Hubert Zemler percussion, artistic supervisor
Maciej Filipczuk violin, artistic supervisor
Łucja Siedlik, Maria Stępień, Emilia Bolibrzuch violins (traditional)
Michał Górczyński clarinets
Piotr Zabrodzki keyboards, positive organ
Kamil Szuszkiewicz trumpet
Olga Kozieł voice
Anna Pašić harp
Maciej Filipczuk new piece after Romani music and songs by Woody Guthrie – premiere
Gavin Bryars Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet
“The whole room, usually full of life, was sunk in peace. People moved more slowly, and a few of them sat down and cried in solitude”. With these words Gavin Bryars – a master of British experimental and minimalist music – recalls a certain magical experience in 1971. The staff of the University of Leicester were then enchanted by the singing of an anonymous vagabond, recorded by the British composer while working on a documentary film. This looped 26-second song, which Bryars enriched with a soothing instrumental accompaniment, became one of the most moving experimental compositions of the 20th century – Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet. The song has lived to see many versions, from intimate twenty-something-minute readings to monumental symphonic versions featuring a choir of homeless people or even Tom Waits.
Gavin Bryars was never able to track down the inspired vagabond and actual co-composer of Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet (it turned out he was singing a personal variation on James Black’s 1911 religious hymn). So, we will never again know the name of the anonymous artist who left his mark on the history of new music, just like the “classic figures” of contemporary American culture affected by the crisis of homelessness: Harry Partch, Moondog or Woody Guthrie. It was the last of these artists, considered one of the fathers of modern folk, that inspired Maciej Filipczuk to compose a piece that is a kind of commentary to Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet, and at the same time a tribute to all the artists and cultures whose curse and inspiration is eternal wandering.