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Canadian Slavonic Papers

Fifty Years of Freedom: Polish Music After 1945

Author(s): Piotr Grella-Moejko
Source: Canadian Slavonic Papers / Revue Canadienne des Slavistes, Vol. 39, No. 1/2 (MARCH-
JUNE 1997), pp. 181-208
Published by: Canadian Association of Slavists
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FiftyYears of Freedom: Polish Music After

Thereis a widespread tendency amongWesternand,surprisingly enough,Polish
musicologistsand lexicographers, to attribute the expansionin the fieldof
contemporary classicalmusic(orNew Music) observedin Polandfromthelate
1950s onwardto thepost-Stalinist "thaw"whichsupposedlyallowedforrapid
absorption and exchange of the newest compositionalideas.2 Linking
development oftheartsin generalandmusicin particular to politicalprocesses
or momentary politicalacts is nothing new. However, in thecase of Polandit
oftenneglectsthepresenceof a livelyandrichtradition of artmusic making.
DeductingfromvariousArab,Byzantine, Czech andGermansourcesandextant
earlymusic manuscripts, this tradition has been uninterrupted for over nine
hundred years.3Its richnessas well as its continuityhave had no small impact

* This articleis dedicatedto Mr. LudwikErhardt whoselife-longeffortto document

Polish musicallife is invaluable.This articleresultedfroma seminaron the history
of PolishmusicwhichI taughtin 1993 at theDepartment of Slavic and East European
Studies,Universityof Alberta.I wish to thank Dr. Sue Carole DeVale, Adjunct
Professor,The ClaremontGraduateSchool as well as composerRonald Hannah and
writerElgarSchmidtfortheircarefulreadingof the manuscript and the pertinenceof
their suggestions.
1 The termNew Music and its variantssuch as NeueMusik, Nova Musica or stile
moderno(versusstile antico) has had a long tradition,reachingback to Jehandes
Murs(Johannesde Mris)Ars novmusicof 1321 and Philippe de VitryArs Nova
of 1322-1323. In general, in accordancewith de Vitry,it denotes music whose
innovativequalitiesset it clearlyapartfromthepreviousstyle(s), and strikeout new
directionsin technicaland expressiveapproach.See Donald J. Groutand Claude V.
Palisca, A Historyof WesternMusic (London: W.W. Norton& Company, 1988)
139-140, 350. In the twentiethcentury,the termhas been initially applied to
compositional phenomenaof anti-Romantic,non-tonal, "dissonant" and largely
experimental nature (Boguslaw Schaeffer, Nowa muzyka [Krakow: Polskie
Wydawnictwo Muzyczne,1969] 23-31), butin thelast twentyyearshas been used to
referto any- including intentionallyderivative: quasi-Romantic,neo-tonal or
minimalistic- music writtenby livingcomposers.
2 See, forinstance,H. H. Stuckenschmidt, TwentiethCenturyMusic (New York:
McGraw-HillBook Company, 1976) 238; and Krzysztof Baculewski, Polska
twrczosckompozytorska1945-1984 (Krakow: Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne,
3 The TyniecSacramentary, Poland's earliestsurvivingmanuscript collection of
church chants dates from ca. 1060. See Boguslaw Schaeffer,Dzieje muzyki
(Warszawa:Wydawnictwa Szkolnei Pedagogiczne,1983) 54.
CanadianSlavonicPapers/Revuecanadiennedes slavistes
Vol. XXXIX, Nos. 1-2, March-June1997

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on thecreative,national,moralandspiritual consciousnessof Polish composers

in thetwentieth century, andespeciallyduringitssecondhalf.
On the otherhand,a numberof Polish composersshoweda remarkably
innovativeattitude alreadyin themid-1940s,independently fromandat exactly
thesametimeas theirWesterncounterparts, whowerethenbeginning to explore
newpossibilities of pitchorganization andtimbre, following theexampleof the
freshly "rediscovered" SecondVienneseSchool(ArnoldSchoenberg, AlbanBerg,
Antonvon Webern).4Here, one should mention Konstanty Regamey'stwelve-
toneQuintet for Clarinet,Bassoon,Violin,'Cello andPiano premiered in 1944
at a clandestine concertin occupiedWarsaw;5WitoldLutoslawski'sradical1st
Symphony (1947); ArturMalawski'scomplexSymphonicEtudesforpiano and
orchestra (1947);6 Sir AndrzejPanufnik'spantonalKrqgkwintowy (The Circle
of Fifthsforpiano), known in English-speaking countriesas 12 Miniature
Studies',his microtonal Kolysanka(Lullabyfor29 stringsandtwo harps);and
Nocturnefor orchestra(all threeworks datingfrom 1947); or Bogusiaw
Schaeffer'satonal Trzy krtkieutwory(Three Short Pieces for chamber
orchestra, 1951),written in quarter
partially tones.
It is, therefore, to
justified suggest thattheaforementioned "thaw"of 1955-
1956didnothave the presumed causal impact- in the late 1950s Polish music
veryquicklyshedtheinsignificant, minutetracesof Sovietculturalcolonialism.
It was an easy"rebirth" ratherthansuddenemergence ofthecreativegeniusfrom
a mysteriousvacuum. At the same time, newly acquiredlimitedpolitical
freedom andopennessallowedfora muchfaster flowofideas on an international
scale and,automatically, recognition.7
This resistanceof Polish composerswho never fully succumbedto
bureaucratically imposed aestheticsstems directlyfromfive main factors,

4 Luigi Rognoni, The Second Vienna School. Expressionismand Dodecaphony

(London:JohnCalder, 1977). See also Ren Leibowitz,Schoenberg(Paris: Editions
du Seuil, 1969) and MalcolmMacDonald,Schoenberg(London: J.M. Dent and Sons,
5 Witold Lutoslawski,"A Fascinating Premiere,"liner notes in Constantin
Regamey(BerneandWarsaw:Swiss Radio International/Polish Radio, SRI CD 11.2,
1994) 6-9. Says Lutoslawski:"It was clearfromthestartthatRegamey'srefinedstyle
was completelydifferent fromthe trendsand styles currentduringthe thirtiesand
forties....One of the performers(of the Quintet)said afterthe premiere:"Therehas
been nothinglike it in Polish musicup to thepresent."This statementwouldalso be
6 KrzysztofBaculewski,"smy paradoks,"Ruch Muzyczny26 (1997): 8-11;
Regina Smendzianka,"Z Malawskim przyfortepianie,"RuchMuzyczny26 (1997):
7 PiotrGrella-Mozejko,"Penderecki," MagazynPolonii 10 (1990): 12.

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decisiveinpreparing groundforfurther development andsuccess.8

1. On thementallevel, it was the traditional Polish defianceof outside,
centralor local authority,whicheventually tookitstollandprompted thefailure
of Soviet-style"communism" in generalandthedoctrine of socialistrealismin
2. On the ideologicallevel, the almosttotal supremacy of the Catholic
Churchplayedan obvious role in the struggleagainstideas considered to be
totallyforeignto theessenceofPolish culturalconsciousness.10
3. On the politicallevel, traditionally verystronganti-Russianand anti-
Soviet sentimentsnever allowed for wider identification with Moscow's
4. On the historicallevel, pro-Westernorientationswere obviously
instrumental theoretical
in establishing platforms andproviding creativeimpetus
forgenerations of Polish artistswho thoughtthemselves to be contributingto
thecommonheritage of Christendom.
5. On thecreativelevel, theadvantage of dealingwitha largelynonverbal,
abstract mediumwas notwithout significance.

It was KarolSzymanowski (1882-1937) wholaid thefoundations forwhatlater
came to definethe ethos of the modernPolish composer.Afterabout 1914,
Szymanowskialmost single-handedly changedthe courseof Polish music by
switching fromtheGermanneo-Romanticism ofRichardStraussor Max Reger,
as presentin his 1stPiano Sonatain C minor,Op. 8 or his ConcertOverture in
E, Op. 12 (both works from 1905), to theindividuallydeveloped harmonic and
timbraidiscoveriesof Frenchimpressionists as well as atonality,polytonality,
microtonality, rhythmical complexityand, most importantly, integration of
Polish folklore.11Szymanowskimanaged to evolve a stylewhich, at its most
convincing-theviolin concertosof 1916 (Op. 35) and 1932-1933 (Op. 61)
beinggood examples12-offersan intimateyet vital, refreshing and powerful

8 CzeslawMilosz, The Historyof Polish Literature (Berkeley:University of

Press,1983) 453-457. Mitoszpointsto thereadinessin the 1950s of
manyPolishwriters andpoetsto followthepathofMarxist indoctrination.
9 An interesting analysisof"thenobleethos"is givenin Norman Davies,Heartof
Europe.A ShortHistoryofPoland(Oxford: Oxford University Press,1986)331-336.
w Davies 336-342,412-416.
11 GroutandPalisca797-798;Schaeffer, Dziejemuzyki 422; BoguslawSchaeffer,
"Karol Szymanowski," Kompozytorzy muzykiXX wieku, Vol. I (Krakow:
Wydawnictwo Literackie,1990) 137-139.
12 "Thenovelty ofthisonemovement concerto (No. 1) lies in theworkingof the
melodicmaterialand...clarityoftexture. Thesecondviolinconcerto...comesnear
theendof Szymanowski' s creativelife....Essentially
themusicis... influencedby

