I felt very happy and honored when, several months ago, artist Ivaana Muse asked me whether she could use one of my poems as the lyrics for a song she intended to compose. Ivaana chose “Snow”—the very first poem from the series Conversations With The Ashes I wrote after my father Bohdan Kurowski passed away. Ivaana and I corresponded about the sounds I would associate with the poem; about our fathers, and our memories of them… It has been such an enriching exchange.
Even though “Snow” was not written as a song lyrics, somehow I anticipated Ivaana would create a SONG—that is, a “traditional” piece that has rhythm, melody… So when Ivaana sent me her composition, I was quite surprised. Ivaana describes this piece as “sung poetry composed aleatorically.” Singing poetry has a very strong tradition in my native Poland, and of course a poem sung differs significantly from a song. It seems to me, Ivaana’s composition both draws from the tradition and stands out of it. I felt I needed to calm down to listen to her piece, in order to hear it fully, to let it speak to me—for it touches much more than just the surface-perception; it demands a response much deeper than the one a “regular” song would be likely to induce.
There is such a richness of sound in Ivaana’s rendition of “Snow”… the crying of the cello that, somehow, reminds me of the compositions of the great Karol Szymanowski… and silence… and the pulse like that of a heart… and human voices. Listening to this piece I feel like the past I have let go too quickly, catches up with me to tell me something important… All the same, this past is timeless—an ever-altering present that “breathes” in Ivaana’s music, with its amazing richness and complexity… I can listen to Ivaana’s piece over and over, always finding something new in it. It is so much more than the “song” I had anticipated! I am deeply grateful to Ivaana Muse for creating this beautiful piece.
• Inclusions (Cervena Barva Press, 2014)—poetry collection including the poem “Snow”
• Selections from Conversations With The Ashes (bi-lingual)
• Biography of Bohdan Kurowski (text in Polish)