Album zawiera utwory skomponowane do spektaklu Zaratustra w reżyserii i scenografii Krystiana Lupy (Stary Teatr, Kraków). Muzyką tą Paweł Szymański wywołał sensację zdobywając w jednym roku dwie z wysoko cenionych nagród muzycznych w Polsce: tytuł muzyki teatralnej roku w plebiscycie miesięcznika TEATR i nagrodę za najlepszą muzykę do filmu (Plac Zbawiciela) na Festiwalu Polskich Filmów Fabularnych w Gdyni!
Krystian Lupa, który zaprojektował również okładkę płyty, tak pisze we wstępie do niej:
(...) Nazywamy muzykę Pawła Szymańskiego "religijną". A przecież od razu rodzi się potrzeba rewizji tego terminu. Ta muzyka nie opowiada przecież o religijnych faktach (chyba, że czasem przez słowa religijnego tekstu) ani nie chce być częścią religijnego ceremoniału. Raczej - podobnie jak u Bacha - muzyka Szymańskiego nie wyraża religijnego przeżycia, ale jest autonomicznym aktem religijnym. Bóg jest fugą...
Nazywamy muzykę Pawła Szymańskiego "kontemplacyjną", a przecież od razu rodzi się potrzeba rewizji (...) Bo może kontemplacja jest koniecznym, niezależnym od nas udziałem w bycie autonomicznym, który się przed nami odsłania. (serpent)
Paweł Szymański - Composer, born in Warsaw on 28 March 1954.
Szymański graduated with honours from the National Higher School of Music in Warsaw, where he studied composition with Włodzimierz Kotoński (1974-78) and Tadeusz Baird (1978). In the meantime, in 1976, he took part in the International Summer Academy of Ancient Music at Innsbruck, and in 1978, 1980 and 1982 participated in the International Summer Courses of New Music at Darmstadt, working also with the Experimental Studio of the Polish Radio in 1979-81, the Independent Studio of Electroacoustic Music in 1982-84 and the Electronic Music Studio of the Cracow Academy of Music in 1983. As a Herder scholar, Szymański continued his studies with Roman Haubenstock-Ramati in Vienna in 1984-85, and as a holder of the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst grant in 1987-89, worked at the Electronic Studio of the Technische Universitaet.
Szymański is a winner of a number composing competitions. His 1979 Gloria for female choir and instrumental ensemble earned him the 1st award at the Young Composers' Competition of the Polish Composers' Association in 1979 and the 4th place in the works-by-young-composers category at the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers in Paris in 1981. Lux Aeterna, Szymański's 1984 work for voices and instruments, won an award at the "Sacred Music Composition Contest" of the Internationale Bachakademie in Stuttgart in 1985, while Partita III for amplified harpsichord and orchestra from 1985-86 won the Benjamin Britten Composing Competition in Aldeburgh in 1988. In 1993 Szymański got the annual award of the Polish Composers' Association, followed by the Grand Prix of the Culture Foundation in January 1994. Miserere for voices and instruments (1993), presented by Channel 2 of the Polish Radio at the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers in Paris, made it to the group of works recommended by the Tribune in May 1994, and the In paradisum motet for male choir earned the composer the main prize at the Competition of the International Foundation of Polish Music in 1995.
Paweł Szymański's music is performed all over the world, including Austria, the United Kingdom, Canada, Denmark, Germany, France, Holland, Japan, Hungary, Mexico, Sweden, Italy, and the United States. A number of his works were commissioned by European institutions and festivals and were premiered by world-famous musicians. Partita IV for orchestra, for example, was requested by the North Irish division of the BBC for the Sonorities '87 festival organised by Belfasts's Queen's University, and was first performed by the Ulster Orchestra conducted by Lionel Friend. A A Study of Shade for small orchestra (1989) was commissioned by the Aldeburgh Festival and was first performed by the Britten-Pears Orchestra conducted by Richard Bernas. Quasi una sinfonietta for chamber orchestra (1990) was commissioned for and first performed by the London Sinfonietta conducted by Arturo Tamayo in the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Sixty-odd Pages for chamber orchestra (1991) was commissioned by the Suedwestfunk Baden-Baden and was first performed by the Suedwestfunk Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden, conducted by Mathias Barnert, at the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music. Five Pieces for String Quartet (1992) were commissioned by the BBC in Bristol and were first performed by the Kwartet Śląski, again at the Warsaw Autumn festival. Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (1994) was composed at the request of Radio France and it was in France that it was first performed by Ewa Pobłockaa and the Great Symphony Orchestra of the Polish Radio conducted by Antoni Wit. Recalling a Serenade for clarinet, two violins, viola and cello (1996) was commissioned by the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, where it was first performed by the clarinetist Kari Kriikku with the Silesian Quartet.
Paweł Szymański's output, starting from Partita II, the 1978 diploma work crowning his studies with Włodzimierz Kotoński, has been uniquely homogeneous with regard to stylistics. The composer confesses that while he had previously kept searching for new inspirations, ever since Partita II he has operated within the area of certain musical ideas. "All I have done since has explored this area", says Szymański. The area can be defined as creating a new context from elements of the language of tradition. The sound material of Szymański's works is rooted in the past, with many a reference to Baroque, yet it is always composed. Szymański processes this source material in the second phase of the creative process, giving it a new structure and inviting the listener to a play with musical conventions.
Paweł Szymański's music is highly sophisticated and always subject to strict technical discipline, yet it enthralls the listener with its variety of emotions and moods ranging from sensuous sound play to metaphysical musings. (culture.pl)