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The Archive of Polish Composers (Archiwum Kompozytorow Polskich) is the only national institution dedicated to the comprehensive collection of sources that pertain to contemporary Polish music composition of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The Archive was founded in 1958 and is currently part of the Music Department of the University of Warsaw Library (Gabinet Zbiorow Muzycznych Biblioteki Uniwersyteckiej w Warszawie) (1).

The most important task of the Archive is gathering and securing sources connected to contemporary Polish music composition. In addition, the Archive prepares these sources for scholarly study and musical performance. It collects musical manuscripts as well as other documents related to composers, such as correspondence, theoretical writing, employment documents, personal and family documents, photographs, concert programmes, posters, recordings, and memorabilia. The Archive also receives other, diverse collections of music manuscripts from the Polish Composers Union (Zwiazek Kompozytorow Polskich) or from the Polish Music Edition (Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne). It also has personal documents and manuscripts of many outstanding Polish musicians and musicologists. However, only an incomplete print catalogue for this material is available.

The Archive includes, among others, two extraordinary collections: film music and theatre music. Often composers and researchers consider such music to be of marginal importance. There are, however, many fine works in this genre, and information about these holdings deserves wider recognition. These holdings also give rise to a number of problems and questions for archivists and musicologists.

Film Music

Film music manuscripts are often included among composers' other papers in the Archive. In some cases, we receive them as gifts or deposits from institutions. An especially important collection are the manuscripts that were sent to the Archive directly from the Polish film studio "SE-MA-FOR" (Studio Malych Form Filmowych [Studio of Small Film Forms]) in Lodz.

In post-war Poland, this studio was a key center for the younger generation of film-makers (from 1950-1989). The studio supported experimental and ambitious creative projects, producing a number of outstanding animated films, using drawn, cutout, model, and puppet animation techniques.

From 1960 to around 1980, the film studio regularly sent music manuscripts used for the soundtracks to the Polish Composers Union, who in turn directed them to the Archive of Polish Composers. This collection contains more than 500 music manuscripts written by some 100 composers (see Table 1). Many well-known composers, with worldwide careers on the concert stage, are represented in this collection. All of the composers have one, and sometime several, film scores in the collection. The composers who have the most film scores held in the collection can be found in Table 2. There is also a group of composers who specialised in writing film and theatre music whose manuscripts were regularly sent to the Archive for over a period of twenty years. These collections raise many questions: What is the best way to present this collection? Should the manuscripts of film music be treated as independent musical works? (as sometimes occurs in library catalogues), or should film music scores be treated as part of the film, with details about the score presented and built around the film? From a musicological perspective, questions arise about the nascent musical style in Polish films during the period from 1960 to 1985. And if so, how does this style relate to contemporary trends in concert music and other genres? Further, most of these compositions were written for similar instrumental ensembles. Does this mean that the film studio employed its own musical ensemble, which determined the composer's choice of instrumentation?

Although the work of all the composers in this collection are of interest, this article will focus on three of the most outstanding composers: Krzysztof Penderecki, Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki and Witold Lutoslawski, and their film and theatre music in the Archive of Polish Composers.

Krzysztof Penderecki (b. 1933)

In 1960, Penderecki composed music to the puppet-animated film Cactus, which tells the story of a prickly cactus who fell in love with a balloon. The score contains very traditional musical writing: it begins with a small ensemble of wind instruments and double bass, followed by sections for vibraphone, xylophone, celeste, and clarinet. These two instrumental groups alternate playing. While the writing is conventional, it is likely that such a style was required for the film.

During this time, Penderecki was going through a period of dynamic exploration of his musical language. He experimented with dodecaphony, punctualism, aleatoricism, sonorism, and serialism, in such works as Strophes (1959), Anaklasis (1959-1960), Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima (1960), and Polymorphia (1961). As such, his music garnered attention during the Warsaw Autumn Festival (Warszawska Jesieri) for Contemporary Music. Around this time, Penderecki received his first publication offers from Moeck Verlag and commissions from Western Europe, for example from Heinrich Strobel, director of the Sudwestfunk (SWR) music department, to compose Anaklasis.

Figure 2 shows the autograph score for Strophes, an example of the scores that Penderecki wrote at the same time he was working on Cactus. The score includes performance indications, for example: strike using the fist, place the card under the damper for the strings c-b1, press down on the keyboard with the left and right arms without making a sound, and so forth. Penderecki's Anaklasis is written for forty-two string instruments and six percussion groups. Commissioned by the Donaueschingen Festival in Germany, the work became a sensation, and was a turning point in Penderecki's career, as well as brought him fame. In reviewing the Festival, Carl Dalhaus (2) wrote that this work's aesthetic was close to that of film music. Did Penderecki's experiences with film find a reflection in his art music?

