Soyka & Cracow Singers. Shakespeare a cappella.
400 years of William Shakespeare’s legacy – Polish interpretations
Cracow Singers | vocal ensemble
Concept Music Art – lighting
music composed to the works of Czesław Miłow, performed by Stanisław Soyka
William Shakespeare’s sonnets performed by Stanisław Soyka and the Cracow Singers ensemble
Soyka & Cracow Singers Shakespeare a cappella.
The original compositions of Stanisław Soyka, composed to the works of William Shakespeare, inspired the young Krakow artists. It all started with an innocuous meeting in Staniątki near Krakow after Stanisław Soyka’s concert at the Benedictine Sisters Abbey…
A timeless beauty
The strength and influence of this music is best demonstrated by the fact that it returns in a modified form, over twenty years after being composed. The timeless beauty of the Bard’s poetry is presented this time in an a cappella arrangement, which by nature is closer to the times of Shakespeare, when the most important instrument, to which composers devoted their works was the human voice. The new interpretation of Shakespeare’s sonnets combines solo singing – in a jazz improvisation performed by Stanisław Soyka – with classical, polyphonic art presented by the Cracow Singers.
About the album
A unique recording was the result of the mutual admiration of the performers, released as a double album. Stanisław Soyka’s original compositions were recorded in two languages: the original, in Early Modern English, and Polish, in translations by Stanisław Barańczak and Maciej Słomczyński. The arrangements were done by Karol Kusz – artistic director of the Cracow Singers ensemble.
The album cover was designed by Professor Rosław Szaybo, a world-renowned Polish graphic and poster artist, whose album covers have become legendary. He is the author of graphic designs for such performers as Elton John, Roy Orbison, Judas Priest (the cover for British Steel and the band logo), Carlos Santana, Janis Joplin and John Williams.
Polish jazz vocalist, pianist, composer, born in 1959. He started singing when he was 7 years old, joining his father in the cathedral choir. He graduated from the Department of Composition and Arrangement at the renowned Music Academy in Katowice. Stanisław Soyka debuted in November 1979 with a recital of blues and gospel music at the National Philharmonic in Warsaw, singing songs by Ray Charles, Carole King and the Beatles. The recording of the concert appeared on his first album, Don’t You Cry.
In 1981, the album BLUBLULA was released. It containd thrilling performance of such standards as Duke Ellington’s “I’m Just a Lucky So and So” and John Coltrane’s “Naima”. The album was recorded with the Wojciech Karolak Trio. The record was named “Jazz album of 1981” and achieved gold status. It was then that legendary broadcaster and jazz critic Willis Conover, who was in Poland for the Jazz Jamboree Festival, heard Soyka and called him “the best-kept secret of Polish music”.
In 1988, the artist began his long and fruitful collaboration with Janusz Yanina Iwański, the guitarist of the jazz-rock group Tie Break. Together, Soyka and Yanina recorded a series of albums. Their Acoustic is said to have been a few years ahead of the “unplugged” recording era.
Their next record, Neopositive (1992), contained the song “Tolerancja” [“Tolerance”], which became a big hit.
During his over 35-year music career, Stanisław Soyka recorded many albums, which have become a particular part of Polish music history. He is constantly different, constantly new, and yet recognisable from the very first notes.
The vocal ensemble, established in 2013, consists of experienced singers, who have made recordings for, among others, the Polish Radio, performers of a cappella and vocal-instrumental concerts in Poland and abroad. The artistic maturity of the singers translates into a high level of performance and allows them to tap into many genres and types of vocal and vocal-instrumental music. The Cracow Singers ensemble stands out with the consistently prepared aesthetics of sound and the quality of interpretation.
The Cracow Singers focus their work on original and interdisciplinary projects, generating new ideas by connecting remote areas and interesting partners. The international project “Kantor – anwesend – abwesend” was created in cooperation with the Cricoteka Centre for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor and the Nuremberg House in Krakow. The Cracow Singers were invited by the Internationale Musikverlage Hans Sikorski sheet music publishing company in Hamburd to participate in a musical project presenting the newest composition of Lera Auerbach. The high artistic level and the exceptional quality of the ensemble’s sound was recognised by Polish jazz musician, composer and vocalist Stanisław Soyka. His original works, composed to the works of William Shakespeare in a new arrangement, created exclusively for an a cappella performance, were recorded on a double album, Soyka & Cracow Singers. Shakespeare a cappella.
The ensemble participates in cultural events of the city of Krakow (including Cracovia Sacra and Musical Thursdays at the Białoprądnicki Manor). They work with the Beethoven Academy Orchestra. In the Year of Witold Lutosławski, they co-created a concert cycle with the works of Witold Lutosławski, called “Ptasie Plotki, czyli rzecz o muzyce” [“Bird Rumours”] (semi-staged performance).
The Cracow Singers have had the honour to perform during the opening ceremony of the Ulma Family Museum of Poles Saving Jews in World War II in Markowa, on the 17th of March 2016.
Karol Kusz is the artistic director of the Cracow Singers.
Concept Music Art
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