Monologhi op. 16
Adrian Thomas considers the three-part Monologhi “Górecki’s most committed statement of the serialist ethos”, as espoused by Pierre Boulez. Using mathematical speculations, the composer arranged in series the pitches as well as the durations and dynamics. The performing forces are divided into three groups: A (harp, soprano and tenor cymbals, three gongs), B (soprano, bells, vibraphone, marimbaphone, mezzo and baritone cymbals), and C (harp, alto and bass cymbals, three tam-tams). In the course of the composition, these groups are frequently intertwined, introducing instrumental sounds of varying colour conceived pointillistically and providing an engaging context for the solo voice, which dominates the work. The futurist text of the poem Monologue II, written by Górecki, corresponds to the idea of using serial techniques for the organization of musical material. The contents of the poem are not intelligible – only individual words and their emotional charges are significant (one, “ordering”, is important for the serial technique). The composer makes use of various vocal techniques – such as melo-recitation in the manner of sprechgesang – and a melody broken up by rests and large interval leaps, as well as the inclusion of tones with undetermined pitch.Monologhi, along with the earlier Epitaph, are the only examples of an avant-garde application of a verbal text in Górecki’s oeuvre. (The later work Genesis III: Monodramma per soprano, metalli di percussione e sei violbassi makes use of separate syllables that do not form a text.) Even in Monologhi, however, the composer preserves the meaning of individual words in the text, taking care to convey that meaning to the audience, enhanced and suitably “coloured” by the music. For Górecki, the meaning of words he set to music was important even in his exploratory earlier work, and in time their role would grow.