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Ryszard Kapuściński

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Ryszard Kapuściński (1932-2007) — journalist, reporter, writer, traveler. He was a reporter for the Polish Press Agency on several continents, and with extreme perception observed and interpreted the realities of a rapidly changing world. He authored a number of best-selling books, translated into many languages. The best known are: If All Africa... (in Polish only), The Soccer War, The Emperor: Downfall of an Autocrat, Imperium, Travels with Herodotus, The Shadow of the Sun, and the series of Lapidariums (in Polish only).

He told the story of his new acquaintanceship with Witold Lutosławski to Grzegorz Michalski: “Together with Danusia (dim. of Danuta – trans. note), they liked very much what I wrote. Witold said once, probably to Artur Międzyrzecki, that he would like to invite me to his home. That’s how I found my way to Śmiała. This was the beginning of the 70s. Later, we were both in the Citizens’ Committee lead by Lech Wałęsa, so we participated in its sessions”.

Kapuściński had the opportunity to observe and admire Lutosławski in many situations unrelated to his musical activity: “He thought that the artist leads a double life. One in which he himself creates, and another in which he enters into the life of all people – the social life. He is that type of great creator, who had those two existences, two perfectly separated presences”.

The writer’s long-lasting acquaintanceship and frequent contacts with Witold Lutosławski enabled him to formulate many accurate observations about him as a composer and as a person: “I was most taken by Witold’s sense of great responsibility for the work of art, his care for it. I remember this painstaking kind of detail-work and the corrections, which can drive the people around ‘nuts’. A continued feeling of want, a lack in satisfaction. These aren’t good subjects for discussion. And this philosophy of his, that talent is an entrusted gift, which is offered to the human being by nature or God, but which must be paid back, given testimony to through creativity. He had the feeling that he has to honourably fulfill this mission”.

kt / trans. mk