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.