Maturity – this simple term contains a multitude of senses. This year’s Sacrum Profanum Festival will refer to many of them, e.g., by juxtaposing the works of alternative-avant-garde guitarist and composer Jim O’Rourke with Igor Stravinsky or by presenting the latest work by one of the most important living Polish composers Paweł Mykietyn. Sacrum Profanum has always been a space for bringing together the old and the new; this year, we want to blur those boundaries again. The 19th Sacrum Profanum Festival will last from 29th September till 3rd October 2021.
Last year, we started a larger cycle with Youth. It was the first episode of a trilogy or perhaps the first instalment of a three-season series. Now it is time for the second season: Maturity! We are going to interpret this concept in a variety of ways – formally, musically, metaphorically and literally. It will become a response to the preceding Youth and, at the same time, its continuation serving to preserve balance and showcase a different face of contemporary music.
Every festival has its inauguration. We will begin with Purification – a performance by Katarzyna Kalwat with music by Agata Zubel. It is an experiment from the borderline of music and theatre, which asks the question about the point of contact between these two areas and the tension that exists between them and about understanding the term ‘conducting’. In Polish, it refers not only to the musical sphere, but also to management and the exercise of power in its general sense. Is there still a place for the idea of conducting in contemporary art and – in a broader sense – in the world?
In this year’s repertoire, we will also juxtapose young Belgian composer Maya Verlaak with Olivier Messiaen, alternative-avant-garde guitarist, producer and composer Jim O'Rourke with Igor Stravinsky, as well as conceptual artist and curator Ryoko Akama with Anton Webern. In this way – on the basis of three musical traditions: classical, contemporary and avant-garde – we have built the program of another concert: The Three Colours. We did not choose this title by accident – it is a conscious and direct reference to the work and symbolism of Krzysztof Kieślowski.
The solo concert by Martyna Zakrzewska entitled Esoteric Chords will focus on piano works of Barbara Buczek – a famous Polish composer whose output has become legendary over time. For many years, her works were considered impossible to perform due to the enormous amounts of difficult passages, as well as extreme rhythmic and textural variety. Sacrum Profanum is an ideal place to present her output.
A Long Time Ago is a concert of three unusual artists: Paweł Mykietyn, Agata Zubel and Paweł Szymański. They do not follow the beaten path of the popular trends – instead, they keep working on their own styles, often creating songs that reverberate in the music communities. They do not even belong to the same generation, yet they have a lot in common – rebelliousness, courage and the eponymous lightness and ease of creating, surprising, joking and gaining recognition.
At the ~maturity concert, we will trace together with Ensemble Kompopolex how performance and conceptualism have changed over the years to showcase other sources of today's post-internet turn and a new discipline. The starting point will be a new composition by Ole Hübner inspired by the time of pandemic isolation, coming of age at an accelerated pace in the face of challenges and the soundscape at home. It will be accompanied by pieces by Kelley Sheenan, Neo Hülcker and Marta Śniady – representatives of one generation who offer wildly different styles and approaches to musical matter. In this context, we have also put works by Pauline Oliveros, Carola Bauckholt, Marek Chołoniewski and La Monte Young.
The Sacrum Profanum Festival joins also the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Stanisław Lem with two concerts: The Laconic Expression of Modernity and Summa Lemmologiae. In Lem’s prose, music as an object of description was always different, experimental and modern. Therefore, alongside literary, scientific or philosophic events, the year devoted to this exceptional author cannot do without music proposals! Prepared specially for Sacrum Profanum, two programs with premiere compositions will be performed live by proMODERN and the Spółdzielnia Muzyczna contemporary ensemble with soprano Joanna Freszel.
The finale of the festival will belong to the Adritti Quartet, which will play a special Arditti Quartet 47 ½ Anniversary concert. On that occasion, we will hear only compositions written for the Adritti that they consider to be the most important in their repertoire or the closest to their hearts. The names of the composers alone – Neuwirth, Saunders, Paredes, Ligeti, Xenakis and Lachenmann – serve as the best invitation to an unforgettable evening with the best of the best in the world of contemporary music.
Sacrum Profanum is constantly changing – we make use of and learn from our experiences. Last year, everything was about online, web, internet, streaming, digital and cyber. This time we hope to meet you live, at least to a limited extent. The Sacrum Profanum Festival will last from 29th September till 3rd October 2021.