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synthesisof sophisticated Westerncompositionaltechniqueswith primeval

elementsof Poland's native music (particularly that of the Tatra region),
Mediterranean sultrinessand Orientalmysticism. At times,Szymanowski's
technicalinventivenessbordered on therevolutionary,especiallyin his virtuoso
workssuchas Mythsforviolinandpiano,Op. 30 (1915) or Mtopesforpiano,
Op. 29 (1915).14 In 1926, he completedwhatmany believe is his greatest
masterpiece-StabatMaterforcontralto, chorusandorchestra,
baritone, Op. 53.
at a and of and
"Aiming simplicity clarity expression, mostlyslow, it is small
in scale but not in effect.It is infusedwith an ecstaticspiritualintensity,
drawingon Easternchurchmusicand on the inflections of folk songs in the
vocal lines."
In general,Szymanowski'smusicepitomizesvirtually all thecontradictions
characteristicof a typicalPolish work of the secondhalf of the century-
spiritualpoignancyand eruptivenarration; technicalrefinement and violent
emotiveforce;creativecuriosity and attachmentto traditionalways;tendency to
experiment an
butwithin often limited of
range preselected possibilities.
Szymanowskiwas responsiblefor inspiringhis youngerstudentsand
colleaguesto seekmusicaleducationabroad,namelyin Pariswhichwas thenthe
undisputed centreof the artisticavant-garde."To Paris (insteadof Berlin)for
musical schooling"was his verypopularslogan, which became proverbial

indigenousmusicaltraditions...,hereabsorbedintoan idiom whichis, nevertheless,

thecomposers's own,in all its colour,lyricismand texturalclarity(KeithAnderson,
linernotes in Karol Szymanowski- Violin ConcertosNos. 1 and 2, Nocturneand
Tarantella[Munich:NAXOS CD 8.553685, 1996] 5-6). See also: Michael Kennedy,
The Concise OxfordDictionaryof Music (Oxford:OxfordUniversityPress, 1987)
641-642; and Malina Sarnowska, "Pawel Kochaski,kompozytori wspltwrca
utworwskrzypcowych Karola Szymanowskiego,"RuchMuzyczny26 (1997): 34-
13 Andrzej Chtopecki, "Najwiekszy przed Lutoslawskim. Pytania o
Szymanowskiego,"MieczysiawowiTomaszewskiemuw 60-lecie urodzin(Krakow:
AkademiaMuzyczna, 1984); Adam Neuer,Introductionin Karol Szymanowski,
Complete works, Vol. 19 (Krakow: Polskie WydawnictwoMuzyczne, 1981);
Bogumila Mika, "Piesni do slow Rabindranatha Tagore op. 41 Karola
Szymanowskiego - orientalizm czy europejskos'c?," GomosIqski Almanach
Muzyczny,Vol. 2 (Katowice: Slask, 1995) 15-25. Szymanowski'soriginalityand
importancehave only recentlybeen widely acknowledgedin the West through,
amongothers,releaseon theEMI label of all his orchestralworksperformed by the
City Birmingham Symphony Orchestraunder Sir Simon Rattle,and a series of CD
recordingson Marco Polo and NAXOS labels of his solo, chamberand orchestral
musicfeaturing variousartists(see, forinstance,Don MacLachlan(Comp. and Ed.),
EMI Classics: 1997/98International CompactDisc Catalogue[London:EMI Classics
InternationalMarketing,1997] 152).
14 Sarnowska 34-35.
15 MarkMorris,"Karol Szymanowski,"A Guideto TwentiethCenturyComposers
(London: Methuen1996) 303.

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amongyoungPolish composersin the 1920s and 1930s. Later,manyof those

composerswere able to launch theircareersfully only after1945, under
circumstances muchdifferent fromwhattheyhadhopedforbeforeor evenduring
If Szymanowski supported a specificParisiandirection,whichbecamevery
fashionable amongsubsequent generations of Polish composersmanyof whom
studiedwiththelegendary NadiaBoulanger, JzefKoffler (1896-1944?)turned to
ArnoldSchoenbergand his school. Being of Jewishdescent,Kofflerand his
whole family were murderedbefore the liberation.Koffler' s uvre is,
nonetheless,extremelyimportantto post-warPolish and European music
becauseof its intentionally experimental yet elegant,neostylistic, transparent
andstrangely accessiblenature.
Koffler was clearlyfascinated bytheimmensestatistical possibilitiesof the
twelve-tone technique (which offersa vastnumber ofeasilydesignedvariantsand
mutationsof the originalmaterial,be it pitch,rhythmor timbre)and its
usefulness foroverallorganization ofthemusicalfabricof a piece,yethe never
identifiedhimselfwith the VienneseSchool's predilection for the tormented
narrativeof Expressionism.Kofflerwas the firsttwelve-tonecomposerin
Europe who convincinglycombined dodecaphonywith the seemingly
incompatiblephenomenaof impressionistic harmony;fast, monorhythmical
motion; and a neoclassicalaestheticdrawingon folklore.His twelve-tone
technique was unorthodox, linearratherthanstructural, anddemonstrated a great
degreeof flexibility.Ironically,Szymanowski, critical
of dodecaphony (but not
of Kofflerwhomhe esteemed),was muchcloserto theExpressionistic models
than Kofflerhimself.16Throughoutthe 1920s and 1930s, Kofflerwrote a
numberofworkswhichplacedhimin theforefront of theEuropeanavant-garde
ofthattime- 75 Variationsforpiano,Op. 9 (1928; versionforstringorchestra
1933); Trio forviolin,viola andvioloncello,Op. 10 (1929); Sonatina,Op. 11
(1931); Piano Concerto,Op. 13 (1931); Variationson Theme by Johann
Strauss,Op. 23 (1936); 3rdSymphony,Op. 21 (1938). Activeas criticand
teacher,Kofflerleft a legacy whose importancewas not recognizedby his
contemporaries. Despite that he had a profoundimpact on the creative
philosophy of such experimental composersas Roman Haubenstock-Ramati
(1919-1994, the only studentof Kofflerwho survivedthe war) and Boguslaw

16 Teresa Chylinska,"Koffleri Szymanowski,"RuchMuzyczny8 (1996): 30-32;

MatgorzataGasiorowska,"Ksiazka dhigooczekiwana,"RuchMuzyczny21 (1996):
38-39; Maciej Golab, JzefKoffler(Krakow:Musica Iagellonica, 1995); Marzanna
Pluta-Kotynska, to JzefKoffler,Triofor violin, viola and violoncello
(Krakow: Polskie WydawnictwoMuzyczne, 1966); Boguslaw Schaeffer,"Jzef
Koffler,"Kompozytorzy muzykiXX wieku,Vol. I, 221-223.

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Thereis one morereasonto considerKoffler'scareerandfatesymptomatic.
In additionto beingPoland'sforemost beforethewar,he was also
the firstPolish composerto have experienced the brutalityof Communist
AftertheSovietinvasionof Polandon September17, 1939, Koffler
(wholivedin Lww) was forcedto becomea citizenof theSoviet Union.His
music immediatelyfell victim to severe criticismby his newly found
"colleagues."The composerresponded by graduallysuccumbingto the Soviet
andwriting theorchestralUwerturaradosna{Joyful 1940) to
celebratethe Red Army'sannexationof Poland's easternlands, and Szkice
ukrairiskie "a fullmanifestation
theprinciples Thiswas trulya tragicendoftheotherwise
of socialistrealism."17


The firstpost-war yearswerecharacterizedby thetemporary evanishment of the
remnants oftheold post-Romantic andneo-Romantic school,whichwouldnot
reappear untilitssuccessfulifunusual incarnation in the 1970s in themusicof
Krzysztof Penderecki,Wojciech Kilar and, later,Aleksander Laso or Andrzej
Dziadek (b. 1957). Feliks Nowowiejski(1887-1946) had throughout his life
continued writingin a stylecloselyrelatedto the GermanRomantictradition.
AmongNowowiejski's works,hisOrganSymphonies areworthremembering as
is his once immenselypopular oratorio Quo vadis (1903), afterHenryk
Sienkiewicz.Eugeniusz Morawski (1876-1948), represented an orientation
similarto Nowowiejski's.His sevenstringquartets andfinesymphonic music
deserve to be more popular. Jan Maklakiewicz 5(1899-1954) had, under
Szymanowski'sinfluence, initiallyabsorbedelementsof FrenchImpressionism
and Orientalism-Utyjaponskie {JapaneseChants)for sopranoand orchestra
(1930)- butlaterswitchedto a styleof decidedly Romanticorigins,represented
in his cantatas,concertosandballetssuch as Zlota kaczka{The GoldenDuck,
LudomirRzycki(1883-1953) was possiblythemosttalented ofthePolish
neo-Romantic His
composers. output includes a seriesof sizable works,notably
for stage, of which the ballet Pan Twardowski(1920); symphonicpoems
Boleslaw mialy(1907), Mona Lisa Gioconda(1911) and Warszawawyzwolona
{WarsawLiberated,1950);as wellas theoperasBoleslawSmiaty(1908), Eros i
Psyche(1916), Casanova(1922) and BeatrixCenci (1926) show richmelodic

17 MaciejGotgib,"Jzef - kompozytor
Koffler (2)," RuchMuzyczny
5 (1996):8; G^siorowska, 39.

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invention,excellent craftsmanship and assured command of form. Pan

Twardowski andCasanovahavebecomemainstaplesof Polish stagerepertoire.
Rzycki'srelativeimportancein thehistory
of Polishmusiclies also in thefact
of his membership in a groupcalled"Young Polandin Music," establishedin
1905 underthe patronageof princeWladyslawLubomirskito promotenew
1 O

compositional tendenciesin Poland. Other members included Karol

Szymanowski,pianist and composerApolinarySzeluto (1884-1966), and
conductor,violinistand composerGrzegorzFitelberg(1879-1953). From the
group'sWarsawdebutinFebruary1906severalconcerts tookplaceinBerlinand
Warsaw,usuallyunderFitelberg's baton- thefirst ofthatscope in
Polish"new music"in thetwentieth century.


Alongside the lateRomantics,another groupofcomposers(manyof whomlater
came to prominence)made theirmarkafterthe war. This group included
composersgenerallybornat the turnof the centuryor duringthe firsttwo
decadesofthetwentieth century,who hadtheirdebutsbetween1918 and 1939,
in independent Poland,butreachedfullmaturity after1945.The varietyof styles
andtechniquesemployedby themmirrors the creativeunrestand pronounced
anti-Romantic attitudeof the 1920s and 1930s. On the otherhand, it is
interestingto note that many of these once-progressive composersfound
themselveseasily adjusting-hand in hand with the older generationof
Romanticssuch as Rzycki- to thedemandsof thenew "socialist"aesthetics.
Theirmusicwas oftenrootedin Polish folklore, neoclassicismor neo-Baroque,
whichmadeitaccessibleandpolitically correct.
StanislawWiechowicz(1893-1963) was likelythe one Polish composer
whoexploredthecountry's musicalandpoeticfolklore tothefullest.In his best
workssimple melodicand scalarmodelsof nativeoriginserveas points of
departureleadingto astonishinglyradical,aggressiveandcomplexharmonicand
rhythmic constructs,as in Pragnaoczki {TheseEyes Desire forchoirand two
pianos,1944) or Na glinianym wazoniku{On theclayflower-vase forchoirand
orchestra,1947). He is, indeed,bestknownforhis vocal output-solo songs,
popularchoralsettingsandcantatas-Kantataromantyczna {RomanticCantata,
1930),Zstqpgotbico{Descend,O Dove forchoirandorchestra, 1960), List do
Marc Chagalla {Letterto Marc Chagallforvoices, choirand orchestra, 1961).
Some of Wiechowicz' s orchestralworksare also of high quality-symphonic
poem Babie lato {IndianSummer,1922); symphonicscherzoChmiel {Hops,

18 Magdalena Dziadek, "Mloda Polska muzyczna:obietnicaczy spelnienie

?," Ruch
Muzyczny18 (1996): 30-33.

