• Music Manuscript Collection of the Silesian School of Composing in the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music Library in Katowice, Poland
English Abstract

This article looks at the works of a group of composers belonging to Silesian School of Composing. On the basis of selected compositions held in the Archive of Silesian Music Culture, which is part of the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music Library in Katowice, Poland, the author discusses the profile of the composer, the most important technical issues, as well as the aesthetic attitude of these artists. The term Silesian School of Composing is a collective description of a multigenerational group of outstanding Polish composers associated with the Silesian Music Conservatoire (currently Academy of Music) in Katowice. Bolesław Szabelski and Bolesław Woytowicz are considered the creators of the School.

French Abstract

Cet article porte sur les travaux d'un groupe de compositeurs appartenant à l'école silésienne de composition. Sur la base d'une sélection d'oeuvres conservées dans les Archives de la culture musicale silésienne, qui fait partie de la bibliothèque de l'Académie de musique Karol Szymanowski à Katowice (Pologne), l'auteur analyse le profil du compositeur, les problèmes techniques les plus importants, ainsi que la position esthétique de ces artistes. Le terme «École silésienne de composition» est une appellation collective permettant de décrire un groupe multigénérationnel de compositeurs polonais exceptionnels, associés au Conservatoire de musique de Silésie (actuellement Académie de musique) de Katowice. Bolesław Szabelski et Bolesław Woytowicz sont considérés comme les créateurs de cette école.

German Abstract

Dieser Artikel befasst sich mit den Werken einer Komponistengruppe aus der schlesischen Kompositionsschule. Die Autorin erörtert Kompositionsstil und -technik der einzelnen Komponisten sowie deren jeweiligen ästhetischen Standpunkt. Dies erfolgt auf der Grundlage ausgewählter Werke, die sich im Besitz des Archivs schlesischer Musikkultur in Kattowitz befinden, das zur Bibliothek der Karol-Szymanowski-Musikakademie gehört. Der Begriff der "schlesischen Kompositionsschule" dient als Sammelbegriff zur Beschreibung einer generationenübergreifenden Gruppe bemerkenswerter polnischer Komponisten, die in Beziehung zum schlesischen Musikkonservatorium (der heutigen Musikakademie) in Kattowitz stehen. Als Gründer der schlesischen Kompositionsschule gelten Bolesław Szabelski und Bolesław Woytowicz.


The notion of a Composing School1 played a special part in the twentieth century and its existence in the cultural life of Silesia was very valuable. School not in the narrow-didactic sense, but in a broader sense. First of all, School in the sense of a community of ideas, attitudes, general methods of performing and composing music; School in the sense of place, territory, intellectual, and artistic aura. This School was created and developed in the post-war years. Its main center was the Silesian Conservatoire of Music (now the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice), founded in 1929.

To begin my study, the terms Silesian region and Silesian compositional environment must be briefly explained. Silesia is a region with different administrative borders during the partitions, others in the interwar period, and others in Polish People's Republic. In this arena, Silesian uprisings were born and escalated, and very specific and strong musical traditions created. The Silesian compositional environment is perceived according to the frame of thought imposed by two stereotypes. The first was a widely accepted claim that Silesia had this environment. This meant that it is perceived in the country as a whole, distinguished both in terms of geography and culture, as well as stylistically due to the homogeneous background of creativity implemented in the country and associated with its representative forum—the festival, Warsaw Autumn. The Silesian compositional environment, although not long in existence, is today very diverse in terms of generations, as well as in terms of experiences, styles, and interests of individual composers. In less than thirty years of post-war activity of the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice, three generations have met here. [End Page 105]

Most of the people who worked in the Silesian Conservatoire of Music were not associated with the Silesian district. These were a large group of musicians who came from different parts of Poland: Warsaw, Kraków, and Lviv. In Silesia, there was broad public support for the creators and organisers of musical life, which was associated with the tradition of organising amateur musical institutions—choirs, orchestras, opera houses and companies—during the annexation. That is why the Conservatoire achieved such success. In pre-war Poland, there was no region as rich as Upper Silesia in the culture-forming achievements of the teaching environment. After the war, most of the Conservatoire staff returned to the building, bringing with them the ideological and material legacy of music teachers-enthusiasts who supplied the region with a multitude of highly educated students2.

