Concerto alla cadenza

Concerto alla cadenza per flauto a becco e orchestra  (1974)

Czesław Pałkowski - recorder, National Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Andrzej Markowski, „Warsaw Autumn” 1975

Concerto alla cadenza
Concerto alla cadenza
Concerto alla cadenza
Zieliński's text on Concerto alla cadenz...
The concerto was commissioned by the Hessen Radio in Frankfurt and dedicated to Czesław Pałkowski, a clarinettist with the Warsztat Muzyczny ensemble also specialising in recorder playing. The world premiere took place on 3 April 1975 in Frankfurt, and the Polish premiere – during the 19th “Warsaw Autumn”.

The title refers to the classical genre of solo concerto with its specific formal structure and relation between the solo part and the orchestra. However, the addition of alla cadenza is to indicate, according to the composer, a “kind of solo cadenza for recorders and orchestra”. In practice this translates into using the recorder in its six varieties as the main means of expression and emphasising one of the elements of the traditional concerto form, i.e. the solo cadenza.

However, this is not a classic three-part concerto. Instead, it can be divided into eight parts – segments. Thus the work runs as follows: orchestral introduction (no. 1) – tenor recorder cadenza (no. 32) – alto recorder episode (no. 60) – soprano recorder episode (no. 76) – bass recorder episode (no. 131) – contra bass recorder episode and cadenza (no. 185) – mouthpiece episode and cadenza (no. 254) and coda for sopranino recorder (no. 297). As Anna Nowak notes, episodes with sounds defined in terms of pitch alternate with those with indeterminate pitches. Each new episode is preceded by an orchestral “ritornello”. Thus in terms of its structure, the concerto is a transformation of the old principle of alternating solo and ensemble sections, in which the solos play the most important part.

Serocki achieves here various sound colours thanks to his use of a variety of orchestral instruments as well as twelve separate sources of sound for the solo instrument (6 sizes of the recorder + 6 mouthpieces used separately), which gives no fewer than sixty-five new articulation techniques in total. Since all types of the recorder and mouthpieces occur just once and since articulation is not repeated either, the final auditory effect includes Serocki’s characteristic kaleidoscopic variety of colours and emotional states. Tadeusz A. Zieliński compares it to a “parade of various figures, of individual types – as if actors were coming on stage to present brief scenes-monologues”.

  • Anna Nowak, “Normatywna siła poetyki gatunku a indywidualność artystycznej koncepcji dzieła w Concerto alla cadenza Kazimierza Serockiego” [“The normative strength of the poetics of genre and the individuality of the artistic concept of a work in Kazimierz Serocki’s Concerto alla cadenza”], Forum Muzykologiczne 2006/2007.
  • Tadeusz A. Zieliński, O twórczości Kazimierza Serockiego [On Kazimierz Serocki’s Oeuvre], Kraków 1985.


Sheet music available from: PWMRICORDI