New journey, new story
Did Stanisław Barańczak intend to translate Winterreise by Müller, just like he translated several operatic librettos? This is a very interesting question. Der Lindenbaum (The Linden Tree) is the only translation in the Winter Journey volume. It is not literal, but Barańczak never translated literally. He would precisely convey meanings, images, emotions, rather than words. Did he nurse
the idea to translate the other 23 poems by Müller that Franz Schubert had set to his ingenious music? It is hard to say or guess. However, we know that the Polish poet had developed such a fascination with Winterreise by the Austrian composer that he wrote Podróż Zimowa (The Winter Journey), a set of 24 poems to the music by Schubert, completely anew.
The result was an emigrant’s quite bitter account of a journey through the winter of his own life, through the memories from the homeland, through a frosty exile to which he had been condemned for most of his adult life. The narrator travels by car, sometimes walks the city streets with headphones in his ears, or flies by aeroplane over agglomerations at altitudes bound by eternal frost. Sometimes he stops at the crossroads, halted by a red light, or sneaks by a lorry driver urinating at a roadside. And these are the only encounters with other people in Podróż Zimowa. The hero is therefore lonely, alienated, estranged, thinking back to the unlovely images of fumes from factory chimneys of his homeland, of yellow snow on dirty Polish roads. A bitter, painful memory…
Podróż zimowa as we discover it, starts increasingly relating to us and surrounding us. Finally, we come to realize this is a tale about us…
Deciding to take a journey together with Schubert and Barańczak, we decide to confront the meaning of our own existence. This is a journey into yourself.
Stanisław Leszczyński has been the originator of this unusual project. Almost a year’s worth of work on the Winterreise by Schubert with lyrics by the Polish poet found its culmination in December 2017, when Tomasz Konieczny and Lech Napierała became the first to record Podróż zimowa by Schubert/Barańczak. The recording took place at the W. Lutosławski Concert Studio of the Polish Radio in Warsaw.
The August première of the album at the Chopin and his Europe 2018 festival will initiate a series of recitals at which Podróż zimowa by Schubert/Barańczak will be presented to the wide international audience.