To be sure, my father was in many aspects in between: between Polish and French, between Jewishness and assimilation, between indelible past and ordinary life. But multiple identity was neither his problem nor his horizon. What he felt committed to was independent thinking and truth. This is obvious when one considers the literary and publicistic activity he engaged in after having given up composition in 1967 – an activity that is reflected in the seven books he published between 1977 and 1983 by the London editor Oficyna Poetów i Malarzy (his correspondence with the editors, Krystyna and Czeslaw Bednarczyk has been published by Avalon, 2018). He wrote against censorship, against anti-Semitism, against political lies, against linguistic incompetence, and nobody could ever convince him that Chopin had broken the logic of harmonics by writing an accord of 6th instead of a 4th in measure 7 of the first Ballade in G minor, Op. 23 not the Institute Fryderyk Chopin, not Paderewski, not Bronarski, not Turczynski (cf. Ruch Muzyczny, 23/10/1979, p. 14). In this case as in more important ones, his byword was “szargam swietosci” [I tarnish sanctity] – the title he gave to the book he published in 1980. As far as music is concerned, “sanctity” was in this period on the side of multi-faceted post-serialism and experimental music. He never believed that these trends had a future. He went on composing, during the years he composed, the music he believed in, which does not mean that he thought of it as having future either. But he did think that music should not be boring. No compromise on this.
I am not good at talking about myself, especially in public. I am not always sure what is appropriate to say and what should be left unspoken. In a way I appear to be a rare case among Polish composers because I spent almost three years in Auschwitz, and what I saw and experienced there could not leave my psychological and creative sides untouched.
Two areas in which Simon Laks excelled were music and language. References to his interest in linguistics can be found in many sources, with his books written in the form of diaries being proof of his linguistic skills. Music accompanied him throughout his whole life. He lived for it and, as he said himself, thanks to it. A thorough look at the composer’s work reveals how Laks’s respect for language influenced his music and vice versa...