People of dance

Tadeusz Sygietyński

  • founder
  • composer
Zdjęcie: Tadeusz Sygietyński

Tadeusz Sygietyński. Photo: Courtesy of the Archives of the Polish Song and Dance Ensemble “Mazowsze”

Tadeusz Sygietyński (1896–1955) was the founder, first director and conductor of the Polish Song and Dance Ensemble “Mazowsze.” Active in theater, opera, and cabaret, Sygietyński began as an author of symphonic concerts, in which his fascination with Polish folklore was already evident (e.g. Four Folk Suites). Most of his output—scores, music notations, compositions and sketches—burned down in September 1939. It was him who introduced Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera into Polish theaters. Sygietyński also founded the Dubrovnik Philharmonic, which has been active until today. Thoroughly educated, he was strongly influenced by the oeuvre of Oskar Kolberg.

Print version

Share

In 1948, Sygietyński was entrusted with organizing and leading the “Mazowsze” ensemble. Sygietyński approached the task as a mission. He acted with passion, devoting himself completely to developing the ensemble’s repertoire. In her memoirs, Mira Zimińska-Sygietyńska writes that in the early days of the ensemble’s formation Tadeusz traveled around the villages “like crazy.” He had a gift for winning people over, so on every return home he brought more and more musical material… and newly recruited ensemble members. Most often, they were poor village children who, years later, described their stay in Karolin as a pass to paradise, to a world of whose existence they were completely unaware.

The professor, as he was called, brought out the lyrical character of folk songs in his compositions. He always removed himself into the background of his pieces, respectful of tradition. Some accused Sygietyński of falsifying the original, however none of his opponents was remotely close to Sygietyński’s success, who made every Pole hum songs previously confined to the heartland near Opoczno, Radom, or Kadzidło. No one has ever immortalized folk music to the degree achieved by Sygietyński and his wife did. The “professor” succumbed to this style to such an extent that today it is difficult to guess that Dumka o ptaszku, popular far and wide across Poland, was actually written in 1948 on a Jelenia Góra-Warsaw train, rather than under a thatched roof of some remote turn-of-the-century Mazovian village.

The concerts of “Mazowsze” under the baton of Tadeusz Sygietyński sparked waves of euphoria among audiences and delighted the critics. A compulsive smoker with a characteristic physiognomy, Sygietyński remained consistently modest and inconspicuous.

He left behind dozens of prepared pieces, which “Mazowsze” sings to this day. He fell ill at the time of the band’s greatest successes. “Dear all, I shall not last much longer” were the last words he wrote in the hospital. He died a few dozen minutes later.

Our thanks to the Polish Folk Song and Dance Ensemble “Mazowsze” song and dance ensemble for rendering their materials available for the purposes of this bio.

3. At a rehearsal, 1950. Courtesy of the Archives of the Polish Song and Dance Ensemble “Mazowsze”

4. In Kiev, 1951. Courtesy of the Archives of the Polish Song and Dance Ensemble “Mazowsze”

10. In Karolin, 1950. Courtesy of the Archives of the Polish Song and Dance Ensemble “Mazowsze”

11. On location of “An Adventure at Mariensztat,” 1954. Courtesy of the Archives of the Polish Song and Dance Ensemble “Mazowsze”

12. In Paris, 1954. Courtesy of the Archives of the Polish Song and Dance Ensemble “Mazowsze”

linked

Companies

Organizations

Festivals

We are using cookies to provide you best experience possible. Click here for detailed information.
Close