The family tree of the Silesian School of Composers is tall and wide. It not only contains well-regarded composers and their students, but also prominent theorists, Silesian activists, and conductors who made this region well renowned and autonomous. The various connections and strands of this musical tree are extremely complex. This article is dedicated only to the works of outstanding composers who belong to the so-called Silesian School of Composers, the manuscripts of which are held in the Archive of Silesian Music Culture, part of the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music Library in Katowice, Poland. The most valuable of the musical manuscripts is a collection of approximately 800 pieces by representatives of the Silesian School. Among other things, the works include the musical legacies of the composers, autographs from the twentieth- and twenty-first century, and manuscripts by composers of the so-called '51 Generation. One current problem is the computer printouts handed to the Archive by artists. A rule has been adopted that printouts can be introduced into the catalogue only when the manuscripts fulfill the following condition: the author must mark them with unique, individual traits—for example, a signature, a date, a handwritten dedication, or major alterations, etc.

The Archive

The Archive of Silesian Music Culture was founded in 1968 to fill the gap between the documentation of the old and contemporary musical culture of the entire Silesian region. The Archive focused on gathering all the evidence of creativity and development of music in a vast geographical space, starting from Upper Silesia with Cieszyn Silesia, Lower Silesia with Wrocław, Legnica, Głogów, Żagań, and Zgorzelec. The main aim of the Archive is the documentation of old-time and contemporary music culture of the Silesian region. The field of activity chiefly covers research into the history of music in Silesia. The Archive displays activity in directions such as the acquisitions of documentary evidence, bibliographies, and other publications concerning the Silesian region; the preparation of documentary evidence, bibliographies, and other publications concerning the musical culture of Silesia; and arranging historical and contemporary music concerts. About 50,000 items are registered in the Archive's catalogues. The most valuable are undoubtedly the autograph manuscript of Frédéric Chopin's Polonaise in G minor, with the composer's dedication on the first edition, published in 1817 in Warsaw, as well as the autograph manuscript and rare editions of Józef Elsner's works. The constantly increasing resources of the Archives may be used by music institutions, performers, and all those who want to research the musical culture of this geographically diverse region.3 [End Page 106]

Founders of the Silesian School of Composers

The foundations of the Silesian School of Composers were laid out within the first years of the Silesian Music Conservatoire in Katowice by two professors and outstanding composers, Bolesław Szabelski (1896-1979) and Bolesław Woytowicz (1899-1980). Karol Szymanowski, spiritual patron of Silesian music and a would-be head of the Academy, indirectly influenced the fate of the university through his disciple—Bolesław Szabelski. And perhaps it may have been the impact of Szymanowski's personality on these composers that created the firm sense of identity of the Silesian School. This combination of group and regional identity was at the origin of a community of values, connecting the next generation of artists. The artistic pedigrees of Bolesław Szabelski and Bolesław Woytowicz are very diverse. Their aesthetic attitudes and compositional techniques are also different.

Bolesław Szabelski

Bolesław Szabelski (1896-1979) was one of the most outstanding Polish composers of the twentieth century, the founder of Polish music just after Karol Szymanowski's generation. He was often characterized as sullen. Szabelski studied organ and composition at the Warsaw Music Conservatoire, and was one of the few students of Szymanowski. He followed in the tradition of the great German symphonists. Among his most important works are symphonies of monumental orchestration and construction that resemble the compositional technique of Arthur Honegger (1892-1955) or Dmitrii Shostakovich (1906-1975). At the age of sixty-two, Szabelski made a remarkable stylistic shift. In his works could now be found such modern compositional techniques as dodecaphony and punctualism4.

The manuscript of Sonnets for orchestra, completed in 1958, is held by the Archive of Silesian Music Culture. This work was very significant in Szabelski's development, as it illustrates the way that dodecaphony was used by the composer (see Figure 1). It is a way of extending the effects of audio material for concordant effects that are equally harmonic and coloristic. Multiphonic complexes connect in the combinations of different instrumental groups that statistically fill the entire twelve-tone material5.

