Epiphany Music for orchestra (1963)

Epiphany Music /excerpt/

Performers: Orkiestra Filharmonii Narodowej, Witold Krzemiński - conductor, "Warsaw Autumn" 29 IX 1963, Polish Composers' Union

Epiphany MusicEpiphany MusicEpiphany Music

PWM Edition

Epiphany Music - fragment; performers: Polish Radio and Television Orchestra, Antoni Wit - conductor (fragment of a television programme, "A music lover's Tuesday", 1979)

The composition has its origins in the theatre and its writing was accompanied by literary inspirations. However, Baird did not point to any specific play, though he stressed his fascination with James Joyce’s oeuvre. The work is dedicated to an unknown woman: “A Marina”.

Its first Polish performance took place during the 7th Warsaw Autumn, when the composer took the opportunity to explain the work’s title and its structure: 

Epiphany MusicA short symphonic work written in 1962-1963. Its title stems from an attempt to transpose to music the construction “method” which in literature was “invented” by James Joyce and which he applied consistently, beginning with his youthful Epiphanies and ending with Finnegans Wake. Thus, Epiphany Music is a series of short (combined into a continuous whole), impression-like sketches resembling improvisations, it’s a series of shots, almost involuntary emotional manifestations.There is no formal pattern in the work assumed in advance and the only mark of the form consists in quickly passing “ebbs and flows” of emotions.

This single-movement musical piece, full of momentary thrills is shaped like an arch the outer fragments of which are very quiet, delicate, while the main middle fragment contains a number of turns and fluctuates between the “ebbs and flows” of one type of emotion. The work is full of deep expression, lyricism and rich sound, which serves a form-building function.

Paul Kletzki (a Swiss conductor and composer) described the incredible success of the work after its world premiere at the Montreaux Festival (1963):

Baird’s music may have permanently paved the way for contemporary works to be performed at our Festival.


  • T. Baird, Muzyka epifaniczna [Epiphany Music], [in:] Programme Booklet: 7th Warsaw Autumn, Warsaw 1963, p. 110.
  • T. Marek, Tadeusz Baird: “Muzyka epifaniczna na orkiestrę symfoniczną z koncertująca wiolonczelą, klarnetem i fletem” [“Epiphany Music for symphony orchestra with concertante cello, clarinet and flute”], National Philharmonic 1967/1968, Programme Booklet, 10 and 11.01.1968, p. 7.