Kroniki Filmowe: Polish Library Music 1963-78 

Label: GAD Records.

Over the last few years, there’s been a resurgence of interest in library music, with British and European independent record labels releasing lovingly curated compilations that are welcomed by a coterie of musical connoisseurs who have a passion for library music. This includes DJs, producers and record collectors who are willing to pay large sums of money to add rare releases to their collections of library music.

Many of the British collectors of library music started off collecting releases by labels like KPM, De Woife, Amphonic, Conroy and Sonoton from the sixties, seventies early eighties, which is regarded by many collectors as a golden age for library music. This is ironic as albums of library music were never meant to fall into the hands of collectors.

Originally, library music was meant to be used by film studios or television and radio stations, and was never meant to be commercially available. The music was recorded on spec by music libraries who  often hired  young unknown composers, musicians and producers. This ranged from musicians who were known within publishing circles, to up-and-coming musicians who later, went onto greater things, and look back fondly at their time writing, recording and producing library music. This they now regard as part of their musical apprenticeship.

For the musicians hired to record library music, their remit was to music libraries with a steady stream of new music, which was originality referred to as production music. During some sessions, the musicians’ remit was write and record music to match themes or moods. This wasn’t easy, but after a while they were  able to this seamlessly. Soon, the musicians were able to enter the studio and write and record a piece of music that matched a theme or mood for a film or television show.

Once the library music was recorded, record libraries sent out demonstration copies of their music to advertising agencies, film studios, production companies, radio stations and television channels. If they liked what they heard, they would license a track or several tracks from the music libraries. That was how it was meant to work.

Sometimes, copies of these albums fell into the hands of record collectors, who realising the quality of music recorded by these unknown musicians, started collecting library music. However, it always wasn’t easy to find copies of the latest albums of library music. That was until the arrival of the CD.

Suddenly, record collectors and companies across Britain were disposing of LPs, and replacing them with CDs. It didn’t matter that the prices of LPs were at all-time low, some record collectors just wanted rid of their collection they were replacing with CDs. With people literally dumping LPs, all sorts of musical treasure was available to record collectors who didn’t believe the hype about CD. This included everything from rare psych and progressive rock right through to albums of library music. These albums were often found in car boot sales, second-hand shops and charity for less than a skinny latte macchiato.

This was the case throughout the period that vinyl fell from grace, and suddenly, it was possible for collectors of British library music to add to their burgeoning collections. Gradually, longtime collectors of library music had huge and enviable collections and were almost running out of new music to collect. Some of them decided that the time had come to see what European library music had to offer.

Now these collectors had a whole continent’s worth of library music to discover. Some collectors were like magpies buying albums from all over Europe, while others decided to concentrate on just one country or company. Although it was more expensive to collect European library music, gradually, enviable new collections started to take shape. However, despite a continent’s worth of library music to collect, some collectors bemoaned the availability of what they regarded as the holy grail of European library music.

This was Eastern European library music that had been recorded during the sixties and seventies, which for collectors is the golden age of library music. For many collectors, the  Eastern European library music of the sixties and seventies is their holy grail and what they dreamt of discovering. That dream has just come true with the record release of Kroniki Filmowe: Polish Library Music 1963-78 by GAD Record on vinyl.

Originally, Kroniki Filmowe: Polish Library Music 1963-78 was released as a CD in 2017, and a year later, has just been released on vinyl as a limited edition release. There’s only 500 copies available, including 300 on black vinyl and 200 on multicoloured vinyl. Kroniki Filmowe: Polish Library Music 1963-78 which was compiled by the Soul Service DJ Team, features a total of twelve tracks. There’s contributions from Grupa Organowa Krzysztofa Sadowskiego, Klan, Czterech, Polish Jazz Quartet, Augustyn Bloch, High Water Mark, Zespół Instrumentalny Mateusza Święcickiego and SBB. These artists offer a fascinating insight into the world of Polish library music between 1963 and 1978.

Side A.

Opening side one of Kroniki Filmowe: Polish Library Music 1963-78 is Grupa Organowa Krzysztofa Sadowskiego’s Niebo Z Blachy Fałdowanej which was written by composer, pianist and organist Krzysztof Sadowski. It’s a joyous soul jazz jam with a hint of lounge that was recorded in April 1971 and released later that year.

Polish rock band Klan were fronted by singer and songwriter Marek Alaszewski, who wrote Nie Stało Się Nic. This slow burner was recorded in March 1971, and was licensed later that year. It’s slow and moody cinematic track where elements of funk, soul-jazz progressive rock are combined. Sadly, Nie Stało Się Nic doesn’t feature on Klan’s 1971 debut album Mrowisko, which was the only album they recorded before splitting up. Since then, Klan has reformed on a couple of occasions and released a number of albums.

Having released their debut single in 1967, Czterech recorded Trzecia Katarakta, which was penned by Polish composer and guitarist Marek Bliziński during January and February of 1968. Later that year, this guitar lead hidden gem was licensed and heard by a wider audience for the first time. It makes a welcome return on Kroniki Filmowe: Polish Library Music 1963-78 and allows a new audience to hear some incredible guitar licks.

