Four Preludes op. 1
Four Preludes for piano was the first piece that Górecki decided to include in his catalogue, hence the status of opus 1. It was written in 1955, before he took up composition studies with Bolesław Szabelski in the State Higher School of Music in Katowice. It consists of four miniatures, all save the second in fast tempi. The whole takes about 8 minutes to perform. Despite the small scale, the sequence of preludes clearly draws on the traditional sonata cycle. The bi-thematic, most elaborate Prelude I, with a contrasted songlike second theme, is followed by a pensive slow movement in Prelude II, a miniature scherzo and a fast finale that sounds like a perpetuum mobile. Similarly to Górecki’s other works from this earliest period, the preludes abound in powerful concentrated energy, in which they reveal the closest affinities with the music of Bartók.