Despite the many new techniques of musical language that the composer used, he remained recognisable—according to his own aesthetic ideals—the work of pathetic expression, dense texture, and dealing with great, timeless matters by using melodic, varied lines and unique agility of phrases, consistent atonality parallel with a wealth of dissonant harmonic methods, and freedom in determining the form. He used folklore as basic material, neo-romantic orchestral constructs, and dynamic tension that would particularly distinguish the musical narrative of Szabelski from other composers6.

Bolesław Woytowicz

Bolesław Woytowicz (1899-1980) appeared in Katowice at the beginning of 1945. The essential features of his compositions crystallised during his study with Nadia Boulanger in Paris, which gave a definite direction to Polish music in the inter- and post-war years, specifically, its creativeness that shows signs of formal neo-classical works, an aesthetic [End Page 107]

Fig 1. Bolesław Szabelski, Sonnets for orchestra (1958); selections from the autograph score.
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Fig 1.

Bolesław Szabelski, Sonnets for orchestra (1958); selections from the autograph score.

elegance, and technical skill. Woytowicz embodies European neoclassicism until its transformation into that of dodecaphony. His musical style was focused around the fugue, which he introduced into his greatest works, including the Symphony no. 3–Sinfonia Concertante for piano and orchestra (1963), which is in the Library's collection. This piece is a great fugue, an example of a visible intellectual type of experience and the logical development of musical expression7. According to the composer`s last will and testament, the most valuable documents, memorabilia, and manuscripts of his works were to remain in the Archive of Silesian Music Culture. The pre-war achievements of Woytowicz were mostly destroyed during the war: twenty-two manuscripts were burned during the Warsaw Uprising, including some small pieces as well as larger ones like his Symphony no. 1 (1938). Fortunately, the composer saved the manuscript of his Concertino for Orchestra (see Fig. 2). On the envelope of the manuscript is a handwritten note by the composer: "the surviving remains of the composition saved after the arson attack by the Germans in Warsaw on Red Cross Street in 1943".

The Next Generation

Composers often experimented in search of their own unique style. Both Szabelski and Woytowicz underwent a metamorphosis of this kind and developed their techniques towards dodecaphony. They also both stood on the front of simultaneously developing [End Page 108]

Fig 2. Bolesław Woytowicz, Concertino for Orchestra (193–); selections from the autograph score.
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Fig 2.

Bolesław Woytowicz, Concertino for Orchestra (193–); selections from the autograph score.

orientations: romantic, expressionist, and neoclassic. Those who turned to the dodecaphonic technique included not just teachers but also their students (Wojciech Kilar, Jan Gawlas, Witold Szalonek, and Henryk Mikołaj Górecki).

When it comes to the teaching composition, the methods and ideas of Bolesław Szabelski and Bolesław Woytowicz differ in a fundamental way. The School, which was co-administered, from its beginning had two branches. If we still stick to the basic meaning of the term "School" that Robert Schumann compared to a tree, which bears the same fruit every year, we could say that the tree, from the beginning, was a Silesian gigantic mutant—each of its branches produced different and unique fruits.

The term Silesian School of Composers became standard with the next generation of composers, which included Szabelski's and Woytowicz's pupils. Among them were such outstanding individuals as Witold Szalonek, Wojciech Kilar, and Henryk Mikołaj Górecki. The strong need to emphasise their identity did not fade over time, but just the opposite—the name Silesian School became a recognisable brand that artists used to introduce themselves during their numerous visits to the Warsaw Autumn festival. Since 1956, Warsaw Autumn, the largest festival in Poland and one of the most important in the world, has been dedicated to contemporary classical music. For several years, it was the only festival of contemporary music in Central and Eastern Europe. The intention of the founders was to introduce and familiarise Polish audiences with Western modern music and to break the isolation among Polish artistic circles that occurred during Stalin's regime8.

Bolesław Woytowicz's Pupils

The class guided by Bolesław Woytowicz was not large (he performed other duties), but there were students who graduated that turned out to be remarkable composers. [End Page 109] Among his students were Witold Szalonek, Wojciech Kilar, and Józef Świder. Extremely important for the Silesian School of Composers are the dividing distinctions and concepts of art, which are different in their implementation. Students taught by both Szabelski and Woytowicz changed this diversity for the benefit of their artistic work and Polish art9.

