There were two parallel strands in Tadeusz Baird’s work after the war. One comprised autonomous compositions, the other – theatre and film music. 

Baird collaborated with the film industry between 1951 and 1973. In that period he wrote music to 4 documentaries and 34 feature films. His collaborators included distinguished directors like Jarosław Brzozowski, Sylwester Chęciński, Wojciech Jerzy Has, Bogdan Hussakowski, Tadeusz Jaworski, Kazimierz Kutz, Witold Lesiewicz, Lech Lorentowicz, Andrzej Munk, Jerzy Passendorfer, Ewa and Czesław Petelski, Bohdan Poręba, Stanisław Różewicz, Jan Rybkowski, Sylwester Szyszko, Aleksander Ścibor-Rylski, Andrzej Trzos-Rastawiecki, Andrzej Wajda and Jerzy Zarzycki.

The documentaries deal with art (Pre-Columbian Mexican ArtRough ArtWarsaw in Canaletto’s Paintings), with one describing the foundation of the town and the plant of Nowa Huta (Direction Nowa Huta!). Most feature films (19) deal with war, with no fewer than five of them directly tackling the reality of camps (PassengerThe BeaterThe CartBigosWhen Love was a Crime).

We do not know the reasons why the composer agreed to collaborate with the film industry. An additional source of income was undoubtedly an important consideration. However, it seems that tackling the subject of the war and psychology in particular was an important challenge for Baird. After all, he himself experienced the cruelty of WWII as a witness to the events in the Gladbeck concentration camp, patient at a German hospital and member of a DP camp in Emmerich. In his film music he revealed his memory of the war period with regard to which he was never indifferent. This is how he recalled his stay in the concentration camp:

There, at the age of barely over 16, I learned the bottom of life, acquired experiences after which one can no longer be what one was or could become. Without those dozen or so weeks in Gladbeck, I would probably be someone else now, I would view and understand the world differently, I would probably have different measures of things and matters, my art would undoubtedly be different.

Among the other films we will find works dealing with psychological matters (e.g. Late Passers-by), film dramas (e.g. The Wooden Rosary), horrors (Terrible BedLord Arthur Savile’s Crime), a comedy (A Day in Their Life), a music film (Tomorrow), and even a historical television series (Gniewko, a Fisherman’s Son). There are also soundtracks to films like Artillery Sargeant Kaleń, Stone Heaven, People from the Train ( or Lotna.

Fragments of original soundtracks from selected films have been released on two CDs: Tadeusz Baird. Film musicVolume 1, Olympia 1994 – OCD 604, ADD 76'42''; Volume 2 Olympia 1995 – OCD 607, ADD 72'51''. These recordings confirm Baird’s dramatic talent, his ability to create music perfectly attuned to film images. 

A Day in Their Life /excerpt/

ZRF "Rytm" 1963, Aleksander  Ścibor -Rylski - director, Olympia OCD 607

A Day in Their Life /excerpt/

ZRF "Rytm" 1963, Aleksander  Ścibor -Rylski - director, Olympia OCD 607

Stone Haeven /excerpt/

ZRF "Studio" 1959, Ewa and Czesław Petelski - directors, Olympia OCD 607

People form the Train /excerpt/

"Kadr" 1961, Kazimierz Kutz - director, Olympia OCD 604

People from the Train /excerpt/

"Kadr" 1961, Kazimierz Kutz - director, Olympia OCD 604

Sargeant Kaleń /excerpt/

ZRF "Studio" 1961, Ewa and Czesław Petelski - director, Olympia OCD 607

The Passenger /excerpt/

"Kamera" 1973, Andrzej Munk - director, Olympia OCD 604

Late Passers-by /excerpt/

ZRF "Rytm" 1962, Gustaw Holoubek, Andrzej Łapicki, Adam Hanuszkiewicz, Jerzy Antczak, Jan Rybkowski - directors, Olympia OCD 607

