Trans-Fusion is a series of musical events produced by the Second Programme of the Polish Radio in the Władysław Szpilman Studio and designed by Andrzej Bauer. The participating artists: composers, improvisers – creative musicians of various backgrounds – have created a series of internally varied and sonically rich artistic projects. What has brought them together is a passionate search for new expression, new, sublime sounds obtained thanks to unconventional use of technology. State-of-the-art digital technology but also technology combined with traditional instruments and analogue transformations of their sound.

The speed and intensity of the implementation of musical, sonic and formal ideas came from intense improvised musical sessions made possible thanks to mutual fascination and respect despite the often different styles of music-making and different artistic stories. A spirit of improvisation, supported by the artists’ prowess and ability to control traditional and electronic instruments have brought new and unexpectedly attractive results. So far the concerts have always had a central theme, e.g. from Lutosławski to Szpilman or from Baroque to traditional music.

Further editions of Trans-Fusion

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Bach – Art of Solitude

Bach – Art of Solitude

Bach - the Art of Solitude

A recital of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Suites for cello solo in a visual and multimedia setting. A music-inspired graphic improvisation by an eminent graphic artist and painter. An artistic digital visualisation using state-of-the-art technology. Carefully selected acoustics enhancing the polyphonic effect.

The “Six Suites for Solo Cello” by Johann Sebastian Bach are the pieces of music to which I have devoted the greatest amount of thought and emotion in my whole musical life. I keep being astonished by their beauty and mystery, fascinated by their profound wisdom and courage in the use of the instrument that is by its very nature limited. I keep pondering the unclear purpose for which they were composed. I find the perfection of their proportions, abundance of ideas, their energy and contemplative calm – an amplitude of the process taking place on the sound level and the immaterial level – deeply moving. An Apogee that escapes rational analysis.

I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to Stasys Eidrigevicius, Cezary Duchnowski and Maciej Walczak for accepting my invitation to a joint experiment aimed at casting a new light at Bach’s Suites.
My intention is to give each Suite a different visual setting, and also a musical setting to one of them. An important element of the performance is the acoustics of the place I play in, increasing the polyphony effect.

Andrzej Bauer

Improvised painting of Stasys Eidrigevicius in the background; Narol, 2012


Maciej Walczak’s artistic digital visualisation which has its point of departure in paintings by old masters and Baroque symbols. Musical electronic tissue created by Cezary Duchnowski.


6 parts of the Suite and 6 canvases on which an eminent artist (Stasys Eidrigevicius) will create his painting in the course of the concert.

The Art of Solitude

A darkened room; on the screen delicate light reveals a facsimile of the Suites manuscript. It creates an atmosphere of reflection and contemplation.


  • Andrzej Bauer – cello
  • Stasys Eidrigevicius – graphic improvisation
  • Cezary Duchnowski – electronics
  • Maciej Walczak – computer visualisation

O solitude, how overpopulated you are

Stanisław Jerzy Lec

More  J. S. Bach on

The art of Solitude...Andrzej Bauer talks to Dorota Krzywicka

Dorota Krzywicka: Why did Bach compose music? To put it simply, we can point to two sources of his oeuvre. First, many of his pieces were composed in strict connection with the functions Bach performed or were specifically commissioned by his superiors, kings, friends; some were written in order to meet the needs of close relatives. Therefore, the shape these of compositions and their expression were determined by either formal circumstances (e.g. those of a church service) or performing capabilities (e.g. those of a beginner pupil). Probably this is the most fascinating aspect for us today – the fact that in that inconvenient, stiff framework of “functional art” we find such intense emotions and deepest reserves of a most subtle and unrestricted spirituality. The second aspect of Bach’s music which fascinates music specialists and music lovers is the composer’s passionate way of weaving his way through the labyrinth of mystical cognition.

Andrzej Bauer: Exactly! After all, Bach wrote for himself, too. He could afford to disregard performers, not to mention listeners, when he was certain of his monthly salary. This gave him complete artistic freedom and allowed him to write music which was no longer understood then and for which he was criticised…

D.K.: Bach’s mystical inclination I have mentioned inspired him to write the Kunst der Fuge – a collection of pieces written for no specific instrument, meant to manifest itself only through intellectual cognition and silent contemplation. In this collection, the composer’s concern was not for displaying his own or a performer’s skill – it was, instead, about concentration a result of which was a possibility of meeting the Absolute.

