Roman Maciejewski

Timeline - 1970–1979

1970

In a letter to his brother Maciejewski presents a diagnosis of the contemporary American culture:

“Here in America, despite efforts of the progressists, serious aestheticists lament the decline of theatre – choruses of naked bodies on and off stage, and publicly demonstrated sexual acts enveloped in hashish and marijuana fumes are somehow unable to satisfy the human longing for this hard to explain ‘something’ we call beauty.”

 

14 October – premiere of Witold Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto.

14 December – beginning of the “Gdańsk events”. As a result Władysław Gomułka is forced to resign and Edward Gierek takes over power in Poland.

Nobel Prize for Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

Magdalena Abakanowicz creates her Environments.

1971

Maciejewski writes his Quintet for wind instruments combining a classic variation form based on a traditional folk song (“Oj chmielu, chmielu”) with a twelve-note row.

He begins to give private composition lessons.

 

6 April – Igor Stravinsky dies.

11 April – death of Zbigniew Drzewiecki.

3 December – premiere of Steve Reich’s Drumming, the first masterpiece of minimal music.

1972

Maciejewski writes another chamber piece – Views from the Seaside for chamber orchestra.

In July the composer comes to Poland. He stays at his brother Wojciech’s Warsaw flat and meets old acquaintances and friends: Jerzy Waldorff, Zygmunt Mycielski, Stefan Kisielewski, Jerzy Kawalerowicz and Witold Lutosławski. He visits his mother and sister Jadwiga in Swarzędz near Poznań. On his way back to the United States he visits Copenhagen, Göteborg and Stockholm.

 

26 May – the USSR and the USA sign the SALT disarmament treaty in Moscow.

15 September – premiere of the film The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie directed by Louis Buñuel.

George Crumb writes the first part of his Makrokosmos.

1973

Maciejewski makes corrections and cuts to his Requiem in connection with a performance of the work in Los Angeles planned for 1975.

 

18 February – premiere of Forefathers’ Eve directed by Konrad Swinarski at Teatr Stary in Kraków.

8 April – death of Pablo Picasso.

22 June – premiere of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki’s Symphony No. 3, the “Copernican” in Warsaw.

18 September – West Germany and East Germany are admitted to the UN.

17–25 October – “Yom Kippur War” between Israel, and Egypt and Syria.

1974

25 April – the so-called Carnation Revolution in Portugal.

Publication of a collection of Zbigniew Herbert’s poems, Mr Cogito.

Wojciech Kilar writes Krzesany, an orchestral “hit” initially received with great amazement and consternation.

1975

1 November – American premiere of Maciejewski’s Requiem at Los Angeles’ Music Center. The work is conducted by Roger Wagner. This time the success is overwhelming. After the concert the composer receives many offers, but accepts none of them. Instead, he takes the opportunity to rethink his life.

 

1 August – signing of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Helsinki.

9 August – Dmitri Shostakovich dies.

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to the Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov.

Edward Stachura writes the novel Everything is Poetry.

1976

12 February — death of Maciejewski’s mother Bronisława. The composer comes to Poland for the funeral and then returns to the USA.

 

5 June – strikes break out in Ursus and Radom.

17 July – informal beginning of the Workers’ Defence Committee.

4 December – Benjamin Britten dies in Aldeburgh.

Henryk Mikołaj Górecki completes his Symphony No. 3 (premiered the following year).

1977

In late January and early February Maciejewski sells all his property in the United States and flies to the Azores. He spends half a year on the Graciosa Island, isolated from outsiders, only to eventually decide to return to Sweden. On his way there he visits Morocco and Poland, where he not only stops in Warsaw, but also travels to Poznań, Swarzędz, Kraków and the Tatra Mountains. The decision to stay in Sweden is apparently determined by an… upright piano. As the composer recalls:

“this upright piano largely determined my decision to settle here for good – a new life had to be organised around that piano and I have been quite unexpectedly successful in this.”

 

31 January – opening of Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.

25 February – premiere of Andrzej Wajda’s film Man of Marble.

Andrzej Panufnik’s Universal Prayer is performed at the Warsaw Autumn. Eugeniusz Knapik and Andrzej Krzanowski make their debuts.

1978

In a letter to his brother Zygmunt Maciejewski describes Ligeti’s opera heard on the radio: “Rubbish against the background of an apocalyptic vision of the end of the world accompanied not so much by music, but screams, squeals, roars and infernal noise creating an atmosphere of monotonous, largely tiresome hysteria.”

 

12 April – premiere of György Ligeti’s opera Grand macabre in Stockholm.

16 October – after the death of John Paul I Karol Wojtyła is elected pope and assumes the name of John Paul II.

29 November – premiere of Krzysztof Penderecki’s opera Paradise Lost in Chicago.

1979

22 October – Nadia Boulanger dies in Paris.

25 December – beginning of the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.

Paweł Szymański makes his debut at the Warsaw Autumn.

Tadeusz Konwicki’s A Minor Apocalypse is published by a clandestine press (the official publication would come in 1988).