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1926), basedon a veryold pentatonic folk melodyOj, chmielw,and Koncert

staromiejski{TheOld TownConcertoforstring orchestra, 1954).
The music of Kazimierz Sikorski (1895-1986) can be viewed
metaphorically as a magnifying glass throughwhichone can see and become
familiarwith all the tendencies characteristic
of Polish music throughout the
century.Sikorski's worksshow he hadan innateabilityto keep abreastof the
developments in Westernmusic.His firstpost-Romantic scoresarereminiscent
of theGermantradition (StringSextet,1930). His works of the1940sand 1950s
areinfluenced by nationalistic tendencies and Polish folklore, all embedded in a
strongcontrapuntal fabricandnot opposedto accessibility andlightheartedness,
thatis, the cherished ideals of socialistrealism:SymphonicAllegro (1946),
ClarinetConcerto(1947), FluteConcerto(1957). In his late largeforms(Oboe
Concerto,1967; 4th Symphony,1971; 6th Symphony,1985) he successfully
dealt with such issues as atonalityand dodecaphony. During his long and
productive life, Sikorski was active not only composer,but also teacherand
theorist.His threefundamental books,Instrumentoznawstwo {Instrumentation),
Harmonia {Theory of Tonal Harmony,three volumes) and Kontrapunkt
{Counterpoint, threevolumes)havebeen usedby generations of Polish teachers
andstudents andbelongto themostcompletetreatises oftheirkindinEurope.
The uvreof Bolesiaw Szabelski (1896-1979) is of utmostimportance.
One ofthefewstudents ofKarolSzymanowski at theWarsawConservatory, he
himselfhad taughta numberof composerswho have since established
international reputations, forexample,EdwardBogustawski(b. 1940), Henryk
MikoajGrecki,JanWincenty Hawel (b. 1936) andPiotrWarzecha(b. 1941),
to mentionjust a few. Szabelski may be comparedto AntonBruckner. Like
Bruckner, he was a late starter.
Havingcompleted his 1stSymphony in 1926, he
had not composedanything substantial until after the war except for the
relatively brieforchestral Suite of 1936. As did Bruckner, he concentrated on
symphonic and vocal-orchestral music. And like Bruckner, he was very
unassuming,laconic and introverted. He was also, as it turnedout, able to
surprisehis contemporaries. Up until 1958, he was knownas a neo-Baroque
composer,developingBaroquecontrapuntal forms(fugue,passacaglia,toccata
etc.) and techniques sometimes combined with folkmaterialin workssuch as
Passacaglia m E Minor for organ(1930), Sinfonietta (1946), 3rdSymphony
(1951), Concertogrosso(1954) or 4th Symphony(1956). Stylisticreferences-
but by no means influences- included Hindemith, Honegger and
Shostakovich.19Then, in 1958, he astonishedthe music communityby
unexpectedly turning to dodecaphony andserialism,givingan additional, much

19 MagdalenaDziadek,"Dwa uroczyste 3 (1997):22.


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neededand authoritative impetus,or rathera specificblessing,to the young

composerslaterreferred to as thePolishSchool. Szabelski'slate worksimpress
us fortheirintenseemotionaldarkness,dramaticvitalityand sheerexpressive
force,theintricaciesofserialordersnotwithstanding, thatis TrzySonety(Three
Sonnetsfororchestra,1958), Improvisations for choir and orchestra(1959),
Wiersze(Poems forpiano and orchestra, 1960), Aphorisms"9" for chamber
ensemble (1962), Concerto for flute and chamberorchestra(1964), 5th
Symphonyforchoir,organandorchestra (1968), Mikotaj Kopernik(Nicolaus
Copernicusforsoprano,choirandorchestra, 1975),PianoConcerto(1978).20
TadeuszSzeligowski(1896-1963) was a colourfulpersonality- composer,
teacher,conductor, pianist, music criticand promoter, he obtained a Ph.D. in
law beforedevotinghimselfentirelyto music at the age of thirty-two. His
output,influenced byFrenchneoclassicism, archaic(pre-classical)techniquesand
folkmusic,is veryuneven.It includesconvincingworkssuch as Epitafiumna
SmiercKarola Szymanowskiego (Epitaphin memory ofKarol Szymanowskifor
strings,1937), Missa de Angelis for femalechorus(1942), Ave Maria for
soprano,femalechorusand organ(1943) andPiano sonata(1949). At theother
endof thespectrum one findspieces such as the cantatasSuita weselna(The
WeddingSuite for solo voices, mixed chorusand piano, 1948) or Wesele
lubelskie(The Lublin Wedding forsoprano,choirand orchestra, 1948) whose
simple or even simplisticvocabulary made them officiallyapprovedand
recognized as 'socialist' music. His opus magnum, operaBuntzakw (The
Students'Rebellion,1951) has thedistinction of being the firstPolish opera
written afterthewar,andoffersa wholegamutof artfully synthesized stylistic
vignettes ranging from Gregorian chant to 18th centuryClassicism. The work
was praisedby Communist criticsas a successful example of music with broad
Szeligowski'spoliticalskills wereconsiderable-between1951 and 1954,
duringtheworstperiodof socialistrealism'sunstoppable offensive, he was the
President of thePolish Composers'Union. Then,between1956 and 1959, he
performed the duties of the vice-president of the union. Controversial as a
composer,Szeligowski was an excellent teacher whose students included
Augustyn Bloch (b. 1929), LeoncjuszCiuciura(b. 1930), JanFotek(b. 1928),
AndrzejKoszewski (b. 1922), ZygmuntKrauze,Bernadetta Matuszczak(b.
1933), Zbigniew Penherski(b. 1935), WladystawSlowiski (b. 1930) and

20 Leon Markiewicz,"OstatnieutworyBolesiawa Szabelskiego,"Horyzontymuzyki

(Krakow: Polskie WydawnictwoMuzyczne, 1970) 36.1-36.3; Leon Markiewicz,
"WspominajacBoleslawa Szabelskiego," GrnoslqskiAlmanackMuzyczny,Tom 2
(Katowice: Slask, 1995) 7-13; Boguslaw Schaeffer, "Boleslaw Szabelski,"
Kompozytorzy muzykiXX wieku,Vol. I, 224-230.

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FranciszekWozniak(b. 1932).21He was also a founderof the "Poznarska

Wiosna Muzyczna" ("Poznan Music Spring"), an importantfestival for
contemporary Polishmusic.
BoleslawWoytowicz(1899-1980), after1945 Szabelski'scolleagueat the
AcademyofMusicin Katowice,hada doublecareeras a composerandpianist.
Understandably, some of his most successfulpieces featured piano; 12 Etiud
fortepianowych and 10 Etiudfortepianowych {Piano Studies,1948 and 1961,
respectively),Sonata forfluteand piano (1952), 3rd Symphony(Symphony
concertante forpianoand orchestra, 1963).His majorwork,themonumental and
grippingPome funebrefororchestra (1935), writtenin memoryof marshal
JzefPilsudski(whodefeatedtheRed Armyduringthe1920-1921Polish-Soviet
war),was fora long timebannedin CommunistPolandand whenin the late
1970s itappearedagainon concertprograms itwas usuallygivena falsedateof
completion-1975! Otherworksby Woytowicz,always writtenwith great
technicalassuredness andeconomy,in an elegantif slightlyconservative style
(which laterincorporated certainaspectsof thetwelve-tone technique),included
2ndSymphony (1945), thecantataProrok(The Prophet,afterPushkine,1950),
2ndStringQuartet(1953), andLamentoforsopranoandstringorchestra (1959).
Activeand influential as a teacher,he was instrumental in discoveringand
encouraging talentsofTadeuszBaird,WojciechKilar(b. 1932),WitoldSzalonek
(b. 1927) andRomualdTwardowski (b. 1930).22
ArturMalawski(1904-1957) hadevolvedan individualstylewhichplaces
him amongcomposerswho could not (and probablydid not want to) fully
abandontradition, yetwereequallyinvolvedinexploring progressivevocabulary.
In his bestworks,suchas 2ndSymphony (1956) orHungaria1956 fororchestra
(1957)- thelatterwritten to theHungarian
as a tribute uprisingof 1956; one of
theearliest,mostcourageous important anti-communiststatements by any
composer-Malawskiwas able to achievea powerfulsynthesisof Romantic,
Impressionisticand progressivetendencies.Malawski's music was often
criticizedby leftisttheorists.At the now legendaryconference of Polish
composers and musicologists which took at
place Lagw Lubuski in 1949,
Malawski,alongwithWitoldLutoslawski, StefanKisielewski(1911-1991) and
Zbigniew Turski (1908-1979), was condemnedfor succumbingto the
pro-Western trends.The successof his Symphonic
Etudesforpiano and orchestra (1947/48) at the 1948 Amsterdam festivalof the
International SocietyforContemporary Music was the main reason for that

21 TeresaBrodniewicz,"Kilkamyslio Tadeuszu
Szeligowskim, 4
(1997): 5-7.
22 Schaeffer,Dziejemuzyki XXVPoznarska
426-427; JanuszKempiski, Wiosna
Muzyczna, festival book
program (Poznan:PZGMK,1985): 115.