In addition, several of his film compositions also saw a second life as concert works, such as the pastiche Three Pieces in the Old Style from the film The Saragossa Manuscript (1965), directed by Wojciech Jerzy. There is also the beautiful neo-Baroque Aria, written for the film Je t'aime, je t'aime (I love you, I love you [1968]), directed by Alain Resnais. In 1965, Penderecki composed music for an animated puppet film that told the story of a rooster who woke up his town every morning (see fig. 3).

Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki (1933-2010)

Like Penderecki, Gorecki was a prominent figure in Polish music in the second half of the twentieth century. He created only one score, for the "SE-MA-FOR" studio, the 1969 short feature film Jedrek (see fig. 4), which tells the story of a young boy who took care of a small girl. The score of Jedrek seems to reflect the composer's contemporary interests. It makes use of a simplified harmonic language and long-sounding chords. By this time, Gorecki had already gone through his defining sonoristic period, examples of which include the orchestral works, Scontri (fig. 5a-c) and Genesis (fig. 6), the autograph scores of which are held by the Archive. Both of these manuscripts were given to the Archive of Polish Composers by the Polish Music Edition (Scontri op. 17 [Krakow: Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne, 1962] and Genesis op. 19 [Krakow: Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne, 1963]).

At the same time, Gorecki began his "old Polish" phase, characterised by straight-forward forms and musical textures, which led to his best known work, the Third Symphony - Symphony of Sorrowful Songs (III Symfonia--Symfonia piesni zalosnych op. 36 [Krakow: Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne PWM, 1977]).

Theatre Music

In Poland, the early 1980s was a period of very important social and political events that intended to overthrow the Communist regime (3). Immediately afterwards, martial law was declared, which hindered these changes. At this difficult time, three Warsaw theatres, the Polish Theater (Teatr Polski), the Dramatic Theater (Teatr Dramatyczny), and the Theater Studio (Teatr Studio) decided to donate music manuscripts to the University of Warsaw Library. This collection contains more than 300 music manuscripts written by around fifty composers. Many well-known composers, including those with worldwide careers on the concert stage, are represented in this collection (see Table 3). All of the composers have one, and sometime several, theatre scores in the collection. The composers who have the most theatre scores held in the collection can be found in Table 4. The remaining performance materials--scripts, posters, photographs, and so forth--were sent to the Museum of Theatre (Muzeum Teatralne w Warszawie). Is it possible to rescue the artistic value of music composed for the theatre? While film music is preserved through a completely finished film, incidental music is composed for a specific theatrical production. It can be seen as ephemeral and may disappear as soon as the performance ends.

In the collection of theatre music, there are some very valuable music manuscripts, including autographs of Witold Lutoslawski (1913-1994), one of the most important Polish composers of the twentieth century. These manuscripts are especially valuable as many of Lutoslawski's manuscripts and papers are held by the archives of the Paul Sacher Stiftung in Basel, Switzerland. Polish libraries and archives only possess selected documents connected with the composer. Nonetheless, the Archive does possess one of the few collections of materials related to Lutoslawski, including correspondence, pictures, souvenirs, and a small set of musical manuscripts. The Archive of Polish Composers has scores of Lutoslawski's theatre music for four works, composed between 1948 and 1958, Le Cid, for the drama by Pierre Corneille, which premiered 8 January 1948 at the Polish Theatre in Warsaw, and marked Lutoslawski's debut as a composer of theatre music; Horsztynski, for the drama by Juliusz Slowacki, which premiered 10 March 1953 at the Polish Theatre in Warsaw (see fig. 7); Lorenzaccio, for the drama by Alfred de Musset, which premiered 25 June 1955 at the Polish Theatre in Warsaw (see fig. 8a-b), and La Folle de Chaillot, for the drama by Jean Giraudouxs, which premiered 6 September 1958, also at the the Polish Theatre in Warsaw.

Did Lutoslawski use his ideas and compositional achievements while writing incidental music? Martina Homma, a well-known German musicologist and Lutoslawski scholar, contends that it was the other way around (4). That is, Lutoslawski gained ideas for new works from his experience in the theatre. Such a process occurred with the incidental music to De Musset's Lorenzaccio, which Lutoslawski alluded to in his Third Symphony, as well as in other works, while he was developing his concept of form and organisation of time.


This article focuses on how compositions for films and theatre by outstanding Polish composers such as Penderecki, Lutoslawski, and Gorecki refer to their artistic creativity. This collection is worth exploring in many ways, not only in its musical context, but also in its social context as documents of history, as well as film and theatre life in Poland.

Magdalena Borowiec is a musicologist and curator. Since 2001, she has been working in the Music Department of the University of Warsaw Library and in the Archives of Polish Composers. She is also curator of exhibitions and co-editor of a series of multimedia and Web publications devoted to Polish composers.

