Author Topic: Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)  (Read 8772 times)

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Offline Maciek

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Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)
« on: September 06, 2007, 05:19:23 AM »
Kazimierz Serocki. Oh, yes: another kiki from Poland! ;D



Boguslaw Schaeffer (probably the most subjective and idiosyncratic music historian ever, but also an extremely picky one) has written an essay about Serocki that reads like a love letter. Let me quote the last two sentences: "But who would want to follow his difficult path? The one who would be able to do that, would have to be a great composer himself - and great composers don't need others."

Serocki was certainly one of the most consistently original composers in Polish 20th century music. He started off as someone inspired by folk music, went through a sort of neo-romantic-neo-classicist mixed phase, became fascinated by serialism, then punctualism, and finished as a pure colorist, in the meantime adopting several aleatoric techniques, experimenting quite a bit with open form in his final compositions.

The early tonal works are interesting and enjoyable but they are not really what he is remembered for. The real Serocki starts to compose around 1955-56. His Piano Sonata and Sinfonietta for 2 string orchestras come from that period and they are representative of a transitive phase. His very best work, however, comes from after around 1965/66. This was the moment his music abandoned all semblance of melody, and color became the major factor. The pieces coming from this last period of his life are: Continuum for 6 percussion groups (1966), Niobe for 2 reciting voices, choir and orchestra (1966), Forte e piano for 2 pianos and orchestra (1968), Poezje (Poems) for soprano and chamber orchestra (1969), Dramatic Story for orchestra (1970), Swinging Music for ensemble (OK, this one, one of his most brilliant pieces actually, admittedly does have elements of melody ::)) (1970), Fantasmagoria for piano and percussion (1973), Fantasia elegiaca for organ and orchestra (1972), Impromptu fantasque for recorders, mandolins, guitars, percussion and piano (1972), Concerto alla cadenza per flauto a becco e orchestra (1975), Arrangements for 1-4 recorders (1976), Ad libitum for orchestra (1977). and Painophonie for piano, electronics and orchestra (1978).

If I were to single out his two masterpieces I would without doubt name 2: Swinging Music - a brilliant "parody" of jazz, and Impromptu fantasque - a piece which does for woodwinds what Penderecki's Threnody and Polymorphia did for strings (it reinvents the instruments by having them conjure up a whole new sound world, unimagined of before) - it is one of my favorite pieces in contemporary music, there's so much mysterious pure beauty in it, I'm in awe every time I listen. :o

Arrangements could possibly called his most interesting piece from a technical point of view: on the one hand, the number of possible "versions" is enormous, on the other: nothing is really random here, the music is extremely "organically" coherent.

You can listen to an excerpt from his Suite of Preludes (early, folkloristic Serocki) for piano here. An extremely short PMC article here. The wikipedia article is similarly reticent (longer than the Polish one though!). I'll add a download or two to the Broadcast Corner in due time.

greg

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Re: Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2007, 05:24:25 AM »
what's punctualism?

Offline BachQ

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Re: Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2007, 05:27:50 AM »
His very best work, however, comes from after around 1965/66. This was the moment his music abandoned all semblance of melody, and color became the major factor.

But we like melody ..........

Offline Maciek

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Re: Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2007, 05:29:16 AM »
what's punctualism?

The GMG spell-checker let it pass, so I thought it's a legitimate English term?

See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punctualism

Think of it as serialism taken to its most extreme. ;D (Not only the pitch but every single aspect of each note is "serialized".)

But we like melody ..........

No problem 8), stick to the Trombone Concerto and Trombone Sonatina then.

greg

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Re: Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2007, 05:36:29 AM »
The GMG spell-checker let it pass, so I thought it's a legitimate English term?

See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punctualism

Think of it as serialism taken to its most extreme. ;D (Not only the pitch but every single aspect of each note is "serialized".)

ah, that type of serialism- integral serialism, total serialism, etc. never heard the term "punctualism" before

Offline Maciek

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Re: Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2007, 05:40:55 AM »
Well, I'm certainly no expert when it comes to English music terminology. ::) ;D I'll try to remember "integral" and "total serialism" for next time... 0:)

Offline BachQ

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Re: Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2007, 05:41:37 AM »
Fantasia elegiaca for organ and orchestra (1972),

The Fantasia elegiaca could be cool ........

Offline Maciek

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Re: Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2007, 05:45:32 AM »
Well, I like it but, you know, there's that melody factor... 0:)

You should try these two:

(any disc with Christian Lindberg is worth trying out, right?)

Offline BachQ

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Re: Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2007, 05:54:06 AM »
Well, I like it but, you know, there's that melody factor... 0:)

You should try these two:


With a cover like that, how could you possibly go wrong?

