• Poles launch ‘100/100 Lutosławski’

18619_437344239663934_545288166_nLutosławski year was officially launched in Warsaw yesterday under the banner ‘100/100 Lutosławski’.  A new website has been published (in Polish/English), but precise details of events are yet to be fully revealed.  I outlined the details of the Philharmonia’s splendid Woven Words website, launched in October, in an earlier post.  Here, I’ll outline what has so far emerged from Polish sources.


• http://lutoslawski.culture.pl/web/lutoslawskien  The ‘100/100 Lutosławski’ website, hosted by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, is a companion to the one launched to mark the 75th anniversary of Szymanowski‘s death earlier this year. It currently has a three SoundCloud clips (Concerto for Orchestra, Symphonies 3 and 4), though not all the clips and the accompanying notes are credited.  There’s a short video discussion between Steven Stucky and Esa-Pekka Salonen as well as videos shared with the Woven Words website.  Its Calendar of events has still to be unveiled, and its list of Resources consists at the moment only of a short bibliography that has got as far as the letter ‘R’ (so no Stucky yet…).  No doubt the whole website will become more fully populated in the coming days and weeks.
• http://www.lutoslawski.org.pl/en/lutoslawski2013/info  This is the home of the Witold Lutosławski Society, which has existed since the late 1990s.  Like ‘100/100 Lutosławski’, it has both a Polish and an English site.  It promises details shortly.  By the way, for anyone with a short orchestral piece close to hand, the WLS is hosting a composition competition with a deadline of 25 January 2013, the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth.  The competition’s regulations may be accessed here.


The Lutosławski components of the Warsaw Philharmonic’s forthcoming programmes have been published for some time and may be found by scrolling the Warsaw Philharmonic’s concert schedule.  Its celebrations begin on 11 January 2013.  Until the ‘100/100 Lutosławski’ Calendar is uploaded, you can find details of quite a few concerts worldwide at https://www.facebook.com/LutoslawskiCentennialCelebration, under ‘About’.


It seems to me that it has been non-Polish ensembles and recording companies who have been taking the lead in this area of activity, notably the BBC SO under Edward Gardner for Chandos (4 CDs since 2010, a fifth on its way). Next month, Sony re-releases the Los Angeles PO/Salonen recordings of Symphonies 2-4 plus their newly-recorded version of the First Symphony.  The Polish Accord label started its Lutosławski Opera Omnia series in 2008, but there has been no further release since the third CD in 2010.  I am not privy to Polish recordings planned for release in 2013.  I am, however, very excited by the two ventures outlined below.

UnknownAs part of the official launch yesterday in the Witold Lutosławski Studio at Polish Radio and Television, the Polish National Audiovisual Institute (NInA) issued a press release (in Polish) containing the following information:

• A unique collection of recordings will be made available on the nina.gov.pl portal in the second half of 2013. All of Lutosławski’s compositions will be uploaded in at least one performance.  (As the 80th birthdays of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (d. 2010) and Krzysztof Penderecki also fall in 2013, their music will be similarly covered by NInA next year.)  This online collection – drawn from Polish Radio archives – will be developed further in due course.  Its accompanying texts, by the late Polish Radio broadcaster and musicologist Andrzej Chłopecki, will be available in both Polish and English.

• NInA will also issue a six-disc set called ‘Lutosławski/świat’ (Lutosławski/World) – 5 CDs and a DVD – in the second half of 2013.  The vast majority of these recordings, from Polish Radio and WFDF (Documentary and Feature Film Studio), are being released for the first time.  They include archive recordings conducted by Lutosławski, and the booklet notes, many by young musicologists, promise fresh perspectives.  The project editor is Adam Suprynowicz.

What is especially interesting in the Polish context is the promise that Lutosławski’s complete output will be represented, including those works (socialist-realist pieces, film music and popular songs) which, as the press release says, ‘he himself sometimes wanted to forget’.  This promises to be a fascinating document, one which sets Lutosławski’s rich legacy of pieces and recordings in the broadest possible context.

