• Polish Composer Doodles Revealed

Last week I posted two doodles cropped from working materials of the 1950s by two Polish composers.

Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 18.36.22

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 16.29.58Here they are on their full pages.

The first comes from the first score of Symfonia pokoju (Symphony of Peace, 1950-51) by Andrzej Panufnik.  The blue-ink score is not in Panufnik’s hand, but it is overlaid with many markings and revisions in pencil and coloured crayon that are in his hand.  It is clear that Panufnik used this score to conduct the rehearsals for and first performance of Symfonia pokoju on 25 May 1951.  The revisions may or may not have been made during rehearsals for the premiere.  Panufnik would revise it again for publication by the Polish publishing house PWM (1952) and yet again when he renamed it Sinfonia elegiaca (1957).

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 10.41.18The doodle – the only one on this score – comes during the central movement.  It seems decorative rather than compositionally functional.  I am no expert, but like so many doodles it has repetitive, symmetrical qualities.  These, of course, tie in with Panufnik’s lifelong obsession with mirrored patterns.  Here there is an untidy vertical dislocation between the bottom and top parts of the doodle (or is it an attempt at perspective?).  More intriguingly, the top part seems to be built around a cross, with lines radiating outwards from its centre.  I can find no reason why it appears where it does, but then that is also a common feature of doodles.

The second doodle is of a different character and arguably is more like a graphic representation of an aural intention.  It comes from Henryk Mikołaj Górecki’s first sketchbook and relates to his pre-compositional work on the First Symphony ‘1959’.  The intersecting angular lines of different strengths are typical of Górecki’s directness and forcefulness.

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 16.38.11The annotation indicates that it relates to the second movement, ‘Antiphon’.  Below the line is a short sequence of seven notes.  This is the opening phrase of Poland’s most famous hymn, Bogurodzica, a source of inspiration for a wide range of composers, Górecki and Panufnik included.  In this instance, Górecki may have been echoing it in the finished score by using unison notes in ‘Antiphon’ and an oscillation between D natural and C natural in the third movement, ‘Chorale’.


7 Responses to • Polish Composer Doodles Revealed

  1. Jadwiga Mikulic says:

    Hi, I wonder if you know who has the manuscripts of Panufnik – I am in search for manucript of Sinfonia rustica for an exibition in Poland and have no further cues where to find it. Is it the second wife Camille Jesel Panufinik or as polish PWM said Boosey (they’ve said they dont have manuscripts)
    Your help with that matter would be very welcome

    • The early versions/publisher’s proofs of SR and other contemporary works are in the Jagiellonian University library. Tell me more about the exhibition!

      • Jadwiga Mikulic says:

        Hi thanks for such a quick response. For the Municipality of Wroclaw, belgian company Tempora (subcontractor curating the exibition) is is in preparation of the exibition about PL100 year independence anniversary. We are focusing on famous Poles who contributed to the world culture (literature, politics, science, sport, music, visual arts) It is going to be opened in the end of September 2018 in Musee of Architecture in Wroclaw, one of the musicians presented is Panufnik, hence my research. Best regards

      • Jadwiga Mikulic says:

        Thank you! I did found it in Jagiellonian Library and succeed in borrowing for the exhibition 🙂

  2. Jadwiga Mikulic says:

    I found it! Large collection of Panufnik manuscripts has British Library and among them Sinfonia rustica

    • At the Jagiellonian Library in Kraków you will find the Polish predecessors of the UK version: (a) a pencil copy in Panufnik’s hand, dated 1948-49, and (b) an ink copy in a copyist’s hand, annotated by Panufnik and dated 1948. The dating of these two seems a bit odd, in that you might expect the ink copy to postdate the pencil copy, but these are the dates that I noted down when I studied the two scores briefly in 2014. You also, of course, have the PWM publication. So there are in total four sources, all tellingly different.

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