The first of Penderecki’s numerous caprices – and the oboe’s colourful display.
Following several orchestral works which earned him recognition throughout Europe, Krzysztof Penderecki decided to test the possibilities of solo instruments. The series of concertos and capriccios for violin, cello, tuba, etc., provided him with welcome moments of rest from great vocal-instrumental and symphonic forms. The Capriccio was written at the same time as the Passion. By mid-June, the composer had completed the O crux ave scene, and the Capriccio was ready in early July. It is a virtuoso piece written for Heinz Holliger, an eminent Swiss oboe virtuoso and composer at the same time. As in the simultaneously written St Luke Passion, Penderecki combines here modern composition techniques with some more conventional gestures. The composition unfolds in a lively dialogue of brief motifs between the solo instrument and the strings.