Songs of Joy and Rhythm op. 7
Songs of Joy and Rhythm, Górecki’s first major composition, was first performed during a concert dedicated to his music held in State Higher School of Music in Katowice on 27 February 1958. This work drew the musical world’s attention to the young composition student. Leon Markiewicz, in his review of the concert, recalled the huge impression that the energy and boldness of this music made on him. Though Górecki revised his first version in 1959–60 and changed the titles of the individual parts (the originals were Prelude and Toccata, Recitative-Etude, Lyrical Prelude, and Little Piano Concerto), his daring sound is recognisable from the very first bars. In rapid succession, the music accumulates overlapping sound events and varied orchestral colours, the two piano parts interwoven in this extremely dense texture. The pianos are not treated as solo parts but as complements to the sound “magma” coming from the chamber orchestra with its extensive percussion section. The four sections of this composition last under 12 minutes and are based on similar thematic material, which means that the musical storm that breaks out in the beginning will push on almost without a moment’s rest till the very end. It is only in the final bars that the texture becomes more sparse with clear piano lines, and the music calms a bit. The title Songs of Joy and Rhythm is derived from the poem Song of Joy and Rhythm by Julian Tuwim. The composer, however, concentrated his creative invention not so much on the poem’s subject, a search for universal truth, but on the energy that comes directly from the joy and rhythmic dynamism of music.