A.B.: Yes, it is as if this music were dictated by the Universe and were the greatest sublimation of its energy and motion; it is, as it were, a refection of the spiritual state of the Universe. Never before had this energy materialised in music in so clear a form.

D.K.: It seems that both the violin Sonatas and Partitas, as well as the cello Suites – pieces written following commissions and meant for a public performance after all – reveal their mysterious purpose only when the performer is on his or her own: a lonely struggle with their content, with their musical matter, enabling the performer to pass through the successive stages of discovery.

A.B.: There is a lot of wonderful music which is a source of the greatest satisfaction to the performer and the cello Suites are certainly part of it. There is an invitation to contemplation in them, intimacy that is difficult to convey during a public performance. All the more so given the fact that it is by no means certain whether the Suites were conceived to be performed in public. Personally, I believe they were not.

D.K.: Is this what the uniqueness of these pieces is about? Let us try to grasp and define the essence of their uncommonness.

A.B.: In the Suites Bach created a synthesis of several trends and styles of Baroque music. Nonetheless, his pieces for unaccompanied string instruments were ahead of their time. This is primarily true of the use of the instruments, though not only. Before Bach, no one had ever written cello pieces of such importance and with such a perfect, condensed form. There is an extraordinary development of instrumental texture and growing complexity over the whole of the Suites cycle. It is as if Bach was willing to try out various possibilities that the instrument offered and to draw as much as possible from the texture-shaping tradition (the Preludes). It also seems that the composer was getting increasingly bold as his writing proceeded. At some point the instrument (cello) seemed to cease to be sufficient: in the fifth Suite, Bach starts to alter its tuning (scordatura) and in the sixth he gives it an additional string. The limitations of the cello became a challenge for him and he ultimately managed to turn them into an advantage. What emerged as a result was a set of reflective and ascetic works with an unusually clear form. Yet despite the ascetic character resulting from the nature of the cello itself, the Suite cycle is extremely diversified internally, its elements are highly contrasting. This was imposed to some extent by the cyclic suite pattern adopted by Bach for the whole collection. The composer makes use of polyphonic writing to a varied degree; the way in which he comes up with a resolution of the paradox of polyphonic writing for a basically monodic (one-part) instrument is astonishing.

Some acoustic features of 18th-century palaces are in a way inscribed in these pieces, which additionally intensifies the polyphonic effect and transforms the cello, as it were, into a Baroque organ or a Baroque orchestra.

D.K.: But this is not quite our concern here, as we try to talk about contemplation and about meeting the Absolute…

A.B.: The origins and the form of the cello Suites can be analysed from many sides; it is impossible, however to define or describe their essence as works of genius.

D.K.: This does not have to apply only to Bach’s oeuvre.

A.B.: Indeed, it is impossible to explain on the basis of a theoretical analysis why a work should be called “outstanding”, and why, on the other hand, there are works which are beyond any reproach in terms of formal structure and yet are worthless. This yawning gap between analytic possibilities and the very essence of music will never be bridged; “Thank Heavens!”, if I may add.

D.K.: It is true that a theoretical analysis can never approach the essential mystery of a work of music – just as a medical autopsy cannot solve the mystery of life. But we cannot deny the role of such an analysis in the perception of music, especially of Baroque music with all its splendour, formal discipline and rhetoric, which determined even its smallest details.

A.B.: Listeners today are largely unaware of the sophisticated splendour of Baroque musical forms, which is a result of a lack of continuity in the performing and perceptive traditions. For me personally, these formal aspects are of minor significance; what does matter most in this music cannot be described with words – just as we lack words when it comes to describing a mystical experience, a dream, or a reality of “other dimensions”. To me, music is a form of experiencing spiritual states. A desire for such experiences and a belief that they may be conveyed to others, while music is performed, manifests itself with me, which is a most wonderful phenomenon! Sometimes I have to fail as a performer, but time and again I do reach that far, even if it happens only for a brief moment during a concert. An encounter with Bach and his music makes us humble. The cello Suites are infused with humility, as they were written “ad maiorem Dei gloriam”.

