Composers / Witold Lutosławski / Places catalog

Stawisko

‘Yesterday [29 July 1942], Umińska played here with her quartet – recalled the writer Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz. – It was a beautiful summer’s day, but very hot. They came here just after dinner and soon set about playing. Besides that, [the Polish violinist Eugenia] Umińska, accompanied by Witek Lutosławski, played a couple of things by Karol [Szymanowski] for violin solo… They claim that the acoustic in our drawing-room is excellent, and apart from that they knew that they were playing for just a few people, but people with a great love of music. After tea and good wine, which I had happened to receive from somewhere, we saw them off to the station. The whole troupe looked quite comical, with us in toe, strung out along the path to the station. We all looked like some itinerant band of rustic musicians lost in the wood. The moon was rising. It was perhaps the happiest day of the occupation’.

Witold Lutosławski recalled another visit to Stawisko, in entirely different circumstances. In 1955, when he was a juror of the Chopin Competition, the organisers were also hosting the then queen of Belgium, Elisabeth, known for her great love of music (since 1937, a music competition under her patronage has been held in Belgium). Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz invited her to his home in Stawisko for a grand breakfast, and Lutosławski was also among the group.

– [Iwaszkiewicz] specially brought in a wonderful chef from Sopot (he was a former cook at the imperial court) – as Lutosławski recalled that special feast years later in conversation with Irina Nikolska. – […] He prepared that magnificent breakfast; there was some fish for the first [course] – but there was no fish service, only […] forks. Two forks. When that fish service was not so common, one ate with two forks. And she [the queen] didn’t know this. She didn’t know how to begin eating, because there was no fish service. She didn’t know – and everyone waited. And for a long time no one ate – because until the queen started, no one could start. Evidently, someone in the end must have picked up one fork in one hand and the other in the other – and she, very observant (as queens are, they see and know everything […]), then started, and somehow it went from there.

Place Category
Aix-en-Provence Appearances
Aldeburgh Appearances
Amsterdam Appearances
Århus Education
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Stawisko
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