May 23, 2024

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CD review: Piotr Schmidt – Komeda Unknown 1967 – 2022: Video, CD cover

In October 1967 in Baden-Baden, Germany, Krzysztof Komeda recorded the jazz and poetry project Meine Süsse Europäische Heimat – My Sweet European Homeland. It would soon prove Komeda’s final European creation – in a sense, the composer’s farewell to Europe.

The album was released when Komeda was already in Hollywood, working on the score to Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby. Letters between Komeda and the album’s producer Joachim-Ernst Berendt made it clear that more tracks were recorded than were finally released on the album. In one letter, Komeda asked Berendt to swap some tracks. Berendt refused, arguing that certain poems better demonstrated the album’s European character than others. And that was all that remained of the extra tracks…

It seemed that these unknown compositions were lost until, during a meticulous archival research at the National Library in Warsaw, a true treasure was found: the manuscripts of six of Komeda’s compositions from the My Sweet European Homeland project, all six the original cast-offs.

Komeda, though known for a self-effacing attitude to his own artistry, called My Sweet European Homeland the best work of his life. Meanwhile, Joachim-Ernst Berendt wrote: “We have never yet had a poetry album with such beautiful, rich and emotional melodies!”. After over half a century, the unknown, hitherto missing part of Krzysztof Komeda’s My Sweet European Homeland will finally be heard by fans of the great jazz composer.

Interpreted and arranged by Piotr Schmidt, Komeda’s manuscripts have become extraordinary music, uncannily faithful to Krzysztof Komeda’s spirit. The lost set is accompanied by two compositions from the original album: Lament nad Europą and Po katastrofie, which serve to bridge the two parts of Komeda’s opus. What a wonderful homage to Krzysztof Komeda on the 90th anniversary of his birth, from Piotr Schmidt & friends. Our European homeland seems to have been waiting for this music…

1. Jonah (7:56)
2. Miserere (5:23)
3. The Classic (8:01)
4. When the Light of Imagination Goes Out (7:42)
5. Just the Two of Them (5:40)
6. Jan Cherubin (6:07)

Piotr Schmidt, trumpet
Kęstutis Vaiginis, tenor- and soprano saxophone
David Dorużka, guitar
Paweł Tomaszewski, piano
Harish Raghavan, bass (3, 4, 5, 7)
Michał Barański, bass (1, 2, 6)
Jonathan Barber, drums (3, 4, 5, 7)
Sebastian Kuchczyński, drums (1, 2, 6)

Komeda Unknown 1967 | HIGHRESAUDIO

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