‘ŚLĄSK’ IN A CLASSICAL, PATRIOTIC AND FOLK STYLE
ANNA WYSZYŃSKA: You are present at every performance of “Śląsk’, both in a small church and in the Congress Hall. And your program is perfectly practiced and prepared. Is it that there is always something to improve?
ZBIGNIEW CIERNIAK: - Definitely there is. Every performance is different and gives a new portion of emotions, both in reception by an audience and on the side of performers. The band is a lively organism. It is good when the director is present during a concert and evaluates it with his ear and eye, and, certainly, corrects some things. As it is always in a lively organism, it is also in the stage activity that some corrections are needed, even unavoidable.
You have used the term ‘lively organism’ twice, as the band, consisting of individuals, artists who play the instruments, dance, sing, are the unity and a whole in reception.
Yes, they are. When the band is performing a particular program, it is the whole, but artists have a right for better and worse days, for indisposition. It is worth remembering that we have recently returned from a long tour in France, a very interesting and successful, but it was a tiring tour when considering the number of concerts. When we returned there was another series of concerts but as it is in a lively organism, there are also health problems, especially in autumn. It happens so in every team – both the artistic and the sport ones.
The French tour, three-week series of concerts of the orchestra and the choir, was a success, although you performed a repertoire not typical for the ‘Śląsk’.
We were invited to France with two great works: ‘Requiem’ by Mozart and ‘Gloria’ by Vivaldi. Both works were performed by the band to the French audience in a perfect and beautiful way. We must remember that this is classical music which we do not perform every day but as it turned out it is not a problem for the ‘Śląsk’ – an excellent band which can perform difficult and artistically complicated works. We have very good reviews of those concerts. Although the ‘Śląsk’ is associated mainly with the ‘Karolinka’ song, Krakowiaks and dances from Podhale, it turns out that it can also perform great works of classical music. We are glad about it, as it gives us another star to the collections of those which the band has already achieved in its career. Certainly, it give us other possibilities, as for contacts with impresarios which are not easy to find now and which are more and more demanding. Practically, today there are no limits, there is access to internet and everything can be verified. This situation causes the necessity to make an effort in every place, at every concert so that a performance would be at the highest level.
As for reminiscing the stars, at least one of them has been given to you for your patriotic repertoire.
Last year the ‘Śląsk’ recorded a CD of patriotic songs for the 100th anniversary of regaining independence by Poland. At present we are giving concerts in many places of the Silesian province and not only. We are glad that we have a possibility to show audience what is a part of our struggles for freedom. We took part in a project of a marshal of the Silesian province Wojciech Saługa ‘A journey to freedom’. We performed a program ‘A song about homeland’ in, among the others, the Centre of Paderewski in Kąśna Dolna, at Jasna Góra and other places. We begin every concert with a Polish hymn – this monumental performance gives us an impulse for other beautiful works. These are legion songs, songs of insurgents of Silesia, songs of the Warsaw Uprising. Today we are an independent country, but our history is difficult and complicated, so it is worth recalling it in order to appreciate what we have.
After the jubilee 65th season there is another one. What are the plans of the ‘Śląsk’ for the nearest months?
We have a lot of plans for the 66th season. We began it strongly, with the mentioned three-week tour in France. Now we are giving concerts with a program of independence and patriotism. Soon there is Christmas and concerts of carols with it. In March next year, we are also planning to record a CD with songs of Stanisław Moniuszko, because the next year is going to be the year of two men named Stansiław: Moniuszko – on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of its birth and our founder, a long-time director Stanisław Hadyna – on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth. We are also planning two tours – in the United States and Japan.
The year of Stanisław Hadyna is an occasion to reminisce the legendary Professor. Who is prof. Hadyna for you?
Briefly speaking – an example, a person who was excellent in every aspect. Anyway it is seen in the work which he created – the Band of Songs and Dance ‘Śląsk’, the icon of Silesia and Poland. The band existing for 65 years is the Professor’s vision brought onto the stage, artistic ideas of Stanisław Hadyna realized with Elwira Kamińska. This incredible effect consists of the greatness and talent of the founder. I had an opportunity to meet the Professor as an artist and an ordinary man, and I am proud of it.
Prof. Hadyna chose you out of a big group of 500 applicants for the audition for the ‘Śląsk’.
Yes, that is true. I was on the stage for 20 years. I also had an opportunity to have functions which were the functions requiring the Professor, as during his times I was an inspector of the choir. I had lots of possibilities to observe the Professor’s work, talk to him about lots of matters – among the others, about how he had been creating the band in the 50s and 60s of the 20th century and about how he had perceived it in 1990 after his return, after 20 years of his absence. This knowledge gives me strength and motivation for positives emotions for the future. Briefly speaking, I was really lucky that I could get to know the secrets from the times when the band was formed and from the times when the Professor was removed and later when he returned to the ‘Śląsk’.
Today the ‘Śląsk’ has other conditions to perform than at the times when prof. Hadyna was travelling round villages and looking for talents, he was helping to carry pianos to the palace. Today’s good conditions, renovated palace in Koszęcin let the band to enter the educational space.
Education is another important part of our activity. The ‘Śląsk’ has always been known for artistic activity but we are identified with educational projects more and more now, which consist of workshops, trainings and the Summer Artistic School. These activities, which take place in the headquarter of the band for the whole year. Groups of people arrive here regularly to get to know something more on the history of dance and singing. We host groups of all ages – from the pre-school children to elderly people. Every year about 150 thousand people visit us. Considering Koszęcin as a village of about 4.5 thousand inhabitants and situated aside, this is a big number. I think that such openness is really needed, as usually – I invite to Koszęcin.
Translated by Aneta Amrozik
Niedziela 47/2018 (25 XI 2018)