Various pieces in transcriptions and paraphrases for two pianos (with Andrzej Panufnik)

Recording not available.

Opis materiału
  • Composer:Witold Lutosławski
  • Original title: Różne utwory w transkrypcjach i parafrazach na dwa fortepiany (wspólnie z Andrzejem Panufnikiem) (1940–1943)
  • year of completion: 1944
  • instrumentation: two pianos
German occupation authorities in Poland in 1939–1945 consistently destroyed the country’s intellectual life. Poles were forbidden from taking part in ambitious cultural events. Concerts could be openly organised almost exclusively in cafes – an opportunity people eagerly seized.

Events that became legendary included cafe performances of the piano duo formed in Warsaw in 1940 by Lutosławski and his friend Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991) from the conservatory, who was already a renowned composer. The programmes of these concerts went far beyond the repertoire of popular music, including great words of European music in original arrangements by Panufnik and Lutosławski.

The future author of Mi-parti recalled the activity of the duo: “Panufnik and I played light music, mostly improvised by us (we treated it really as entertainment in order not to die of boredom), as well as serious pieces, beginning with Bach’s toccatas, through Mozart’s, Schubert’s, Brahms’ waltzes, to Ravel’s Bolero. [...] We also played the suite from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. In a word, a repertoire that could be adapted for two pianos. We never wrote anything in detail, we just made some notes. Most of our repertoire – over two hundred pieces – was very faithful to the originals. In addition, we created free paraphrases of various works, for example, we harmonised Strauss’ waltzes in a manner that was slightly Ravelian. This gave us pleasure, because this music, very melodious [...] when harmonised in a colourful and sophisticated manner, was rather attractive.”

The collection of about 200 paraphrases and transcriptions by Lutosławski and Panufnik was lost in the Warsaw Uprising. The only work that survived was Variations on a Theme by Paganini – the one arrangement from this collection that Lutosławski made on his own and that he took from Warsaw in July 1944 with several of his other compositions.