List of Works
Andrzej Krzanowski's artistic legacy contains numerous threads, symbols, outcomes of searching and carefully considered means. The accordion comes to the fore in all this variety – an instrument rediscovered anew through its atypical sound and the chance it offers to shape sounds, going against the grain of modern musical trends, able to reproduce a range of electronic sounds which allowed it to finally cast off limitations related to its being perceived to be an instrument of “lowly origins”.
Of more than 50 pieces Krzanowski composed for the accordion, the most popular are: Studium III, Katedra, Preludium, Kanony and the Kalangra children's collection. The accordion has also made its presence felt in his chamber music and orchestral works. Of 14 works for accordion ensembles, the most demanding are Studium IV for two accordions along with Alkagran being one spot on the right bank of the Vistula for string quartet. In chamber pieces for a range of players, the accordion appears in various configurations – from duets to larger ensembles. Programme IV for reciting voice, siren, cymbals, accordion and two tapes is a premier example of this genre. It is worth noting that the Polish spelling of the word “accordion” (in Polish "akordeon") includes all the letters found in the name Andrzej Krzanowski (A N D R z E j K R z A N O w s K i).
Non-accordion chamber music consists mainly of string quartets and II Symfonia for 13 string instruments. Music for string quartets includes seven compositions: Kwartet I (versions A & B; the second expanded to include percussion and tapes), traditional Kwartet II & III, Reminiscenza B (which is an adaptation of Reminiscenza A for accordion, clarinet, violin and cello), Audycja VI with soprano voice and Relief IX with tape involved. Worth noting is also the bravura work for eight performers – Con vigore – with a strongly marked presence of the quartet.
Andrzej Krzanowski's compositions also include symphonic pieces (I Symfonia, Canti di Wratislavia), choral works (Salve Regina, Pieśni północne / Northern Songs) and opus magnum – Audycja / Programme V, called by the composer a “metaopera”, which combined daring composing ideas with visual arts, as well as unconventional performer behaviours, involving movements and acting during silent sections, the spraying of aromas, handing out candies to audience members, distributing leaflets and reading two texts aloud simultaneously.
Andrzej Krzanowski's dated works fit between 1970–1990, when he composed some 130 works. Some of these were arranged in cycles: five accordion Studia (1973–1976), six Audycji / Programmes – works using voice, tapes, poetry, unusual instrumentation and trans-musical means (1973–1982), four Impresje – works which were solo and chamber for accordion (1982–1986) and nine Relief pieces – solo and chamber pieces using diverse sets of instrumentation (1984–1988).
What is Andrzej Krzanowski's music about? What does it present, what does it point to, what does it have to convey? On the one hand, it appears in pure form, stripped of non-musical narration (sonata, fugue, canon), on the other hand it is imbued with narration or hints, through titles for example, at trans-musical associations or inspirations. Works such as Canti di Wratislavia, Katedra, Alkagran czyli jedno miejsce na prawym brzegu Wisły, Wiatr echo niesie po polanie, Une petite pluie á Urmatt dla najmłodszej orkiestry akordeonowej clearly point to key places in the composer's life. Around half the works he created were dedicated to friends, performers, festivals or members of his family. In many pieces (Audycje III, IV, V) a specific acoustic code can be heard – the sound of bells, locomotives, fire engine and ambulance sirens – so typical of the 1970s in his home town of Czechowic-Dziedzic – which is home to a refinery, church and large train terminal. A key element in his work were also texts by Jacek Bieriezin, Zbigniew Dolecki, Mieczysław Stanclik, Sławomir Mrożek, Kazimierz Raton and Juliusz Słowacki, representative of his political beliefs, existentialist ideas and spiritual, religious contemplations, as well as soprano singing at high volume with characteristic vocals, representing a sort of feminine symbol of worldly and otherworldly existence.
Unexpected quotes taken from works by composers Krzanowski thought important – Albéniz, Bach, Beethoven, Górecki and Szymanowski – represent a key addition to his artistic expression. This appeared also in the form of a self-referential quote and related to both using some of his own melodic turns (such as the same tape motifs in Audycja I–V), as well as whole pieces included in other compositions (eg. Studium III which is included complete in Audycja IV, while Salve Regina for boys' choir and organs is included in Audycja V).
Andrzej Krzanowski's 20 year period of artistic activity provides audiences with an vision of art which is complex, innovative and not afraid to resort to difficult solutions, while at the same time being intriguing, sublime and mature.
Note! Works with repeating titles, such as Etiuda, Kanon, Sonata have here been given identifying numbers, if the composer had not done so himself. These numbers are found in square brackets, eg. Etiuda [no. 1].