Travel Notes (2018)

Review 1

The collection of MirosławFranczak’s compositions entitled „Travel Notes” contains 19 miniatures for solo guitar, arranged in three cycles: „Travel Notes”op. 20, „Alla polacca” op. 21, „Autumn Sketches” op. 22.

The scale of difficulty of the works is very wide – some of them can be successfully used in music school of the first degree, and some in music school of the second degree. The great advantage of the collection is the great variety of forms, mainly dance forms – Polish and foreign, historical and contemporary – making the publication a source of essential knowledge about the characteristic features of dances.

The collection is also characterized by the use of a full range of guitar performance techniques, thanks to which the works contained therein can be an attractive material consolidating workshop skills acquired in subsequent stages of education.

It is worth emphasizing the composer’s language, which in these traditional forms, while maintaining simplicity and communicativeness, avoided triviality, repetitiveness and shallowness. An example can be the harmony of works, which, although fully tonal, sounds ambiguous, at times original, at times intriguing.

This is due to, among other things, the frequent use of chord components other than prima in the bass, which gives the songs a subtle and mysterious tone. I see a similar value in the unconventional shaping of the form, which manifests itself, for example, in the avoidance of literal repetition of individual segments, or in the frequent use of expanded coda, introducing new musical ideas.

Indicated harmonic and formal treatments make these compositions probably more difficult for the student, but at the same time more interesting and inspiring in the process of a wisely planned exercise. These are not pieces for easy and quick preparation, but for shaping an artistically and artistically conscious performer, with subtle artistic sensitivity and taste. Therefore, I see their value in the perspective of the deep and multi-faceted development of a young musician.

dr hab. Marek Nosal, prof. AM, Katowice, 12 February 2019.

Review 2

The next album of Franczak’s  solo compositions includes 10 compositions from opus 20, four compositions under the general title Allapolacca opus 21 and Autumn Sketches collected in opus 22. All pieces have been recorded on the CD attached to the album, in an excellent performance by Grzegorz Skiba. According to the title of the album we can find compositions in typically Polish style (mazurka, polonaise, oberek, kujawiak) as well as pieces inspired by the folklore of distant countries such as Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, etc. We also have atmospheric “neutral” music such as Ballade, Nocturne or Scherzino. All of them have a typical feature of Franczak’s work, which I would describe as a combination of melancholy and Slavic reverie. Those contemporary  compositions remain in the convention of 19th century romantic music. There is no avant-garde harmony or such recently fashionable percussion effects. His music is maintained in a traditional style, with a relatively easy and medium difficulty level. The advantage of the album is the beauty of mostly lyrical themes and mood creating. If someone does not need avant-garde search and wants to stay with  the traditional music, this is the album for him. One will surely remain under the charm of those captivating compositions.

Zbigniew Dubiella 2018