Witold Szalonek

Witold Szalonek (1927-2001), gained fame as a colourist, and the discoverer of so-called "combined sounds", that are possible to extract from the wooden multi-sounds. After studying composition in Woytowicz's class, he continued his studies with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. Szalonek is one of the most important representatives of the avantgarde movement in Polish and European music.10 In 2017, his widow, Beata Zygmunt-Szalonek, donated his estate consisting of manuscripts of choral and instrumental works created in the years 1952 to 2001 to the Archives of Silesian Music Culture. According to Beata Zygmunt-Szalonek, placing these scores in the Katowice Music Academy Library would be in accordance with the wishes of her husband, a sentiment that he often expressed.

A manuscript written in pencil by Szalonek is his 1+1+1+1 per 1-4 Strumenti ad Arco, a piece written in 1969 for one to four stringed instruments. This work is a study in modern notation, with unparalleled articulation, various sonoristic effects, and freely cast. The variety of problems that are associated with this composition necessitate the need to ask many important questions, both in the context of Szalonek's work as well as in issues of musical aesthetics. The piece was once considered an encyclopedia of sonorism, employing voices, the real fireworks of colors, micro-polyphony, the intensity of chords, their flickering, vibrating chatter, the violin as drum, and the cello as a creaking door. Other nuances include the shape, gesture, and detailed charm of a musical phrase. Further, the work portrays fear and trembling, lyrical meditation, and magnetic power. The music is complex, but very natural (see Fig. 3). Szalonek's sonorism even then, in the 1960s, was humanistic, but not—as long it was believed—technical11.

Wojciech Kilar

Wojciech Kilar (1932-2013) and Witold Szalonek are both credited with introduction of the avant-garde, which originated from a wave of changes that was brought to the music of the above mentioned composers, and played at the Warsaw Autumn festival. In addition to highly acclaimed symphonic works, Wojciech Kilar became a famous film composer (he wrote the music to the Francis Ford Coppola's film, Dracula)12. The Library collection includes, among others, a piece that was one of the last avant-garde works by Wojciech Kilar, which announced another compositional breakthrough and new trends. It was meant to go far beyond the sphere of sonorism towards a new synthesis, connecting clusters of tonal harmony. The piece, called Upstairs-Downstairs (1971), has two sounds that [End Page 110]

Fig 3. Witold Szalonek, 1+1+1+1 per 1–4 Strumenti Ad Arco (1969); selections from the autograph score.
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Fig 3.

Witold Szalonek, 1+1+1+1 per 1–4 Strumenti Ad Arco (1969); selections from the autograph score.

are played constantly from beginning to the end. The second manuscript is Hoary Fog for baritone and orchestra (1979) to a poem inspired by a Highlander song. The manuscript bears an inscription by the composer: "To the Library of the Academy of Music the manuscript of Hoary Fog – with gratitude for the School, that I owe so much. I present. Wojciech Kilar" (see Fig. 4). The compositions that have gained the greatest fame are precisely those that create a strikingly evocative style of music that appeals to everyone, thrilling swing, bursting with energy, pulsing with real life13.

Józef Świder

Another student of Bolesław Woytowicz, who received international fame is Józef świder (1930-2014). His list of compositions is long and includes almost all musical forms and genres. Świder's works have gained popularity not only in Poland but also abroad in Germany and the United States. They are in constant circulation and performed at competitions as obligatory, occasional and patriotic pieces. The work of the composer is characterised by emotionality, intuition of the stage, illustrative and romanticising form. Tracks are maintained in the traditionally accepted principles of musical development and originate from the very nature of the instruments. Orchestral texture, however, changed with widely understood tonality14. The Archive of Silesian Music Culture has twelve manuscripts of the composer in pencil and ink.

Bolesław Szabelski's Pupils

The composition class led by Bolesław Szabelski was taken and completed by Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Jan Wincenty Hawel, Edward Bogusławski, and Aleksander Glinkowski.

Edward Bogusławski

When composing, Edward Bogusławski (1940-2003) paid particular attention to the colour of his works, as well as to their form. He freely made use of new compositional [End Page 111]

Fig 4. Wojciech Kilar, Hoary Fog for baritone and orchestra (1979); selections from the autograph score.
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Fig 4.

