Absent-minded Window Gazing

—— Adam Kośmieja Piano Recital



At 19:30 on May 24, 2017/ Wednesday

CCOM Concert Hall

 1. Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)           A Piacere - Suggestions for piano (1962-63)

2. Tomasz Sikorski (1939-1988)             Absent-minded Window Gazing (1971)   

3. Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)           Sonata (1955)                                             


 4. Tomasz Sikorski (1939-1988)             Rondo for keyboard instrument (1984)        

  5. Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)           The Gnomes: Children’s miniatures (1953) 

  6. Tomasz Sikorski (1939-1988)              Autograph for piano(1980)                           

7. Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)            Suite of Preludes (1952)                             




Adam Kośmieja

Adam Kośmieja – graduate of the Manhattan School of Music  (2011), awarded the Harold and Helen Schonberg Piano Scholarship (2007-2011), established in memory of the long-time leading music critic of The New York Times performs as a soloist in Europe, USA and Asia. In New York he performed at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall and the Yamaha Concert Artist's Hall. Outside of Poland and USA he presented his pianistic skills in Canada, Japan, China, France, Spain, England, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Romania and Czech Republic.

His studies were with Ludmila Kasyanenko, Jerzy Sulikowski, Solomon Mikowsky and Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń. He participated in piano master classes under Paul Badura-Skoda, Gary Graffman, Ivan Moravec, Andrei Gavrilov, Boris Berman, Mikhail Voskresensky, Lang Lang, Dina Yoffe and had supplementary sessions with Arie Vardi, Dmitri Bashkirov, Ewa Pobłocka, David Dubal.

Mr. Kośmieja participated and gave concerts at many international piano festivals: International Festival of Contemporary Music "Warsaw Autumn", Toronto International Electroacoustic Symposium, Shenzhen International Music Festival "Belt & Road", Festivalul Internațional Craiova Muzicală in Romania, International Contemporary Music and Visual Arts Festival "Mózg", Journess Polonaise a Toulouse in France, International Piano Festivals in Spain.

His performance of Serocki's Pianophonie for piano, electronic sound transformation and orchestra (1978) at the Final Concert of 57th International Festival of Contemporary Music "Warsaw Autumn", with Warsaw National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of maestro Jacek Kaspszyk was an enormous success and a highlight of the entire festival. 

He won the 1st Prize at the Mieczysław Münz Piano Competition in New York (2009), Chopin Piano Competition at Columbia University (2010) and Josef Suk International Piano Competition in Prague (2013). He received a semi-final award at the 3rd China Shenzhen International Piano Concerto Competition.

In 2016 Adam Kośmieja released his debut album Serocki - Complete works for solo piano (DUX). Currently he is teaching at the F.Nowowiejski Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz - Poland.


Composers & Program Notes


Kazimierz SEROCKI

Kazimierz SEROCKI (1922 - 1981) made his mark as an extremely talented pianist in his early childhood. Since his earliest years, he was drawn to modernity in music. In Paris he became fascinated with the dodecaphony and got to know Béla Bartók’s music; its modernity resulting from a profound lecture of folklore had a huge impact on the folk pieces of the Polish artist.

The piano was the first and the most important instrument for Serocki; since the earliest pieces he treated it as a tool of modernity. In the cycle of miniatures from 1953 titled Dwarfs, the modernity consists in the meeting of folk archetypes, such as syncopated rhythms of mazurkas and oberkas, plaintive song of a slow kujawiak, and modality as a rule organizing the pitch of notes. The simplicity of these microscopic pieces for children displays the mastery of the highest quality.

Suite of Preludes is an atonal piece, in which the composer accepted the challenge consisting in a new approach to harmony, chords, as well as to the way of constructing melodic phrases. Despite its pioneer qualities, the piece is not an experiment, but a fully mature and extremely brave work, as it was composed in the times of simplified doctrine of socialist- realist formalism.

In Sonata for piano, Serocki included one of the most significant features of his style: vitality, energy, and truly masculine strength, however, combined with lightness. In this four-movement cycle he juxtaposed the chords requiring big hands, dominating dry articulation (staccato, staccatissimo, marcato), frenzied rhythm, which is characterized by a constant change of pace, tempo and pulse, and dense chords, being a preview of a totally new approach to harmony, with only one slow movement, yet an exceptionally beautiful one, the third one, marked with elegiaco; it is a unique example of modern lyricism of the highest quality. Kazimierz Serocki’s Sonata can only be compared with famous Piano Sonata No. 7 Op. 83 by Sergey Prokofiev.

Serocki composed his last solo piano piece, A piacere, in 1962, opening the last, and at the same time masterful, period of work. In comparison to the rest of the pieces included in the program, A piacere (At one’s own discretion) is a completely new music: instead of traditional narration there are isolated, short, punctual motifs and chords, instead of traditional form – an open one, with which Serocki got acquainted at the courses of new music in Darm-stadt – XI Klavierstuck by Stockhausen and Sonata No. 3 by Boulez stimulated his imagination in such way that he composed as many as three pieces in which the segments of a work written in frames can be put in any order like blocks of a mobile construction.


Tomasz Sikorski (1939–1988)

Tomasz Sikorskiwas a Polish composer and pianist. The son of the composer Kazimierz Sikorski, he studied at the Warsaw Conservatory with Zbigniew Drzewiecki. Later, thanks to a scholarship from the French government, he studied in Paris with Nadia Boulanger. From 1975-76, as a recipient of a Senior-Fulbright Scholarship from the US government, he worked at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center in New York City. Above all, his stay in the USA clearly made the composer realise how lonely he was. He struggled with the trauma of alienation till the end of his life, though it might have seemed that he constantly build new walls – aware of his fate, he plunged deeper and deeper into loneliness with masochistic cruelty. His impotence, inability to change his life situation caused desperation, which he hid in everyday life and which began to find an outlet in his work. Tomasz Sikorski is one of the most important composers of minimalism in polish music.

Absent-Minded Window-Gazing for piano (1971)

The composer put a very valuable clue on the last page of the score: “The title of the work comes from Franz Kafka”. Thus, he declared that, like in the case of Holzwege, the literary work had been the source of only the title. He was not directly inspired by the text of Kafka’s story Zerstreutes Hinausschauen. Presumably, the title refers to a certain symbolic situation reflected in the work.

Contemplation of a state of absent-mindedness associated with a sense of impotence, confusion, senselessness or alienation fits in with the main “themes” of Tomasz Sikorski’s works. Yet the symbolic situation created here by the composer is unique. Sikorski constructs it on the basis of three sections: A, B and C. The sections are diametrically different in nature: the first could be described as quasi-ostinato, the second as “lyrical” and the third as chord-based. The form of the world is, therefore, very simple and, at the same time, clear.

Autograph for piano (1980) was written at a time when Tomasz Sikorski worked hard on developing his own musical language, especially when it came to the piano. It was precisely in the early 1980s that he composed Euphony (1982) and Rondo (1984). Sikorski was fascinated with several sonic phenomena like attack and sustain, swelling and fading of sound, resonance and flow of sound through space. These can be heard in his piano works, which have a simple module structure, multiple repetitions and characteristic dissonant harmonies.