The first of Kwintet Bogusława Rudzińskiego’s two contributions is a cover of Rahat Łukum, which was written by composer, pianist and organist Krzysztof Sadowski. Kwintet Bogusława Rudzińskiego recorded Rahat Łukum in February 1962, and a year later this urgent,  and evocative slice of cinematic jazz made its debut.

After releasing their eponymous debut album in 1965, the Polish Jazz Quartet entered the world of library music in 1966. They recorded Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski’s Złośnica, which made its debut later that year. It bursts into life as the Polish Jazz Quartet play with speed, fluidity and invention as they showcase their considerable skills.

Very little is known about Zespół Instrumentalny Waldemara Parzyńskiego who recorded Waldemar Parzyński’s in 1974. It was released later in 1974, and is a roller coaster of a track. Initially, the tracks takes on a liturgical and gothic sound before heading in the direction of jazz which is a totally unexpected a welcome surprise. 

Side B.

Composer and organist Augustyn Bloch wrote and recorded Kosmos in March 1964, but it wasn’t released until 1966. Now fifty-two years later, the futuristic, otherworldly and cinematic sounding Kosmos is a reminder of musical pioneer Augustyn Bloch, who sadly passed away in 2006 aged seventy-six.

Zespół Instrumentalny Waldemara Parzyńskiego recorded Halo Wenus which was written by MateuszŚwięcicki, Ryszard Szumlicz in March 1974 and released later that year. It sounds as if it belongs on the soundtrack to a little known seventies sci-fi film.

High Water Mark entered the studio in May 1975 and recorded the Janusz Bogacki composition Wysoki Poziom Wody. It’s a slower track where a violin, keyboards, guitar and saxophone all plays a starring role in this captivating jazz-tinged jam that was released later in 1975.

Ryszard Siwy wrote Złota Czerń which was recorded by Zespół Instrumentalny Mateusza Święcickiego in February 1976. It’s a genre-melting, percussive track where elements of rock and jazz are combined to create a memorable and melodic offering to the musical gods.

Despite being behind the Iron Curtain in 1977, Poznańska Orkiestra Rozrywkowa Polskiego Radia I Telewizji’s cover of Aleksander Maliszewski’s Chcę Być Taki, Jaki Jestem sounds as if it was recorded in Philly or New York. It’s a carefully crafted fusion of disco, funk, jazz and soul that sounds as if it’s been inspired by Salsoul Records and Philadelphia International Records.

Closing is SBB’s genre-melting cover of Fortepian Na Jednej Nodze which was written by composer and multi-instrumentalist. The track which was recorded and licensed in 1978 bursts into life, and SBB play at breakneck speed as they switch between and combine elements of funk, jazz and rock during this innovative track that closes the album on a high. 

For anyone with even a passing interest in library music, Kroniki Filmowe: Polish Library Music 1963-78 which has just been released on vinyl by GAD Records as a limited edition of 500, will be welcome addition to their collection. This is one of the first compilations of Polish library music that has been released, and offers a tantalising taste of the type of music largely unknown composers, musicians and producers were writing, recording and producing between 1963 and 1978. 

Just like their British counterparts, these composers, musicians and producers were talented and capable of writing, recording and producing an eclectic selection of music. Proof of this is Kroniki Filmowe: Polish Library Music 1963-78, which showcases the skills of those writing, recording and producing library music during this fifteen year period. Many of these composers, musicians and producers were capable of going on to bigger and better things, but that wasn’t possible between 1963 and 1978.

During that period, Poland was a communist country, and there was very little money to be made writing and recording music behind the Iron Curtain. Indeed, musicians just like writers, poets and artists were viewed with a degree of suspicion by the secret police who saw them as potential subversives. Like as a musician in Poland and in other parts of Eastern Europe was very to different to the life of musician in Britain.

In Britain, many British composers and musicians made a comfortable living recording library music, and enjoyed working as session musicians. Some of these composers and musicians who began their career writing and recording library music went on to enjoy long and successful careers, while their Polish counterparts were struggling to make ends meet. These musicians neither enjoyed the recognition nor financial reward they deserved between 1963 and 1978. Sadly, that was the case right up until the fall of communism, when belatedly composers, musicians and producers were properly rewarded and received the recognition that they deserved.

Despite not being properly rewarded for the music they wrote, recorded and produced, the Polish musicians still took the utmost pride in the library music that the recorded behind the Iron Curtain. The library music that they recorded was of the highest quality, and was eclectic, genre-melting, innovative and often is timeless. A tantalising reminder of Polish library music recorded during the sixties and seventies, can be found on Kroniki Filmowe: Polish Library Music 1963-78 which for many collectors of is akin to the holy grail of library music.

Kroniki Filmowe: Polish Library Music 1963-78.


1 Comment

  1. Vanishingpoint

    Great review, thank you. The album is awesome

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