Released in 2010, this is the impressive musical score from the most popular Polish television series ever produced. CZAS HONORU (DAYS OF HONOUR) ran for three seasons between 2008 and 2010 and is an epic tale set during the second world war. This compact disc prepared in association with Polskie Radio S.A. and Soundtracks PL, features just 16 of the commanding works stand out cues. The music is the work of one of Poland’s most talented young composers Bartosz Chajdecki, who at just 31 years of age has produced a score that has an astounding maturity about it within its overall sound and construction. In fact on my first encounter with the score I was under the impression that is was the work of a composer who was far older. But taking in to account that Chajdecki began composing at the tender age of 12 and was guided by Zbigneiw Preisner, it is hardly surprising that the music here is of such high quality. This is a score that will soon attain the title classic among many collectors, written for grand orchestra and choir, the work has the ability to invigorate and stir the listener with its thunderous and powerful compositions as well as enthrall and mesmerize them with its haunting, emotive and affecting themes. The CD opens with the principal theme, which begins with solo piano that tentatively picks out a simple but effective melody that at once grabs the listeners attention, the composer then builds upon this theme introducing an almost mournful sounding cello that mirrors the theme as played by piano, the two instruments are then further embellished by strings and subtle use of timpani which grows in intensity whilst further strings are introduced as the theme builds to its conclusion.
Track 2, UCIECZKA is very different in style and sound, this is a more urgent cue, the composer utilising percussion, struck strings and piano to create a tense air and atmosphere, underlying strings are called up to add greater urgency as percussion and piano feature in the main with strategically placed woods and brass adding support and giving the composition a distinct feeling of uneasiness. Track 3 POLONES, is for me one of the soundtracks highlights, and it is here that we can identify the composers links with Zbigniew Preisner, as he combines piano with strings creating a richness and a sound that is not only luxurious but undemanding and haunting.
Track 4, LA PANKA is another cue filled with tense sounding strings aided by brief use of oboe which are bolstered by percussion and brass flourishes, the composer building the tension wonderfully and then finally curtailing the proceedings as he slows tempo and segues into a more relaxed mode but still manages to retain an atmosphere that is anxious. Track 5, EGZEKUCJA is a subdued sounding piece in the opening stages but stirs mid way through into something more dramatic and powerful only to revert back to a calmer but darker sounding composition to see it through to its conclusion. Strings again are utilised with support coming from the brass and woodwind sections. Track 6, WARSAZWA is a delightfully melodic piece and is not dissimilar to THE PIANO as composed by Michael Nyman, but in this case there is far more than a piano playing, the theme is taken on at first by solo piano and the composer gradually adds more instrumentation in the form of romantic and sweeping strings, faraway sounding horns, woodwind as the piano continues to perform the central thematic property of the piece as the composition builds and builds to a heartrending and highly tuneful finale. Moving to track number 9, POGO (CHASE) is a high octane composition, rumbling percussion acts as support to struck strings that beat out an urgent tempo, driving strings are introduced and percussion also increases its involvement as the piece accelerates in it’s urgency and fervour. The atmosphere of pursuit is even more evident as the cue reaches its halfway mark where it slows slightly as if the orchestra are getting their breath back after being chased, then it stops and there is a moment of silence before the piece bursts forth again this time aided by choir who sound ominous and fearful underlined by unrelenting strings. This is a wonderful score, and also a soundtrack that should be in every discerning film music enthusiasts collection.
The CD comes complete with a full colour 16 page booklet that includes liner notes and an interview with the composer by Adam Krvsinski (Soundtrack PL).
This is highly recommended, if you do not seek it out and buy it, you will be poorer for not hearing this truly epic work.