Witold Lutosławski first travelled to Baranów on 11 September 1939 as a radiotelegraph operator for Cracow troops retreating from the German forces. He returned there in September 1976, but this time in completely different circumstances and a completely different role, invited by the organisers of ‘Musical Gatherings’ held at the Renaissance castle.
On 8 September, during a concert in the castle courtyard, he conducted the Polish Chamber Orchestra in a performance of his Preludes and Fugue. The next day, he gave a lecture on his composition technique and also took part in a seminar devoted to his vocal-instrumental works. On 11 September, Bohdan Pociej’s new book Lutosławski a wartość muzyki [Lutosławski and the value of music] was presented to those assembled, but it is not known whether the composer associated the time and place with the dramatic events of thirty-seven years previously.
A year later, also in September, Lutosławski found himself back in Baranów again. As the then director of PWM Edition, Mieczysław Tomaszewski, initiator and organiser of the ‘Gatherings’, related: ‘The theme of the festival and symposium in Baranów was “music within music”. I asked Lutos if he could interpret some of his works from that perspective. He replied: “Of course: the Concerto for Orchestra, since the material of that large symphonic composition is provided from beginning to end by Polish folk music”.’