New reality

Window of PWMWith the employees and collaborators of the PWMRoman Palester, 1940s.

Following the Yalta conference (February 1945) Poland found itself within the sphere of Soviet influence. As a result, it received a new political system and a new, USSR-controlled government. In addition, leaders of the Home Army were arrested and members of the anti-Nazi resistance were brutally persecuted. Britain ceased to recognise the Polish Government-in-exile and the Polish Armed Forces in the West were disbanded. The new government in Poland introduced censorship, as well as control of the press, publications and performances, which greatly hindered cultural development. However, in the first few post-war years the pressure on the musical life was not severe yet; the fundamental issue was to rebuild and reorganise musical institutions and associations.

London, July 1946London 1946Roman Palester, 1940s.

In 1945 the Palesters settled in Cracow, where began to emerge the first organisations that made it possible for musical life to develop. Palester became a board member of the newly-formed Musicians’ Trade Union as well as a member of the Editorial Board of the PWM (Polish Music Publishers) Edition headed by Tadeusz Ochlewski. After the Music Conservatoire in Cracow was reactivated and renamed State School of Music, Palester was appointed deputy rector and professor of theory and composition (the rector was Zbigniew Drzewiecki). During the first National Congress of the Polish Composers’ Union Palester was elected vice-president of the Board and president of the Cracow Branch. He was also a member of the Musical Education Programme Committee and a member of the Theatrical Council at the Ministry of Culture and Art. He was one those artists who "rendered great services to culture and art" and who received state support granted by the Council of Ministers. At that time his music could often be heard in concert halls in Poland and other countries. On 14 April 1945 during the inaugural concert of the Cracow Philharmonic Zygmunt Latoszewski conducted hisPolonaises by M. K. Ogiński, while his Second Symphony was premiered at the 1st Festival of Contemporary Polish Music in Cracow. The subsequent years were a heyday for Palester when it came to the number of performances of his works. His Violin Concerto featured in the programme of the first post-war Festival of the International Society for Contemporary Music, which took place on 14 July 1946 in London. The soloist was Eugenia Umińska and the BBC Radio orchestra was conducted by Grzegorz Fitelberg. Palester's works were performed in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, the Hague, Copenhagen, Royaumont, Venice and Prague. In 1947 as one of six composers from Europe and South America, Palester was commissioned by New York's League of Composers to write a chamber work. That commission led to the composition of Little Serenade for flute, violin and viola. He became popular also as the composer of music for the first post-war Polish films, such as Zakazane piosenki (Forbidden Songs) and Ostatni etap (The Last Stage). In 1946 Palester received the Musical Prize of the City of Cracow.

Roman Palester, 1940s.Roman Palester, 1940sRoman Palester, 1940s.Roman Palester, 1940s.Roman Palester, 1946.