Time: 70 minutes, no intermission
Adam Strug: vocal, Emilia Sitarz: piano, Bartek Wąsik: piano, Magdalena Kordylasińska: percussion instruments, Miłosz Pękala: percussion instruments
Among numerous attempts to match the treasures of Polish folklore with the tastes and needs of a metropolitan consumer of cultural events, “Folk Requiem” has no equivalent. It is a brave event, impossible to overlook, ringing in the ears and soul. Terrifying and beautiful.
Its base is the famous “Pelplin Songbook”. The collection, released for the first time in 1871, contains 1101 Polish religious songs – almost all of them known and sung at the time of publication. Songs about Lord Jesus. Songs about Virgin Mary. Songs about Saint Joseph, Angels and Providence. Penitential and funeral songs, songs for the dead, songs on vanities of this world. And finally – songs about death, the Day of Judgement, Eternity, Heaven, Purgatory and Hell.
Adam Strug and members of the Kwadrofonik team have taken on the last, perhaps the most powerful part of the collection, with the brave yet almost trivial intention: to speak to the modern listeners in the language of their ancestors and make them feel that the old, simple and naive truths are timeless and concern them more than they may think.
This is a completely new musical setting of traditional texts, often experimental, sometimes transparent in its modesty. Kwadrofonik – two duets, Lutosławski Piano Duo and Hob-beats Duo – complements Strug’s suppressed exaltation with the poignant instrumental setting, deserving the largest concert hall. And yet… it is an intimate work, even when the vocalist yells folk eschatology verses in full voice.
Photo of Adam Strug: Jacek Poremba
Photo of Kwadrofonik: Magda Hueckel