Paweł Mykietyn presents "Wax Music" during ARS MUSICA

Charleroi Danses | La Raffinerie (Brussels)
Paweł Mykietyn © Marcin Oliva Soto Paweł Mykietyn © Marcin Oliva Soto

Wax Music
is one of the new creations from the multitalented composer Paweł Mykietyn.

>>> Discover on the NInA website a documentary by Cezary Ciszewski on the Berlin rehearsals of the avant-premiere of Wax Music, before the premiere took place in Brussels on 24 March 2013.
>>> Discover some pictures of the rehearsal of Wax Music before the concert on 24 March in the framework of ARS MUSICA on our Facebook page:

Composed in 2012, this unique piece of work marks the coming together of the past and the contemporary, via a crisscross game of live music and sounds reproduced on stage as well as through the difference in the types of recordings. The work combines a technique of analogical recording on wax cylinders and modern electronic technology, as well as the imperfections of the gramophone as opposed to the perfection of sounds generated by a computer and piano (played live by Barbara Drążkowska).
The concert is organised by Ars Musica as part of the What’s next festival which will take place on Sunday 24 March, from 16:00 until 23:00 at la Raffinerie (Brussels).
The term ‘unique concert’ means just that! Above all, it’s rare that there should be so much evidence to prove it, given that the performances (of which there will be a limited number) of Wax Musicthe first is on 24 March! – will all differ from each other.
Why’s that? Find out more HERE
>>> Wax Music?
>>> Paweł Mykietyń?
>>> Barbara Drążkowska, Adelajda Mechán-Drążkowska and Tobias Weber?
>>> Practical Information?

pays homage to the invention of Thomas Edison: the gramophone (1877), a device made up of wax cylinders which aimed to record sounds. This exceptional aid allowed people to keep recordings for longer than our modern analogue or digital techniques. However, it deteriorated somewhat with use. And it’s precisely on this alteration of quality that Paweł Mykietyn’s creation comes in.
The story of Wax Music started with a meeting between the composer and Adelajda Merchán-Drążkowska, an ethnomusicologist who worked at the Berlin Ethnologisches Museum, and her sister Barbara, a pianist by trade. The first gave him the idea for a concept taking up the ephemeral nature of music generated by a gramophone, the acoustic style of a piano and electronic composition. The idea then took root with Paweł Mykietyn that the purely mechanical nature of the gramophone, be this at the recording stage or that of retransmission, needed to include ‘a non-existent acoustic layer, impossible to generate at the time’, in the words of the composer, who took it upon himself to create, with a computer, sinusoidal sounds and combine them before transferring them onto wax rollers. The first stage took place at Warsaw University of Music’s Studio for Electronic and Digital Music (in collaboration with Krzysztof Czaja), whilst the second took place at Berlin’s Ethnographic Museum (working alongside Tobias Weber). To the part of wax cylinders, Paweł Mykietyn added a part for piano, composed with Barbara Drążkowska in mind. The result is thus a  dialogue amongst an instrument, technology and history.
There will be a limited number of Wax Music performances. Each time, the recording on cylinders will have lost some of its original character due to the very fact that the material deteriorates. Two cylinders will be used at the same time (which give rise – perhaps – to the syncronisation of the devices being altered). Since each cylinder can contain 2 minutes 15 seconds of music, 2 x 12 cylinders will be needed for the whole piece, which lasts around 25 minutes. Each performance will thus be a ‘one-off’. Each time, the dialogue between the piano and the gramophones will be different.

Wax Music, for wax cylinders and piano
Adelajda Merchán-Drążkowska & Barbara Drążkowska | conception
Paweł Mykietyn | music
Barbara Drążkowska | piano
Tobias Valentin Weber | gramophones

+++ Practical information: HERE

PAWEŁ MYKIETYN was born in 1971. He is a graduate of the Frédéric Chopin Conservatory of Music in Warsaw, where he studied composition in Włodzimierz Kotoński’s class. A clarinettist and founder of the group Nonstrom (1990-2005), he works a great deal with others, whether this be for the theatre (with Krzysztof Warlikowski and Grzegorz Jarzyna) or for the cinema (with Mariusz Treliński, Małgorzata Szumowska, Andrzej Wajda and Jerzy Skolimowski, to name but a few). Incidentally, since 2008, he has been the musical director of Warsaw’s Nowy Teatr.
Considered worthy of continuing the work of Witold Lutosławski, it was in this tradition of great music that his talented really began to flourish. His Second Symphony united critics in their praise and his Passion according to St Mark met with broad acclaim.
Before he had even finished his studies, he was already taking his first steps towards the big league. At the famous contemporary music festival Warszawska Jesień held the following year, he won the second competition organised by the Polish Contemporary Music Society; in 1995, his ‘3 for 13’, commissioned by Polish radio, was awarded first place in the international composition competition in Paris (in the category for Young Composers). It’s easy to lose track of all the prizes he has won during what is still a short but intense career. Suffice it to note the Opus prize from Polish public media, the Paszport Polityki (2000) or more recently the Prix France Musique Sacem 2012, to which we alluded (see HERE).


BARBARA DRĄŻKOWSKA >>> Pianist who specialises in the interpretation of conteporary music. In 2005, the year she left Poznan’s University of Music, she received a prestigious grant from the German government (DAAD), allowing her to continue her training in Cologne and Lübeck, with pianists like Pierre-Laurent Aimard and James Tocco.
In 2009, she won the Grand Prize and the Prize for New Sound at Krakow’s 13th international chamber music competition. These rewards allowed her to continue exploring modern music and begin working with a number of composers.
After living in Poland, Germany and Spain, she set up home in Belgium. Her position on the global stage has continued to develop: audiences were able to watch her in the biggest concert halls in Europe, as a guest performer at festivals, concert halls or orchestras. Moreover, she has recorded four discs and regularly works with Sidi Larbi Charkaoui.

ADELAJDA MERCHÁN-DRĄŻKOWSKA >>> Her love of music led her to begin studies in musicology at Poznan’s Adam Mickiewicz University. It was there that she discovered her passion for ethnomusicology. Today, she works at the Department for Ethnomusicology at the Ethnological Museum in Berlin, where she is developing an interest in music played on wax cylinders.

TOBIAS VALENTIN WEBER >>> This musician and collector of musical instruments studied ethnomusicology before beginning work at the Berlin Ethnographic Museum in the department of gramophone archives. His expertise in the field is absolutely incontestable.


Practical information

+++ This concert on the ARS MUSICA website

>>> La Raffinerie | Charleroi Danses (Rue de Manchesterstraat 21, 1080 Molenbeek-Saint-Jean)
[Access: Metro 2-6 (Delacroix), Tram 82-83-86 (Duchesse), Bus 89 (Duchesse)]
>>> sunday 24 March 2013 - 19:00
>>> Pass Festival What’s Next: €12 / €8
[boxoffice 1: Bozartickets, booking: +32(0)2 507 82 00 or HERE]
[boxoffice 2: at la Raffinerie, one hour before the concert]


The project WAX MUSIC is a commission of the National Audiovisual Institute (NInA), producer of the recording.

Production | Ars Musica, Polish Institute, National Audiovisual Institute in Warsaw, Ethnologisches Museum Berlin, Charleroi Danses


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