Wojciech Kilar, Hoary Fog for baritone and orchestra (1979); selections from the autograph score.

techniques, adapting aleatoric procedures into his works, which was fortuitous to both the composer and the performer15. The Library collection contains pieces like Apokalypsis (1965) for reciting voice, mixed choir, and instrumental ensemble, which has a dedication to the Library (see Fig. 5), as well as the Trio per Flauto, Oboe e Chitarra (1971).

Jan Wincenty Hawel

Jan Wincenty Hawel (1936–) is a composer, conductor, and teacher. The composer's compositions include seven symphonies, two oratorios, a Magnificat, a Mass, Psalms for Vespers on Sunday, six string quartets, numerous instrumental, chamber, and solo pieces, as well as choral works and solo songs, in which simplicity is accompanied by technical precision and emotional vitality. The Library collection's Sinfonia Concertante no. 6 for piano and orchestra (1979) comes with a beautiful dedication to the Library: "To Library for the heart and love of music I offer the manuscript Sinfonia Concertante no. 6 for piano and orchestra with emotions and heartiness. Jan Wincenty Hawel".

Aleksander Glinkowski

Another prominent student was Aleksander Glinkowski (1941-1991), the composer of thirty-one works in different genres, including chamber music, orchestral, solo, choral, vocal, and instrumental, often to an accompaniment with electroacoustic elements. Many influences are displayed in Glinkowski`s music. There are elements of minimalism, [End Page 112]

Fig 5. Edward Bogusławski, Apokalypsis (1965); selection from the autograph score.
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Fig 5.

Edward Bogusławski, Apokalypsis (1965); selection from the autograph score.

aleatorism, and even the traditional technique of counterpoint. He also designed "light and sound" projects. The Library collection is rich in manuscripts such as Space: music track for four-channel tape (1974), using the latest equipment, spatial structures, and lasers controlled by computers. His compositions are characteristic for their subtlety and delicacy, transparency of texture, richness of instrumental colour, and dominance of sound. In his works, first atonal ones, the composer cared for sonoristic aspects, often focused on the element of time. There is a notable influence of French music in his work. The Library collection holds a manuscript of Spatial Composition (1973), created as a musical component to the show "light and sound" (see Fig. 6)16.

Henryk Mikołaj Górecki

The most recognised student of Bolesław Szabelski is Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (1933-2010). There are legends about the meetings and its atmosphere, the reticence of the teacher, and the enthusiasm of the student. From the more than eighty works by the composer, the most popular is his Symphony no. 3, also known as the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs. This piece caused divisions between supporters and opponents of a new aesthetic, and the recording of the work was an unparalleled success in the field of classical music. Górecki's music is based, on one hand, on technical and stylistic transformations, and on the other, is homogenous in the sense of general principles for designing forms and an [End Page 113]

Fig 6. Aleksander Glinkowski, Spatial Composition (1973); selection from the autograph score.
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Fig 6.

Aleksander Glinkowski, Spatial Composition (1973); selection from the autograph score.

expressive whole. His artistic path leads from youthful influences of neoclassical aesthetics, and soon after an experience with serial technique, by sonorism, followed by a combination of the two, which produced a strong expression, the rebirth of melody and harmony—necessary for the expression of religious content, humanities, and finally for the simple folk, religiosity17. The Library's manuscript of Amen, op. 35 (1975) for mixed choir is based on an irregular alternate repetition of two groups. The song is dominated by simple syllabic singing, sometimes almost a recitation of the text, homogenous, quiet rhythmic pulse, and four- or five-parts of almost parallel sliding chords, sometimes built on a single note. The manuscript bears the corrections written in red by Górecki. Another interesting feature is that Górecki wrote the bugle call in the piece for the World Championship in Ice Hockey, which took place in Katowice in 1976. The Library collection also has a sort of musical joke. It is the manuscript of Quasi Valse, written 27 June 1961, and dedicated to his professor, Władysława Markiewiczówna (1900-1982). The exact inscription reads: "Dear Professor, for the occasion of your name-day (to finish off the neighbors) figured out – H.M. Górecki". The piece is played forte fortissimo. There is also the additional phrase "hit all the keys" (see Fig. 7). [End Page 114]

Fig 7. Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Quasi Valse for piano (1961); selection from the autograph score.
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Fig 7.

Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Quasi Valse for piano (1961); selection from the autograph score.

