nothing is impossible
author: Danuta Bierzańska
quite a quick piece—for some orchestras and many soloists.
music, lyrics and beat: Andrzej Mitan and Andrzej Zaremba
On December 15th 1983, Andrzej Bieżan died in a car accident. He was a versatile musician, artist considered a precursor of intuitive and electronic music in Poland. Andrzej Mitan, musician, realized with great regret that after his friend’s rich artistic activity remained only three experimental recordings at the Polish Radio, a few private recordings and the few obituaries published in music press. Mitan claims that this reflection was an impulse.
part 1. adagio
None of the Polish phonographic companies is interested in documenting the musical phenomena situated outside the mainstream of classical or pop music, phenomena oriented towards experiments and pursuits, which in reviewers’ clumsiness they call musical avant-garde, and which are in no way related to the commercial aims of our phonography. So when Andrzej Mitan thought about documenting records, he could count only on the initiative of artists themselves. Among the artists who banded together were: Helmut Nadolski, Andrzej Przybielski, Zdzisław Piernik, Marcin Krzyżanowski, Tadeusz Sudnik, Michał Zduniak, Krzysztof Knittel, Witold Leszczyński, Janusz Dziubak, Włodzimierz Pawlik, Aleksander Korecki, Wojciech Czajkowski, Wojciech Konikiewicz, Piotr Mitan and, of course, Andrzej Mitan himself. He was joined by Andrzej Zaremba, without whom, as Mitan says, the whole thing would take much much longer, and maybe even would not have taken place at all. They were working on an idea of five records in hand-made covers, which were to be designed by great Polish artists: Tadeusz Rolke, Andrzej Szewczyk, Ryszard Winiarski, Edward Krasiński and Jerzy Czuraj. What remained was the key issue: finding a sponsor who would decide to finance (with some profit) this crazy project. The first attempt failed, the manager of the “Remont” Club was—to say the leas—skeptical: maybe we could start from one record... Rest: for silent shrugging shoulders towards the fanatical proponents of the slogan “where there’s a will, there’s a way”.
part 2. andante
When in July of that year Mitan and Zaremba appeared at “Alma-Art” in Odolańska Street, the Academic Office for Culture and Art did not have their bank account yet. But they had good will. The first sums of money, as advance payment, were given by the information and Publishing Committee of the Polish Students Association (ZSP).In August, Alma-Art turned to the Ministry of Culture and Art with a request for permission to publish a set of five records with 1000 copies for each title. The request gains positive reference of Józef Patkowski, the head of Association of Polish Composers, working as the manager of the Experimental Studio of the Polish Radio, who will later on give access to Bieżan’s recordings.
The Ministry’s response is positive. The musicians begin recordings in the hired column hall of the Primate’s Palace in Warsaw, using their own instruments and equipment. They also use the recording equipment which they received for testing from the Swedish Leastrom company, thanks to which side B of Bieżan’s record is the first record in Poland to be produced in the DIGITAL system. Simultaneously, there appears the organizational thread. The management of the Plastics Production Factory Pronit in Pionki, accepts the idea, and the artists only extra-artistic protection is the fact that Mitan was born in Pionki. With the management’s agreement, the workers decide to work on Saturday and Sunday, outside the regular production plan; on the way between recording music and pressing records, you must have so called acetates, which the Polish Recording Company agreed to make available. Rest: for the statement that the production process for a record in Polish Recording Company lasts, on average, usually one year.
When in Warsaw Tadeusz Sudnik and Tadeusz Konador were supervising the making of the master-copies of tapes, Mitan and Zaremba began their crazy dance which you might call “supply–polka”. The designs for the covers were such that required for example the purchase of 10 kilograms of red crayons from the Factory of Office Equipment in Pruszków. Which they bought. They had to find a company which would re-sell self-adhesive tape, which was not produced in Poland, for Krasiński’s project. They found one. The Artis company sold their tape.
part 3. allegretto
In September the musicians were finishing their recordings, and the “supply-polka” went round and round, faster and faster. They had to buy velour paper, which was produced by only one company in Poland, in Rembertów. The Klein-Feliniak Company changes the production line from yellow, to black paper to meet the demands of Czuraj’s design. Now the big orders come. The FOTON company in Bydgoszcz agrees to sell 50 rolls of photographic paper, each 10 metre long, which are then transported in a van to Warsaw. In the Paper and Cellulose Factory in Świecie, Mitan and Zaremba buy cardboard for the covers, and using a truck belonging to Universitas, they transport it to Odolańska Street. The only company able to print on cardboard is the Military Cartographic Company in Warsaw and they get the commission for print. Thus, the huge piles of cardboard occupying the Alma-Art office could be taken to the printing house.
part 3.5. allegro ma non troppo
50 metres of photographic paper lands in Adam Sandauer’s darkroom, where it has to be cut into 2.5 thousand squares and then copies of photographs have to be made. According to his design, Tadeusz Rolke writes with a felt-tip pen on the photographs: “Andrzej Bieżan, Archangel’s Sword”, 1000 times.
In October, in an artist’s studio, an artistic manufacture starts working; they have to cut the text with the print, cut and stick envelopes, produce the covers according to artists’ designs. 10 kilograms of red crayons need to be whittled, and they stick the fine chips onto the 1000 covers of Helmut Nadolski’s Jubilee Orchestra (Andrzej Szewczyk). Rest: for the statement that each of the 5000 covers is an individual handiwork of people, who in the forms asking about their profession do not necessarily write: artist.
Into the studio come students, artists, young friends: Agata, Basia, Judyta, Beata, Ola, Magda, Leszek, Juliusz, Zbyszek, two Andrzejs. They cut, glue, whittle the reject red crayons, they attach boxes of matches (Edward Krasiński).
In the window of the Remont Club, you can see the poster announcing the vernissage of the exhibition “Five Gramophone Records”. The time: October 24th 1984, the day before the opening of Jazz Jamboree, Wednesday, 8 pm.
part 4. allegro con moto (headlong rush)
At 5 am on Friday, Mitan gets the positives from the Polish Recordings. The only train ensuring getting to Pionki on time leaves at 6:15 am. After 9 am in Pionki they make the matrices, on Saturday and Sunday they press the records which must cool through Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, the Pronit workers pack 5000 records into provisional packaging. Mitan and a van driver load them onto the vehicle and drive to Warsaw.
At the same time Sudnik is preparing the sound system and amplifiers at Remont (the RR Gallery), but few people still believe that the vernissage will show more than the covers alone.
Jurek Usarewicz from Alma-Art believes it from the beginning, and several days before Wednesday he has invited representatives of the press for the vernissage of the records. Other believers are Cezary Staniszewski and Adam Czaplicki from the RR Gallery and Sandra, who brought real stars to the records: Conover, Braxton, Lester Bowie...In Odolańska Street, the records are quickly re-packed into the final covers.
At 8 pm, Andrzej Mitan arrives at the RR Gallery, lays the records on a table covered with black baize, then he heads for a small room next door and drinks a large vodka.
Within almost two months, a series of five artistic records came out: “Helmut Nadolski’s Jubilee Orchestra”, Andrzej Bieżan “Archangel’s Sword”, Andrzej Przybielski “In the Sphere of Touch”, Janusz Dziubak “Record Title”, “Andrzej Mitan in Święta Racja”. The whole series is titled New Music Club Remont.
Andrzej Mitan states that there are people of good will everywhere. That is why he asks me to thank them all very warmly. So, this piece ought to be dedicated to the many ‘orchestras and soloists’ who contributed to the realization of this historic project.