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condemnation. He, however,avoidedthefateofTurski-recipient in 1948 of the

gold medalat an international composers'competition in London for his II
Symfonia(Olimpijska)(The OlympicSymphony, 1948)- whoforyearslimited
himselfto writingstagemusic,or Kisielewski(also a brilliantand outspoken
catholicpolitical columnist)who was black-listedand could not get any
employment.23 OtherworksbyMalawski,a sadlyneglected master,includethe
balletWierchy(The Peaks, 1950), written in Szymanowski'svein andinspired
bythemusicof theTatramountains Toccataforpiano andorchestra
(1949), Overturefororchestra (1948) andseveralexcellentchamberworkssuch
as Piano trio(1953) or 2ndStringQuartet(1943). Malawski'spartialacceptance
of the new ordermanifesteditself in Suita popularna(Popular Suite for
orchestra, 1952) which,ironically,didnot help him much- between1953 and
1954thenumberofperformances ofhismusicdroppeddrastically.24
Grazyna Bacewicz (1909-1969), composerandviolinist,
is justlyconsidered
to be one of themostaccomplished andskillfulfemalemusiciansin thehistory
ofthe20thcentury music.25In Poland,she was theonlywomancomposerwho
"achieveda staturecomparablewith that of Witold Lutoslawski,Krzysztof
Penderecki, orHenrykMikoajGrecki."26
Heridiomwas founded on neo-classicism,butin the later 1950s, influenced
Bartok,she soughtto combinehis expressivenessandsenseof dramawiththe12-
tonetechniquesthatwerebeingrediscoveredin Poland.From1960 shedeveloped a
moreavant-garde idiom,stillexpressive, andsometimes
oftendramatic, withalmost
However,she retained
Impressionistic theclassicaloutlookof herearlier
an unusual
years,creating idiomin whichthecolouristiceffects,
rhythmic variation
andsubtleties, fortheaccumulationof shorteventsareencasedin

Torn betweenher predilection forFrenchneo-classicismand her natural

leaningtowardsmore radicalmeans,Bacewicznonetheless managedto maintain
andenhanceherindividuality in an astonishingseriesofmasterpieces suchas the
popularConcertoforStringOrchestra (1948), Musicfor Strings,Trumpets and
Percussion(1958), Pensierinotturni fororchestra (1961), late StringQuartets
(4th,5th,6thand 7th,written between1951 and 1965) andMusica sinfonicain
tre movimenti(1965). She also wrote seven (!) violin concerti,four
symphonies,threeballets,including Poiqdanie(Desire,1968)anda multitude of

23 Baculewski, 8.
24 Baculewski, 9.
25 Mark Morris, "GrazynaBacewicz," A Guideto TwentiethCenturyComposers
26 Maria Anna Harley, "Composer's Corner - Notes on Polish Women
Composers,"IAWM Journal2 (1996): 12.
27 Morris,"GrazynaBacewicz," 290.

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"Hermusicshouldbe knownbyanyoneinterested in womencomposers,for
she is one ofthefinest to haveemergedthiscentury."
WitoldLutoslawski(1913-1994) has achievedtrulyspectacular successon
theinternational scene.TogetherwiththatofKarol SzymanowskiandKrzysztof
Penderecki, hismusicis identified with,or evensymbolizes, whatis bestin the
20thcentury Polishcomposition.Much indebted, as he oftenadmitted, to such
Frenchcomposersas Claude Debussy,MauriceRavel, AlbertRoussel,29but
also to Bela Bartk,FrankMartin,BohuslavMartinu,SergieyProkofev,Igor
Stravinsky, EdgarVarseor even Fryderyk Chopin,30Lutoslawskihad never
subscribed to anyschoolnorhadhe everimitated anystyle.It is noteasy to find
any directinfluences even in his earliest works: Piano Sonata, 1934; Wariacje
symfoniczne {SymphonicVariations),1938; Wariacjena tematPaganiniego
{Variationson a Themeof Paganini)fortwo pianos(1941), althoughshadesof
Romanticism and- muchstronger-neoclassicalreferences arenotuncommon;
Andeventhenone can alreadysee some of the most characteristic featuresof
Lutoslawski' s matureoutput:emotional"objectivity";motiviccohesiveness;
expansive forward momentum; clarityofsoniccanvasbasedon a limitedarrayof
simultaneously occurring patterns(monogestural textures);reductive rhythms;
transparent instrumentation; orchestralvirtuosity; andsimplicity ofform.
In thefirst post-waryears,Lutostawski produceda seriesofworkswhich,as
he put it, werenothingbut a "substitution" of real creation.The unusually
aggressive reaction on part of the pro-Sovietcriticsto his "dissonantand
formalistic" 1stSymphony(1947), whose3rdmovement Allegrettomisterioso
begins with a pure twelve-tone theme (it has to be stressed thatthe symphony is
nota twelve-tone the to
work),prompted composer simplify style. his Between
1949 and 1955, he wroteUwertura smyczkowa{Overture for Strings,1949),
Mata suita {Little Suite for orchestra,1950/51),Tryptykslqski {Silesian
Triptych forsopranoand orchestra, 1951), Bukoliki{Bucolicsforpiano, 1952),
10 tacwpolskich{10 Polish Dances fororchestra, 1953), Preludiataneczne
{DancePreludesforclarinetandpiano; also exists in version forclarinet,harp,

Morris,"GrazynaBacewicz," 291.
Malgorzata Gasiorowska,"II ForumLutoslawskiego- pytania i watpliwosci,"
Ruch Muzyczny6 (1996): 15.
Alina Madry, "Natchnienie czy intelekt?" MidzynarodowaKonferencja
MuzykologicznaposwieconaWitoldowiLutostawskiemu, Ruch Muzyczny25 (1997):
31 Piotr
Grella-Mozejko,"Witold Lutoslawski,"Magazyn Polonii 9 (1990): 15;
MarkMorris,"WitoldLutoslawski,"A Guideto TwentiethCenturyComposers294-
32 Grella-Mozejko,"WitoldLutoslawski"15

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piano, percussionand stringorchestra,1955)- all of them accessible,light

works making use of Polish folklore from various regions (unlike
Szymanowski,Lutoslawskididnot favouranyparticular region).Also, he did
notshyawayfromoccasionallywritingsimplisticmass songs appealingto the
authorities ratherthanreal listenersor performers: Towarzysz{The Comrade),
StuzbaPolsce {OurDutytoPoland) orevenlargerworksofthatsort:thecantata
Warszawieslawa {Gloryto Warsaw)P Fortunately, thisperiodin Lutoslawski' s
creativelifeculminated in a magnificent, five-movement Koncertna orkiestre
{Concerto for orchestra,1954), in whichall the elementspreviouslyused to
writerather uneventful ifoptimistic musicwereplacedwithinthenewcontextof
unleasheddramaandexplosionsofmonumental force.
Starting with Musiquefunbre(written memoryof Bartok)forstring
orchestra(1958), in which he laid out an original techniquederivedfrom
dodecaphony, Lutoslawskibegan to incorporate otheravant-garde techniques
whichhe always reworked and adaptedto his moderately progressiveneeds.
Despitehis versatility, in
as demonstrated some of his most experimental works
such as Gry weneckie{VenetianGames forchamberorchestra,1961), Trois
pomesd'HenriMichauxfor20-partmixedchorusandorchestra (1963), or 2nd
Symphony (1967), he never in
exaggerated exploring the unknown. Lutoslawski
was modernist andnotavantgardist. In thelastthreedecadesofhis life,he aimed
at a synthesisof theavailabletechniques including,in worksdatingfromthe
1980s and 1990s, a curiousreturnto certaincategoriesof tonality:Paroles
tisses fortenorand chamberorchestra (1965), Livre pour orchestre(1968),
'Cello Concerto(1970),Preludiaifuga{Preludesand Fugue for13 solo strings,
1972), Les espacesdu sommeilforbaritoneandorchestra (1975), Mi-partifor
orchestra (1976), Novelette fororchestra (1979), Double Concerto foroboe, harp
and chamberorchestra 2
(1980), Chain for violin and orchestra(1985), 3rd
Symphony (1981-1983), Chain 3 fororchestra (1986), Piano Concerto(1987),
4thSymphony (1992).
Commissionedand performed by the most distinguished artistsincluding
Marta Argerich,PierreBoulez, DietrichFischer-Dieskau, Heinz and Ursula
Holliger, Anne Sophie Mutter, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Esa Pekka Salonen,Sir
Georg Solti, Krystian Zimerman, LaSalle and Arditti Quartets,recorded by the
leadingcompanies such as Bis, Decca/London, Deutsche Grammophon, EMI,
Naxos, Philips andTeldec,Lutoslawski'smusichas becomean important and
integral partoftheworld'scultural heritage.
Other composersof the older generationwhose contributionto the
development of Polish music is noteworthy includedPiotr Perkowski(1901-

33 M^dry,"Natchnienie

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1990),StefanBoleslawPoradowski(1902-1967),composerand writer Zygmunt

Mycielski(1907-1987), and WitoldRudziski(b. 1913), authorof operas
(Jankomuzykant/ Johnnythe Musician, 1951), symphonicworks {Musica
concertanteforpiano and orchestra,1960/61)and chambermusic (excellent
VariationsandFugue forpercussionsolo, 1966) as well as severalrespectable


AleksanderTansman(1897-1986) occupiesa veryspecialplace as a composer
whosecareer,spanningalmostsevendecades,linkedthemodernist traditionof
KarolSzymanowski withthatof Krzysztof Penderecki andotherswho, afteran
experimental phaseduringthe1950sand 1960s,turned throughout the1970sand
1980s to an eclectic,postmodern meansof creativeself expression.In 1919,
Tansmanwas a multiplewinnerof the firstcomposers'competition held in
independent Poland, first
receiving prize forhis Fantasy for violin and piano and
second for his 1st Piano sonata.34 After this success (comparableonly to
KrzysztofPenderecki'smultipletriumphat the Young Polish Composers'
Competition exactlyforty yearslater)TansmanleftforPariswherehe settledand
madehis way to the elite of Frenchmusicallife befriending, amongothers,
composers Darius Milhaud, ArthurHonegger, Maurice Ravel and Igor
Stravinsky,criticRoland-Manuel, conductor VladimirGolschmann andpublisher
Max Eschig.His musicofthatperiod(1920s and 1930s) betraysa penchant for
complex, dissonantharmonies, energetic
rhythms and overallneoclassical flavor:
In theyearsbetween thetwoworldwarsTansman' s musicalstyletook formunder
of theneoclassicalsphereandin directcontactwiththeworksof such
composers as Ravel,MilhaudandRoussel.Tansman 's musicsharedwithStravinsky's
neoclassicism and withFrenchmusicthe logic of the construction of form,a
tendencytowards avoidanceofpathosandemphasis,but
fromtheverybeginning certain qualitiesset himapartfromtheyoung
Frenchas wellas youngPolishcomposers. In searchoforiginalstyle,Tansman did
notshuntheemotionalism andlyricalexpressionrootedin Chopin'smusic,in the
Romantic andmostlikelyin thecomposer's
tradition personality.35
Laterhe furtherdevelopedhis compositionalvocabularywhose architectural
component was basedon extendedclassicalforms;whoseharmoniccomponent

34 KeithAnderson,linernotesin AlexandreTansman- Symphony No. 5 etc. (HNH

InternationalLtd.: Marco Polo 8.223379 CD, 1991) 2; JanuszCegiella, Dziecko
szczescia - AleksanderTansmanijego czasy, Vol. 1 (Warszawa:Paristwowy Instytut
-35 Victorand MarinaA. Ledin, linernotes in AlexandreTansman- GuitarMusic
(Complete)(HNH International Ltd.: Marco Polo 8.223690 CD, 1994) 6.