Silesia Cantat

In the 1970s, in order to introduce a creative community to the people, an initiative to systematically present new works was created. As such, the Archive of Silesian Music Culture has launched a series of concerts under the name "Silesia Cantat". The series was divided into three components: early music concerts, concerts of contemporary music, and concerts of works by a single composer. More than fifty world premieres took place during these concerts. The Library has a number of literary manuscripts because the composers were asked to write short programme notes about the works performed (see Fig. 8ab). The collection of literary manuscripts include autographs of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Józef Świder, Edward Bogusławski, Jan Wincenty Hawel, and Aleksander Glinkowski. The idea for the series of concerts was to present a continuous array of the works of contemporary Silesian composers, demonstrating their creativity. However, only in 2001 did the Library start to collect these manuscripts for the Archive's collection. As such, it asked composers to prepare their manuscripts to include a dedication to the Library. Collected materials were used to create an exhibition and a concert of world premieres.

The Third Generation

The third generation is comprised of the students of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (derived from Bolesław Szabelski's class) and Józef Świder (derived from Bolesław Woytowicz's class), and named the '51 Generation, which obviously seems to be associated with the [End Page 115]

Fig 8a. Literary manuscript of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (1970).
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Fig 8a.

Literary manuscript of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (1970).

phenomenon of the Silesian School of Composers. Here again may be found the work of three outstanding composers: Eugeniusz Knapik, Andrzej Krzanowski, and Aleksander Lasoń. The common denominator of the creativity of the generation of '51 is neither style nor the technical aspects of composing skills but the one shared thing: the poetry and poetic and dramatic approach to cultivated music and a keen interest in the renewal of old associations with the word music style called "new romanticism".

'51 Generation

The three creators of '51 Generation represented a similar type of attitude, in a sense, a compromise: not giving up the fundamental achievements of the avant-garde, such as the right to use the so-called atonal language, the use of dissonance, clusters, and sonoristic effects. In each of the three, Silesian new-romantic tendencies manifested themselves in different ways: Andrzej Krzanowski's style was probably the most eclectic and most accessible of its components in terms of origins. [End Page 116]

Fig 8b. Literary manuscript of Józef Świder (1970).
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Fig 8b.

Literary manuscript of Józef Świder (1970).

Andrzej Krzanowski, Eugeniusz Knapik, and Aleksander Lasoń made their debut at the festival in Stalowa Wola. The '51 Generation was so-named as all three composers were born in 1951. All three stood in opposition to the avant-garde of the 1950s and 1960s, and their works are identified as "new romanticism". Each of them preserved their individual autonomy.

Andrzej Krzanowski

Andrzej Krzanowski (1951-1990) remained the closest of the '51 Generation to the avant-garde. His Broadcasts I-IV (1973-1975) has a modern, avant-garde compositional language, but also a romantic emotionalism, even tending toward exuberant expressionism. The work is both vocal and instrumental, with texts by different poets. There are some quotations from the works of composers of other eras, such as Johann Sebastian Bach and Karol Szymanowski. And apart from traditional instruments, the work also employs unusual sound sources, such as sirens and whistles; the accordion also plays an important role in Broadcasts I-IV18. The composer took advantage of electronic tape and visual effects in this piece. Krzanowski's entire compositional legacy is now the property of the Library. Andrzej Krzanowski was the creator of symphonic, chamber, and vocal-instrumental music, but his particular specialty was music for the accordion. This little respected, common instrument was significantly emphasised in his works, bringing greater appreciation of the accordion to audiences. [End Page 117]

Fig 9. Aleksander Lasoń, Relief dla Andrzeja for string quartet (1995); selection from the autograph score.
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Fig 9.

Aleksander Lasoń, Relief dla Andrzeja for string quartet (1995); selection from the autograph score.

