Archivists uncover long-lost Komeda compositions
Never seen before compositions by world renowned jazz musician Krzysztof Komeda have been uncovered during a search of his archives at the National Library of Poland.
Composed for his last European project, the six handwritten manuscripts are from a project entitled “Moja słodka europejska ojczyzna” (My sweet European homeland) which Komeda established in 1967 in the German city of Baden-Baden on the theme of Jazz and Poetry.
Posting about the discovery on their social media, the National Library of Poland said: “As it turned out, this was to be Komeda’s last European work – the composer’s symbolic farewell with Europe.”
“Komeda himself said about the project My sweet European homeland, that it was his greatest work, while Joachim-Ernst Berendt, wrote of Komeda’s compositions that ‘We have never before had on a record of poetry, such melodies which are beautiful, rich and full of emotion!’.”
Born in 1931 in Poznan, Komeda was known as a pioneering composer and jazz musician often credited with starting the so called Polish school of jazz.
His 1965 album Astigmatic is considered one of the most important European Jazz albums of all time.
However, Komeda also became widely known as a writer of film scores, including for Roman Polański’s films Knife in the Water, Cul-de-sac, The Fearless Vampire Killers and Rosemary’s Baby.
The newly discovered compositions were all written to accompany poems by well-known Polish poets.
They include “Jonasz” composed for Zbigniew Herbert’s poem of the same name, “Kiedy gaśnie lampa wyobraźni” (When the lamp of imagination goes out) for Adam Ważyk’s poem “Poemat dla dorosłych” (A poem for adults), and “Klasyk” for Zbigniew Herbert’s poetic prose poem of the same name.
The other compositions include “Jan Cherubin”, to a poem of the same name by Mieczysław Jastrun, “Ich dwoje” (Them two) to a poem by Bolesław Leśmian entitled (Two people) and “Miserere” to a poem of the same name by the tragic poet Krzystof Kamil Baczyński, a poet and soldier who was killed during the Warsaw Uprising.
Not all of the works from the manuscripts found were included on the final record of the project and the original German record contains a different composition from the one discovered, under the title “Miserere”.
The National Library of Poland has now made the newly discovered works available for artists and researchers.