Polskie krzesło (The Polish Chair) - Anna Sowa International Festival of Contemporary Music Warsaw Autumn

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صندلی لهستانی [sandali-je lahestani] – “Polish chair,” a term for a bent-wood seat in the Persian language. 

Large pots of water boiled over the fire. The wood lay dormant in them for many hours in order to become so and exible. Then came the time for iron moulds and turning rollers that gave the wood its desired shape. This is the image Andranik recalls from his youth, from Polish chair manufactures. ... The same Poles first made them in Iran, and so it has been called the “Polish chair” ever since. ...Andranik does not know when these Poles came to Iran, but he remembers the image very well. 

(from an article printed in the Persian-language newspaper Shahrvand, in the ISNA database) 

After Seh, do, yek... (2018), this is my second composition drawing on the broadly conceived Persian culture. Iran, which I have had the opportunity to visit, has both fascinated and inspired me. Many of my loved ones are of Persian origin. 

When starting our work on the piece with Aleksandra Chciuk (author of the video layer), we were looking for a bridge between Poland and Iran, some element or concept they have in common, one that could provide us with broad possibilities of musical-performative and visual interpretation. We chose a Persian term I first heard in Teheran, “Polish chair,” which refers to a bentwood chair. though the bent wood technology was invented by the German-Austrian carpenter Michael Thonet, it first reached Iran via Polish refugees in the 1940s. 

Our choice of the chair as the work’s main subject was also influenced by the works of Tadeusz Kantor, including his text The Chair and Its History

Ranking very low in the hierarchy of objects, it is kicked around, and its relations to other phenomena are le unsaid as embarrassing. It is the last thing one might expect to assume any more responsible functions. 

The piece was commissioned by NeoQuartet as part of the Modern Multicultural Quartet project, carried out in collaboration with composers from Norway, Poland, and Iran. 

Anna Sowa