Exhortation for reciter, mixed choir and symphony orchestra (1959–1960)

Egzorta /fragment/

Wykonawcy: Aleksander Bardini – głos recytujący, Orkiestra Symfoniczna Filharmonii Narodowej, Witold Rowicki – dyrygent, "Warszawska Jesień" 18 IX 1960, Związek Kompozytorów Polskich


PWM Edition

The piece was commissioned by the Committee for Commissions, Purchases of Works of Art and Art Scholarships at the Ministry of Culture and Art. The Exhortation had its roots in the music Baird composed for the film Stone Heaven directed by Ewa and Czesław Petelski (1959). The composition, impressive in its instrumentation (reciting voice, mixed choir, orchestra), went almost unnoticed, despite being premiered at the 4th Warsaw Autumn in 1960.

The authors of the verbal layer of the Exhoration were Baird and Tadeusz Marek, who used the Old Testament (the Book of Job and the Book of Psalms) to formulate a poetic warning against evil done by people:

What I feared has come upon me...; My brothers are dying! Madmen among men! When will you understand!

The Exhoration is a single-movement piece, with the only criterion of its internal division being the text presented by the reciter, the choir and the orchestra. The instruments create an aura, they announce emotions, the reciter presents the main text, while the choir emphasises its most important turns. In the work the composer used the serial technique (based on five twelve-note rows) as well as non-serial fragments.The dominant element of the piece is sound (unique colouring achieved thanks to non-traditional ways of producing sound), which determines is violent and disturbing expression.

In his Exhortation Baird revised the elements of his composing technique – while preserving the dodecaphonic order, he clearly signalled his tonal thinking.