What is it?
Directed by Magdalena Piekorz and starring Michal Zebrowski and Agnieszka Grochowska, Polish movie The Welts tells the tale of Wojciech who was mistreated by his father at a young age and as a result becomes increasingly troubled when growing up. Although he does not want to repeat the same mistakes his father did, he has problems connecting to people. Then he meets Tania, his chance for redemption. But will he be able to solve his problems and become somebody who can not only love but who can also be loved by others?
From the Press Release Notes
The music for the directorial debut by Magdalena Piekorz was composed by Adrian Konarski, a highly regarded musician for films, theater and concert in his native Poland. These Polish routes are evident in his music, bearing resemblance to work of his native countryman Wojciech Kilar in their melodic inspiration, thematic development and transparent arrangements. Performed by a small orchestra with haunting instrumental solos for piano and woodwinds, the music for The Welts is full of melancholy and yet offering a glimpse of hope for the troubled character of the movie. Konarski works with several themes and motifs such as a love theme which receives its variations throughout the score.
What does it sound like? And is it any good?
The Welts is mostly a piano-driven score. The writing is beautiful, very European, and the performance passionate; but a love for the piano is a prerequisite to fully enjoying Konarski’s work. Strings and woodwinds also play key roles, with woodwinds frequently taking the lead.
Thematically, I believe the score presents three central ideas. The first is presented in “Love Scene”, and I’ll thus refer to it as such. It’s heard on piano and recurs several times through the score; as do the other themes. “Prologue” continues on the piano and offers a beautiful, though somewhat intangible, melody for woodwinds. As this theme progresses, it goes through a chord progression that reminds me strongly of Mozart; and again it’s heard several times throughout the score.
“Music Is Healing” offers a playful melody for woodwinds accompanied by staccato strings. It’s light-hearted, almost comedic in a very understated way, and it too rolls into these Mozart-like chord progressions.
Throughout its 19 tracks, the score alternates between these melodies and variations upon them. The album is sequenced in such a way that piano-, strings- and winds-dominated cues alternate. Whether this is deliberate or not I don’t know, but it sure makes for a varied and engaging listening experience. I also find that if you shorten the pause between cues (perhaps apply a 2-3 second cross fade) it improves the listening experience even more. All cues are pretty short, and by shortening the pause between them it effectively turns the album in one lengthy suite.
Konarski’s music for Drowsiness is sombre and dominated by strings. Piano and children’s voice can beard in some cues. The music here is very elegiac, and much more up my street than The Welts, if I’m honest. The staccato strings in the title cue and the somewhat elusive themes do remind of The Welts and are beginning to paint a picture of this composer.
The remainder of the album, without necessarily delving into each individual cue, offers more melancholy strings and passionate piano performances. Woman From The Dark is a lovely cue for cello and twinkling piano; whilst Existence No Existence focus on a female vocalist, perhaps slightly reminiscent of Morricone’s work.
The album concludes with a 5-minute commentary track by Adrian Konarski, in which he introduces himself, talks about his background, his inspirations, (his connection to Abel Korzeniowski), and of course the music on this album.
Konarski’s music is wonderful, full of European flair. This album serves as a great introduction to this composer, who I personally had not heard of before. I now look forward to hearing more Konarski in future.