Aleksandra Gorka is a musicologist and music librarian. Since 2015, she has been working in the Music Department of the University of Warsaw Library, cataloguing and describing the material in the Archives of Polish Composers, a unique collection in Poland focused on the comprehensive documentation of sources of contemporary Polish music.

(1.), accessed 2 March 2018.

(2.) Peter Andraschke, "Penderecki in Donaueschingen", in Krzysztof Penderecki, Musik im Kontext: Konferenzbericht Leipzig 2003, ed. Helmut Loos and Stefan Keym (Leipzig: Gudrun Schroder, 2006), 247.

(3.) Krzysztof Baculewski, Wspolczesnosc. Czesc 2: 1975-2000. Historia Muzyki Polskiej, 7 (Warsaw: Sutkowski Edition, 2012).

(4.) Martina Homma, Witold Lutoslawski: Zwolfton-Harmonik, Formbildung, "aleatorischer Kontrapunkt": Studien zum Gesamtwerk unter Einbeziehung der Skizzen (Koln: Bela Verlag, 1996).

Caption: Fig. 1. Krzysztof Penderecki, Cactus (1960); selection from the autograph score (signature: BUW-AKP Mus. LXXXIII rps 8).

Caption: Fig. 2. Krzysztof Penderecki, Strophes, for soprano, narrator and ten instrumentalists (1959) selection from the autograph score (signature: BUW-AKP Mus. XXX rps 7).

Caption: Fig. 3. Krzysztof Penderecki, The Rooster (1965); selection from the autograph score (signature: BUW-AKP Mus. LXXII rps 6).

Caption: Fig. 4. Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki, Jedrek (1969); selection from the autograph score (signature: BUW-AKP Mus. CCC rps 8).

Caption: Fig. 5a-c. Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki, Scontri for orchestra (1960); selections from the autograph score (signature: BUW-AKP Mus. CCV rps 2).

Caption: Fig. 6. Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki, Genesis, instrumental songs for 15 musicians (1962); selection from the autograph score (signature: BUW-AKP Mus. CCIV rps 7).

Caption: Fig. 7. Witold Lutoslawski, Horsztynski, piano reduction (1953); selection from the autograph score (signature: BUW-AKP Mus. CCCXXXVI rps 6).

Caption: Fig. 8a-b. Witold Lutoslawski, Lorenzaccio (1953); selections from the autograph score (signature: BUW-AKP Mus. CCCXXXVI rps 8).
Table 1. Polish Composers of Film Music from "SE-MA-FOR" Studio in the
Archive of Polish Composers.

1.    Anbild, Karol
2.    Aniolkiewicz, Czeslaw
3.    Baird, Tadeusz
4.    Bauer, Jerzy
5.    Berezowski, Seweryn
6.    Borkowski, Jan
7.    Bujarski, Zbigniew
8.    Czernelecki, Zbigniew
9.    Dobrzariski, Jerzy
10.   Dobrzyriski, Tadeusz
11.   Dowlasz, Bogdan
12.   Figiel, Piotr
13.   Gartner, Katarzyna
14.   Gajewski, Stefan
15.   Geiger, Waclaw
16.   Gertner, Wladyslawa
17.   Gorecki, Henryk Mikolaj
18.   Hajdun, Janusz
19.   Hertel, Piotr
20.   Hundziak, Andrzej
21.   Izykowski, Roman
22.   Jabloriski, Henryk Hubertus
23.   Jabloriski, Jerzy
24.   Jel, Stefan
25.   Kaszycki, Lucjan
26.   Kazanecki, Waldemar
27.   Kielczewski, Jerzy
28.   Kiesewetter, Tomasz
29.   Kilar, Wojciech
30.   Klejne, Henryk
31.   Kluczniok, Alojzy
32.   Klukowski, Jozef
33.   Knittel, Krzysztof
34.   Komeda, Krzysztof
35.   Konieczny, Zygmunt
36.   Kotoiiski, Wlodzimierz
37.   Krauze, Zygmunt
38.   Krzemieiiski, Witold
39.   Kurylewicz, Andrzej
40.   Kuzniak, Henryk
41.   Lipczyiiski, Zbigniew
42.   Ludwig, Piotr Sebastian
43.   Lustig, Arkadiusz
44.   Lusztig, Marek
45.   Machl, Tadeusz
46.   Majewski, Czeslaw
47.   Maklakiewicz, Jan Adam
48.   Maksymiuk, Janusz
49.   Maksymiuk, Jerzy
50.   Malawski, Artur
51.   Malecki, Maciej
52.   Marczewski, Piotr
53.   Markiewicz, Adam
54.   Markowski, Andrzej
55.   Matuszkiewicz, Jerzy
56.   Michniewski, Wojciech
57.   Milian, Jerzy
58.   Mlodziejowski, Jerzy
59.   Mlynarski, Wojciech
60.   Modelski, Zdzislaw
61.   Mych, Janusz
62.   Mycielski, Zygmunt
63.   Namyslowski, Zbigniew
64.   Orlewicz, Leszek
65.   Paciorkiewicz, Tadeusz
66.   Pakulski, Jerzy
67.   Pallasz, Edward
68.   Panufnik, Andrzej
69.   Parzyiiski, Waldemar
70.   Pawlowski, Jozef
71.   Penderecki, Krzysztof
72.   Perkowski, Piotr
73.   Pegowski, Edward
74.   Prejzner, Tadeusz
75.   Proszyiiski, Stanislaw
76.   Przybylski, Bronislaw Kazimierz
77.   Radwan, Stanislaw
78.   Rokicki, Andrzej
79.   Rudziiiski, Zbigniew
80.   Rybicki, Feliks
81.   Sadowski, Krzysztof
82.   Serocki, Kazimierz
83.   Sewen, Marek
84.   Slawiiiski, Adam
85.   Slawsiiiski, Janusz
86.   Stanczewa, Zofia
87.   Szymonowicz, Zbigniew
88.   Swiecicki, Mateusz
89.   Turski, Zbigniew
90.   Urbaniak, Michal
91.   Viski, Andreas
92.   Walaciiiski, Adam
93.   Wiehler, Zygmunt
94.   Wislocki, Stanislaw
95.   Wiszniewski, Zbigniew
96.   Zawierski, Jan

