The piano was Henryk Mikołaj Górecki’s first musical love. In his childhood, it remained both within his grasp and yet a forbidden fruit, in the guise of the instrument left by his deceased mother. When in later years the doors of the music school in Rybnik opened for the young Henryk, it became everything for him. His numerous juvenilia show how much he immersed himself in the pianistic element – besides songs and a few chamber pieces, they are primarily made up of compositions for the piano (five mazurkas, ten preludes, and numerous miniatures).
In 1955, Górecki began to study composition under Bolesław Szabelski. The first opus he wrote were Four Preludes. The four strongly contrasting pieces form a compact cycle, expressive in texture, harmony and intense lyricism, subtly tinged with folklore.