Produced by Polish veteran film maker Krzysztof Zanussi, this is the directorial debut of Magdalena Piekorz. THE WELTS (PREGI) is a melodrama which begins with a somewhat shocking picture of child abuse: Set in the early 1980, s in a Poland that is unforgiving and unwelcoming a young boy Wojciech lives with his Father an unpredictable individual who is one-minute handing out sharp, harsh physical and mental violence and the next is attempting to create a bond between himself and his son which never seems to be genuine or long lasting. The film is divided into two parts, the first half concentrates on the childhood days of Wojciech the second part of the drama we see Wojciech as an adult, who is a journalist in his thirties who has in a number of ways grown into a similar human being as his Father, who turns to a woman who for some reason loves him without question and unconditionally. THE WELTS was the official Polish nomination for the Academy Awards(Oscars) in 2004 and the musical score by Adrian Konarski is one of the movies most precious and glowing attributes. The score is released here on Caldera records for the first time alongside music from a number of the composer’s film and theatre assignments, the compilation makes for some wonderful listening. The music for THE WELTS not only does its job within the movie but also simply mesmerises and enthrals when listening to the score away from the images it was intended to support and enhance, saying this however it is also a delicate and highly supportive element within the movie, and I have to admit although I was conscious of the music from time to time whilst watching the picture it never overpowered or intruded. Which I think is what good film music should do, it elevates and underlines but never overwhelms the dialogue or the scenario taking place on screen. Concentrating firstly upon the score for THE WELTS which is tracks 1 to 19 on the compact disc, it is in many ways a piano led score with the piano solos being performed by the composer. Konarski makes effective and affecting use of both strings and woodwind, which complement and accompany the haunting piano playing of the Maestro, who purveys a sense and atmosphere of tenderness, romanticism and delicate fragility with his eloquent and elegant compositions. There is a sound here and to a degree a style that is very evocative of composers such as Preisner, Morricone, Legrand and to a certain extent some of the more classically inspired film scores by Cipriani (Anonymous Venetian for example).
For me the sound achieved by Polish film music composers and in particular Konarski is genuinely beguiling and addictively compelling. Driving but not aggressive strings act as a background or introduction to a soaring woodwind solo in a number of cues which is interspersed and punctuated by attractive and attention grabbing piano passages, harp is also utilised as is a particularly heartrending solo violin which although never in the foreground both add an even more poignant level to the work that is tinged with melancholy and creates a mood that for me conjures up a sense of loneliness and vulnerability. This is an intricate, rich and dramatically emotive soundtrack, that once listened to will be returned to almost immediately, its polished and skilfully written pieces melding together to create a work that is quite breath-taking. The compilation also includes selections from DROWSINESS and CITIZEN in the former the composer makes stunning use of a flawless Soprano which if I have to make comparisons did remind me somewhat of some of the music of Christopher Komeda. I cannot recommend this release enough or tell you how much I love it, it is one of those releases that comes along when you are not expecting it and completely blows you away, please go and buy this asap.