Aleksander Lasoń

Aleksander Lasoń (1951–) was probably the least involved in the discussion of ideas. He primarily treated composing as a workshop job, music as spontaneous play of the instrumental environment, a characteristic that is surely connected to his piano improvisation. His early works are noteworthy for their vitality, rich tone colours, and an optimistic mood. Over time, Lasoń's music became increasingly more expressive, the sound became darker and with more powerful dynamics. Lasoń still prefers music that is pure, absolute19. The Library collection includes, among others, the manuscript of Relief for Andrzej for string quartet (1995). This quick, one-movement work was dedicated to the memory of a friend—the prematurely deceased composer, Andrzej Krzanowski (see Fig. 9). [End Page 118]

Eugeniusz Knapik

Eugeniusz Knapik (1951–) was the most resolute oppositionist, who reached into deep traditions. His work corresponds to the new romanticism, applied in relation to the music of Stalowa Wola debutants. Knapik is a unique figure in modern Polish music. Debuting with instrumental tracks, the creator quickly turned his attention to vocal and instrumental forms, finally becoming the author of a great operatic trilogy. Knapik`s music has an unique naturalness, a depth of expression free from pathos, yet with engaging melodic lines20. One of Knapik's manuscripts held by the Library, his Hymn for clarinet, trombone, cello, and piano (1980) bears the inscription: "Library of the Academy of Music - as a thank you for your kind cooperation. Eugeniusz Knapik. Katowice 02.03.1982". The composer has given the Library a score to his latest work, Moby Dick, an opera-mystery in four acts (2011). It is a unique gift since the Library received the first version of the opera a year before its premiere at the Polish National Opera in Warsaw. Although it is a computer printout, because of its unique characteristics applied by composer, the Library can treat it as a manuscript. On the title page, Knapik wrote: "With great joy I pass a gift to the Library of the Academy of Music. It is a "manuscript" of the first version of the opera! Four acts – two volumes. Eugeniusz Knapik. June 5, 2013 – one year before the launch of the National Opera" (see Fig. 10). In addition to the dedication on the title page, a number of other indications appear, including places where the score has been corrected.

The Younger Generation

History began to create the next generation of young composers. Aleksander Nowak (1979–) was thought of by Aleksander Lasoń as belonging to a group of promising young composers. In composing, Nowak uses his intuition. He desires to create or discover a common ground with the listener, which enables a type of emotional and intellectual communication that he uses to his advantage. The young composer uses what the listener knows already, and presents it in new and different ways. The Library asked the composer to deliver the computer printout of his piece with a personal note. To our surprise, Nowak came up with a manuscript written in pencil, the only one he wrote by hand in his career as a composer (see Fig. 11).


Diversity, variety, heterogeneity are the features that are enhanced clearly in these composers' activity. Their work has a capital, multiform orientation, employing trends and styles represented by the creators of the Silesian School. Among the most important characteristics of their output are traditional beauty, emotionalism, and comprehensibility. Careful study of these composers allows us to understand that the Silesian School of Composers has their own roots, not imported ones. An extensive collection of manuscripts held in the Archive of Silesian Music Culture at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music Library in Katowice, Poland dates back from the beginning of Silesian School of Composers and reveals the changing trends and the search for an individual compositional style of the next generation. [End Page 119]

Fig 10. Eugeniusz Knapik, Moby Dick, opera-mystery in four acts (2011); selection from the autograph score.
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Fig 10.

Eugeniusz Knapik, Moby Dick, opera-mystery in four acts (2011); selection from the autograph score.

[End Page 120]

Fig 11. Aleksander Nowak, Sonata June-December for violin and piano (2005); selection from the autograph score.
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Fig 11.

Aleksander Nowak, Sonata June-December for violin and piano (2005); selection from the autograph score.

[End Page 121]

Hanna Bias

Hanna Bias is a curator at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music Library in Katowice, Poland. Since 2005, she has been working in the Main Library, where currently she is responsible for promoting the Archive of Silesian Music Culture. Her research interests predominately concentrate on the problem of music culture in its broadest meaning. She is particularly interested in Silesian music, and is the author of articles about Silesian composers, teachers, pedagogues, as well as the editor of fascicles published by the Academy of Music.


