By 1964 I had about 40 compositions, most of them for the piano. I do not call them my “school works”, as I wasn’t receiving any composition lessons at the time. Rather, I refer to them as my “kiddy” pieces. I was self-taught in those years – read books on harmony and counterpoint, listened to music, and studied the scores.
Yet, when I revisited some of these works recently, (many were justly destroyed over the years, some were lost), I recognized that they were more than just exercises in composition. They had a shape and were consistent in their harmonic language. They showed basic resemblance to my favourite music at the time, compositions that I played or, more often, works that I wished I could play. I resolved to bring some of these works before the public. This set consists of Scherzando (1958), Three Preludes (1959), Two Mazurkas (1961), and Piano Sketches (1964).
Written when I was 14 years old, Two Mazurkas are early examples of my interest in Polish folklore.
The first one, approximately one minute in duration, is a stylized dance “Kujawiak”. Moving slowly in a graceful manner, it sets up a contrasting mood to the dance that follows.
The second one, approximately two and a half minutes in duration, is a stylized dance “Oberek”. It moves swiftly and, traditionally, it contains a high degree of energy, at times bordering on the “barbaric”.
Mazurka is the name given to various stylized Polish dances including “Mazur”, “Oberek”, and “Kujawiak”. It re-entered my repertoire in many works written in the last decades, including the Accordion Concerto (1993), Ancestral Voices for String Orchestra (1996), and the Millennium Cantata (2000).