The Undecidable – album premiere of Paul Waliczky

Paul Waliczky - The Undecidable
Paul Waliczky -The Undecidable

Canadian composer of Hungarian origin, Paul Waliczky has just released his new album entitled Not If But When.I made an interview with him about it.

What can we know about each tracks – or as you say: orchestral compositions – of the album, and the album as a whole?

Firstly, it should probably be made clear that, for this album, I’ve composed all the tracks using samples of orchestral and chamber players, sampled in various countries, playing in various settings. I play each note on my keyboard. I don’t use sampled melodies. I want to create all the melodies and rhythms myself. It would be nice if one day some of my compositions would be played live, by “real” orchestras and/or chamber groups, but I’m satisfied with the way these compositions sound right now, just the way they are.


How were the tracks born?

The experience of recording these tracks was exciting for me. I’m 52 years old. I first attempted to compose with sampled orchestral sounds back in 1989, when I was in University, in Canada. Unfortunately, back then the quality of the samples I was using was not very good, and so I eventually gave up on using samples. It’s only in the last few years that I’ve acquired some new collections of sounds, and have felt inspired by the level of realism that is now possible with these sounds.

What were they inspired by?

As far as the inspiration for the album and for individual tracks is concerned, there usually is not a specific inspiration to my compositions. I usually begin simply with the urge to create something interesting, that pleases me in the moment of creation. I like the idea of creating alternate artistic worlds, in this case made out of sound. I’m a bit bored with the nature of reality as we know it, and I find it helps to create artistic pieces that ever so slightly make the world I live in a bit more interesting. I’ve also written some poetry over the years, which also attempts to do new things with words. Most of my poetry has not been published, but hopefully I’ll publish one or two books in the near future.

I should probably also say that one of my inspirations comes from my own family. My father’s family is from Hungary. His Polish ancestor left Poland about 200 years ago, and settled in Hungary. My grandfather’s sister married Lajos Bardos, who was the conductor of the Budapest Choir in the mid-20th century. He also wrote many of the songs that choirs around Hungary sang, and choirs around the world sing today. My mother is Italian, and my parents spoke to each other in English when I was growing up, so unfortunately I don’t speak Hungarian. But I love the sound of the language, and I enjoy hearing choirs sing in Hungarian. As a child my dad told me stories about Bardos and Kodály and Bartók. Back then, I didn’t know who they were, and I hadn’t heard their music. But his stories made me realize at a young age that the greatest of composers are also regular human beings, with families, and regular human problems, and that anybody can become a composer.

To whom do you recommend the album(and/or each of the tracks), and along with what kind of thoughts?

I think I would recommend this album to anyone who enjoys classical music, and probably also people who enjoy ambient music. But I don’t really know that much about contemporary classical or ambient music. I’m self-taught when it comes to the history of classical music. Back in the 1990s ,I made a point of trying to seriously study the history of music in general, including classical music, on my own, composer by composer, century by century, in chronological order. I ended up my self-education with music from the 1970s and 1980s. I’m not very familiar with what has been happening in the last few decades. But I found that I enjoyed classical music from all periods. There is no “type” of classical music that I don’t find interesting. I think the same goes for music in general. I think the music on this album reflects the fact that I’m open to music from all periods.

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