Varianti for two pianos, 1963-1964.


Varianti for two pianos. Szabolcs Esztényi - piano, Jerzy Witkowski - piano, 1977.


Written for two pianos, Varianti is the first of Palester’s works composed by means of the aleatory technique. The composer makes use here of limited aleatorism, which brings to mind some of Witold Lutosławski’s compositions, e.g. Preludes and Fugue.

Varianti consists of three obligatory movements – Theme, Interlude and Coda – that form a framework of this piece. Between them, four variations are to be played; these are written on separate pieces of paper, and their selection and sequence are left to performers’ discretion. Pianists do not have to select all the possible 16 combinations; instead, they may confine themselves to the four variations. Another aleatory aspect of Palester’s composition is the lack of strict synchronisation of the two piano parts. However, tempo markings and performance-related details (dynamics and articulation) are strictly determined, and the work’s uniformity is enhanced by the use of the serial technique. It seems as if Palester tried to incorporate some avant-garde inventions into his musical language.

The piece was first performed in Paris on 14 March 1964 by Joanna Wojtal and Jerzy Gajek.