INNER SYMPHONIES is the album that lifelong friends composer, pianist and singer Hania Rani and composer and cellist Dobrawa Czocher released in October for classical music imprint without parallel Deutsche Grammophon.
Recorded together in their native Poland, this collaboration follows 2015’s Biala Flaga, but is their first album of original work; Hania and Dobrawa are both the first and the youngest compositional duo to be signed to DG.
No mean honour and, if you’ve as yet to catch up with Inner Symphonies then the beautiful, autumnal piano and cello conversation of “Malasana” is the perfect entry point. With a grounding of folk-melodic piano which reels and sways like the forest, Dobrawa’s cello alternately responds in slides and yaws and pizzicato.
You can really see why the pair are considered at the forefront of the next generation of composers.
The titular “Malasana” is here a child refugee from the border-redrawing upheavals of the east of the continent; and it stars refugee children from Chechnya.
Rania and Dobrawa say: “We’ve been working with and friends with Mateusz for years, and together we share the need to address topics that seem important and personal to us.
“From the very beginning, we knew that we wanted to tell [a] story through the eyes of children. The subject of the video was supposed to touch on war and migration problems, dressed in metaphorical clothes with elements of magical realism which, in a subtle but effective way, will distract us from literalism and make the whole thing universal, beyond political character.”
For his part, Mateusz, says: “I was aware of the difficulty of the matter … finding a real refugee family from Chechnya. I knew that Madina and her children had escaped. She ran away like everyone else – from conflict, repression, human rights violations, from an invisible war.
“What I didn’t know, however, was that Madina was also running away from domestic violence. Madina’s husband, as a result of many unfounded arrests and repressions by the Kadyrov regime, fell into addiction and became a violent man himself.
“The moment the children asked who would play the father was the moment I realized that there is no such thing as a universal, context-free story about a war.
“We are very grateful to Madina’s family for this time and experience, and for how they created this film with great openness and cheerfulness. And if there’s the power of this music video somewhere, we think it’s in there.
“[It] was shot on the 11th and 12th of October, 2021, near the village of Bilwinowo in the Suwałki region of Poland.”
Hania Rani and Dobrawa Czocher’s Inner Symphonies is out now digitally, on CD and on 2xLP from Deutsche Grammophon; you can order yours here, or visit your friendly local record emporium.