1. bookVolumen 19 (2021): Edición 1 (December 2021)
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2719-7891
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20 Dec 2021
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Polaco
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A New Home Leads to Compositional Evolution: Roman Palester’s Preludes for Piano (1954)

Publicado en línea: 12 Feb 2022
Volumen & Edición: Volumen 19 (2021) - Edición 1 (December 2021)
Páginas: 209 - 256
Detalles de la revista
License
Formato
Revista
eISSN
2719-7891
Primera edición
20 Dec 2021
Calendario de la edición
1 tiempo por año
Idiomas
Polaco
Abstract

Roman Palester (1907–1989) was one of the most promising and well-known composers in Poland during the inter-war period. On more than one occasion he was compared to the father of Polish contemporary music, Karol Szymanowski (1882–1937).1 As one of Poland’s leading conductors Jan Krenz noted: “We met while working on the film Zakazane piosenki [Forbidden Songs]. I remember that Palester then came to Łódź in the halo of Szymanowski’s successor. People would say ‘this is the great Roman Palester’.”2 Yet at the height of his fame, in 1951, he chose to leave his homeland and take up residency in the “free” West; subsequently he was cut off from Poland and his previous success.

The 20th century was a time of great cultural, political, and artistic change in Europe with a considerable number of divergent views about what constituted ‘good’ music. Terms such as modernism, nationalism, neo-classicism, socialist realism, serialism and atonality were all used regularly when discussing music and art. There ceased to be a clear or uniform musical style in Europe. Instead a cultural polarisation emerged caused in large part by the division of the world into East and West during the Cold War. How did Palester, a Polish émigré, now residing in the West, effectively a composer in exile, adapt to these circumstances? What connection did his music have with avant- -garde trends, anti-communist sentiments, traditional aesthetics, serialism, etc.? Was Palester’s compositional voice affected by his defection?

In order to determine what Palester’s post-defection compositional voice was and how it may have interreacted with events around him, this paper will examine one of Palester’s pivotal compositions, Preludes for Piano (1954). These Preludes are a significant work in Palester’s compositional output as they show a distinct shift towards a more comprehensive use of twelve-tone techniques. These techniques are employed in a variety of different ways and are often coupled with other techniques in order to create a style which is uniquely suited to Palester’s compositional desires.

Keywords

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