Unpublished compositions by world-renowned jazz musician Krzysztof Komeda have been discovered during a search of his archives at the National Library of Poland.
Composed for his last European project, the six handwritten manuscripts are from a project called “Moja słodka europejska ojczyzna” (My sweet European homeland) that Komeda established in 1967 in the German city of Baden-Baden on the theme of jazz and some poetry.
Posting the find on its social media, the National Library of Poland said: “In the end, it was to be Komeda’s last European work – the composer’s symbolic farewell with Europe.”
“Komeda himself said of the project My Sweet European Homeland, that it was his greatest work, while Joachim-Ernst Berendt, wrote of Komeda’s compositions that ‘We have never had before on a record of poetry, such melodies that are beautiful, rich and full of emotion!’.”
Born in 1931 in Poznan, Komeda was known as a pioneering composer and jazz musician often credited with starting the so-called Polish School of Jazz.
His 1965 album Astigmatic is considered one of the most important European jazz albums of all time.
However, Komeda also became widely known as an author of film scores, notably for Roman Polański’s films Knife in the Water, Cul-de-sac, The Fearless Vampire Killers and Rosemary’s Baby.
The newly discovered compositions were all written to accompany poems by well-known Polish poets.
They include “Jonasz” composed for Zbigniew Herbert’s poem of the same name, “Kiedy gaśnie lampa wyobraźni” (When the lamp of imagination goes out) for Adam Ważyk’s poem “Poemat dla dorosłych” (A poem for adults) and “Klasyk” for Zbigniew Herbert’s poetic prose poem of the same name.
Other compositions include “Jan Cherubin”, on a poem of the same name by Mieczysław Jastrun, “Ich dwoje” (Them two) on a poem by Bolesław Leśmian entitled (Two people) and “Miserere” on a poem of the same name by the tragic poet Krzystof Kamil Baczyński, poet and soldier killed in the Warsaw Uprising.
Not all the works of the found manuscripts were included in the final project file and the original German file contains a composition different from the one discovered, under the title “Miserere”.
The National Library of Poland has now made the newly discovered works available to artists and researchers.