The apogee of the Christmas Eve. A conversation between a woman and the summoned ghost. A duet, in fact. A love duet, although that love is long gone and only some faint memories of it remain. The woman recalls her long-dead husband or lover. He is the one she is talking to. She knows that her end is approaching and she wants her beloved to accompany her and to protect her. I do not yet know exactly how to lead this conversation. Whenever I take a step, I need to pull back, because it feels wrong. The scene is as short as it is momentous. There is despair and grief in it, but there is also silence and consent. The conversation is happening in the woman's head. In the solitude, at the Christmas table, with the snow falling outside. Everything is like an illusion. The very scene is an illusion, the conversation with the dead is an illusion, the entire life remembered is an illusion. The moment just before the end. Nothing else will happen, you can put the toys away. The light is about to go out. The bell rings.
Meanwhile, a trip to Gdansk. Recording of the Three Calls for carillon (a set of bells with a keyboard, usually installed on a tower), in the Old Town Hall. Early call; Late call; Last call. A piece written for the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II. A strange premiere, on a very sunny morning of September 1, 2019. Just before the event, a rather sombre march and chants of the defenders of democracy. During the event, the looks of confusion on the faces of the not very numerous attendees and passers-by. The heat was so great that the ringing of the bells sounded like hallucination. The night after the premiere there was a sudden break in the weather: the gale came, bringing a downpour and a 20 degree drop in temperature with it. Today we started the recording in full sun and without any wind, and just after the last sound a snowstorm with a gale.
“Like on that evening of death” repeats Baczyński in the Christmas Eve twice. I feel that many of his poems, perhaps even all of them, are about death. Not always directly, of course, sometimes they are completely unrelated, it seems. These poems are of premonition, anticipation, recollection in an imaginary future and familiarisation of death. And sometimes it’s all about forgetting about it for a while.
(transl. Magdalena Małek-Andrzejowska)