FOR COUNTERTENOR, ORCHESTRA AND ELECTRONICS
Written for Michał Sławecki and the Falling Ukrainian woman.
Commissioned by National Philharmonic Orchestra in Warsaw and Warsaw Autumn festival in 2022 and performed by aforementioned, with Vimbayi Kaziboni as a conductor.
Totentanz (in German - Dance of the Death) is situated somewhere between music piece and a theatre play, with post-verbal singing part, referential character of the instrumental parts and modern electronics hooked in genres like electro house, footwork or jungle. Whole piece is divided into 5 scenes or movements - Prelude (without the soloist on the stage), Late capitalism movement, Dances of the Dea/th/d, Mushrooms and Panic Attacks and the Statistics.
Beside Prelude which presents 12 microtonal chords in different instrumental constellations, each movement refers to specific problems and perspectives onto them that we, our modern civilization have to deal with, starting with the inflation and climate change, through social issues like gender equality and raise of aggression towards people of color and LGBTQ+, to Russian invasion onto Ukraine and raising numbers in terms statistics for mental health problems. All these issues that we deal with nowadays are making us scared and depressed, what makes us feel also very alone in these emotions. However, Ryterski thinks that the key to survive in those times is to find togetherness and compassion for each other, to realize that we all deal with similar problems.
But there is some beauty to all of this, as long as you can find it. For the first time in a long time in the history of mankind, problems began to affect everyone, regardless of age, gender, origin, skin color, religion, orientation ... And these problems unite us, we are not alone in them. What is more, creating a community is, in my opinion, the only remedy for us to stane sane as a society. Dancing with death is also dancing with life. There is nothing else for us to do but to cultivate this modern Totentanz. But we are not alone - we dance to the rhythm of our beating hearts and breathe together, be it in Carrefour in Powiśle, on the Polish-Ukrainian border, in a gym at the ONZ roundabout, in an infectious diseases hospital, in the Jasna1 club, on a blanket in a park, a bench by the Vistula River, or on the Poniatowski Bridge, looking at the dawn of the morning that blesses the end of the Pride parade.
Text fragment from the hidden note in the score