Zbigniew Preisner


We’ve had several messages from Polish fans regarding Zbigniew Preisner’s recent interview with Rzeczpospolita, one of Poland’s main newspapers. In it, he mentions how he first came to meet David, explains his contribution in the studio, describes the sound of ‘On An Island’ and reveals how, apparently, David wants to play a gig somewhere in Poland to promote his new album.

We would like to make a few things clear to those who are curious about his claims.

Our thanks to Marek Grzesiak for supplying the translated article.

Rzeczpospolita, 4 January 2006

David came to Poland in 2004 to my own studio in Niepolomice. Last year, after the break for Live 8, and the summer holidays, he called me and said that he has finished the work. I went to England, where he gave me the demo. It was the basis for my orchestration. David gave me a free hand; I could change harmonies, extend compositions, write in new introductions. We recorded orchestration for 9 songs. I invited a musician, who played the glass harmonica (i.e. glasses filled with water), soloists played the harp and the cello. [Fellow Pole] Leszek Mozdzer played the piano on a few songs. The work in Abbey Road Studios and on Astoria was filmed, probably for DVD purposes.

[Some of the sessions were indeed filmed, including Preisner’s orchestral sessions, but there are no plans for any DVDs at the moment. Again, we will let you know if this changes. – Features Editor]

What are the distinctive features of the new songs?

The climate of the songs is like on ‘The Division Bell’. There are some great, monumental parts, but most of the songs are ballads similiar to ‘On The Turning Away’. The nostalgic lyrics written by David and his wife Polly are very beautiful. The songs are the sort of diary, the lyrics comprise their reflection on real value and family. For example, there’s a story about a man, who was going to drown, because he couldn’t bear his life. And there’s a description of David’s wonderful, 120-hectare farm with its 500 year old house, where he lives with Polly, his four children and his horses.

What’s he like in private?

When I stayed at his house, and when I recorded with him, I felt free, as though I was with an old mate. When the recording was finished, he was very happy. He didn’t expect that the orchestration would change his album so much. He mentioned that he didn’t feel like doing anything [such as concerts], but now he’s got an appetite for playing. Once again it demonstrates that it doesn’t matter where you live, or what kind of school you graduate from. All that really matters is if you’ve got something to say or not. For me personally it was an incredible experience, though I’m too old now to be excited.

When did you met for the first time?

I received an award from The Royal Television Society Craft & Design Awards for the ‘People’s Century’ series produced by the BBC. The director Charles Sturridge told me that the Gilmour’s had invited me for supper. He knew that I liked Pink Floyd. Then, for a long time, nothing happened. Then suddenly David called me. I think the album could be the beginning of a great acquaintance. David wants to play a gig in Poland in some unusual place to promote his album.

[There are no plans for a concert in Poland. Ideas were thrown around about ‘one-off’ gigs at various locations, but they were impractical and the suggestions came to nought. The scheduled gigs that you see on the Live dates pages are all that’s planned for now and, if circumstances change, we will be the first to let you know. – Features Editor]

There are still echoes of Live 8, where Pink Floyd played together for the first time since so long. But Gilmour and Waters’s meeting is still shrouded in mystery. Did you talk with him about it?

It was a few months ago and there’s no point in mixing those two things up. David told me, when I was in London just after the Live 8, that he gave emotion to the band, and Waters was a mastermind, so it produced an extraordinary musical effect. I’ve encouraged them to play together again, but they’ve made no attempt to hide the differences between them. David even mentioned something about one, big, last, farewell show. I suggested that they play it in Poland, in Nowa Huta near Krakow. But that was a few months ago. Now the most important thing for David is his solo album and his tour.

[There are no plans whatsoever for David to embark on any Pink Floyd project. He is completely committed to ensuring that the ‘On An Island’ album and tour will be as successful and enjoyable as possible. – Features Editor]

Hopefully, that clears a few things up. Sorry to be party-poopers and all that, but we have to tell it like it is.

Zbigniew Preisner is Poland’s multi-award winning composer. Entirely self-taught, he has written music for many movies, including soundtracks for Louis Malle, Agnieszka Holland and Antoni Krauze. His scores for the films of Krzysztof Kieslowski (The ‘Three Colours’ series) have brought him international acclaim. His soundtrack albums have also achieved considerable worldwide sales. He is Poland’s leading film music composer and is widely considered to be one of the most outstanding composers of his generation.

David is delighted with his contribution to ‘On An Island’ – and we are sure that you will be, too.

Visit www.preisner.com to find out more.

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour’s official blog, The Blog (‘Features’ previously being its rather naff title), affectionately – or lazily – shortened to ‘FEd’.