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was basedon elaboratedissonantyettonallyrootedchords(oftenreferred

to as
'Tansmanianchords")andpolytonality;whosestructuralcomponent was based
on masterfully reworkedcontrapuntaltechniques; and whose melodic and
rhythmiccomponents werebased on modelsofteninfluencedby blues andjazz,
butespeciallyby Polishfolkmusic:
Tansman's[works] owemuchoftheir to theinfluence
originality ofPolishfolklore.
LikeSzymanowski beforehim,Tansmanfounda sourceofgreatinspiration in the
variedregionalmusicof Poland.The melodicand rhythmic richnessof Polish
wasan inexhaustible
folklore andmuch-valued
treasureforTansman:"I thinkthat
aboveall Polishfolklorehas mostmarked mydevelopment: it containsthetritone
whichalready offersveryspecialharmonicandmelodicpossibilities;they
areoftento be heardin myworks,eventhosewhicharenotmazurkas." Rhythm,
timbreandmelodyarewhatTansman...borrows from Polishfolklore.36

Duringandafterthewar,Tansmanremained faithfulto his neoclassicalideals.

He nevershowedanyinterest in the then-fashionable techniquesand stylesof
dodecaphony pointillism. It was a consciouschoice comingfromthissuperb
craftsman's distrust of for
novelty novelty's sake rather than a sign of his
conservative inclinations.Amonghis severalhundred workssome are of the
highest calibre: eightstring quartetswritten between 1922 and 1956,thepopular
Sonatinetransatlantique forpiano(1930),Quatredansespolonaisesfororchestra
(1931), 3rdSymphony(Symphonieconcertante, 1931), 5th Symphony(1942),
7thSymphony (1944), Cello Concerto(1962), Suite in modopolonico (1962),
Variationssurunthmede Scriabine(1972) forguitar,Quatremouvements for
orchestra (1968), Stlein memoriam IgorStravinsky for orchestra(1972).
In the 1970s and 1980s, Tansman,long neglectedin Poland,was finally
recognizedas a major figurein Polish and international music and his
importance acknowledged by awarding him honorary membership in the
PolishComposers'Union, doctoratehonoris causa of the Academy of Music in
Lodz (his place of birth),as well as severalstatedistinctions. Despite those
"official"statehonorshavingbeenbestoweduponhim,his politicalsympathies
were clear and sound- in 1982, soon aftermarshallaw was imposed on
December13, 1981,he wroteHommage Lech Walesaforguitar.Today,it is
obviousthatTansman'smoderation in exploringavant-garde techniquesandhis
long-time attachment to the folk idioms (not infrequently avoided by
experimental composers) did not prevent him from writingpowerful music
which increasingly, albeit much too slowly, findsits way to the concert
programs of Polish orchestras. Shockingly,manyof his bestworksstill await

36 Catherine
Ravet,'The StringQuartets,"
AlexandreTansman - CompleteMusic
forString Etcetera
RecordsB.V.,KTC 2017,1992).

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Tansman,who at some pointdecidedto leave Poland forParis, was not
alone. There were quite a few major Polish composerswho made similar
choices.Sometimes,likeTansman,theydecidedto emigrate in searchof a new
lifeor a milieumorereceptive to and supportive of new ideas. Here,one should
mentionLudomirMichaJRogowski(1881-1954) who in 1926 settledin the
former Yugoslavia;Czeslaw Marek(1891-1985) who remainedin Switzerland
since 1915; Karol Rathaus(1895-1954) who in 1938 movedto the USA and
beforethathadworkedin Berlin,Paris andLondon;AntoniSzalowski (1907-
1973) whowentto Parisin 1931andstayedthereuntilhis death,as didMichal
Spisak(1914-1965) whoemigrated toFrancein 1937; andRomanMaciejewski
(b. 1910) who has worked in Britain,USA and Sweden since 1938.38
Sometimes,as is thecase withRomanPalester,AndrzejPanufnikandPolish-
Swiss composerKonstanty Regamey(1907-1982) theyleftforpoliticalreasons.
RomanPalester(1907-1989)hadbeforethewarestablished himselfas one
of themostpromisingyoungcomposers. His immense talent was broughtto
fruitionin works betrayingnationalisticorientation,preference for free,

unorthodox contrapuntal techniques and inclinationfor epic narrative: 1st

StringQuartet(1931), Tace polskie {Polish Dances for orchestra, 1934), 1st
Symphony(1936), the ballet Piesn o Ziemi (Song of the Earth, 1937),
Concertino foraltosaxophoneandorchestra (1938),ViolinConcerto(1941),2nd
and 3rdSymphonies(1942 and 1943, respectively). Afterthe war,Palester-
moreand more involved in a searchfor new techniques-foundhimselfat odds
withtheauthorities. In 1949,he leftforFrance.Automatically, someof hisbest
workshadto waitfordecadesbeforetheywereallowedinPoland:4thSymphony
(1950), Adagioforstrings (1955), Variationsfororchestra (1956), Study58 for
orchestra (1958), orhis the
masterpiece, opera Smierc Don Juana (Deathof Don
Juan,1960). Palester'sinvolvement withRadio FreeEuropedid not make his
return to thePolishconcertstageeasier.
SirAndrzejPanufnik's (1914-1991)muchpublicizeddefection fromPoland
in 1954 was even morespectacular, since prior to this act the composerwas
favoured bytheregime,andnot withoutreason.Panufnik, alreadyactivebefore

37 PiotrGrella-Mozejko,'Tansmanjest Godotem?,"Tak i Nie l (1987).

38 Anon., "Polski kompozytor z Dubrownika" (Ludomir Rogowski), Ruch
Muzyczny 16 (1996): 39; KrzysztofBilica, "Roman Maciejewski - twrca
wyzwolony i zniewalajacy," Ruch Muzyczny 5 (1996): 8-11; Malgorzata
Gasiorowska,"Muzyka Romana Maciejewskiego w Lesznie," Ruch Muzyczny22
(1997): 13; OlgierdPisarenko,"Kompozytorodnaleziony"(Czestaw Marek), Ruch
Dzieje muzyki424, 462, 465-466.
Muzyczny26 (1997): 38-40; Schaeffer,
39 Schaeffer,Dzieje muzyki463.

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1939 (Piano Trio, 1934; Wariacjesymfoniczne/ SymphonicVariations,1935),

lost the majorityof his earlyworksduringthe 1944 WarsawUprising.The
surviving Uwertura heroiczna{HeroicOverture, 1939/52)and Uwertura tragiczna
(Tragic Overture , 1942,reconstructedin 1945, revised in 1955) mirrorthetime
of their conception-these are highly charged,dramaticpieces in which
underlying despairgives way to persistent angerandpurifying aggression.The
first post-war years witnessed Panufnik's extraordinary innovations-
experiments with and
pantonality individuallyinterpreted dodecaphony(The
CircleofFifthsforpiano, 1947); introduction of microtonality (Lullabyfor29
stringsand two harps, 1947); and employmentof non-traditional formal
strategies(Nocturne for orchestra,1947). Then, after his Sinfonia rustica
(1948)- a winning piece at the 1949 Chopin's centennial composers'
competition-was bannedby the Communistgovernment,the composer
embarked on "revising"his technique andwroteseveralworks(includingSuita
staropolska/Old Polish Suite fororchestra,1950) whichresultedin accolades
fromthepro-Stalinist critics officialhonourssuch as StatePrizesin 1951
(for Symfoniapokoju /Symphonyof Peace, 1951) and 1952 (for Koncert
gotyckil GothicConcerto,1951).Otherdistinctions followedand,at some point,
Panufnik, "as head of a Polish cultural delegationto China in 1953, was
personally receivedbyChairman Mao."
Then, a year later, Panufnikunexpectedly left in protestof political
oppression. As usual, his name was immediately erased fromconcertprograms
and publications. His music was not performed Poland until 1977.
Eventually, he settledin Britain(hismother'snativecountry) wherehe remained
untilhis death.There,he wrotethe majorityof his sinfonias(theyare really
symphonies,but he thoughtthe Italianwordsinfoniamore appropriate), of
whichSinfoniasacra shouldbe considered oneofthegreatest masterpieces in the
historyof Westernmusic. The work,completedin 1963 to celebratethe
millenniumof statehoodandChristianity in Polandandawarded thesame year
firstprize in thePrix de Composition Musicale Prince Rainier III de Monaco, is
a typicalexampleofPanufnik'smaturestyle.Structurally basedon thefirstfour
notesof theancientPolish melodyBogurodzica(Motherof God, 13thcentury),
itis laid outin twoclearlydividedparts.Said thecomposer: in all mywork,myemotional
methemusicalform. Thesymphony has twoparts:ThreeVisionsanda Hymn.The
Visions stronglyoppose each other:Vision /-the colloquybetweenthe four
trumpets a solemnandextended
represents fanfareto thesymphony; VisionII-

40 Anon.,Sir AndrzejPanufnik(1914-1991) Biography(WorldWide Web: Boosey

& Hawkes,International

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stringsaloneareusedtocreatea mystic andcontemplativeatmosphere; Vision///-a

dramatic tuttiin whichI wantedto createan interweaving conflict,mounting in
agitationandprotest, untila suddencutbringscomplete silence...followed by the
secondpartofthesymphony, theHymn.TheHymnhas thecharacter of a simple
prayerto the which
Virgin, would expressadoration
andwarmth. It startspianissimo
withstrings' harmonics, growing intoa moreandmoreardent
gradually invocation
untilat lastthefullmelodyofBogurodzica breaksthrough...41
Turbulentandpastoral,violentandsoft,theworkmakesan impressionof a
monument carvedseamlesslyfromone magnificent piece of sonic marble.What
is remarkableaboutPanufnik's is
technique thatsuch simplemeansas recurring
andslightly variegatedsmallmelodiccellsbasedon singleintervals do not wear
outbutprogressively intensify theexpression.
Sinfoniasacra was followedby other works: Landscapefor orchestra
(1962/65),KatynEpitaphfororchestra (1967, writtenin memoryof fifteen
thousandPolish officers imprisonedand then executedby the Soviet secret
serviceaftertheinvasionof 1939), Violin Concerto(1971, written forYehudi
Menuhin),Sinfonia sfere(1975), Sinfonia mistica (1977), Sinfoniavotiva
(1981), Bassoon Concerto (1985, composed in memoryof Father Jerzy
Popiehiszko, murdered byPolishsecretpoliceduringmartiallaw in the 1980s),
and9thSymphony {Sinfoniadi speranza,1986/87).
Panufnik'splace in thehistoryofthetwentieth-century musicas one of its
greatestsymphonists seemsto be assured.

