Chorus, singers Salgueiro and Thomas Cully (from Liberia), and a group of Polish, Swedish and English instrumental soloists, in the world premiere of «Silence, Night and Dreams,» which is expected to be released worldwide by EMI Classics in September/October 2007. Sung in Latin and English and based on texts from the Old Testament’s Book of Job and St Matthew’s Gospel, as well as words by Pope John Paul II and the Polish poet Zbigniew Herbert, the lyrics of the title song are written by Krzysztof Piesiewicz, Polish lawyer, screenwriter and politician. At the press presentation, Preisner said that he drew his inspiration for the large-scale piece by looking at the world around him as it is today. «There is a lot going on that is not necessarily for the best,» he said. «Walking around Athens, I think it is a metaphysical experience to be walking in the footsteps of ancient philosophers and it gets me thinking about the fall of ancient civilizations. I don’t want to see the same happening to ours. Music and culture cannot really change things dramatically, but we have an obligation to speak up.» The uncontrolled evolution of civilization is something that bothers him. «I remember that in the 1960s there was no electricity in my grandparents’ village. Today we have iPods, cell phones, e-mail. But we are becoming lonely and unhappy.» Preisner does not dispense with technology however, arguing that it should be used where necessary. «I see cases where the technology outdoes the artist and I find that pathetic. I am not interested in replacing the orchestra with electronic instruments. I use technology to create sounds that a symphonic orchestra cannot.» The second part of the evening will feature the same orchestra conducted by Andreas Pylarinos. The program includes a suite of Preisner’s film scores including the themes from «La Double Vie de Veronique» and «Three Colours Blue.» On his long-time collaboration with Kieslowski, Presiner says: «The first thing he taught me was to think. The second was to try to describe the world around me and the third was that anything you do should be approached with seriousness and precision.» Hellenic Festival: tel 210.327.2000.