36 thoughts on “Zbigniew Preisner”

  1. Thanks for addressing this.

    I am focusing on the the On An Island tour.

    One of the things that David must have considered before his decision to perform at Live 8 was that it would renew the Pink Floyd reunion talk just as most of us had let it go as a pipe dream.

    Thank you David for those four songs and the On An Island Tour!!!

  2. Hi.
    I never thought that I could be able to say something to one of the memebers of the gratest group ever, and a great guitar player, so y must think that Im not… we Chileans (what is that?!… yes, Chile, my country, somewhere in South america) are still waiting for that old roumor of Pink Floyd playing in “El valle de la Luna” (“The moon valley” a valley that looks like the landscape of the moon) to became true, but that is just an old dream… Im just 20…

    Ok sorry for wasting your time…

  3. That’s interesting, amazing how much talent is going to be on this record. Just bought the Live 8 DVD, it is a fantastic show. Of course, the reason I bought it was Floyd performance. A couple of quick points to make about it though, I was looking at the fans in the audience and the look of satisfaction, happiness and excitement was, I think on all of them. Gazing at their expressions and how they sang along makes you think of how David’s fan base hasn’t gone anywhere. The differences in age amongst everyone out there were astonishing. You had everyone from children to old farts in dreamland! I’m for ever hooked on David’s music, just like them, the music takes me many different places, something I can relate to. So thanks David for the music and thanks web guy for the blog!

  4. Hi fellow bloggers. Phonetically speaking, how the heck do you pronounce Zbigniew!!

    Ze-Big-New? hehe cool

  5. Hi David! Hi features editor!
    After David would made a special guest appearance in a new BBC comedy entitled ‘Three Men in a Boat’, I decided reading Jerome’s book. IT IS FANTASTIC! Very very very fun!
    Have a good day!


  6. Hello!
    Could David be involved in his blog?
    Could he talk to us about his new album?
    Does he read what his bloggers write?
    Who is behind the features editor?
    Excuse my bad English!

  7. FYI: The “Glass Harmonica” (also known as a Glass Armonica) is more than just glasses filled with water. It’s an instrument created by Benjamin Franklin (btw, 2006 is his 300th birthday).

    The more I hear about “On An Island” the more excited I get!!!

  8. This is evolving into a really nice site. Love the photos in the studio. Some of them are worthy of a caption competion…

  9. 5 covers for David to consider performing.

    Over the Hillside – The Blue Nile
    Kissing – Bliss
    Brooks was here – Thomas Newman (From The Shawshank Redemption film soundtrack)
    Wake up in New York – Craig Armstrong & Evan Dando
    El Matador – Semisonic

    Actually, I’d rather listen to David play his own stuff, but this would all sound excellent played by David at some of the great venues chosen for this tour.
    Love this blog page, keep up the good work.

  10. Wow, i knew David Gilmour was using a polish guy for his orchestrations but i hadn’t made the connection that he was the film composer Preisner! His score for ‘three colours blue’ is probably the most singular creative experiment in the last twenty years of cinema. And his music alone is unbelievable. Mr Gilmour should be applauded for working with such a talent and seemingly giving him a free hand too.

    Obviously there are other collaborators on this album who are also of note, but the orchestrations are a more integral part of album than a single guest vocal track. I don’t want to get accused of pratt slapping.

    We all knew that ‘On an Island’ would be embraced by Pink Floyd fans, but with this latest news it seems entirely possible that it will be the album of the year, irrespective of Gilmours past triumphs. I smell a bag of grammys…

  11. Hi David! Hi Ed! Hi guys!
    Nobody write a lines since 01:51 pm! What a pity! Maybe because todey there isn’t a question in Ed first post.
    If our feature editors Ed agrees, I’d like to suggest that David fans indicate their age, ’cause I’m curious to know what’s the average age of David fans! Probably, young people, above all, used to write in a blog…but I’m sure that David is loved from people who are 10 years old ’till people who are 90 years old!
    What do you think about this ages survey?
    waiting to hear you!
    Bye bye


  12. here are some songs that I would love to hear:

    Breakthrough- (with or without Rick Wright 🙂 We know how great David plays on that one but I think he would sing it wonderfully as well.

    On the Turning away- love that one so much.

    Murder(please David….kill us with this one!)

    Short and Sweet (played long and wickedly)

    covers songs? that is gonna take some thought.

    some Dylan, some Townshend, some Neil Young, OR some Roger WATERS perhaps??? I would LOVe to hear David sing and play any of the Amused to Death songs- especially Bravery of Being out of Range.

    how about some Elvis?

    actually,I really dont care what David plays because every time he plays he is amazing. He can make any song into a masterpiece.

