Dots on the stave


Great performing and composing, a classical music education, intelligent and still intriguing with a colourful wardrobe, hairdo and glasses, and not disturbedat being a youth idol. In the beginning Leszek Możdżer surprised music lovers with his adolescent interpretations of Chopin and even today his work is surrounded by the aura of this composer. Możdżer maintains a creative dialogue with Chopin while developing his own style. He is the greatest newcomer in Polish piano music, a soloist combining classical with jazz.

For the Music Theatre in Gdynia he composed transopera “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and for the Capitol Theatre in Wrocław the musical “Scat”. He has accompanied David Gilmour. His piano parts can be heard in Jan A.P. Kaczmarek’s Academy awarded soundtrack for “Finding Neverland”. He has performed in Carnegie Hall in NY with Adam Makowicz. With TymonTymański and Kury he recorded the most important alternative album of recent years – “Polovirus”. For six years he has been one of the founding members of a jazz group Miłość.

I love music, perhaps I’m a workaholic – he told “Rzeczpospolita”. – This is the lifestyle I’ve imagined . There is no family so I can sacrifice my whole time to music. When I visited John Paul II’s website, I saw that at 80 he was able to visit three places a day, perform three holy masses, meet with millions of people and then I thought – this is the way to live. I will take a rest in the coffin.

However, he slowed down last year. Few people know that he could have been crippled because of his actions – miraculously, in the last moment he cured his spine, overburdened by all-day-long rehearsals, concerts and composing.

I’m learning to live slower because I have already ended up in a wheelchair a couple of times after I hurt my spine – he said – Till now I was cheating time, exploited myself 24 hours a day. I thought if I had some unfinished business with music or composing, I could just sit in front of the piano for 10 hours and everything would be all right. I needed to move. Now I’m trying not to hurry. I understand that an artist needs to take a rest or he can over train and hurt himself. Now I visit the gym, I swim, I carefully select what I eat and drink.

However, it was precisely this dynamic lifestyle that made it possible for a 35 year old to participate in recording more or less 100 albums. He has received the“Polityka”’s Passport and this year, together with Jerzy Jarocki, he was awarded the prestigious Grand Prize of Culture Foundation from the Royal Castle – an award given to the most outstanding polish artists. It’s noteworthy that since the beginning of his career, although he has played with the greatest musicians, he has also kept his distance.

These encounters provided me with magical experiences but if I paid too much attention to it, I would have to kneel in front of somebody every day – he concludes. – A couple of times I saw one of them making mistakes during a concert or another one running stressed to the wardrobe because he forgot his glasses. Now I can afford myself not to loose my cool when I’m with a great musician. And I’m on my own, which is even harder.

He says that he was lucky to meet leaders who aim higher. He didn’t end up in a wedding band, he didn’t have a role model who would teach him to drink vodka and take drugs. He tries to live normally, according to the law and have a sober approach to the world.

Artists truly believe in art, they think that only the true and natural deal can get the audience’s approval – he says. – Many record salesmen, producers and distributors cross the line between manipulation and truth. They know that high circulation doesn’t necessarily mean high quality. For a long time I wasn’t able to accept the fact that albums are being sold the same way socks or bricks are.

Without a doubt, the most popular album he participated in is this year’s best selling “On An Island” by David Gilmour. I played more “economically” than on my own albums because the concept required it – he remembers. – I recorded a lot of music but even if there were few of my sounds left on the album, I would still have a nice souvenir because Gilmour composed some beautiful songs. The orchestration by Zbyszek Preisner sounded great. Juicy. Some moments were thrilling.

Sometimes you get the feeling that, even during a conversation, without losing track, he immerses himself in the world of music.

It is true – he confesses – The music machinery in my head is pushing to the max. It’s working all the time, producing new sounds. I can only be happy about my “music factory” although turning it off even for a moment is pretty hard because it has a life of its own. Luckily, I already have experience and intuition and that’s how I choose only the worthwhile projects. Then there’s a big probability that the things I do will end up in a good shape. The most beautiful symphonies are created when you lie with your hands above your head and the most interesting musical shapes come from an uninhibited imagination. Then I hear what the orchestra is going to play, the bass, the guitar or the horn. Putting down on paper what I have in my mind is not pleasant at all. Even sharpening a pencil can be arduous, not mentioning writing dots on the stave. Improvisations is creating fast, here and now and that’s why I like classical forms. for the composers breaking the rules through painstaking creation of musical structures. This takes hours to learn.

Source: Jacek Cieślak, Rzeczpospolita, 06/2006

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