• New Website for Serocki


The uploading of a website devoted to the life and music of Kazimierz Serocki is hugely to be welcomed.  Serocki was one of the giants of post-war Polish music – he stood alongside Bacewicz, Baird, Górecki, Lutosławski and Penderecki.  Yet his music has languished both at home and abroad since his death in 1981 at the age of 59.  This new venture will surely do much to bring his name and output to a wider audience.  It exists in parallel English and Polish versions.

It’s hosted by the Polish Music Information Centre in Warsaw and has been brought to fruition as a partnership between the Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP) and POLMIC, facilitated by the software company Noyamundi.  The content has been created by Dr Beata Bolesławska-Lewandowska and Dr. hab. Iwona Lindstedt.  The texts have been written by Dr Lindstedt, whose most recent publication is Sonorystyka w twórczości kompozytorów polskich XX wieku [Sonoristics in the Work of Twentieth-Century Polish Composers] (Warsaw: University Institute of Musicology, 2011).

The site is easy to navigate.  There are six main sections: Biography, Timeline, Creative Output, Symphonic Frescoes, Gallery and Bibliography.  As yet, there is no Discography nor a list of recordings made or held by Polish Radio or Polish Television.  In this absence, you can find some information in one of my earlier posts, Serocki: A Severe Case of Neglect (3 March 2012).


Serocki’s biography has been broken down into four sections: Childhood and youth, In the new reality, Between Poland and the world and The composer’s personality. These are fluently written and are full of contextualised detail. There are plentiful quotations, especially in the final section’s recollections by his friends and colleagues.  It turns out the Serocki was much more of a recluse, unwilling to talk about his music, than his now more famous and younger compatriot, Górecki.


The Timeline is divided into decades: 1922-29, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980-81.  While some of its material is also to be found in the Biography, there are new details, illustrations and quotes.

Creative Output

Your instincts may draw you first to the Chronological list of works. The full details of dates of composition, premiere and publication, however, and of the location of the manuscript if unpublished, are to be found under Works by genre.  The entries under Works in detail are effectively mini programme notes, but can also be unexpectedly illuminating, such as that for Swinging Music, which draws on a lecture that Serocki gave in Basel in 1976.

The main weight of this section of the website is given over to four essays: Early works (1946-56, in three parts), Intermedium: dodecaphony and pointillism (1956-60), Mature works (1961-81, in three parts) and On Kazimierz Serocki’s film music.  Those looking for analytical insight into Serocki’s music will find an entrée here.

These essays take the reader smoothly through Serocki’s career, pointing out key aspects and complementing the details held for specific pieces in Works in detail.  They provide a good foundation for anyone minded, and able, to get hold of the scores and recordings for further study (outside Poland, unfortunately, it is no easy matter to gain access to such materials).  In the essay on the early works, it is good to see that Serocki’s contribution to the genre of the mass song is addressed (this aspect of life in the early 1950s is often glossed over).  The decision to group the mature works from 1960 into ‘Notation and sound space’, ‘Poetics of sounds’ and ‘Open form’ acknowledges the three main threads in Serocki’s creative thinking.  The essay on the film music is especially welcome.

Symphonic Frescoes

This section seems incomplete at present.  The first and second movements are represented by a recording of the work’s Polish premiere (at the 1964 Warsaw Autumn) with an accompanying scrolling score.   It is a great idea that brings one of Serocki’s most brilliant works to life.  Let’s hope not only that the rest of Symphonic Frescoes will be uploaded at a future date but also that other works will be similarly treated.  This would get round the perpetual bind that is the lack of scores and recordings outside Poland.


This has four subsections: Music, Voices, Video, Pictures.  Many of the items here appear in the earlier sections of the website.

