Bravest Knight – Children Opera in 3 Acts
In the timeline compiled by Mieczysław Tomaszewski
in his two-volume monograph on Krzysztof Penderecki (Kraków, 2008), the
title The Bravest Knight appears
twice, first in the context of a puppet theater in Bielsko-Biała in 1959, and
then once more in reference to a children’s opera composed in cooperation with
Marek Stachowski for the Marcinek Puppet and Actor Theater in Poznań, in 1965. As Ludwik Erhardt writes (Kraków, 1975), the orchestral score "was almost entirely the work of Marek Stachowski".
The opera was written for a large soloist orchestra with a majority of recited parts, a choir, and a small orchestra with an emphasized wind section. The opera tells the story of the Scarecrow who proves his valiance by defeating the Sparrows in a battle over a poppy field. He is rewarded with a crown and the hand of the Poppy Seed Queen. The music is simple and tonal, reflecting the expectations of the genre and its young audience. The only trace of experimentation is found in the recorded sounds of a prepared piano.
When listening to the version of The Bravest Knight present here, one should keep in mind that the Krzysztof Penderecki has mentioned, in recent interviews, his interest in returning to the 1959 score and using it to create a new children’s opera. Let’s hope he fulfills his intentions.