Sunday, December 17, 2006

Composer Zbigniew Priesner speaks about Krystof Kieslowski and Van Den Budenmayer

From the interview with the composer Zbigniew Priesner on the Criterion DVD release of Krystof Kieslowski's The Double Life of Veronique.

at 3:15

He [Kieslowski] really did not have much understanding of music. Let me rephrase that. He simply couldn't sing. when he sang Jingle Bells, it sounded like Silent Night. But he understood the function of music in movies.


at 14:40

The character of the composer Van Den Budenmayer in Krystof's films is reminiscent of the fictional character of Mr. Cogito in Zbigniew Herbert's work. It began as pure coincidence. In Decalogue IX, Krystof wanted to use some Mahler songs that had never been recorded in Poland. Recording them would cost a fortune. So I said, "I'll write something different. If it doesn't work you'll just have to buy the rights to some Mahler." So I wrote some very lousy music, we say it's not me, it's Van Den Budenmayer. If it's good, then we say it's me. We both liked Holland -- it's a beautiful country -- and we decided that Van Den Budenmayer was a Dutch name. Later, when the Decalogue became well-known, Krystof started receiving letters from various people, one was from the Larousse encyclopedia, and it said, "We're publishing a new edition of our Encyclopedia of Music. you must tell us about this Mr. Van Den Budenmayer. Being a serious encyclopedia, we can not be ignorant on this matter." So in The Double Life of Veronique, we decided to give dates for his birth and death. His date of birth is the same as mine, only 200 years earlier. and then it all broke loose. Of Course, there were other encyclopedias. I returned to Poland once after a few years absence. I was then living in Paris, making films with Kieslowski. and I read in the papers that I was being sued in Paris by the Van Den Budenmayer heirs for stealing his music.



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