D.K.: Have we not been exploring too lofty ideas? No doubt Bach was full of deep feelings, but, on the other hand, he had both feet firmly on the ground.

A.B.: Johann Sebastian Bach must have been an extraordinary man. If we take into account the enormous number of tasks he had to perform – rehearsals, teaching, expert appraisals of organs, official meetings and church services during which he performed as an instrumentalist or conductor – it all becomes impressive and we start thinking, how could one man manage all that? Not to mention the numerous children, longing for their dad each day, or, for a change, the Bachs’ impressive and puzzling wine bills…

D.K.: Do you think, then, that Bach was a conscientious and level-headed official who was capable of organising his schedule perfectly?

A.B.: I think not. Personally, I am fascinated by what might be called “psychological costs” that must have been inevitable when such a powerful stream of creative consciousness was “passing through” Bach. Bach’s confrontation with the outer world and its realities must have been quite painful to him; we know he was a hot-tempered man struggling in an uncompromising way with the adversities of the (not only musical) reality that surrounded him.

D.K.: Great sensitivity is always a burden…

A.B.: Coming back to the high wine bills I have mentioned earlier: they cannot be treated as an invitation to treating the cello Suites as Tanzmusik or Tafelmusik. I believe that this music requires attention and concentration. There is no need either to try to find a plot or programme in it. It is sufficient to “just” listen to the music.

Other projects

My concert projects. Old and new. The projects I develop and perform cover a wide stylistic spectrum. Some relate to performances of the classical repertoire, some are modern creations combining performance and composition, using digital technology and multimedia.

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Hesitant Direct

Hesitant Direct

Cello Concerto - Hesitant - Direct

photo: Jan Styczyński, Witold Lutosławski Society archive



  • Cezary Duchnowski – computer
  • Kwadrofonik:
    • Emilia Sitarz – piano
    • Bartłomiej Wąsik – piano
    • Magdalena Kordylasińska – percussion
    • Miłosz Pękala – percussion

There are several reasons why we decided to work on a new “chamber” version of one of the most important pieces by Witold Lutosławski, his Cello Concerto. Above all we wanted to pay tribute to this ever-inspiring masterpiece in the year of the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth. Our aim was to perform the entire piece “as is” and to follow precisely all ideas and intentions of the original score, but “colouring” and spatialising it by means of state-of-the-art computer technology.

Our “team” consists of the composer and performing artist Cezary Duchnowski – probably the most important figure on the Polish electronic music scene – and Quadrophonic Ensemble (2 pianos and 2 percussions), well-known in Poland for its bold and original reinterpretations of 20th-century repertoire. The cellist Andrzej Bauer – Witold Lutosławski’s scholar – had an opportunity to study the piece with the composer and performed it several times with him as the conductor.

In the last few decades Lutosławski’s masterpiece has made its way into the repertoire of nearly all important concert cellists. During the International Lutosławski Cello Competition in Warsaw we often listen to very young musicians performing the Concerto with a considerable level of understanding, passion and technical ease despite its instrumental complexity. In conversations, they invariably stress that performing the piece is for them a very important artistic experience. We hope that the possibility of performing a chamber version of the Concerto, without the costly and in many ways limiting dependency on a huge symphony orchestra, will make the masterpiece even more deeply etched in the minds of music lovers. Ambitious young cellists will also have a chance to confront themselves with this challenging yet artistically very gratifying piece.

In an analogy to the two-part form invented by Lutosławski, our performance of the Cello Concerto will be preceded by an “introductory movement” – ensemble-composed improvisation (Hesitant). It will prepare the listeners for the “main movement” (Direct).

Our arrangement uses 4-channel sound projection, amplified acoustic instruments (cello and percussion). Electronic sounds are triggered in various ways by all musicians. Using all kinds of techniques, the pianists play partly prepared pianos as well as specially designed samplers. Our intention is not to diminish the listeners’ experience but to create a huge soundscape, comparable to, if not stronger than, the experience of an orchestral concert.

Andrzej Bauer

Other projects

My concert projects. Old and new. The projects I develop and perform cover a wide stylistic spectrum. Some relate to performances of the classical repertoire, some are modern creations combining performance and composition, using digital technology and multimedia.


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