In thelate 1940s andearly1950s artistshadto contendwithsocialistrealism,
intendedto glorifytheCommunistway of life.The bureaucracy demanded full
cooperation thesocietythrough
in theact of indoctrinating facileconsumption.
Despiteall thepressure, thereare fewexamplesof "red"musicin Poland.Even
themostaccessiblesymphonies, concertosandespeciallycantatas(favouredby
thesocialisttheorists) whichpraisedthe system,the leadersand the subjects,
wereusuallyrejectedby theirtargetaudience-factory workers,labourersand
farmers.The potentiallistenersas well as the majorityof the then-active
composersdeemedsuchworkstastelessandtheirauthors werein a senseexpelled
fromthe community.After1956, duringthe post-Stalinistperiod,several
composers(such as Gradstein, theauthorof Piosenkao naszejpartii/The Song
of our Party as well as full-fledged
symphonic andchamber works) disappeared
completely fromconcertlifebecauseoftheirunabashedsupportfortheideology
of socialistrealism.Ironically,theirnames are nowhereto be foundin the

41 QuotedafterBernard linernotesin Andrzej

Jacobson, - Sinfoniasacra,
Concerto etc.
festivo (London:Unicorn-Kanchana Records
UKCD 2020,1989)7.

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presentpublicationsand othersourcesreferring to Polish music and even its

Composing,as it was understood in Poland,had to lead to achievinga
certainlevel of psychologicalandspiritualfreedom. It is clearthatthe Soviet
aestheticsin musicwereneveradopted theirentirety and existedlargelyon
paper.Moscow's seriousand ongoingthreatsfailedfora numberof reasons,
includinghelpfromtolerant Sovietcomposerssuch as AramKhachaturian who
wereopposedto aesthetic uniformity.
Therefore, in thelate 1950s, Polish Communistactivistscame to realize
thatit wouldbe veryusefulforthemto allow domesticartiststo createmore
freelyand- above all- to let the West know about it. This would confirma
fresh,new imageof theCommuniststateas tolerant, supportive, and open to
various,oftenunusualideas. As a result,thebureaucracy beganto promotethe
non-orthodox formsof artisticactivity,investinglargeamountsin the arts.
Whatis interesting is thatit was the musiciansin generaland composersin
particularwho receivedthemostsignificant support.43 Music was not believed
to be as dangerousas themorecommunicative arts.It is obviousthatcomposers
caredneitherabout a smartideologicalcampaignnor about any subliminal
messages.They simplytook advantageof the new opportunities createdby
supportfromboththeCommunistadministration andthepoliticallyinquisitive


Composersbornbetween1920 and 1945 are veryinteresting because their
outputbelongsentirely to thetimes of the so called Polish People's Republic.
They can be dividedinto two groups- one groupincluding thosewho wereold
enoughafterthewarto debutduringtheStalinistperiod,andanotherincluding
thosewho begantheircareersduringthebest time fora moderncomposerto
incubateso far,thelate 1950sand 1960s.
AndrzejDobrowolski(1921-1990) studiedwithArturMalawski. His first
works(Wariacjesymfoniczne/ SymphonicVariations , 1949; Bassoon Concerto,
1953; 1stSymphony, 1955; Trio foroboe, clarinetandbassoon, 1956) arein a
mainstream style,unifyingboth neoclassicaland Romanticelements.As of

42 In 1972, it was AramKhachaturian - himselfrepresenting

- who reportedly
style saved the International
Festivalof Contemporary Music
"WarsawAutumn" from its demiseplannedby Moscowin responseto thefestival's
audienceboycottof the Soviet worksforcedinto the program.See Danuta
Gwizdalanka, w cieniupolityki,"
Jesienie RuchMuzyczny 19 (1997):
43 Grella-Mozejko,"WitoldLutoslawski" 15.

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1959 {StudiaiStudies for oboe, trumpet, bassoon and contrabass, 1959;

Passacaglia z 40 na 5/Passacaglia from40 to 5- electroacousticmusic on tape,
1959; Muzyka na tasm/Musicfor tape, 1962), Dobrowolski radicalized his
compositional vocabulary and began to experimentwith electroacousticmedia,
dodecaphony and new instrumental timbres.His best works stand out because of
theirunusual dark style characterizedby the juxtaposition of pointillistic and
static, dissonant textures.His Muzyka na tasm nr 1 {Music for Tape No. 1 ,
1962); Muzyka na tasm i obj solo {Music for Tape and Oboe Solo, 1965);
Muzyka na tasm magnetofonowa^i fortepian {Music for Magnetic Tape and
Piano, 1971); and A-La, muzyka na orkiestrnr 4 {Music for orchestraNo.4,
1974) are now consideredvenerableclassics of the European avant-garde.From
1976 until his death, Dobrowolski taught at the prestigious Hochschule fr
Musik und darstellendeKunst in Graz, Austria.
Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981) enjoyed a very successful life as a
composer.In 1949, togetherwithTadeusz Baird and conductorand composer Jan
Krenz (b. 1936), Serocki establishedGrupa 49 {Group 49), which was officially
aiming at introducingthe ideals of socialist realism in Polish music, but in
realitycontributeda greatdeal to preservingits independence.44The threeartists
wrotein the approved,easily digestiblestyle,but pro-Stalinistcantatasand mass
songs (favourite tools of the Polish composers' Soviet counterparts)were
conspicuously missing in theiroutput. As a matterof fact, Serocki and Baiid
composed some of their best works at that time. This certainly goes for
Serocki' s classic Trombone Concerto (1953). His otherpieces fromthat period
include the Szymanowski-inspired3 melodie kurpiowskie {3 Melodies from
Kurpie forsopranos,tenorsand chamberorchestra,1949), 1st Symphony (1952)
and 2nd Symphony(1953). In 1952, at the peak of the Stalinist terror,Serocki
wrote his reveredSuita preludiw {Suite of Preludes for piano), the very first
Polish twelve-tonecomposition writtenafterthe war. It was, indeed,an act of
courage. Serocki was certainlyamong those who were responsible for bringing
Polish music back to its Westernroots. Between 1958 and 1978, he wrote a
series of trulyinnovativeworkswhose technical brillianceand timbraifreshness
surpassed almost anything writtenduring that time: Musica concertantefor
chamber ensemble (1958), Epizody {Episodes for strings and 3 groups of
percussion, 1959), Segmenti for chamberorchestra(1961), Freski symfoniczne
{Symphonic Frescoes for orchestra,1964), Continuum for six percussionists
(1966), Forte e piano for two pianos and orchestra(1967), Swinging Music for
clarinet,trombone,'cello or contrabass and piano (1970), Dramatic Story for
orchestra(1971), Impromptu fantasque for an ensemble of recorders,mandolins,

44 Kempiski,XXVPoznarskaWiosnaMuzyczna107.

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guitars,percussionand piano (1973), Concertoalia cadenzaforrecorders and

orchestra(1974), Ad libitumfororchestra (1977), and Pianophonieforpiano,
electroacousticsignalprocessing and orchestra(1978).
In 1956, again with Tadeusz Baird, Serocki foundedthe International
FestivalforContemporary Music "WarsawAutumn,"whichhas since become
one of theworld'smostimportant eventsof thatkind.
Wtodzimierz Kotoski(b. 1925) has had stronginfluenceon at least two
generations of Polishcomposersas bothcomposerandteacher.His earlyworks
(Preludioe passacagliafororchestra, 1954; 6 Miniaturesforclarinetandpiano,
1957) betray Kotoski's preoccupationwith folklore,neoclassicism and
Romanticism.Then, he wroteMuzyka kameralna{ChamberMusic for 21
instruments and percussion,1958) and Musique en relieffor six orchestral
groups(1959), two works whose performances at the legendaryfestivalin
Donaueschingen in 1959 caused an immediate sensation. Anotherwork,Trio
forflute,guitarandpercussion,written in 1960, gainedimmensepopularity as
did the veryshortyet colourfulCanto per complessoda camera(1961). In
additionto instrumental music influencedby the latest serial techniques,
Kotoskiconcurrently produceda numberof acclaimedelectroacoustic works
na w
such as thefamousEtiuda jedno uderzenie talerz(Studyfor One Cymbal
Stroke,1960), Mikrostruktury (Microstructures, 1963) or Klangspielefortape
andlive electronics (1967). His musicfromthemid-1960son is characterized by
increasingmelodiousness, sonorous harmonies and warm,bright timbres:
Quintetforwindinstruments (1964), Concertoper quattrofor harp,guitar,
harpsichord, piano andorchestra (1965), Eurydicefortape (1970), Concertoper
oboe foramplifiedoboe, oboe d'amore,six woodwindsand orchestra (1972),
Eolian Harp for soprano and four performers (1973), Les ailes fortape (1973),
Muzykawiosenna(SpringMusicforflute,oboe, violin andsynthesizer, 1978),
Bora for orchestra(1979), Terraincognitafor orchestra(1984), Symphony
is considered the most "romantic" of the contemporary Polish composers - a
characterizationthatalludesless to stylistic
featuresthanto a spiritualaffinityto
Romanticism. Baird's musicalidiomis unquestionably modern:the new artistic
orientation thatbeganto prevailafter1956/57in Poland,and the rejectionof
socialistartisticdoctrinesoccurred whenBairdwas just turningto avantgarde
compositional techniques.After havingcomposedchiefly in a neoclassicalstyle
untilthemid1950s,he nowsoughthis inspiration in theSecondVienneseSchool,

45 Heinz-KlausMetzger, 1959,"Horyzonty
"Donaueschingen 5.2-5.3.
46 "WtodzimierzKotoskiodpowiadana pytaniaEwy Gajkowskiej,"Ruch
Muzyczny13 (1995): 8-10.

