Composers / Witold Lutosławski / Places catalog
Few composers during the twentieth century could match Witold Lutosławski’s achievement of making his debut at the royal castle. The concert that is regarded as his symphonic debut – and it was also the first public performance of the Variations for Orchestra – took place on the evening of Saturday 17 June 1939 on Wawel Hill in Cracow. The Polish Radio Orchestra under Grzegorz Fitelberg performed the Variations as part of the Wawel Festival, which had been organised for the last four years in the castle courtyard. Lutosławski’s work ended the first part of the programme. It was preceded by Henryk Melcer’s Piano Concerto, in which the soloist was Józef Śmidowicz – Lutosławski’s teacher more than a decade before. After the intermission, songs by Karol Szymanowski were sung by Ewa Bandrowska-Turska, who soon afterwards, during the occupation, would be performing with Lutosławski’s accompaniment two of his songs to words by Kazimiera Iłłakowiczówna that are now lost.
The Wawel Castle and Cathedral in Krakow. (creative commons)