This work was written to commission for the ‘Warsaw Autumn’ International Festival of Contemporary Music. Although it triggered associations with the play by Pedro Calderón de la Barca, the composer distanced himself from any direct analogies. It is worth remembering, however, that in the late 60s Adam Walaciński composed music to a stage play with the same title, directed by Krystyna Skuszanka at the Teatr Polski in Wrocław. Yet in the trio composed thirty years later, no echoes of that stage music can be heard. As the composer emphasised, this work consists rather of reminiscences from the past, bringing to mind both the music he composed and also selected strands from the play, ‘moments of reflection on passing’ and an aspiration to ‘forging a poetical atmosphere’.
This work is in three parts, for which the starting point appears to be the juxtaposing of two different modes of musical narration, as is reflected in the notated text. The outer sections – Fantasmagoria I and Fantasmagoria II – refer to post-serial-aleatory premises, although decidedly softened in the tonal domain. The composer forgoes a score in favour of self-contained instrumental parts, synchronising only the beginning and end of each section. An overriding feature is the ametrical character of the work, combined with a free organisation of time and a distinctly dissonant aura based on the full twelve-note scale of the melodic line. The middle section, Interludio: Pagina romantica e danza, notated in a traditional way, consists – like the work as a whole – of three contrasting segments, leading from a romantic mood to dance rhythms. The central segment is a short improvised guitar cadenza.
Adam Walaciński’s Calderónian reminiscences may be interpreted from a postmodern perspective, typical of which is a lack of stylistic unity and a playing with conventions which was close to the composer’s heart (one example being a quotation from Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto at the start of Fantasmagoria II). Thus La vida es sueño may constitute a chamber-like compositional response to the changes taking place in music at the end of the twentieth century.
translated by John Comber
- ISMN 979-0-2740-2946-3
- Language of edition: pol, eng,
- Number of pages: 36+12+12+12
- Cover: softcover
- No. of edition: 1
- Published: 2020
score and parts