Concert recording of Poesies at the 13th Warsaw Autumn Festival, 1969.
Poesies (1969) for soprano and chamber orchestra
Kazimierz Serocki’s Poesies were born out of a hitherto unsatisfied need to find the right balance between the verbal and instrumental layers of a musical work. The composer used for the purpose Stanisław Różewicz’s poems (Unknown language, Nothing, Stream and Chicks), which he stripped off their titles and arranged in a sequence highlighting the figure and personality of the lyrical subject. In addition, he combined the poetic content with an impressive array of musical means reflecting the idea of “composing with sound colours”.
The work is thus full of varied sounds and their mixtures, which vividly correspond to the poetic images and reflections. To an encounter of two strangers (Unknown language), to an attempt to hold on to memories of childhood against the current stream of events (Stream), to philosophical and linguistic reflections on the word “nothing” (Nothing) or, finally, to a cheerful image of bird birth (Chicks).
Listening to Serocki’s Poesies, we follow changing expressive states, from mystery, reverie and lyricism to drama, while the “theatricality” of the orchestration serves to make the verbal text more comprehensible. After the premiere of the work at the 1969 Warsaw Autumn (Różewicz’s poems translated by Karl Dedecius and set to music by Serocki were sung by Dorothy Dorrow) Ulrich Dibelius wrote:
The listener could observe the harmony between the text and the music which was as clear as it was fascinating. Wreathed in musical aura, in a specific climate the two could move freely within it. Taking the work as a whole, we might say that the poetic pieces, the music and text, follow each other in this order: main part, scherzo, moderato and the finale.
[Ulrich Dibelius, Poesies of Kazimierz Serocki, Polish Music 1970 no. 1, p. 12]