Table 2: Composers with the largest number of manuscripts in the
Film collection.

1.   Hertel, Piotr (44 manuscripts)
2.   Stanczewa, Zofia (43 manuscripts)
3.   Walaciriski, Adam (36 manuscripts)
4.   Bujarski, Zbigniew (35 manuscripts)
5.   Matuszkiewicz, Jerzy (35 manuscripts)
6.   Czernelecki, Zbigniew (27 manuscripts)

Table 3: Polish composers of theatre music from the Teatr Polski,
Teatr Dramatyczny, and Teatr Studio in the Archive of Polish

1.    Aniolkiewicz, Czeslaw
2.    Bacewicz, Grazyna
3.    Baird, Tadeusz
4.    Bloch, Augustyn
5.    Borzym, Juliusz
6.    Ciechan, Zbigniew
7.    Drobner, Mieczyslaw
8.    Gardo, Ryszard
9.    Kaszycki, Jerzy
10.   Kaszycki, Lucjan
11.   Kazanecki, Waldemar
12.   Kilar, Wojciech
13.   Kisielewski, Stefan
14.   Konieczny, Zygmunt
15.   Kotoiiski, Wlodzimierz
16.   Lutoslawski, Witold
17.   Maksymiuk, Jerzy
18.   Maklakiewicz, Jan Adam
19.   Malecki, Maciej
20.   Marczewski, Piotr
21.   Markowski, Andrzej
22.   Moss, Piotr
23.   Mycielski, Zygmunt
24.   Nowacki, Zdzislaw
25.   Ochalski, Tomasz
26.   Pallasz, Edward
27.   Penderecki, Krzysztof
28.   Poznakowski, Ryszard
29.   Proszyiiski, Stanislaw
30.   Rowicki, Witold
31.   Rudziiiski, Witold
32.   Sadowski, Krzysztof
33.   Schaffer, Boguslaw
34.   Schiller, Leon
35.   Serocki, Kazimierz
36.   Sielicki, Ryszard
37.   Skrowaczewski, Stanislaw
38.   Slawiniski, Adam
39.   Slowiniski, Wladyslaw
40.   Swolkieii, Henryk
41.   Szeligowski, Tadeusz
42.   Swiecicki, Mateusz
43.   Trzaskowski, Andrzej
44.   Turski, Zbigniew
45.   Walaciniski, Adam
46.   Wasowski, Jerzy
47.   Wiechowicz, Stanislaw
48.   Wiszniewski, Zbigniew

Table 4: Composers with the largest number of manuscripts in the
theatre collection.

1.   Baird, Tadeusz (44 manuscripts)
2.   Turski, Zbigniew (16 manuscripts)
3.   Ochalski, Tomasz (11 manuscripts)
4.   Markowski, Andrzej (9 manuscripts)
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Author:Borowiec, Magdalena; Gorka, Aleksandra
Publication:Fontes Artis Musicae
Geographic Code:4EXPO
Date:Jan 1, 2018
Next Article:The IAML Board has recommended that Anders Cato be appointed as the next Secretary General of the Association.

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