1. This term was compiled on the basis of Jolanta Bauman-Szulakowska. "Koryfeusza śląskiego neoklasycyzmu - Bolesław Szabelski i Bolesław Woytowicz w orbicie wpływów", in Wokół kategorii narodowości, wielokulturowości i uniwersalizmu w muzyce polskiej, ed. Alicja Matracka-Kościelny (Warszawa: Związek Kompozytorów Polskich, Stowarzyszenie Ogród Sztuk i Nauk, 2002), 117-119, 130-131; Jolanta Bauman-Szulakowska. "Orientacje stylistyczne śląskiego dorobku kompozytorskiego", in Konferencja Naukowa "Tradycje śląskiej kultury muzycznej VII", ed. Andrzej Wolański, Maria Zduniak (Wrocław: Akademia Muzyczna im. Karola Lipińskiego, 1995), 235-240; Magdalena Dziadek, Bogumiła Mika, Anna Kochańska. Musica polonica nova na Śląsku. Oddział Związku Kompozytorów Polskich w Katowicach 1945-2003 (Katowice: Związek Kompozytorów Polskich, 2003), 13-35; Z Ryszardem Gabrysiem rozmawia Magdalena Dziadek. „Muzyka na Śląsku, szkoła śląska", Opcje 1 (2006): 60.

2. Adam Mitscha. „Śląskie Konserwatorium Muzyczne", Śląskie Wiadomości Muzyczne, 1 (1937): 3-4.

4. Leon Markiewicz. Bolesław Szabelski 1896-1979 (Katowice: Związek Kompozytorów Polskich, Akademia Muzyczna im. Karola Szymanowskiego, 1991).

5. Leon Markiewicz. Bolesław Szabelski. Życie i twórczość (Kraków: Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne, 1995), 76-79.

6. Leon Markiewicz „Z problemów formy w muzyce Bolesława Szabelskiego", in Zeszyty Naukowe XIII (Gdańsk: PWSM, 1974), 53-64.

7. Jolanta Szulakowska-Kulawik. "Bolesław Woytowicz - pianista, kompozytor, pedagog", Zaranie Śląskie 50 (1987): 338-352.

9. Jolanta Szulakowska-Kulawik. "Bolesław Szabelski i Bolesław Woytowicz jako przedstawiciele śląskiego neoklasycyzmu - komparatystyka, geneza", in Konferencja Naukowa "Tradycje śląskiej kultury muzycznej IV", ed. Maria Passella, Walentyna Węgrzyn-Klisowska, Maria Zduniak (Wrocław: Akademia Muzyczna im. Karola Lipińskiego, 1987), 196-200.

10. Marian Grzegorz Gerlich, Lilianna Moll-Gerlich. "Szalonek - wolny najmita Sztuki : czyli od łagiewnickiego orbis interior do narodzin sonoryzmu", Śląsk 2 (2018): 44-47.

11. Lilianna Manuela Moll. Witold Szalonek. Katalog tematyczny dzieł. Teksty o muzyce (Katowice: Śląskie Towarzystwo Muzyczne, Akademia Muzyczna im. Karola Szymanowskiego, 2002), 88-91.

12. Stanisław Kosz. Wojciech Kilar 1932-2013 (Katowice: Urząd Miasta, 2014), 3-10.

13. Leszek Polony. Kilar. Żywioł i modlitwa (Kraków: Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne, 2005), 101-104, 119-122.

14. Jolanta Szulakowska-Kulawik. Józef Świder – muzyka, która czekała na postmodernizm. Poetyka twórczości wokalnej i wokalno-instrumentalnej Józefa Świdra – pomiędzy sacrum, profanum i decorum (Katowice, Akademia Muzyczna im. Karola Szymanowskiego, 2008), 18-23.

15. Iwona Bias, Monika Bieda, Anna Stachura. Emocja utkana z dźwięku. Edward Bogusławski. Życie – dzieło (Częstochowa: Akademia im. Jana Długosza, 2005), 39-41.

16. Hanna Bias. "Muzyka cieni i półcieni. Aleksander Glinkowski (1941-1991)", Klucz 9 (2011): 41-46.

17. Maciej Jabłoński, Adam Walaciński. Górecki. Encyklopedia muzyczna PWM (Kraków: Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne, 2011).

18. Sonia Wachowska. Andrzej Krzanowski. Katalog tematyczny dzieł. Kalendarium życia i twórczości 1951-1990 (Katowice: Akademia Muzyczna im. Karola Szymanowskiego, 2000), 135-140.

19. Iwona Bias. Aleksander Lasoń. Portret kompozytora (Katowice: Akademia Muzyczna im. Karola Szymanowskiego, 2001), 9-17.

20. Iwona Bias. Eugeniusz Knapik. Kompozytor i pianista (Katowice: Akademia Muzyczna im. Karola Szymanowskiego, Miasto Katowice, 2001), 9-16.

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