Quintet for woodwind instruments (perf. musicians of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra )
Written under the guidance of his teacher Bolesław Woytowicz, Kilar’s piece does not yet display any marks of individuality, yet it does show the 20-year-old composer’s technical mastery. The virtuosity of young Kilar is manifested primarily in a skilful combination of compositional tricks and stylistic manners, borrowed mainly from French neoclassicists and Igor Stravinsky. Although the piece is above all a veritable parade of influences, it is also very charming and intricate.
The opening Sinfonia is based on two musical themes. The first is easily recognizable with its multiple repetitions of a single note and characteristic, lightly archaizing chords; at the beginning of the movement, this theme is taken up by leach of the instruments, one by one. The second theme is a broad, capricious melodic line, presented by oboe and flute against a background provided by a persistent figure in the clarinet, bassoon and horn parts. The first theme is then elaborately transformed and then both ideas return: the first in the horn part, while the second is picked up by the horn then the oboe. In the dazzling epilogue, we can clearly hear the leading motif from the first theme.
The second movement, Scherzo, is a striking “race of sounds” with a burlesque theme; its contrasting middle section draws on the sound of the baroque bagpipe (musette). Solemnity and austerity are the dominant features of the third movement, Chorale variée (Chorale with Variations), the sour harmonies of which sound as if they were “borrowed” from Stravinsky’s Octet (1920) and Symphonies of Wind Instruments (1920). Chords accompany here a lyrical melody that is passed from instrument to instrument with slight modifications. The final Rondo, on the other hand, paraphrases the spicy, angular-sounding fast movements in Prokofiev’s works. A lively theme returns several times as a refrain, and alternates with several contrasting episodes (couplets): a teasing march, an allusion to the first movement's melodious theme, a solo clarinet display and a virtuoso flute solo.