Marian Sawa (1938–2005) — Fresk gregoriański (Gregorian Fresco) (1995) for organ
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 second half of the 20th century.