I am a typical family product, with the notion of family being the one that has remained in Europe since ancient times, through the long centuries of Christianity since the Middle Ages. The notion of family was shared by the peasants, the nobility and the aristocracy. It was closely linked to the notion of a home, seat or the so-called “hearth”.
From an early age Zygmunt Mycielski showed huge sensitivity to art and music. As the youngest of Maria Mycielska’s sons, for quite a long time he was taught at home by teachers hired by his mother.
Zygmunt Mycielski wrote from an early age. He would note down events and his own reflections. He would try his hand at literature and painting. His youthful diaries are full of drafts of stories and poems, richly illustrated with drawings.His first attempts at composition come from 1919–1920, the only surviving piece among them being Waltz in D major for piano.
1 September 1939 was marked by the outbreak of the Second World War. Responding to the mobilisation call, Mycielski reported to the 2nd Podhale Riflemen Regiment stationed in Sanok, which was part of the 3rd Mountain Brigade of the Border Protection Corps of the “Carpathian” Army. The Brigade was ordered to take part in the fighting near Krosno, Dukla and Sanok.
When Zygmunt Mycielski returned to Poland on 5 November 1945, his first action was to contact his composer colleagues. He had known many of them since before the war. Now, the predominant feeling among the many whirling within him was joy. He was coming back to his own people. Initially, he moved in with his mother in Kraków, but after a while he moved to Warsaw.
On 4 July 1955, during a general assembly of the Polish Composers’ Union, Zygmunt Mycielski said: I have to say emphatically that we are, unfortunately, living in a world that is closed off and – practically speaking – isolated from the artistic life around us. Even the quite numerous official trips, congresses or conventions – to which a few, usually the same, artists and virtuosos go – will not help here. This is not genuine artistic contact.
Mycielski composed a lot in the last few years of his life. As a result, the 1980s saw the emergence of some fine vocal-instrumental compositions in Zygmunt Mycielski’s oeuvre, works like Psalms for baritone, choir and orchestra (1982–83), Liturgia sacra for choir and orchestra (1983–84) as well as Fragments for choir and small orchestra, to words by Juliusz Słowacki (1986–87), the last piece written by the composer.