Polymorphia

About this work

Like his famous work "Threnody", this 9-minute piece is also for multiple solo strings, in this case an ansemble of 48 stringed instruments. The piece, composed in 1961 in Dziwnowo, a town by the Baltic Sea, is another and early study in sonic timbres - in the first and last parts these are continuous sounds, one sound developing (morphing) into another, and in the middle part the sounds punctuate and are percussive. The opening sounds are in the deep bass, studies of wavefronts formed by clusters of tones. High pitch-sustains and sliding, snaky (up and down) glissandos in the middle ranges are added. This leads into the middle section built from quasi-random pizzicatos, and striking with the wood of the bow (col legno). The snaky (wide vibrato) sounds return, with the high pitches and the low basses participating (almost a retrograde of the first section); this develops into a massive tone cluster "alarm siren" sound. And the last minute is filled with chopping and stabbing bow attacks that gradually accumulate in all the registers. Suddenly, and shocking in this context (calling into question the relative categories of "consonance" and "dissonance"), a full C-major chord is sounded. End.

Done