Volume 68: The vocal-instrumental compositions

Volumes 68 and 69 of ‘The Complete Works’ are devoted to the output of Kolberg as a composer. He completed his musical education in Warsaw with J. Elsner and F. Dobrzyński and in Berlin with Girschner and C. Rungenhagen. Publication of the songs entitled ‘Talizman’ (Talisman) was his debut in 1839. Kolberg had been composing practically until 1860s and later he devoted himself, exclusively, to the process of documentation and investigation of folk culture. The volume contains 23 vocal songs with the piano accompaniment, 3 choral songs, 12 unfinished songs in a fascimile form and 3 stage plays. The songs were composed to the texts of poets contemporary to Kolberg, such as J. B. Zaleski, S. Witwicki, T. Lenartowicz, S. Duchińska-Pruszakowa, and others. Their characteristic features are melodiousness, simple formal structure and repercussions of folk tunes. The idyllic opera ‘Król pasterzy’ [The King of Shepherds] is the only stage play which was arranged in two versions; the one for piano, published during Kolberg’s life and as a score preserved in the manuscripts. This play was composed to the libretto by T. Lenartowicz and it concerns the custom of electing the so-called king of shepherds on Whitsun (see notice on volume 3, Kujawy). It was staged several times in Warsaw in 1859, then on the turn of 1970 in Gdańsk Television Theater, and, in addition, it was broadcasted by the Polish Radio in the years 1966-1967. The other two plays ‘Scena w karczmie czyli powrót Janka’ [The Scene in the Inn, or the Return of Janek] and ‘Pielgrzymka do Częstochowy’ [The Pilgrimage to Częstochowa] were not completed by Kolberg. To the first of them, composed to the text by J. K. Gregorowicz, there were preserved vocal voices and the piano version included in vol. 68. The second one composed to the text by S. Duchińska-Pruszakowa is only an outline of a composition and for that reason it is published merely in the form of fascimile. Similarly to songs, reminiscences of folk music can also be found in stage plays. The 19th century reviews by J. Sikorski, M. Karasowski, and others complete the volume.