Divertimento for string orchestra, after Trios by Feliks Janiewicz, 1947 (rev. 1955), 15'

Divertimento /excerpt/

Performers: Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Witold Rowicki - coductor; 1953 Polish Radio SA


In 1947 Andrzej Panufnik found the score of Feliks Janiewicz’s trios for two violins and cello in the PWM collection. Charmed by these classical pieces, he decided to arrange them for string orchestra, preserving the character and spirit of the period. This led to the writing of the charming Divertimento, which is one of the first pieces by Panufnik drawing on early Polish music.

Divertimento was premiered in Kraków on 9 December 1947 and quickly became very popular. It consists of three movements: Allegro moderato, Andante and Allegro.

It is worth noting that interest in early music, stemming, on the one hand, from the popularity of the neo-classical movement in Poland, and on the other – from a desire to bypass the dictates of socialist realism, prompted Polish composers to write a number of works based on pieces composed centuries earlier. In addition to Panufnik, such works were written by e.g. Roman Palester – Concertino for harpsichord and 10 instruments (1956) or Tadeusz Baird – the suite Colas Breugnon (1952) and Songs of the Trouvères (1963).