Fantasia elegiaca

Fantasia elegiaca for organ and orchestra (1971–72)

Karl-Erik Welin – organ, Radio Symphony Orchestra Frankfurt, cond. Andrzej Markowski, „Warsaw Autumn” 1973 

Fantasia elegiaca – score cover
Fantasia elegiaca for organ and orchestr...
Fantasia elegiaca for organ and orchestr...
Fantasia elegiaca for organ and orchestr...
Fantasia elegiaca for organ and orchestr...

The work was premiered in 1972 in Baden-Baden by the Swedish composer and organist Karl-Erik Welin and the Südwestfunk Orchestra under Ernest Bour. One year later Fantasia  was presented at the 17th “Warsaw Autumn”.

As the title and the dedication (to the memory of Heinrich Strobel, long-time president of the International Society for Contemporary Music) suggest, this is an elegiac and reflective work. This time Serocki manifested his creative approach to timbre not so much by using new articulations or means deforming the original organ sound, but by consciously using only “lighter” registers, the so-called auxiliary stops. The moment in which a register is to be turned on or off is indicated precisely in each segment of the composition. The organ disposition results, in turn, from the disposition of the instrument with which Serocki experimented when composing his work in the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Czerna.

Monastery of the Discalced Carmelites in...

Among the sonic measures used in Fantasia those that stand out are organ clusters of different colours and width that are superimposed on each other in a variety of ways. The sound of the solo instrument is shaped by a number of “special effects”, e.g. by turning off harmonic registers modifying the natural timbre of the organ, by using a timbral descrescendo through gradual turning off of the various registers when notes sound simultaneously or by using glissandi obtained by turning the wind system on and off when the organ is played. Tomasz Kienik even hears here a similarity with sound characteristic of electronic music: quasi-sine sounds of some registers, harmonic registers as well as pitch structures with a characteristic arrangement of harmonics.

Serocki’s arranges the work’s sound material in his favourite manner: he juxtaposes contrasting sections, e.g. lively fragments with static ones, isolated sounds with multiphonics. As well as making sure his music is dramatically clear, Serocki reinterprets the classic form of instrumental concerto. Thus Fantasia elegiaca is a unique type of organ concerto in which the solo part is in a dialogue and competes with the orchestra. However, it is not related to the classic, three-part form, because the whole narrative breaks up into five stages, differing in terms of disposition of various sound shapes, tempo and organ registration. These stages are different also in terms of their aesthetic expression; Tomasz Kienik describes them as: introduction, toccata, lament, drama and conclusion. The whole work is a link between the “sonorist, natural poetics of the sounds of Symphonic Frescoes and the new – electroacoustic – poetics of Pianophonie”.

 

  • Tadeusz A. Zieliński, O twórczości Kazimierza Serockiego [On Kazimierz Serocki’s Oeuvre], Kraków 1985.
  • Tomasz Kienik,  “Wybrane problemy analityczne w Fantasia elegiaca Kazimierza Serockiego” [“Selected analytical problems in Kazimierz Serocki’s Fantasia elegiaca], [in:] Muzyka i jej konteksty [Music and Its Contexts], part II, Poznań 2006.

 

Sheet music available from: PWMRICORDI