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Mieczysław Tomaszewski

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Mieczysław Tomaszewski (b. 1921) — musicologist, music publisher, pedagogue, founder of the Diploma Program in Musical Editorship, Director in the department of Theory and Interpretation of Musical Works at the Academy of Music in Cracow. In the years 1952-1988 he was active in the PWM Edition, from 1964 as Principal Director. In the years 1976-1981 he lead the Baranów Musical Meetings. He is author of numerous and highly valued works in Chopin studies and the history of Romantic song, publisher of works by Witold Lutosławski, and author of several texts devoted to the latter’s music.

In 1952, after beginning his work at the PWM Edition, Mieczysław Tomaszewski called into being its Editorial Program Council, headed by Witold Lutosławski. The relations between the composer and the publisher went beyond the sphere of musical, publishing house matters, as well as those relating to the care for the good of Polish music, which at the time required a decisive, yet simultaneously diplomatic resistance to pressures “from above”.

“These were, after all, strange and difficult times” – Tomaszewski said in conversation with Grzegorz Michalski. “It was necessary to prepare each meeting, because representatives of the Ministry and the Party were in attendance. For the PWM publishing plan to be passed according to our wishes, many prior determinations and agreements had to be made without their presence. In such situations our contacts had the opportunity of becoming tightened. (...) It would be difficult for me to call anything other than friendly several gestures which Witold Lutosławski made in my direction. I have in mind for example a song, which he dedicated to me. He found the words in [the works of Kazimiera] Iłłakowiczówna and probably had a good laugh to himself when he re-composed them. The poem, when we take into account the jubilee occasion, was strangely, and perhaps even shockingly titled: ‘Not for You’. And in the remainder of the text nothing besides the refrain repetition of ‘Not for you, for me, not for you, for me’, and so on and so forth. But at the end there appears a verse which I cannot possibly quote, the one which brings the punchline: because this very thing was most important for ‘you’”.

The song received its world premiere in Cracow at a concert of songs written by various composers in celebration of Mieczysław Tomaszewski’s sixtieth birthday. Lutosławski’s biographers called the song “Not for You” a “miniature masterwork”.

On January 24, 2013, Mieczysław Tomaszewski was decorated with the Witold Lutosławski Centenary Medal.

kt / trans. mk