Offline Maciek

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Re: Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2007, 05:56:01 AM »
Hey, the Motorbike Concerto is possibly Sanstrom's best piece!

Offline Maciek

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Re: Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2007, 06:04:21 AM »
And, as I said, it's a CHRISTIAN LINDBERG disc! You don't look at the cover (which usually aren't exceptional, I admit ::)) - you just buy, buy, buy, and ask questions later! >:D

Lilas Pastia

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Re: Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2007, 05:42:25 PM »
The Motorbike Concerto is one of the most fun and original pieces I know. Vroom vroom it goes ;D.

There's a second 'Don Quixote' concerto form Sandström I also like a lot.

Maybe I should sample Serocki's Trombone concerto ?

Offline Maciek

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Re: Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2007, 12:27:27 AM »
It's a very good neo-classical concerto. I don't own this disc but I'm sure you won't regret trying it. 0:)

Offline Maciek

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Re: Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2007, 09:39:36 AM »
I've posted examples of "middle" Serocki and "mature" Serocki in the Broadcast Corner.

Reposting them here for your convenience:

Kazimierz Serocki - Piano Sonata (1955)
Jolanta Matacz piano
sample here:
[mp3=200,20,0,left]http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/8/25/1381505/Serocki%20Piano%20Sonata%20excpt%20%28Matacz%29.mp3[/mp3]
full piece here:
http://www.mediafire.com/?dleg91my4py


Kazimierz Serocki - Fantasmagoria for piano and percussion (1973)
Maciej Grzybowski piano
Cezary Dabrowski percussion
sample here:
[mp3=200,20,0,left]http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/8/25/1381505/Serocki%20Fantasmagoria%20for%20piano%20and%20perc%20%281973%29%20Grzybowski%2CDabrowski%20sample.mp3[/mp3]
full piece here:
http://www.mediafire.com/?6jr1ag1sngl

greg

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Re: Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2007, 06:13:22 AM »
yummy

greg

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Re: Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2007, 06:14:42 AM »
there's also a sonatina for trombone and piano on that one Russian website for online scores, but it can only be opened with Finale... it's a blast, though  8)

Offline Cato

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Re: Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2007, 08:06:19 AM »
Pan Maciek is truly the ultimate vox polonica musicae !

Many thanks to him for the effort he gives us (downloads, etc.) !

"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Offline Maciek

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Re: Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2007, 11:49:00 AM »
there's also a sonatina for trombone and piano on that one Russian website for online scores, but it can only be opened with Finale... it's a blast, though  8)

You can also open ".mus" files with the Finale Notepad (that's what I've got). The program has some very stupid limitations (no meter changes, no key changes etc.) but since it's free (and since the full Finale is insanely expensive) you can still call it awesome. And the limitations do not apply to the files you open (unless you want to edit them): just files you create. Also the midi playback is much worse than in the full Finale - if you try using it on this piece, you won't even be able to hear the trombone, it's so quiet compared to the piano! :o >:( ::) ;D

Anyway, the second of those Christian Lindberg discs contains Serocki's Sonatina. You can listen at naxosmusiclibrary.com. The piece is less than 7 minutes long, so you can get all of it (the restriction there is 15 minutes).

BTW, it's hilarious how his name has been transcribed on that Russian page: it's been changed to Seroki!!! ::) So perhaps I should mention here the proper pronunciation of his surname:

Serocki = Sir-OTS-key

Pan Maciek is truly the ultimate vox polonica musicae !

Many thanks to him for the effort he gives us (downloads, etc.) !

You're welcome. :D

Switching over to MediaFire was an educational experience: I can now see how many people have accessed the download screen for each file. It is amazing how few people usually download these (1-2 downloads per file - in most cases I know exactly who the downloader was!). And in some exceptional cases: how many people (7-8) download the pieces I'd least expect to be popular!

Speaking of which - I'll add one of his song cycles here this week.

Offline Maciek

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Re: Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)
« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2007, 11:18:05 AM »
According to at least one author, it was Serocki who was the "inventor" of this notational innovation (nowadays, a notational standard):



Don't know where he used it for the first time and which year it was, so can't really properly check. It's a pretty credible author, though (Krzysztof Baculewski, the musicologist and composer).

greg

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Re: Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)
« Reply #19 on: September 11, 2007, 11:29:22 AM »
According to at least one author, it was Serocki who was the "inventor" of this notational innovation (nowadays, a notational standard):



Don't know where he used it for the first time and which year it was, so can't really properly check. It's a pretty credible author, though (Krzysztof Baculewski, the musicologist and composer).
huh, i didn't know that..... always wondered where that came from