Marian Sawa (1937–2005) — Partita: “Krystus z martwych wstał je” (1980) for organ
1) Festivo con fuoco
2) Con dolore
3) Andante spianato
4) Alla menuetto
5) Con vigore
6) Maestoso espressivo
Partita: “Krystus z martwych wstał je” (1980) is based on an old Polish hymn, the text of which (“Christ arose from the dead”) is the oldest extant work of Polish-language poetry (dating from before 1365). The melody is a variant of the German 12th century Easter hymn “Christ ist erstanden,” which is also a related source of the text. Historically, the hymn was used not only in Easter services but also as a “battle hymn” (like the famous “Bogurodzica”) that celebrated the hope of the resurrection for all the fallen. Sawa’s partita is in six contrasting movements, beginning with joyous fanfares that return near the end.
The Polish composer, organist, and teacher Marian Sawa (1937–2005) wrote approximately 800 pieces in various genres. His several hundred organ solos make him the most prolific organ composer in Polish music history by a large margin. As a sought-after specialist in improvisation, Sawa taught the subject for many years at several conservatories, most notably the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw. Building in a modernist manner on the Polish romantic musical tradition of Surzyński and Nowowiejski, Sawa continued their integration of fragments and phrases from Polish church hymns and folk music into works of serious concert music. Sawa’s personal style thus draws strongly upon traditional Polish music and Gregorian chant; to this is added influences from the Polish avant-garde, including block formal structures and improvisatory ideas of developing variation. Sawa’s personal vocabulary makes his music instantly recognizable, and the wide range of expression achieved across his output marks him as arguably the greatest Eastern European organ composer of the 20th century.