Expressions (Espressioni varianti) for violin and orchestra (1958–1959)
Performers: Wanda Wiłkomirska - violin, Orkiestra Symfoniczna Filharmonii Narodowej, Witold Rowicki - conductor, 1963, Polish Composers' Union
The piece was commissioned by the Ministry of Culture and Art. It contains Baird’s very personal, individual message, in which he expressed his feelings in various “variants”. The main carrier of expression is the violin, supported by a rich orchestral line-up guaranteeing a varied palette of colours. The work’s progression is natural, without any clear internal structural division; only agogic variability makes it possible to distinguish three parts in it. It is based on the twelve-note technique, clearly dominated by horizontal serial passages.
The Expressions closes a four-year period of “perfecting” the dodecaphonic technique, begun by Baird with the model Divertimento, continued by the neo-classical Cassazione, String Quartet, rich in interesting solutions, and the mature Four Essays.
After the premiere of the Expressions at the National Philharmonic Hall in 1959, during the 3rd Warsaw Autumn, Zdzisław Sierpiński did not hide his enthusiasm:
The strong impression and profound mood created by this music make it possible to accept it enthusiastically and with full understanding of the author’s intentions already after the first hearing. I am convinced that the Expressions will become part of our musical literature of the post-war period as one of the most important works. The enthusiasm in the auditorium was just part of Baird’s reward for his great compositional achievement; we should soon hear positive opinions about Baird’s Expressions also from other countries, as it was the case with his Essays.
The Expressions became the basis of a ballet entitled Inseparable and choreographed by Job Sanders (The Hague 1965).
- Z. Sierpiński, “W poszukiwaniu muzyki” [“In search of music”], Życie Warszawy, 15.09.1959, no. 221, p. 5.