Ten Polish Dances

orchestration: chamber orchestra
  1121, 1100, batt(2), archi
year composed: 1953
about premiere
location: Kraków
date: 9 XI 2005
orchestra: Narodowa Orkiestra Symfoniczna Polskiego Radia
conductor: Jan Krenz
edition: PWM

Lutosławski composed the Ten Polish Dances in 1951 with the recording company Polskie Nagrania (Polish Recordings) and a children's music recordings library in mind. In contrast to many other pieces written for the youngest musicians, its the composer did not envisage children playing the music. For this the index of difficulty for the Dances is definitely too high - we are thus dealing with a composition destined for beginner listeners.

While the title itself - Ten Dances - suggests a loose collection of pieces, we are actually dealing with a cycle that has been carefully thought out. It contains eight settings of Silesian folksongs and two settings of songs from the Kaszuby region, inserted in the fourth and eighth place (Grozik and Maryszunka, respectively). In most of the cases Lutosławski used lively themes, but calmer pieces also occur among the Dances (the Kaczok in E flat major, No. 5 furnishes the primary example, and which, judging from the note Moderato maestoso - alla polacca is also a "stilted" polonaise written tongue-in-cheek).

The lively Szejper - the final and the most developed element of the cycle, counting over 130 measures - serves as the undisputed climax of the cycle.

mg / trans. mk