Music: here you can listen to fragments of over 30 compositions from across Serocki’s career.  These soundbites last between one and six minutes, so you can get a good idea of not only each work but also each movement.  At some point it would be wonderful if complete pieces and movements were available.
Voices: at present, there are five friends and colleagues of Serocki whose spoken reminiscences of the composer (in Polish) have been gathered together from the archives.  The speakers are the composer Augustyn Bloch (seven extracts), the singer and author Hanna Wąsalanka, aka Sister Blanka (six), the Hungarian pianist and composer Szábolcs Esztényi (six), the composer Włodzimierz Kotoński (five) and the clarinettist Czesław Pałkowski, best known perhaps for being a member of the Music Workshop ensemble (four).  These reminiscences cover a wide range of topics, from Serocki’s famous sense of humour to recollections of Darmstadt.  There are no transcriptions or translations here, but transcriptions of excerpts from this archival sound material do appear earlier in the site, especially in Creative Output.
• Video: these are mostly short excerpts from performances at ‘Warsaw Autumn’ festivals of Episodes (1958-59), Niobe (1966), Poezje (1968-69), Fantasia elegiaca (1971-72, Ad Libitum (1973-77) and Pianophonie(1976-78).  There is also a complete performance of Continuum (1965-66), a voice-over introduction to an excerpt from Swinging Music (1970) played by Zygmunt Krauze’s Music Workshop, and a short animated filmWspaniały marsz (Splendid March, 1970) for which Serocki wrote the music.

If you want to hear complete performances of works by Serocki, several are currently on YouTube (some added quite recently), including the pieces for trombone from the early 1950s, Sinfonietta (1956), Episodes, Segmenti (1961), A piacere (1963), Symphonic Frescoes (1964), Continuum, Swinging Music, Fantasmagoria (1971) and Pianophonie.
A video of Fantasmagoria has recently been uploaded at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUzWEotLN0Q, as has one of Fantasia elegiaca at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4NuCcpakbU.

Pictures: these are grouped in six categories – Documents and correspondence (58), Photos (34), Printed scores (110), Music manuscripts (27), Texts (32) and Press clippings (32).  Although none of the texted items is translated here (some appear elsewhere on the site), the caption beneath each image is usefully in English. These are fascinating documents to explore, giving new insights into all periods of his public and personal life.


The Bibliography is almost exclusively of Polish sources, including items by the main authors on Serocki’s music, such as Tadeusz Zieliński and Tomasz Kienik, who have each published several articles.  Zieliński’s study O twórczości Kazimierza Serockiego [On Kazimierz Serocki’s Oeuvre] (Kraków: PWM, 1985) remains the only monograph on Serocki’s music.  There is also a short list of primary sources (lecture typescripts, manuscript notes) held in the Warsaw University Library (BUW).

• New Web Page for Marek Stachowski

A new web page for Marek Stachowski (1936-2004) has just appeared.  It’s partly in English – Biography, Works (an essay by Maciej Jabłoński), Compositions, Prizes and Awards – and partly in Polish – Kalendarium and Wspomnienie (Recollection, by Mariusz Dubaj).  Thanks to the composer and cellist Jacek Ajdinović for drawing this to my attention (his website is in Polish, but there’s an English bio at http://www.myspace.com/jacekwiktorajdinovic).


I have exceptionally happy memories of my meetings with Marek: at his home and at numerous concerts and festivals.  His music may have been eclipsed, like that of his fellow Cracovian Zbigniew Bujarski (b.1933), by his better-known contemporaries.  These include not only another Kraków-based composer, a certain Krzysztof Penderecki (b.1933), but also two composers from nearby Katowice, Wojciech Kilar (b.1932) and Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (1933-2010).  But Stachowski’s music is distinctive in its own right and is well worth exploring, not least for its often delicate and lyrical qualities.

This new website doesn’t (yet) have a Discography.  There is at present only one (CD-ripped) recording on YouTube, called ‘One Rose’.  It’s the concluding section from one of his first works, Pięć zmysłów i róża (The Five Senses and a Rose, 1964) for mezzo soprano, flute, xylorimba, trombone and harp, to a text by Tadeusz Kubiak.  It makes for an interesting comparison with contemporary pieces by his more famous colleagues.


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