Krzysztof Komeda

Rosemary’s Baby has always creeped me out too much to enjoy, and of course the wife loves it. Nothing too creepy for her. I’d never watched more than bits and pieces of it, which means I missed the score in its entirety. Like just now Mia Farrow is trying to escape in the elevator and the music goes nuts with this incredible trumpet playing, crazy and dissonant and gorgeous. Wow. I had forgotten Krzysztof Komeda scored this, which I guess means that was his quartet, him on the piano and that was Tomasz Stańko blowing trumpet? Damn, I need this soundtrack.

Just a year or two later Krzysztof Komeda was in L.A. with a bunch of expatriate pals, just goofing around, drinking. Komeda tumbled and fell and hit his head. He never woke up. They finally sent him back to Poland, comatose, where he lingered and died and took all that creativity with him.

Now Mia, post partum, stricken, is screaming at the room full of old people. What have you done to my baby you maniacs? Komeda scored a drunken march here, and Stańko takes the melody where melodies are not supposed to go. God is dead, the old people chant, Hail Satan! The banality of evil. The story ends in a sweet sixties melody, a very continental pop thing of Komeda’s called Rosemary’s Lullaby, with Mia’s voice. It’s so melodic that the contrast with Stańko’s solo earlier in the scene is jolting, a melody rendered nearly dissonant by its own sudden sweetness. Rosemary, a good mother, reaches down to touch her gurgling baby, the music swells and fades, but a final note on the piano, dink dink dink dink dink dink, is left hanging, unresolved, just like this.

Krzysztof Komeda2

You see a photo of Krzysztof Komeda from 1968 and wonder what he was thinking. Perhaps nothing. Perhaps everything.

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