"Soundtracks from Roman Polanski movies"


This film is a short student piece by Roman Polanski. It was Krzysztof Komeda’s first film soundtrack, and it wasn’t an easy start, because the film had no dialogue and a lot of the effects had to be carried by the music. The film was premiered in 1958 at the International Short Film Festival in Brussels, and that year is officially given as the date of Two Men and a wardrobe, although both the film and the music actually date from 1957. As a leitmotif for the soundtrack music, Komeda used his first composition, which was premiered at the first Sopot Jazz Festival in 1956. This was a piece he called Lullaby. The other Lullaby he wrote was for the film Rosemary’s Baby, at the end of his life and work. Two lullabies - the first one his debut, the second one the end of a great but all-to-short career. The first won third prize in Brussels, the second was nominated for the Golden Globe Award.


This is also a short, another student piece by Polanski, dating from 1959, and in colour. Among those appearing in the film are Barbara Kwiatkowska - at that time Polanski’s wife, a film actress later known throughout Europe as Barbara Lass - and Andrzej Kondratiuk, a friend of Polanski’s from the film academy, then a student cameraman and now a director. The film also includes short appearances by some of Polanski’s student friends, for two reasons, I suppose: it kept the production costs down, and apart from that, young people regarded making films as good fun. The role of the electricity meter-reader was played by Kuba Goldberg, who had previously played one of the Two Men And a Wardrobe. The communists forced him to leave Poland, his home, in 1969, and he later became a lecturer at the film academy in Copenhagen.

Polanski’s first full-length feature film dates from 1962. The screenplay was by the director and Jerzy Skolimowski. For Polanski it was the first full-length film, but for Komeda it was the seventh, and his sixteenth film score in all, if you include all his other for short and medium-length films. Among the musicians on the recording is the Swedish tenor player Bernt Rosengren. Komeda was really taken with Rosengren’s talent, and invited him to take part in the session. Getting agreement for this in the communist Poland of the 1960s was something absolutely unprecedented, but thanks to Komeda’s stubbornness and the goodwill of the head of the KADR film studio, and after many attempts at persuasion in the offices of the Ministry of Art and Culture, the film authorities, and the management of the National Bank, I managed to arrange it. Because, of course, I was my husband’s manager and the producer of the recording, and it was one of my responsibilities to hire musicians and draw up contracts with them. The beautiful solo you can hear on this soundtrack is by that wonderful saxophonist.

Zofia Komeda.

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