Baird’s work for the theatre started from a radio play Colas Breugnon featuring his music. After hearing it, Aleksander Bardini asked the composer to write music to his production of Balladyna. Thus began Baird’s adventure with the theatre – his great passion to which he devoted himself in 1954–1978. Tadeusz Baird wrote music to 63 great works written by such masters as William Shakespeare, Stanisław Wyspiański, Juliusz Słowacki, Maxim Gorky, Bertolt Brecht and Friedrich Dürrenmatt. His collaborators included distinguished directors like Aleksander Bardini, Jan Braktowski, S. Domańska, Halina Dzieduszycka, Józef Gruda, Gustaw Holoubek, Ireneusz Kanicki, Jerzy Krasowski, J. Kulczyk, Jan Kulczyński, Helena Mikołajska, Marek Okopiński, A. Sadowski, Jan Świderski, Lidia Zamkow, Henryk Szletyński, August Kowalczyk, Janusz Warmiński, Andrzej Wajda, Jacek Woszczerowicz, Władysław Krzemiński, Krystyna Skuszanka and Ludwik René. He worked mainly with Warsaw theatre companies: Dramatyczny, Polski, Klasyczny, Ateneum, Teatr na Woli, Teatr Nowej Warszawy, Polish Television Theatre. In addition, he collaborated with the Jaracz Theatre in Łodź, Teatr Rozmaitości and Teatr Polski from Wrocław, Horzyca Theatre from Toruń, Teatr Wybrzeże from Gdańsk.

This is how Baird talked about his fascination with theatre:

For me, theatre was some never completely fulfilled longing. When I was a student of composition at the Warsaw Conservatory and a student of musicology at the University of Warsaw, I was as poor as the proverbial church mouse, but I would always find time and some money for at least one thing, namely for going to the theatre from time to time. I must have been already bitten by the theatre bug by that time. A few years passed and in 1951 I walked into a theatre for the first time in my life not as a spectator but as a – admittedly modest – co-author of the performance. At that time our well-known and respected director and actor, who later became my close friend, Mr Aleksander Bardini, asked me [...] if I would work for the theatre. He was preparing a production of Słowacki’s Balladyna with the graduates of the theatre school and asked me to write [...] music to it. That music to Balladyna became the first in a long, really long line of my works for the theatre [...]. As time went by it turned out that I was getting more and more interested in it, that it was no longer only a source of income, but began to be one of the goals of my artistic work. I began to think more and more often that it would be worth getting to know the work of the theatre in the fullest possible manner in order to use this knowledge one day, these theatrical skills not to provide a service anymore but to achieve my own artistic goals. From that moment on I tried to study theatre, its possibilities, the way it influences people, its secrets – consciously, with some intention [...] for the future.

Audio: A Life Not Only in Notes, tale 8 (1:19-10:00)

Letter from Arnold SzyfmanMusic to Shakespeare’s Romeo and JulietMusic to Shakespeare’s Romeo and JulietMusic to Słowacki's HorszyńskiMusic to Dürrenmatt’s The Visit

Consequently, in the 1960s, at the height of Baird’s theatrical activity, he composed Tomorrow, his only music drama, in which he presented the most complete explanation of his attitude to the theatre:

[...] it is the only work in which I managed to manifest my love – and I’m using this lofty word deliberately – for the theatre. For a long time, for more than ten years I had been dreaming of really, actively taking part in the theatre, in the theatrical life. I won’t mention some unimportant, often unattractive jobs, which for me had this advantage that they provided an opportunity to be in the theatre and to get to know the theatre [...].



  • T. Baird, I. Grzenkowicz, Rozmowy, szkice, refleksje [Conversations, Sketches, Reflections], Kraków 1998, p. 84.
  • I. Grzenkowicz, “Kompozytorzy mówią: Tadeusz Baird” [“Composers speak: Tadeusz Baird”], Ruch Muzyczny, 1971, no. 6, p. 4.
  • T. Baird, J. Zadrowska (ed.), M. Adamski (rec.), Życie nie tylko nutami pisane - cykl gawęd wspomnieniowych [A Life not Only in Notes – a Series of Reminiscences][sound doc.], tale 8.