Dance from Osmołoda for symphony orchestra, 1932.

Dance from Osmołoda

Dance from Osmołoda. Polish Radio Orchestra, Wojciech Michniewski - conductor, 2005.

Composed in 1932, this ten-minute symphony poem turned out to be one of Roman Palester’s first successes as a composer. Dance was first performed on 11 November 1932 at the Warsaw Philharmonic Hall under Grzegorz Fitelberg’s baton. Although reviews were varied, the piece was selected for the Festival of the International Society For Contemporary Music. The performance of Palester’s work in April 1936 in Barcelona became his successful international debut.

Osmołoda is a locality at the foot of the Gorgany Range, which Palester often visited during his scouting trips at the time of his studies in Lviv. We would set off from Lviv by train – recalls the composer in his book Słuch absolutny(Perfect Pitch) written towards the end of his life – to Skole or Sinevidnoye, or most preferably to Bolehov, where there was a starting station of a narrow-gauge railway used only to transport wood. The train would climb high into the Gorgany Range, up to the village of Osmołoda, as if dropped into the middle a huge wilderness, adorned by Archbishop Szeptycki’s lovely little palace made of larch wood. Osmołoda was a usual starting point for our walking trips towards the highest peaks of the Gorgany Range - Popadia and Sywula.

Although Palester’s work lacks direct folklore motifs, Dance is a vivid orchestral image, strongly suggestive of Karol Szymanowski’s Harnasie. Let us quote the author’s words once again: "The memory of those scouting trips and wonderful, wild mountains that made our youthful delight with the world and life ascend to its peak – this memory came back to me some ten years later to be reflected in the symphonic poem Dance from Osmołoda".