    Just got my Radio city tickets, the countdown is on.

  13. I also would like to know the age of the people in this blog.

    I’m 26 jears old and a David Gilmour fan since i was 12. Saw him the first time with Pink Floyd when i was 15 jears old in Berlin during “TDB” tour.
    Now i’m glad to see him again in Dortmund this jear.

  14. Hi Lucia,
    If you were wondering about David’s fans’ age, here’s mine: 24 today (yes, a birthday boy… well, not a boy anymore!)
    I’ve got another five or six friends who are big David Gilmour fans too (although they’re not as lucky to have bought tickets to see him at the RAH)… their ages range from 19 to to 26! Clearly, David’s music is timeless. He commands a lot of respect amongst young music lovers. His Royal Festival Hall performance on DVD proved yet again that he can reinvent himself in a completely new way, spripped down but textured and rich, and still be an absolute musical success.
    This On an Island album sounds more exciting by the minute and every time I read a new post I get more impatient to listen to it.
    Come on, March 6th! Hurry up!

  15. Wonderful to read of Zbigniew Preisner’s talent contributing to “On an Island” but also sad to think that Michael Kamen could not – I’m sure David would very much have wanted him to. I’m so glad David is doing this tour with the album, not least because, PG, I shall be at the RAH with my wife, son and daughter – I think it shall be the most memorable night of our lives!

  16. Thank you for all the news that everyday we can read on this blog. After all this years of silence it’s very incredible for me this opportunity. Sorry for my bad english… I’ll try makes to understand me 🙂
    This is only my third post, although i was waiting for a communication since ten years. Strange human nature…

    p.s. i already imagine in my mind the day in wich i will listen to “on an island” for the first time… on the bed, staring at the ceiling, with caps in my ears. ah! thank you from now.

  17. Howdy DG bloggers and the Omnipotent Features Editor; David (if you’re around),

    I enjoyed the interview with Zbigniew Preisner, especially his hints about what to expect from “On an Island;” that there is a theme of sorts running through the album. If the songs are reminiscent of “On the Turning Away” (easily my daughter’s very favorite Floyd song of all time btw) (yes I’m old and you won’t be getting my age), then we have some beautiful music on our horizon.

    Mr. Preisner is “too old to be excited”? That’s a shame! I’m VERY excited and I haven’t heard the first note of “On an Island.”

    (That was quite a serious-sounding post. Did I write that? I must need a drink very badly…)


  18. I’m concerned about the comment that Zbigni Preisner made about most of the songs being similar to “On the Turning Away”. Does that mean the album will have a more subdued tone, or does David get a chance to rock? Just a thought.

    Got my Gibson Amphitheatre tickets last week, this will be my first time seeing anyone related to Pink Floyd live. I can’t wait! 🙂

  19. Dear FEd, DG and everyone else,

    There’s all this hubbub about Floyd not being nominated for a Brit award for their Live8 performance…so here’s my 2p, without wanting to stir anything up…

    The performance at Live8 was such a gift, so unexpected and just so brilliant that it doesn’t need any rubber stamp from an industry that has long under appreciated one of the greatest bands of all time. Not only do we the fans know, but judging by the increase in album sales post L8, a whole new generation of listeners now know too. So, a little faux golden statue (or whatever a Brit is) doesn’t even begin to recognise what happened that day. A shame that the powers that be aren’t very open minded, but that’s them – we, the fans, know the truth 🙂

    Irrespective of any personal histories, there is an undeniable chemistry, or balance, or offsetting…whatever you want to call it, between DG and RW, and when they’re together musically the magic truly happens. And, if it never happens again, I’m so grateful for enjoying the moments that did…that said, pigs flew once so I’m hoping that lightning can strike twice 🙂


  20. i hear some story’s that you will come here to Brazil. Oh please, make all south americans fans live this dream. you are fantastic.

    i will be waiting allright? dont forget us.


  21. Why not for each show david and the band does an out of nowhere jam session. No pre-planning. They just stop for 10 seconds or so and start playing and harmonizing together for a little bit. Whatever happens happens. If it turns out to be a mess… oh well. heh.

    this would make every show have its own special song.

  22. Interesting one from Lucia there! (re DG covering a Waters song!) I have often wondered how David would have done things like What God Wants. Maybe have Jeff Beck sit in. Just a thought 🙂

  23. thanks for the info ed. I’d be well embarressed telling my mates about Ze-Big-New’s contribution after the event!! 🙂

    and for lucia…i’m 27. And I know from a few floyd message boards that there are plenty of under 20s big into ol’ pink. As they should be!!

