published in Gazeta Wyborcza, January 18, 1999
Professor Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz, a composer whose original and rich artistic oeuvre was a valuable contribution to the development of Polish contemporary music, died in Warsaw on November 21, 1998.
He was born on October 17, 1916 in Sierpc. After he finished the Bishop’s Organists School in Plock in 1936, he went to study the organ at the State Music Conservatory in Warsaw under the direction of Bronisław Rutkowski. He studied there from 1936 to 1939 and graduated during the German occupation in 1943. He also studied conducting under the guidance of Stanisław Kazura and Wincenty Laski who “initiated him to all problems of music”. In 1951, he finished his composition studies at the State Higher Music School in Łódź where Kazimierz Sikorski was his teacher. At that time he had already authored valued and appreciated works such as Sonata F# minor for organ (1946), Variations for a String Quartet (1946), The Kurpie Suite (1948), or the cantata entitled Of Chopin songs (1948) and many more.
Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz expressed himself in all genres of instrumental and vocal music. He did not yield to the influence of radical avant-garde, but he used the language of contemporary music with great mastery. In his music, this language was always subordinated to the content and form of the work. He created music that was modern, emotional and universally understandable. It often displayed transformed beautifully hints of the influence of Polish folk song. He wrote four symphonies, 14 concertos for solo instruments with orchestra, including the concerto for two violins with orchestra which was written for the brothers Bogusław and Krzysztof Bruczkowski, and the concerto for violin with an orchestra, performed exquisitely by Tadeusz Gadzina, as well as numerous chamber and solo works for the oboe, clarinet, bassoon, alto viola, violin, piano and harp. His organ sonatas and concertos, the Introduction II triptych and many more organ works are performed by the most distinguished virtuosos of this instrument. For many years, the composer himself would perform organ recitals that included his own works. He also created two radio operas: Ushiko and Ligeia, a ballet entitled The Legend of Warsaw and the Gdańsk Romance opera commissioned by the Grand Theatre in Łódź. On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Nicolaus Copernicus’ birth, Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz wrote the De Revolutionibus oratorio. He was one of the masters of the cantata and a cappella choir works. These include: the cantata entitled Songs of Mazovia, Vistula and Warsaw with lyrics by Broniewski, Orpheus in the Woods with lyrics by Baczyński, The Polish Litany for mixed a cappella choir (with lyrics by Jan Twardowski), Chants of Warsaw, Kurpie Songs, The Warsaw Triptych, 10 Silesian Songs, Thinking Homeland and numerous song cycles. He made a valuable contribution to the literature for chamber orchestras with windblown instruments. In addition to this, he also wrote theatrical music and didactic works such as the piano readers for children.
For several dozen years, Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz was an active pedagogue. During the occupation, he taught song and the piano and he managed choirs at Warsaw’s common schools. When he returned to Płock after the war to stay there until 1949, he became active in many fields as the founder, director and lecturer of the Primary And High Music School and an animator of musical life in the city and its surroundings. He would organise concerts and choir contests, and he himself conducted a choir at the Folk Music Institute in Płock. He also produced musical education broadcasts for school youth and founded an information bureau for amateur choir conductors.
From 1949 to 1950, he was a lecturer at the PSSM and to 1959, at the PWSM in Łódź. He also worked as a music director at the Łódź Broadcasting Station of the Polish Radio and wrote music for the local theatres. In 1954, he started his pedagogical work at the Fryderyk Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw, which he continued for the next 30 years. In 1957, he became a docent, and in 1979, a full professor. His pupils include such well known composers as Zbigniew Bagiński, Wojciech Łukaszewski, Andrzej Matuszewski, Stanisław Moryto or Marta Ptaszyńska. He was the dean of the Composition, Conducting and Music Theory Department (1963-69) and then rector of the Academy (1969-71).
Prof. Paciorkiewicz, the Meritorious Teacher of the PRL, received many awards and distinctions, including the award of the Ministry of Culture and Art, the award of the Ministry of Defence, the III Degree State Award, the Blessed Brother Albert award and the award of the Polish Composers Association for his entire oeuvre (1985). He was awarded the Krzyż Kawalerski order and the Krzyż Oficerski order of the OOP, as well the medal of the Commission of National Education, the Medal of Merit of the Warsaw Music Society, the Medal of Merit of the Płock Province, and the Golden Honour Award of Merit of Warsaw. He was the honourable member of the Płock Music Society, the Płock Scientific Society and the Friends of Sierpc Association.
Professor was a very energetic and cheerful man with a cordial attitude towards people. His literary and historical interests were reflected in his works. He said: “Writing my music, I always tried to meet the society’s needs”. He did so throughout his life as a great artist and an earnest patriot.
/published in Gazeta Wyborcza, January 18, 1999/