Ballet music for Janusz Makarczyk’s play “Haroun al-Rashid” for orchestra
Recording not available.
It is probably impossible to determine the circumstances behind the composition of the piece – we only know that the Makarczyk and the Lutosławski families were distantly related. The composer recalled the work in a later conversation: “It was a short [...] ballet fragment, which I wrote for a play [...] probably never staged, at least I did not know if it had ever been staged and the music was never used. I rewrote the ballet fragment for a full symphony orchestra – of course the whole illustration was written for a small ensemble – and this was performed during a morning concert [...].”
This performance was, in fact, Lutosławski’s
debut as a composer of symphonic music, though later he did not give much
weight to the event. The nature of the score, which was lost during the war,
remains a mystery today. We can only conjecture that the music contained
oriental elements, and that the young composer may have modeled it on the dance incorporated by
Szymanowski in Act II of his opera King
Roger. In his review (Kurier Poranny, 1 June 1933), Jan Maklakiewicz describes
Lutosławski as an artist with “a masterful command of the compositional
technique, able to effectively apply special orchestral colouring”.