  24. [I have often wondered how David would have done things like What God Wants. Maybe have Jeff Beck sit in. Just a thought 🙂

    Posted by: Mark Wright at January 11, 2006 08:31 AM]



  25. Great interview. It gives me some pride, being Polish myself (Living in Canada, and aged 20 btw), to see Dave working with such a great Polish composer.

    I can’t wait for On An Island, or any more news. I need to get my tickets soon!

  26. For Lucia:

    I’m not far from my 34th birthday, and I’m as rabid a fan of Pink Floyd as anybody here.

    I probably first heard tracks such as “Money” in my very early childhood, but my first clear memory of a Floyd song is the ubiquitous “Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 2” from the time when the airwaves were awash with it. I heard “The Wall” in its entirety for the first time in 1985 and despite my very tender age at the time (I could hardly have appreciated the themes running through the album) it must have made a significant impact for some reason because I clearly remember the occasion.

    However it was “On The Turning Away” from AMLOR that really kicked off my Floyd fanaticsm. I have no wish to start an argument on the relative merits of that particular Floyd track – it was merely that it was released at about the time I was really starting to listen to and appreciate music. And of course it is a great track, regardless of where it sits in the pantheon of Floyd music. From there the rest is history. I even saw Pink Floyd live at Western Springs, 22nd January 1988, followed by Roger at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, 5th April 2002.

    It amuses me to reflect that in 1987 a 15 year old could be captivated by a bunch of 40-year-old codgers – I don’t think I need to go into the kind of rubbish that 15 year olds listen to these days. I’m hoping to educate my kids better than that…

  27. I’ve been a fan since 1993. A friend of mine, battling cancer, was a devoted pink floyd fan and insisted that I listen. At first, I thought, this music is too dark, too depressing, but I liked On the Turning Away, whatever it’s technical merits, it is an easily accessible song with admirable sentiments. Then came my divorce, the betrayal of friends, work colleagues and a major turning point in my life. I started to become acquainted with the “darkness within”. It was only then that I could relate to the songs, that to me seemed hopeless, acknowledging pain and evil. Then I listened to the Division Bell. Through my transition to a new and better life, that album became very important to me. The song about fighting and finally realizing you just can’t win, always made me smile. It took me a long time to learn that lesson, knowing that I am better and stronger for that knowlege rather than continuing the never-ending battle. The themes of that album, the hope, the finding of joy after isolation, all gave me a reason to dance.
    Now I don’t need the music of Pink Floyd to dance, but I still enjoy the experience and I smile everytime I thinking of flying right into the sun.
    I’m 46 and still learning.

  28. Hi Sir Gilmour!

    It’s wonderful to know that you’re going to start a new tour after 15 years of abstinence.I’m just a little guy with 28 years who listened Pink Floyd for the first time with 10. Unfortunally my country never saw none of his shows (Brasil), so now I’m going to see the Paris shows on March and Toronto on April. Don’t forget! I will be the guy with a Brazilian T shirt!!! or maybe Arsenal?!?!?! See you soon!!!
    Sorry my english

  29. I thought the pre-sale was fantastic. I am a fan of all thing’s Floyd. I’ve checked all the varios sites constantly for several years. Finally my obsession payed off. I believe only the true fans got in on the pre-sale. I think of them as a gift from David to me. They are priceless. I have not been genuinely “psyched up” for a show in decades.
    I saw the”About Face” tour in ’84. It was trully awesome!Definately one of the best shows ever

  30. Re the post from Don

    At last someone who remembers the About Face tour.. Can you (or anyone else) remember the set list from that tour?

  31. Wonderful is the word. After all this years without a solo album and a new tour. But for me and million of fans, is not enough! We need your presence here. I’m a brazilian guy who dream about a new show on Brazil. Don´t forget your brazilian fans. Think about, with care!!!( I hope so!!!) See you soon!
    Sorry my poor english!

    Your crazy fan…

  32. Wonderful is the word. After all this years without a solo album and a new tour. But for me and million of fans, is not enough! We need your presence here. I’m a brazilian guy who dream about a new show on Brazil. Don´t forget your brazilian fans. Think about, with care!!!( I hope so!!!) See you soon!
    Sorry my poor english!

    Your crazy fan…

  33. Hi…

    I’m 16 years old… I’ve known Floyd by my dad… he and me love Floyd since that time…it’ s always great to hear good thinks about Pink Floyd and members like that good new about new Gilmour albun… that’s a fantastic work! I’m in love with it…changing a little.. I was crying just to remember the LIVE 8..it was when i was “coming back to live”…I’m a Pink Floydmaniac forever.

    Shine on! It’s from a Crazy Diamond…(Daisy “Miss Floyd” Rodrigues)

    bye = P lol

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