At the beginning of the week – another adjustment, quite a substantial one... I went back to the text of Hevel, I wanted to check and give the performers the meanings of key Hebrew words for better orientation in the lyrics, and I found a grave error. In one phrase I failed to notice a numerical inconsistency (not uncommon in different versions of the Bible, as it turns out) and used a different section of the original text than I intended. I was faced with the dilemma of whether to correct it, which would involve serious interference with the music, or leave it be. Actually it wasn't a dilemma, I just needed a moment to come to terms with the inevitable. Interestingly, this incorrectly used passage was not simply different, its meaning is almost exactly opposite. I was going to use the phrase:
“The best thing we can do is eat and drink and enjoy what we have worked for during the short life”, but instead I used:
"All his life he eats in darkness, in frustration, in sickness and in anger."
Luckily, and very surprisingly, I was able to leave the musical shape of this passage almost identical as before, while maintaining the appropriate prosody of the lyrics.
Then came the completely unexpected news of the earlier opening of theatres, philharmonics, etc., which will allow the ahat-ili to be performed with the audience , this coming Friday (21 May) at NOSPR, as part of the Katowice Culture Nature Festival. The number of seats is limited to 50%, but such a number of people willing to listen to the so-called “new music” is still rather rare. In any case, this is a piece about dark times, sacrifices made, and coming back to the light wiser. May such symbolism come to fruition more widely. Do feel invited.
And now I am back to something that was on the horizon a year ago already. While I was still working on the Siren, Szczepan Twardoch sent me the fresh, raw, unpublished text of his latest novel, Pokora. I started reading it right away and was struck by several things. First of all by the fact that the narrative is almost entirely in the first person singular, probably for the first time in his works ever. The themes present before are returning, perhaps they have always been like this, but this time they seem to have taken a new, more intimate form. The great vortex is seen not from the outside, but from the very centre of it. Secondly, it occurred to me that this is a story about life seen as a succession of deaths. Such a perspective reveals the great paradox of life, whose primary goal is to last, and the most efficient mechanism for maintaining this duration is the fear of the end (biological and spiritual – individual and collective), which, however, inevitably occurs, from moment to moment, again and again, anew. To put it another way, life is the illusion that there is no death. Meanwhile, death – non-existence – is the only true reality. Such a truth seems tragic from the perspective of the self-sustaining illusion of life. But this tragedy is also the condition of life; without it, everything dissolves into emptiness. To cheerfully come to terms with this truth is sometimes, perhaps, the highest wisdom; but most often it is rather telling a great lie to oneself and to others.
All of this gets connected in my mind into some (somehow) coherent sequence and theme. From ahat-ili through Drach and Siren, even with Mask, Hevel and Baczyński put all together. To be continued.
(transl. Magdalena Małek-Andrzejowska)