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What sets his music apartis its poignantand ecstaticlyricismsimilarto
Szymanowski's:"Not surprisingly, theimmediacy of the appeal of his music
lies in invigoratingexpressiveness,its evocationof psychologicalconditions,
emotionsand thoughts-which is, coincidentally, what links Baird to the
romanticlyrical tradition." Intentionally conservativein his first works
(Sinfonietta,1949; 1st Symphony,1950; Colas Breugnon,suite forfluteand
string 1951; Concertofororchestra,
orchestra, 1953), Bairdevolvedquickly.In
StringQuartet(1957), FourEssaysfororchestra (1958), Espressionivariantifor
violinandorchestra (1959) he alreadydemonstrated commanding imagination in
applying various atonal and twelve-tonetechniques,always used to induce
almostunbearableintensity of lyricaldrama.His maturestylehadnot changed
muchover the years,and the workswhichfollowedhave commonqualities:
Erotyki{Erotics for soprano and orchestra,1961), Wariacje bez tematu
{Variationswithouta Themefororchestra, 1962), Czterynowele{FourNovels
forchamberorchestra, 1967), Sinfoniabreve(1968), 3rd Symphony(1969),
Psychodrama for orchestra (1972), Concertolugubrefor viola and orchestra
(1975, writtenin memoryof the composer'smother),Canzona fororchestra

Although younger members ofthefirst
generationof post-wardebutants had
to live throughtheperiodof Stalinistdomination, theywerein generallucky
enoughto present theirfirst
BoguslawSchaeffer (b. 1929)startedtocomposeveryearlyin life.His first
cataloguedworkscome from1944/46{Trzykrtkieutwory/Three ShortPieces
forpiano, Sonatinaforalto saxophonesolo, Sonatinafortwo violins). Since
then,his outputhas grownapace,to includeoverthreehundred piecesin every
musicalgenreexceptopera,overthirty stageworks dramas
producedon a regularbasis in Poland and abroad {Kwartetdia czterech
aktorow/ Quartetfor Four Actors, 1966; Mrokii'Darkness,1980), as well as
sixteenbooks rangingfrommusic history{Dzieje muzyki/ Historyof Music,
1983) to lexicons{Muzyka XX wieku. i
Twrcy problemy 120thCentury Music.
Creators Issues, 1975) to theory{Wstep do kompozycji/Introduction to

47 Christiane a Campo, "Tadeusz Baird," liner notes in Tadeusz Baird -

Psychodrama,Canzona, Concertolugubreetc. (Austria:KOCH InternationalGmbH,
CD 3-1136-2, 1993) 8.
48 a Campo 8.

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Composition,1976). Schaeffer studiedwithArturMalawski,but is heirto
Kofflerand Schoenberg.Branded"the Pope of Polish avant-garde," he has
experimented to an extentunknown in Polish music before, often with arresting
results:Muzyka na smyczki:Nokturn/ Music for Strings:Nocturne(1953);
Monosonataforsix stringquartets (1959); Little Symphony:Scultura(1960);
Topofonicafor40 different instruments (1960); Musica ipsa foran orchestra of
low-pitched instruments (1962); Collage for chamber orchestra (1964);
Symfonia: muzyka elektronicznal Symphony:ElectronicMusic (1964/66);
Heraclitiana forvarioussolo instruments andtape(1970); Gravesonoforwind
instruments and percussion(1977). Throughoutthe late 1970s, 1980s and
1990s, Schaeffer to consolidatehis techniques-whichevenat the early
stages includedtonality,polytonality, jazz, blues as well as dodecaphony,
serialism,electroacoustics and so forth-and achievedan interesting blend of
virtually all known compositional media: Kesukaan for 13 strings (1978);
ConcertoB-A-C-Hfororgansolo, violin andorchestra (1984); Missa sinfonica
forsopranosolo, violinsolo, sopranosaxophonesolo andorchestra (1986); 3rd
PianoConcertoforpiano,computer andorchestra (1990).50
It was obviousfromtheverybeginning thatKrzysztof Penderecki (b. 1933)
was going to be a majorforcein Polish music.Penderecki studiedwith Artur
Malawskiand StanislawWiechowicz,andinstantly showedan exquisitetalent
(Sonata forviolin and piano, 1953). In 1959, the composerwon threemain
prizesat thePolish Composers'Union's Young Composers'Competition, the
firstprize being awardedto Strofy(Strophes for soprano,speaker and 10
instruments, 1959). Othersuccessesfollowedand, by the early 1960, he was
alreadyrecognized as an important contributor to the international new music
scene along withPierreBoulez, Luciano Berio, Olivier Messiaen, Karlheinz
Stockhausen, EdgarVreseandIannisXenakis.His important worksfromthat
timeincludeEmanacje(Emanationsfortwo stringorchestras, 1958); Psalmy
Dawida/PsalmsofDavid formixedchorusandpercussion(1958); Anaklasisfor
percussionand stringorchestra (1960); one of his best and best knownpieces
Tren(Threnody for52 stringinstruments, 1960; dedicated to thememoryof the
victimsof Hiroshima);Polymorphiafor48 stringinstruments (1961); Canon
for 52 stringinstruments and magnetictape (1962); Sonata for 'cello and
orchestra(1964); Capriccioperoboe e 11 archi(1965); De naturasonorisI for
orchestra(1966); andtwostring quartets(1960 and 1968, respectively). In these
works"Penderecki's anti-polyphonic; his aim is to createnoises
outof musicalsounds.The instruments... arestruck,rubbed,bowedcol legno,

49 PiotrGrella-Mozejko, (1),"Studio1 (1990):4.

50 PiotrGrella-Mozejko,
(2),"Studio2 (1990):3.

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andused almostentirely to producenoisesofvarying colour.The styleis thatof

VreseandXenakis,andPenderecki handlesitwitha suresenseofcontrast, form
andcoherence, yetalso with a steelyrigour." The composer's influence rapidly
increasedandso didhisconcernformusicalsubstance whichcouldstandthetest
of time.In 1965, he completed his monumental Passio et morsDomini nostri
Iesu secundamLucam (St. Luke Passion for soloists, speaker,boys' choir,
mixedchoirandorchestra), "the most successfulbridgebetweenthe religious
traditionand the New Music since Stravinsky and Webern."52 The music of
Passion is bothmodernanddeeplyrootedin theEuropeanpast. Penderecki did
not hesitateto reach for carefullyselectedpre-Baroque- Renaissanceand
medieval-formsandtechniques, yet,on a referentialratherthanstylisticlevel,
he also drewheavilyon the traditions of JohannSebastianBach and Anton
Bruckner. The processwhichbeganwiththePassion was broughtto fruition in
themid1970s,whenPenderecki finallychangedhisstyle.He started graduallyto
abandonearlierexperiments forthe sake of his own versionof Brucknerian
Romanticism:Kosmogonia(Cosmogonyforsolo voices, choirand orchestra,
1970); Utrenjaforsolo voices, choir and orchestra(1970); 'Cello Concerto
(1972); 1stSymphony (1973); ViolinConcerto(1977); theoperasRaj utracony
(ParadiseLost, 1976-1978,written to celebratethe bicentennial of the United
States) and Czarna maska (The Black Mask, 1984-1986); 2nd Symphony
"Wigilijna"(ChristmasSymphony, 1980); Te Deumforsolo voices,chorusand
orchestra(1980); Concertoper viola ed orchestra(1983); Polskie Requiem
(PolishRequiemforsolo voices,chorusandorchestra, 1980-1984);Sinfonietta
forstrings (1991); Concertoforfluteandchamberorchestra (1992); Quartetfor
clarinetandstringtrio(1993). It is noteworthy thatPenderecki'sinternational
statureallowedhim to makestronganti-Communist statements and encourage
otherPolishartiststo do thesame.
HenrykMikolaj Grecki(b. 1933) appearedon the international scene
relatively late, despite his winning several prestigious international
competitions, including1st prizeforhis Symphony"1959" in Paris and first
placeat theUNESCO International Rostrumof Composers,forAd Matremfor
sopranosolo, mixedchorusand orchestra (1971). It was not until the early
1990s thathe has becomea householdnamedue to the incredible commercial
success of his 3rd Symphony"Symfoniapiesni zalosnychff (Symphonyof
Sorrowful Songs forsopranoandorchestra, 1976). The symphony, recordedon
the Electra/Nonesuch label by sopranoDawn Upshaw and conductor David

5! Stuckenschmidt241.
52 Stuckenschmidt242.
53 Grella-Mozejko,"Penderecki,"12.

