• WL100/5: Notebook, 2 January 1963

Cymer the carpenter

Lutosławski’s sketches have many worded sections exploring compositional ideas, often connected to a particular work.  He also jotted down ideas intermittently in a notebook.  He did this most intensively between 1959 and 1966, with further entries in 1969-74, half a dozen in 1979 and one in 1984.  Since his death in 1994, the notebook has become known as both Zeszyt mysłi (Notebook of Ideas) and Zapiski (Notes).  Excerpts have appeared in several publications, but the first complete publication was in English, in Zbigniew Skowron’s Lutosławski on Music (Lanham MD: Scarecrow Press, 2007), pp.291-329.  The Polish version was published as a separate volume, again edited by Zbigniew Skowron: Zapiski (Warsaw: University of Warsaw Press, 2008).

From time to time, as part of the WL100 series, I’m going to post both pithy and discursive entries from the notebook, on the day and month that he wrote them.  Here’s the first, which seems a quite random jotting.

Cymer the carpenter said: a man learns all his life but still dies stupid. 

Stolarz Cymer powiedzał: człowiek uczy się całe życie i jeszcze głupi umiera.

Witold Lutosławski, 2 January 1963  [my translation]

Who was Cymer the carpenter?  I’ve come to the simple conclusion that perhaps he came to do some woodwork in Lutosławski’s flat, fifty years ago today.

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