Solaris / landscapes, paraphrases

Solaris / landscapes, paraphrases

Composition for electronic sounds, video projection and scenic movement.
The performance based on the motifs of the novel “Solaris” by Stanisław Lem.
24 April / 7:00 / NCK Main Stage

author: Stanisław Bromboszcz

choreography: Anna Kosiorowska

mobile typography: Natalia Łajszczak, Maciej Połczyński

dance: Zuzanna Kasprzyk, Piotr Stanek

multimedia, electronics: Piotr Ceglarek, Przemysław Scheller, Stanisław Bromboszcz

Novel paraphrases, landscapes from Solaris.

Paraphrase – according to dictionary definition, it is a free adaptation of a literary work or someone’s statement, expanding and modifying the original content. The term also functions in music literature. A composition called a paraphrase is an instrumental piece in the form of a free fantasia on themes from other music works. The musical paraphrase technique has a long tradition. A method of composing used in the early Renaissance for Masses paraphrased by Guillaume Dufay or Josquin des Prez can be listed as an example. Another example of this technique is the baroque Estro Poetico Armonico: parafrasi sopra li salmi by Benedetto Marcello and the piano concerto paraphrases by Franz Liszt composed in the Romantic era. What seems key in the perception of this musical form is the situation of dialogue between three participants of the event: the audience, the composer, and the creator of the piece the motifs from which are used in the new composition. Recognising fragments from the paraphrased piece, the audience follows the thought of the composer, who develops the borrowed themes and transforms them in line with their own invention.

What does the paraphrase technique consist in in the presented performance? It was used on three levels.

Level one – passages from the text of the paraphrased novel in the sound layer. Words are a means of conveying content, but they also constitute the sound building up musical thoughts. Their meaning in the polyphonic texture may be more or less clear. This clarity also depends on the level of modification of the timbre of the recorded voice reading the text. Making use of recorded recitations of Stanisław Lem’s prose, I developed the musical sequences using various speech processing techniques.

Level two – passages from the text in the visual layer. Thanks to the use of moving typography, selected words and sentences were articulated. They form both a series of sequences conveying content and visual narration in which the letter functions as a graphic mark.

The first two levels use short passages from the text of the novel talking about the mutual relationship between its protagonists – Kelvin and Harey. These sentences describe the inhuman dimension of their situation, which is the result of the incomprehensible activity of the Solaris ocean.

Level three – stage movement. The choreographic composition was inspired by fragments of the novel used for the sound and visual emission. The main dance scenes present the process of discovering Harey (opening scene of the performance) and the mutual enslavement (second choreographic scene). The movement interpretation does not refer directly to the details of the literary work, but tries to present the relationship between the protagonists entangled in a tragic situation. In this context, the function of the choreographic composition in the performance may be compared to the role of free musical fragments in concerto paraphrases, where numerous melodies and figurations are not motifs borrowed from the paraphrased piece, but are built based on the sound material from the transformed composition.  

The title landscapes are descriptions of the nature of Solaris adapted in the sound and typographic layer. The central part of the series is the musical interpretation of the text in which the narrator shares their impressions from the observation of the symmetriads – forms of an immensely complex structure created in the ocean. This account was the inspiration for writing the electronic piece. In the composition, the movement of sound in the 12-channel projection, the harmonic sequences, the generated sound, and the recorded text recitation make up the form of the whole. The description of a symmetriad alludes to the main theme of the novel. However, unlike the sense of defeat resulting from the inability to understand the activity of the ocean, alien to humans in its essence, the complexity of the symmetriad – exceeding our possibilities of comprehension – evokes a feeling of euphoria in the observer. It results from the awareness that standing before this astounding construct, we only see “…a fragment of the process, the trembling of a single string in a symphonic orchestra of supergiants, and on top of that we know—we only know, without comprehending—that at the same time, above us and beneath us, in the plunging deep, beyond the limits of sight and imagination there are multiple, millionfold simultaneous transformations connected to one another like the notes of musical counterpoint”.

Co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage from the Culture Promotion Fund as part of the Composite Commissions program, implemented by the Institute of Music and Dance.