Krzysztof Meyer's book is deeply personal, but it also says much about the world in which the composer came to live and, indirectly, about the times of the Peoples Republic of Poland (PRL). By definition it is a restrained book. The author focuses on those characters that had an impact on his life as a musician, and so on his teachers, friends, more distant colleagues. In this report he combines the art of portraying a variety of people with the story of his own artistic (and simply human) maturation. This particularly captivated me: the ability to capture the profiles of different people with a few strokes of the pen. Among them are celebrities and people still known today, such as Eugenia Umińska and Stanisław Wiechowicz, and also those whose fame and notoriety possibly never reached beyond Kraków, such as piano teacher, Mrs Ekier, the pianist Hoffman, and cellist Mikulski. He writes about them with affection and gratitude, in a manner far from building them into something heroic, but on the contrary, with a tendency to manifest their peculiarities and eccentricities, but thanks to this they are clearly defined characters. This particularly touches the images of people whom the author encountered in his youth. He talks about them, but also allows them to speak, as if permitting them to have a voice, and on the basis of notes taken on the hoof he can quote their statements. Particular importance is given to portraits of two great composers: Shostakovich and Lutosławski. He writes about them here without pomposity, which their position in the classical music of the twentieth century could provoke; they are portrayed in their everyday life, revealing their ways of being, habits, and even amusing aspects of them are gently suggested. In this book there are few (with some exceptions) direct evaluations. The author, through subtle means of narrative reveals his attitude to the people he discusses. By chance, his references to Krzysztof Penderecki, are extremely interesting from this point of view as he does not challenge Pendereckis position, but clearly indicates a distance to him.
The author served important functions in musical life at a very young age: he was vice-rector of the Kraków Academy of Music and chairman of the Polish Composers Union. This allowed him to come into contact with different mechanisms operating in the Peoples Republic of Poland, to show the prevailing atmosphere, and also to sketch the figures of the officials of the regime in a few lines. Considered from this point of view, this is an interesting book about the PRL, without cutting out images, but showing the difficulties that eminent artists encountered in their work (especially organizational).
- Language of edition: pol
- Number of pages: 392
- Cover: hardcover
(175 x 245 mm)