Baczyński 1

And now, Baczyński. Songs, perhaps three or two, for baritone and piano, for Tomasz Konieczny.

I met Tomasz a few years ago, while collaborating on a kind of an audiovisual drama to a selection of texts from the Spoon River Anthology by E.L. Masters, to which we (along with Ingrida Gapova) were invited by Adam Dudek. It was a venture on the borderline of opera and installation, quite a revealing experience, in many ways. Its result (and Adam’s other interesting ideas, usually revolving around the physicality seen up close) can be seen here:

It was already then that Tomasz mentioned his fascination with Baczyński. We talked casually about poems, perhaps about songs, perhaps about a cantata. And now, not entirely unrelated to the 100th birth anniversary, the thing is gaining more concrete shape. I did think about Baczyński before, too. He is one of the very few Polish poets whose texts I can imagine in singing at all. Quietly intimate, yet truly harrowing poetry.

Baczyński died at the age of twenty-three. I could, in fact, have a son that age now, which is a strangely disturbing thought. I wonder if there is anything worth mentioning from the time when I was twenty-three myself. Mark Zuckerberg (being nineteen) created Facebook in that year, and Poland joined the EU. The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Frank Wilczek, author of Fundamentals. 10 Keys to Reality, which was published a month ago.

Apart from Wilczek, I’m now reading Skin in the Game by Nassim Taleb. This is only one in an entire series of books talking about the issues of chance, risk and responsibility in today's world, in the context of finance and social relations, but with a decidedly universal message. The main thesis: for the sake of individual and common good, all actions in the world should be accompanied by the awareness that we are risking our own skin in the game . Quite a refreshing read.

Congratulations to the Prince of Cieszyn.

Tomasz sent his suggestions of poems to be considered. Good suggestions. I’m thinking.

(transl. Magdalena Małek-Andrzejowska)