Przedtakt (Upbeat)
- Rafał Augustyn, Cezary Duchnowski

On 27 December 1918, Ignacy Jan Paderewski gave a dramatic speech in front of the Bazar Hotel in Poznań. at speech is considered the unintended sparkle that triggered the Greater Poland Uprising. Yet that was not Paderewski’s intention when he travelled to Poland: he was supposed to mediate between the Polish National Committee of Roman Dmowski and the Warsaw government of Jędrzej Moraczewski. Later, as we knew, Paderewski himself became Prime Minister. 

There is no sound recording of Paderewski’s Poznań speech. There are speeches recorded of the artist from the 1930s as well as the period of World War II; there also exists the famous—and quite unpolitical—speech by Józef Piłsudski. Numerous other documents exist from that time. We have used some of them in crudo, while others have been embedded into larger structures or merely used as sources of inspiration. 

What do artists have to do with politics? History can substantiate any opinion about this; it is not the “subject” of our composition. We merely wish to create a “sound vision” (phonic?) of the dynamic of Polish Republic’s rebirth, rather than a historic radio feature: a meditation leading to the national anthem. 

The eighteenth-century Dąbrowski’s Mazurka quickly entered the Polish and international circuit not only as a national song, but also an element of the concert repertoire. It was quoted by Wagner and Elgar, paraphrased by Paderewski. It only became Poland’s national anthem in 1927, a year after the May Coup. Poland, our “great common responsibility,” remains a challenge. It was born in 1918 amidst internal and external turmoil. After two decades, it experienced another disaster. Yet the merit of our Founding Fathers, including Paderewski, is the simple fact that no-one in their right mind questions the purpose and necessity of the Polish state. For artists, time is measured in seasons, but Poland is surely not a “seasonal state.” 

Rafał Augustyn and Cezary Duchnowski