• WL100/47: Folk Melodies, **22 July 1946

It has been assumed for some time that Lutosławski’s collection of little teaching pieces, Melodie ludowe (Folk Melodies, 1945), was premiered in Kraków in 1947.  A contrary date now also has currency: 22 July 1946.*  There is agreement on the pianist, however (Zbigniew Drzewiecki).  Folk Melodies was among the first of Lutosławski’s pieces to be published (1947), preceded by the Two Studies for piano which came out in 1946.  Although these ‘easy pieces’ were recorded on LP by Andrzej Dutkiewicz (1975) and Andrzej Ratusiński (1982), it appears that they have yet to be issued digitally as the complete set of twelve.  The score uses Polish and French (then the default foreign language) and there’s something rather charming about the French translation of the tunes.**  At this immediate post-war stage, PWM (Polish Music Publishers) showed a certain design flair that was soon replaced by plain brown covers.

IMG_4485 copy

For non-Poles, the date of 22 July may mean little, but from 1945 onwards it was used to celebrate the symbolic foundation of the Peoples’ Republic of Poland (more on this in the next posts).  It is not known whether the event at which Lutosławski’s Folk Melodies was premiered formed part of the 1946 celebrations, but it seems unlikely that it was mere coincidence.

* While most books on Lutosławski give 1947 (including monographs by Steven Stucky, Charles Bodman Rae and Jadwiga Paja-Stach), Martina Homma, Stanisław Będkowski & Stanisław Hrabia and the Witold Lutosławski Society in Warsaw give the earlier date.
1. Ach, mój Jasieńko – Oh, mon Jeannot (Oh, my Johnny)
2. Hej, od Krakowa jadę – Je pars de Cracovie (Hey, I come from Kraków)
3. Jest drożyna, jest – Sur le chemin du village (There is a path, there is)
4. Pastereczka – La bergère (The little shepherdess)
5. Na jabłoni jabłko wisi – Une pomme au pommier (An apple hangs on the apple tree)
6. Od Sieradza płynie rzeka – La rivière de Sieradz (A river flows from Sieradz)
7. Panie Michale – Compère Michel (Master Michael)
8. W polu lipeńka – Le tilleul dans le champ (The lime tree in the field)
9. Zalotny – Le prétendant (Flirting)
10. Gaik – Le jars (The grove)
11. Gąsior – L’oie (The gander)
12. Rektor – Le maître d’école (The schoolmaster)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: