Recording not available.
On his arrival in Kraków, where he intended to take up private violin studies, Krzysztof Penderecki had with him “a suitcase full of compositions”, as musicologist Mieczysław Tomaszewski describes. After all, he had been composing music since childhood. In the early years of his systematic studies his creative talent – recognised by Franciszek Skołyszewski, his music-theory professor at the Academy of Music in Kraków – developed mainly on the basis of obligatory exercises in counterpoint: mostly canons and fugues. In this context, his Sonata for violin and piano (1953), soon withdrawn by the composer but again presented in public 50 years later – is a true rarity.
During composition studies, Penderecki regularly added new items to his output. Most
of these were, again, academic exercises – harmonic and contrapuntal “essays”
in the style of Bartók, Debussy and even Messiaen. He also wrote some more
independent works, which, however, he similarly considered as unimportant,
routine academic tasks. He made an exception, however, for his Miniatures for clarinet and piano
(1956), which were published by PWM Edition, and for his songs for baritone and
piano to words by Staff (The Sky at Night,
Silence) and Gałczyński (A Request for Happy Islands), to which he
returned in 2010, including them in the cycle “A Sea of Dreams did Breathe on Me...” – Songs of Reflection and Nostalgia.
From what we are able to glean from biographers and the composer, as a student Penderecki wrote flute miniatures, a violin capriccio, a string quartet, a symphonic scherzo, an overture for orchestra and probably many other pieces that today are considered lost. Interestingly, there is a note of nostalgia in the composer’s remarks about his juvenilia. “I wish I had treated them more seriously at that time”, as he stated to violinist Jakub Haufa. “I did not think they could be appreciated enough to justify preserving them. I composed new pieces every week since my professor demanded it. Then I just handed them in, and somehow they would all get lost.”