First successes as composer

1930s.Żerosławice, 1930s.A game of chess.

After completing his studies Roman Palester quickly became very active in many spheres of musical life. As early as 1931 his Symphonic Music was performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic under Grzegorz Fitelberg and selected by the jury of the 9th Festival of the International Society for Contemporary Music. During three theatre seasons (1931-1934), under Wilam Horzyca’s directorship, Palester worked as the music director of city theatres in Lviv. He composed incidental music to productions directed by such artists as Wacław Radulski and Bronisław Dąbrowski, and also collaborated with Leon Schiller, writing music for plays staged by him at the Teatr Polski in Warsaw. By the beginning of the war Palester composed music for about 40 theatrical productions. He also wrote music for the first Polish sound films, often in collaboration with Marian Neuteich. In addition, he composed music for various programmes produced by the Polish Radio. He did not shy away from popular music either. One of his songs, Baby, ach te baby (Oh, those women) from the film Zabawka (Toy) sung by Eugeniusz Bodo, became a hit.

The growing appreciation for Palester and his public activities was reflected in the fact that he was entrusted with various functions in artistic societies. In 1932 he became a deputy member and a year later a member of the Board of the Polish Composers’ Association. In 1936 he was elected general secretary of the organisation and in 1938 – its deputy president. He was also active in the Polish section of the International Society for Contemporary Music (between 1938 and 1939 he was its vice-president), in the Supreme Board of the Association of Stage Authors and Composers, and in the Musical Council of the Society for the Promotion of Polish Art among Foreigners. In addition, he published articles in various music magazines: "Kwartalnik Muzyczny" ("Musical Quarterly"), "Muzyka" ("Music") and "Muzyka Polska" ("Polish Music"). In 1936 Palester went to Paris for a few months, but unlike his Polish colleagues he did not continue there his musical studies. Until 1938 he was a member of the Association of Young Polish Musicians. And finally, in 1939 Palester, together with his future wife, Barbara Podoska, served as the secretary of the 17th Festival of the International Society for Contemporary Music, which was held in Warsaw and Cracow.

Palester quickly became one of those young Polish composers who were welcomed by the musical elite gathered around Karol Szymanowski. In the 1930s his works were relatively frequently performed both in Poland and abroad. Particular favourites were: Symphonic MusicChildren’s Symphony,Little Overture and Dance from Osmołoda, performed in 1936 at the 14th Festival of the International Society for Contemporary Music in Barcelona,Second String QuartetSymphonic Suite and the ballet Song of the Earth, which won the gold medal at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1937.

ID cardRoman Palester, 1950s.02_17_W_zaciszuRoman Palester, 1939