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SYBERIADA POLSKA – Krzesimir Dębski

February 22, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

syberiadapolskaOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Syberiada Polska is an epic wartime historical drama, directed by Janusz Zaorski, based on the novel by Zbigniew Domino. It tells the story of a family of Polish Jews who are deported to Russia during World War II. It follows the fortunes of one family, specifically the family’s youngest son Staszek, who are sent to Siberia and must struggle for survival against the harsh Siberian winter, and the cruel camp commandant who decides their fate. The film stars Adam Woronowicz, Sonia Bohosiewicz, and Pawel Krucz as Staszek, and is scored by composer Krzesimir Dębski using the Orkiestra Sinfonietta Cracovia.

Dębski’s score is steeped in Polish folk music; lush, classical, emotional, performed mainly by a string orchestra augmented by piano, accordion, pennywhistle and occasional voices. The tone of the score is generally solemn, as one would expect for a story about such a great tragedy, but there is hope and romance there too. The main theme, which is introduced in the opening “Syberiada Polska”, features prominently throughout the score, and generally tends to concentrate on the desperate plight of the protagonists in their harsh environment. Recapitulations in the downbeat “Wywozka” and “Piesn Samotnosci”, keep the score rooted in its thematic consistency.

A lovely, light, waltz-time theme appears in “Spokojna, Kresowa Wies”, clearly depicting the happiness in the protagonists’ lives before the onset of Nazism, but this gaiety doesn’t last. The romance theme, for Staszek and the girl he unexpectedly meets and falls in love with in the Siberian wastes, actually reminds me somewhat of Nino Rota’s Romeo and Juliet. It first appears in “Piesn Sybirakow” – the Song of the Siberians – which begins with a melody carried by an accordion which is at once mournful and beautiful, before moving softly into the first performance of the theme by the full string section. It re-occurs in deconstructed form in “Wszedzie Snieg”, and later in a more conventionally romantic setting in “Bez Poczatku i Konca – Tajga”.

Other pieces of note include a third theme, “Teskna Piesn” – The Song of Longing – which introduces a pretty, but haunting solo female vocalization, pining for the sunny homeland Staszek and his family were forced to leave behind. The conventions of Jewish folk music come through via a lamenting solo fiddle and haunting throat singers in “Zydowski Pogrzeb”. The Song of Longing and the guttural throat singers combine excellently in “Tren”, a cue which merges hope and despair perfectly, while the finale in “Powrot do Polski” presents extended versions of several of the main themes accompanied by a soft choir, celebrating those who lived and mourning those who died.

Dębski’s score is lovely, although your tolerance for it will depend on your tolerance for folk-inflected orchestral scores with a high degree of classical elegance but little in the way of action. The trio of recurring themes is helpful, but I can see how this would begin to become tiresome for those less attuned to this type of music. The album, which is available for download via the 7-Digital platform, also includes two original songs: “Syberiada” performed by Anna Wyszkoni, which is very good if you have an affinity for Polish folk-rock, and the intimate, whispery “Nim Kartka Splonie” performed by Anna Jurksztowicz, which is based around Dębski’s romance melody.

Buy the Syberiada Polska soundtrack from the Movie Music UK Store

Track Listing:

  • Syberiada (performed by Anna Wyszkoni) (3:54)
  • Syberiada Polska (3:51)
  • Spokojna, Kresowa Wies (3:12)
  • Wywozka (3:37)
  • Piesn Sybirakow (2:43)
  • Wszedzie Snieg (2:04)
  • Serce w Tajdze mi Przemarzlo (2:06)
  • Teskna Piesn (2:08)
  • Nasz Nowy Dom – Barak (2:30)
  • Zydowski Pogrzeb (1:40)
  • Bez Poczatku i Konca – Tajga (2:41)
  • Wyreb Lasu (2:02)
  • Tren (3:14)
  • Cmentarzysko (1:29)
  • Piesn Samotnosci (1:56)
  • Sowiecka Laska (2:28)
  • Kraina Szczescia (3:27)
  • Powrot do Polski (5:12)
  • Nim Kartka Splonie (performed by Anna Jurksztowicz) (3:38)

Running Time: 53 minutes 52 seconds

7-Digital Media (2013)

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