"I've been greatly influenced by the Impressionists – Debussy and Ravel - whose music is also of that type
that is really seen." - Wojciech Kilar
Wojciech Kilar is probably best known for the soundtrack to Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and sadly not for the fact that he is one of Poland's greatest composers.
His name is pronounced Voy-check Kee-lar, the first 'ch' like the one in 'church' and the second like the one in 'loch'.
He was born on July the 17th 1932 in Lwów, Poland, (though Lwów is now L'viv and part of the Ukraine), and has composed orchestral
music, chamber vocal-instrumental and piano compositions, as well as film and theatre music.
A classically trained pianist, Kilar studied at some of Poland's finest music academies, including the State Higher
School of Music in Katowice, where he studied piano performance and composition, and received his diploma, graduating
with top honours. He then studied as a post-graduate student at the State College of Music (now the Music Academy) in
Krakow. He was given the opportunity to study composition under the tutelage of Nadia Boulanger at the Conservatoire
in Paris having received a grant from the French government. In the early 1960's he created, together with Krzysztof
Penderecki and Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki, the Polish Vanguard School, and first participated in the new direction in modern
music called sonorism.
In 1991 Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Zanussi made a biographical film about him, called simply WOJCIECH KILAR. Kilar holds an
honorary doctor's degree from the University of Opole. He is also a member of the Polish Academy of
Learning. He has received numerous awards for composition including the Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund Award, the Award of the
American Society of Composers, Authors and Producers and the Grand Award of the Foundation of Culture.
He has written scores for hundreds of films, most of them Polish ones, and his music has also been used in the soundtrack
to many more. Here are a choice few of the most famous ones, in chronological order after Dracula (‘cause it's my fave):
Wojciech Kilar now has over one hundred film scores to his name – he writes three or four a year. His music was almost (but
alas not) used in the 1999 film adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream
and the Lord of the Rings
trilogy. An excerpt
from “Exodus” was used for the first Schindler’s List
trailer, but John Williams
eventually scored the film. An excerpt
from “Zycie za zycie” was used in The Truman Show
Here is a list of some of my favourites from the works of Wojciech Kilar. If you prefer to ease your way gently into his
music, then just go for any of his film scores I’ve mentioned above first.
- Symphony no. 2 “Sinfonia Concertante”
- Ode Bela Bartok in memoriam for violin, brass and percussion
- Riff 62
- Orawa for string orchestra
Vocal – Instrumental Music:
- Sonatina for flute and piano
- Woodwind Quintet
- Training 68 for clarinet, trombone, and piano
- Any of his piano works that you can find
- Solenne for sixty-seven performers
- Upstairs-Downstairs for soprano choir and orchestra
- Exodus for mixed choir and orchestra
- Victoria for mixed choir and orchestra
- Angelus for soprano, mixed choir and orchestra
Whichever you go for, just don’t miss out on an evocative
, poetic, passionate and exciting musical
miss out on being transported to the Carpathian Mountains
to celebrate being free, being alive and being a part
with the highland folk. Don’t miss hearing the religious themes of his music blend into mystical Eastern European
melodies. Don’t miss travelling along the Carpathian rivers on Kilar’s trademark
grinding basses and cello
s, and his
tear-inducing chord progressions. Don’t miss letting the deeply romantic
themes wash over you while your ears get a taste
of the colour that your eyes
see all the time.
Reference: http://www.culture.pl, and my WK cd's
Thanks to vilk for the pronounciation key