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Stefan Jarociński

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Stefan Jarociński (1912-1980) — musicologist, music critic, writer on music. He was a passionate of French music and culture, whose object of his interest lay in nineteenth- and twentieth-century aesthetics from the liminal area of music, literature, and visual art, as well as the history of music criticism. A specially important part of his output constitutes works is devoted to the music of Claude Debussy: Debussy and Impressionism and Symbolism, and Debussy. A Chronicle of life Work, and Epoch (both in Polish).

A colleague and friend of Lutosławski from Batory High School, he was a great admirer of his music and author of the book Witold Lutosławski, Materials for a Monograph (in Polish, PWM Edition, 1967), as well as articles devoted the composer’s music. In one such article he remarked: “He owes his leading role among all real artists not only, and perhaps not even, to the greatness of his talent, but to the impressive will and consistency with which he creates and develops his own musical language, as well as to the artistic results thus achieved” (“The Uniqueness of Lutosławski”, Ruch Muzyczny no. 21, 1961).

Witold Lutosławski remembers Stefan Jarociński in a conversation from 1981 with Elżbieta Markowska in the following manner: “I was connected to [him] with ties of a close, warm friendship. He devoted much time to my music, and was planning to publish a book on the subject of my compositions, having even begun in his time to prepare materials for it. (...) I have to admit that the things he said, and the manner in which he said them, as well as how he first reacted to my works, was of great importance to me. The same went for our shared musical passions and predilections. The fact alone, that Stefan devoted so much time in his life to Debussy, made him specially close to me, because in my own personal life Debussy also played an important role. (...) As goes for Jarociński’s creative work, especially the work on Debussy, I must say that I was also its ardent reader. (...) After Stefan’s death, I decided to honour his memory by composing a work dedicated to his person. I decided that it would be proper to relate it to Debussy’s music. I took the first four notes from the opening moment of Pelléas et Mélisande. These notes form the beginning of a certain musical idea, which is weaved further in a manner specific only to my music”.

The world premiere of Grave for cello and piano, took place on April 22, 1981, at the National Museum in Warsaw at an evening devoted to the memory of Stefan Jarociński. The premiere was given by Roman Jabłoński and Krystyna Borucińska.

kt / trans. mk