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ZinmanwiththeLondonSinfonietta, has sold over one and a quartermillion

copiesmakingitthebestsellingclassicalrecording to date.Grecki's symphony
"maintainsa mood of etherealluminositythroughout its considerablelength
(just under an hour). All three movements have verses concerningmothers
weepingfortheirchildren:in the firstmovementa fifteenth-century Polish
prayer, in theseconda prayercarvedon a Gestapoprisonwall,inthethirda folk
song.... It is undeniably a beautifulwork,elicitinga sense of meditative bliss
(hence its popularity)." Grecki, like many of his contemporaries, was
initiallyattracted to Bartk and Stravinsky (Piesni o radouci i rytmie/Songs of
Joyand Rhythmfortwo pianos and orchestra,1956; Sonata fortwo violins,
1957), thento serialism{Epitafium/ Epitaphformixed chorusand orchestra,
1958;Symphony "1959"',Czterydiagramynafletsolo/Four Diagramsfor Flute
Solo, 1959/61),and then to the Varse-influenced, extremelyviolent style
{Monologhiper soprano e tregruppi di strumenti, 1960; Scontriper orchestra,
1960; Genesis tre
[Elementiper archi,1962; Canti strumentali per 15 esecutori,
1962; Monodramper soprano,metallidi percussione e sei violbassi, 1963];
Choros I per strumenti ad arco, 1964). Beginningwith Refren(Refrainfor
orchestra,1965), he experimented with a veryoriginal,asceticand repetitive
style,which nonetheless allowed for outburstsoffury:Kantata/ Cantatafororgan
(1969); Canticum graduum fororchestra (1969); Dwie piesni sakralne(Two
SacredSongs forbaritoneand orchestra, 1971); Ad Matremfor sopranoand
orchestra (1971); 2nd Symphony Kopernikowska" ("Copernican"forsoprano,
baritone,mixedchorusandorchestra, 1972), Euntes ibantetflebantformixed
chorusa cappella (1973). This phase culminated with the aforementioned 3rd
Symphony and Beatus vir for bass-baritone, chorus and orchestra (1979). In
recentyears,Greckihascontinued to writein this style,perhapsleaningmore
andmoretowardsnew tonality:Harpsichord Concerto(1980); Recitativesand
ariosos "Lerchenmusik" forclarinet,'cello andpiano (1984-1985); O Domina
nostraforsopranoandorgan(1985/90);1st StringQuartet"Juzsi zmierzcha"
("Alreadyitis Dusk" 1988);2ndStringQuartet"Quasi unafantasia"(1991).
Zygmunt Krauze(b. 1938) is a uniquevoice amongPolishand international
composers.He has always stood away fromthe mainstreamavant-garde.
Dodecaphony, serialismand noise did not interesthim much.Instead,in the
early 1960s Krauze formulated his uniqueandfascinating brandof soft,delicate
and sophisticated repetitivemusic,whichhe calledunism,andwhich,in turn,
was influenced by thePolish artistWtadystaw Strzeminski's styleof reductive
painting, limited to multiplicatingsimple abstract forms and their slight

54 Mark Morris, "Henryk Mikotaj Grecki," A Guide to TwentiethCentury


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Krauze'simportant unisticworksare Trzykompozycjeunistyczne
{Threeunisticcompositionsfor30 instruments, 1964), StringQuartet(1965),
Dyptyk(Diptychfor14 strings,1967), Piecefor Orchestra no. 1 (1970), Piece
for Orchestra no. 2 (1971), One Piano Eight Hands for fourpianists(1973).
Thenthecomposertookon folkmusicwhich,placedwithintheunisticcontext,
revealedqualitiesoftenneglected bytheavant-garde: complexity of its intervallic
orders,euphonioustimbre,and structural flexibility.Krauze's folk-inspired
worksincludeFolkMusicfororchestra (1972),Ausaller Weltstammende for10
instruments or
(1973), Idyll forfolk instruments and tape (1974). Lateryet,he
further enrichedhis styleand absorbedelementsof Romanticism:2nd Piano
Among the unusuallylargegroup of successfulPolish composerswho
belongto thesamegeneration as GreckiandPenderecki one shouldmention Jan
Astriab(b. 1937), ZbigniewBargielski(b. 1937), Roman Berger(b. 1930),
MarianBorkowski (1934),JoannaBruzdowicz(b. 1943), BarbaraBuczek(1940-
1993), ZbigniewBujarski(b. 1933), AndrzejDutkiewicz(b. 1942), Juliusz
Luciuk(b. 1927),BemadettaMatuszczak (b. 1937), KrzysztofMeyer(b. 1943),
KrystynaMoszumanska-Nazar (b. 1924), EdwardPallasz (1936), Bronislaw
KazimierzPrzybylski(b. 1941), Marta Ptaszyska(b. 1943), Zbigniew
Rudziski(b. 1935), MarianSawa (b. 1937), Tomasz Sikorski(1939-1988),
Marek Stachowski, (b. 1936), Zbigniew Wiszniewski(b. 1922), Adam
Walaciski(b. 1928).


The lastthreedecadeshaveseentheemergence ofcomposers bornafter1945. To
themthequestionofwhether tobe an avantgardistornotis irrelevant.Theyare,
in fact,quiteimmuneto the constant pressure to writemusic which no one
wantsto listento let alone perform, be it socialist realismor avant-garde.
Inspired- but not necessarily influenced- by theiroldercolleagues such as
Grecki, or
Kotorski Penderecki, they have triedto writemusicwhichwould-
again- be able to stir positiveemotions and attractthe friendly,supportive
attentionoflistenersand performers alike. Hencetheirconsciousreturn to such
categories melody, tonalor quasi-tonalharmony, andold forms.Theirwork is
oftenreferred to as postmodernist, inclusive(and even eclectic)ratherthan
exclusive.Now, innovationsare occurring withina framework of historically
acceptedandrelevant forms,methods ofpitchorganization andstyles-no longer
does one haveto be innovative at anycost,andonlyinnovative.
Since 1989politicalconcernsarenotmuchof an issue forcomposerssuch
as KrzysztofBaculewski(b. 1950), Pawel Buczynski(b. 1953), Eugeniusz
Knapik,Krzysztof Knittel(b. 1947), StanislawKrupowicz(b. 1952), Andrzej

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Krzanowski (1951-1990), Hanna Kulenty, Aleksander Lasori, Pawel

Lukaszewski(b. 1968),StanislawMoryto(b. 1947),Pawel Mykietyn (b. 1971),
GrazynaPstrokoriska-Nawratil (b. 1948), JacekRogala (b. 1961), Elzbieta
Sikora (b. 1945), BettinaSkrzypczak(b. 1962), Pawel Szymaski,Anna
Zawadzka-Golosz(b. 1954)andLidia Zieliriska.
The musicof EugeniuszKnapik(b. 1951), Aleksander Lasori(b. 1951) and
Pawel Szymariski(b. 1954) well represents the postmodernist tendency. These
threecomposersaim at expressing thebeautiful,the poeticand the nostalgic.
Theircompositionaltechnique employseasily recognizablestylisticallusions;
namelyBaroque(Szymariski) andRomantic(Knapik,
Lasori)abound:Knapik- Commeau bordde la merforchamberensembleand
tape (1977); Corale,Interludio e Aria forflute,harpsichord andstrings(1978),
StringQuartet(1980),VersusI fororgan(1982), theoperaLa libertachiamala
liberta(1993-95);Lasori-Sonatas forviolinsolo (1975 and 1984), 2nd and 3rd
StringQuartets(1987 and 1993), Hymnand Aria forstringorchestra (1993);
Szymariski:Quasi una Sinfonietta (1990), Piano Concerto(1994), Recallinga
Serendeforclarinet andstring quartet(1996).
The worksofLidia Zieliska(b.l953) demonstrate herinterestin audio art,
instrumental theatreand music for children.She explores the most recent
experimental traditionand skillfullycombinesit withthe oldervocabularies.
Zieliska oftenwritesfor acousticinstruments with electroacoustic media:
FeaturePiece foralto saxophoneand tape (1987); ShortPiece for fluteand
computer ortape(1992),andcreatesstand-alone electroacoustic
worksas well as
aural/visuallandscapeswhosestrikingly cohesivenarrative and attractivestyle
set themapartfromhundreds of similarworks:ArtificialCult foraudio tape,
video tape, neon signs and visual objects (1985); Musica humanaor How
Symphonies Are Born(1989); Schon wiederdieseweienMause... (1996). Her
musicforchildren or youngperformers is of particularlyhigh quality:Sound
Museum, "live" installationfor children(1988); Soaked GroundMusic for
childrenaudience,narrator,conductor andtape(1993); La Vetrataforyouthstring
HannaKulenty(b. 1961) is now beingrecognized as theleadingcomposer
ofhergeneration. Overtheyears,she has evolveda styleinfluenced by Ligeti,
Xenakis,Dutchminimalistic composersand,to a certainextent,popularmusic.

55 JolantaBauman-Szulakowska, MagdalenaDziadek,Krystyna Turek,Utwory i

publikacjeczfonkw oddziauZKP (Katowice:Slask,1994)41-42,49-
50; Joanna - meandry
Cieslik,"Szymariski ewolucji,"RuchMuzyczny 21 (1997): 6-
9; BohdanPociej,"KoncertforepianowyPawlaSzymariskiego," RuchMuzyczny 6
(1995): 16-17; MartaSzoka,Polskamuzyka organowa w latach1945-1985 (Lodz:
Astra,1994) 34-35.

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Her enviablecraftwas developedandpolishedduringcompositionstudieswith

Wlodzimierz Kotoskiat theFryderyk ChopinAcademyof Music in Warsaw.
Kulentynow divides her time betweenHolland and Poland, enjoyingan
impressive andwell-deserved career.Hermajorworksincludetheoperainone act
The motherof black-winged dreams(1995); Ad unumforsymphonyorchestra
(1985); Breathefor string orchestra(1987); 1st Symphony(1989); 2nd
Symphony (1987!); Airforchamberensemble(1991); andtwo Violin Concerti
(1992/93 and 1996,respectively).
Fiftyyearsafterthe adventof CommunismPolish music continuesto
flourishanddevelopin relationto its richtraditionratherthanany particular


Le prsentarticlea trait la musiquecontemporaine en Pologne aprs 1945.

Musicologueset lexicographes, tant occidentauxque polonais, ont souvent
tendance attribuerau dgelpost-stalinien l'expansionobserve partirdes
annescinquante dansle domainede la musiqueclassiqueen Pologne.Or l'auteur
avanceque ce dgel de 1955-56 n'a pas eu l'impact causal prsumsur
l'volutionde la musiquecontemporaine en Pologne.Ds le milieudes annes
quarante existait en fait un certain nombre de compositeurspolonais faisant
preuve d'une attitude remarquablement innovatrice,indpendamment de leurs
collguesoccidentauxet pourtant parfaitesynchronie. De l provientla
facilitavec laquelle, la findes annescinquante,la musiquepolonaisea pu se
dbarrasserdes tracesmineureslaissespar le colonialismeculturelsovitique.
Dans le mmetemps,la relativelibertpolitiqueet l'ouverture nouvellement
conquisespermettaient, au niveauinternational, une reconnaissancedcoulant
directement de la rapiditaccruedes changesd'ides.Il existedes compositeurs
qui,depuis,se sonttaillsuneplace surla scnemusicaleinternationale, telsque
GrazynaBacewicz, Tadeusz Baird,HenrykMikolaj Grecki, Hanna Kulenty,
WodzimierzKotoski, Witold Lutosiawski,AndrzejPanufnik,Krzysztof
Penderecki etKazimierzSerocki.
Cinquanteans aprsl'avnementdu communisme, la musiquepolonaise
continuede prosprer et d'voluer,en rapportavec toute la richessede son
patrimoine pluttqu'avec unequelconqueidologie.

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