Training 68 for clarinet, trombone, cello and piano (perf. Music Workshop)
(...) a composer has a chance to take one step forward, only when he thinks about the world in which he lives, about the people who surround him, about what matters for them in their lives. If this is in 1971, he tries to write using the language of the year 1971.
Training was written three years before this opinion was formulated, for a Polish ensemble specializing in performances of avant-garde contemporary music: Warsztat Muzyczny [Musical Workshop]. Its unusual instrumentation – clarinet, trombone, cello and piano – became an inspiration for Kilar to write a work which is one of the first manifestations of his fascination with “making music out of something that has hitherto been considered incapable of carrying the form”.
That “something” was an oscillation of two notes (C sharp - D sharp - C sharp) played by the cello in the low register at the beginning of the composition. The second-based motif is the basis of the entire first section of the piece (covering nearly half of the duration of Training 68), in which it recurs many times, separated by pauses. The second section provides a strong contrast to the first in terms of expression. It has two basic structural units: cello tremolos and staccato notes played by clarinet and trombone, which are repeated, being transposed and modified in a variety of ways (for example, by means of glissandi). Section three, the sonic aura of which slightly resembles the atmosphere of jazz improvisations, contains twelve-note sequences. Their successive elements are presented by the various instruments with varying frequency, most rapidly in the piano part. The tempo gradually rises to a culmination on dissonant, sustained chords of the clarinet, trombone and cello as well as piano clusters. The work concludes with the fourth section, which is a clear reference to the first, as it is marked by a return of the initial musical idea: second-based oscillation in the cello part.
Kilar’s Training 68 could be treated as “training” of sorts, not only for the performers but also for the composer: it is a study of the possibilities offered by minimalist material, composed at a specific time, which determined its shape, because it could take the form it took only between Solenne and Upstairs-Downstairs.