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Sacrum Profanum Festiwal

Sacrum Profanum #17: More than Sacrum

What’s with the “sacrum” in the name of the festival? Concerts in churches? Classical music? Sound rituals? Well, there’s something for everyone. You can tune in to the looped sounds of Wojtek Blecharz’s Stimm(i)[u]ng, which protect you from your surroundings, or plunge into a “meditative passacaglia” – Farewell River for two accordions and electronics by Kasia Głowicka. Perhaps you will be more inclined to look for new sounds inside the piano during Reinhold Friedl’s recital? As always, classical contemporary music is a very strong feature of the festival in Krakow.

Reinhold Friedl – a regular guest of the Sacrum Profanum Festival, founder of zeitkrazer – will provide us with a great opportunity to confront the classics of 20th-century music with the new composers and new performance techniques. In the Single Player stream, he will showcase his Studie in Form programme, which takes its title from a piece by a Polish-Jewish composer Roman Haubenstock-Ramati, who pioneered graphic notation. Apart from the Studie…, the master of preparation will play Klavier Utopie, by post-spectralist Ana-Maria Avram, who recently passed away, as well as An American Dream by Mario Bertoncini, a veteran of Italian experimental music. However, the thing we are probably all waiting for the Polish premiere of Early Floating by Lucia Dlugoszewski, who gets to be rediscovered after years of oblivion.

The descendant of Polish immigrants from Detroit significantly expanded the range of tones of a prepared piano, introduced new percussion instruments and made a name for herself in ballet music. Dlugoszewski will be one of the heroines of this year's festival – her Disparate Radical Other, created to illustrate the choreography by Eric Hawkins, will be performed by the famous Arditti String Quartet. On the other hand, Hashtag Ensemble decided to work on Tight Rope and Openings of the (Eye), accompanied by a metaphorical and mythological programme, featuring dancer Marta Kosieradzka. The Warsaw-based ensemble will also play one of the classic pieces of (not entirely) repetitive music – Morton Feldman’s Why Patterns? – a subtle play of repetitions and variances spanning 30 minutes.

During the Accordrone evening, the two best Polish accordionists of the young generation – Maciej Frąckiewicz and Rafał Łuc – will join forces during the concert named after the piece by Antanas Jasenka, one of the leading Lithuanian composers of classical music, as well as improvisation and noise. Two accordion parts recorded on tape, joined by two parts played live, will be the building blocks of a classic of (political) and repetitive music – Evil Nigger by Julius Eastman, arranged by Piotr Peszat – these two were headliners of the previous edition of the festival. Katarzyna Głowicka, who dabbles in glitch-style minimalism, will join us for the first performance of Farewell River – a composition, in which the development of sound and thickening of its texture take place in smooth breaths and on long planes.

Finally, Wojtek Blecharz, whose interactive installation/workshop House of Sound caused quite a stir at the Małopolska Garden of Art Garden a couple years ago, will return to Krakow with stimm(i)[u]ng for inverted cello and 2–4 instruments, inspired by Piotr Stasik, whom the festival audience should already remember from his collaboration with Artur Zagajewski on the Opera o Polsce, presented during the 2017 edition of the SP, and who is currently filming a documentary about people with autism. According to the composer himself: “[…] stimming, or self-stimulatory behaviour, is a set of repeated behaviours: movements, words, sounds, activities carried out in a loop, which give a person a sense of security and protect them from intense stimuli in the surrounding environment. German word stimmung can be understood in a number of ways – as a mood, emotion, atmosphere, as well as about the tuning of an instrument, or tuning into one’s surroundings […]” Is this what the musical sacrum is all about? Feel free to check it for yourself.

Jan Topolski (“Glissando”) for the Krakow Festival Office