Krzysztof Meyer, composer

Krzysztof Meyer

Krzysztof Meyer (born 11 August 1943) is a Polish composer, pianist and music scholar, formerly Dean of the Department of Music Theory (1972–1975) at the State College of Music (now Academy of Music in Kraków), and president of the Union of Polish Composers (1985–1989). Meyer served as professor of composition at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne from 1987 to 2008, prior to retirement.

Here’s the first movement of his sixth string quartet, written in 1981.

In his early compositions (String Quartets Nos. 1–4, Symphonies Nos. 1–3), Meyer experimented with unconventional sonorities, typical of the Polish avant-garde music in the 1960s. He used twelve-tone technique, albeit freely, as well as aleatoric technique and collage. All these means appear in his first opera Cyberiada, to a science-fiction libretto after Stanisław Lem’s The Cyberiad.

The style of Meyer’s later works reflects his interest in tradition; even his use of titles such as “string quartet”, “sonata”, “concerto”, “symphony” are indicators of the traditional trend in his aesthetic. “There are contemporary textures and timbres, but they are usually incidental to a language in which tonal pulls and familiar signposts govern the overall flow and structure”  (Adrian Thomas Polish Music Since Szymanowski, Cambridge University Press 2005, p. 212.)

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