Aleksander Nowak‘s work Naninana (2015) for amplified keyboard instrument and string orchestra arranged in two groups was first performed in Warsaw, Poland on May 29, 2015 during the official opening of the new headquarters of the National Audiovisual Institute [NInA]. The composition was written for the opening, which was presided over by Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Margaret Omilanowska.
In addition to the premiere, Nowak’s other works—Dziennik zapisany w połowie [A Diary Written in a Half] for cello, percussion and string instruments (2013) and Last Days of Wanda B. for string orchestra (2006)—were also performed by the AUKSO Chamber Orchestra of the City of Tychy under the baton of Marek Moś. The solo parts were played by Magdalena Bojanowicz (cello) and Piotr Sałajczyk (piano). According to the composer:
NANINANA for amplified keyboard instrument (preferably the classic Fender Rhodes Stage Piano) and string orchestra arranged in two symmetric groups, which was commissioned by the National Audivisual Institute for the opening of its new seat in 2015, is a composition on a special kind of absence. You could define this absence as perceivable, but difficult to understand. There are a lot of elements here which can illustrate this absence: from the interlude tones that are supposed to sound, yet not to the full, through the first appearance of the soloist’s part containing fragments of a composed melody which is mostly improvised, the second movement with harmony that can suggest hopeless longing for something that can never return, to the final culmination which is there, but seems as if it were not there…
The work’s motto is an anonymous poem that seems to refer to the concept of the so-called “Schrödinger’s cat”, i.e. a hopeless attempt to rationally explain illogical phenomena in our world’s microscale:
Where, oh, where
is that cat which is
and is not there?