Performed by the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir with various soloists, and composed in 1969-1970, Jutrznia I (Utrenya I: The Entombment of Christ) is a magnificent contemporary oratorio in five parts for two mixed choirs, five solo voices and symphony orchestra is a spine-tingling evocation of deep religious and otherworldly experience; the text is taken from Old Church Slavic writings concerning the Russian Orthodox liturgy of Great Saturday and Vespers of Good Friday. The elegant choral and orchestral material consists of tone clusters with major/minor chords embedded in them, wordless drones, chants in the rhythmically repeated chord style of the Russian Orthodox Church and ecstatic reaching for the highest notes in the soloists' range. Whispered speaking, percussive and brass punctuations, random rushing sounds, steely bow cymbal sustains, and more, take us into an inter-dimensional world of boundless interior and exterior. The second part of the diptych (of which Utrenya I: The Entombment of Christ is the first part), Jutrznia II (Utrenya II: The Resurrection of Christ), composed during 1970-71, is for five vocal soloists, boys choir, two mixed choirs and symphony orchestra. In contrast to Utrenya I, this work is one of unrestrained joy and wonder, the spirit of a more earthy world of two thousand years ago projected onto a contemporary landscape of cosmic dimensions. A remarkable and moving set of works.
The instrumental concerto occupies a very prominent place in the music of Krzysztof Penderecki. This fact is related to the great life force exhibited by this genre in twentieth century and in contemporary music. It is stimulated by commissions from virtuosos and by audience expectations; also favourable is the composers’ flexibility in approaching the form, whose chief idea continues to be the juxtaposition of the solo instrument and the orchestra. The violin and viola works presented on this CD are not only interesting, concrete realizations of the concertare idea in Penderecki’s music, but also examples of this composer’s sonic language and style in the period of his creativity which Mieczyslaw Tomaszewski called a "time of dialogue with the regained past".
On Soli, Tamsin Waley-Cohen's 2015 release on Signum Classics, the violinist explores modernist repertoire composed between 1944 and 2005. Because these solo violin pieces by Béla Bartók, George Benjamin, Krzysztof Penderecki, Elliott Carter, and György Kurtág are challenging for both the player and the listener, one should approach this CD with some awareness that they reflect different phases of the avant-garde movement that dominated music in the last half of the 20th century. In quieter selections where the moods are primarily brooding or lyrical, Waley-Cohen produces a vibrant tone and smooth phrasing that make her playing easy to appreciate, even when the music isn't recognizably tonal. However, in louder, dissonant passages, notably in sections of the Bartók Sonata, Benjamin's Canon for Sally, Carter's Remembering Aaron, and Kurtág's Anziksz Kellerannanak, the close microphone placement makes her bowing sound overly resinous and scratchy, which can be hard to enjoy. Even so, few violinists dare approach this bracing material, and Waley-Cohen is to be commended for devoting a whole album to such cutting-edge pieces solely on her terms, without making compromises.
To celebrate the 80th birthday of the composer, DUX Recordings presents Krzysztof Penderecki symphonies conducted by the maestro himself. Penderecki’s symphonies have a special place in composer’s legacy as they have never been recorded in a series before under the artistic direction of the maestro. Penderecki said that the DUX recordings present the best performances of his works and therefore making the series even more appealing. This very special project is presented for the first time as a box set, at a very special price.
This beautifully programmed CD presents three settings for viola and orchestra and a more eloquent statement about the beauty of the viola as an instrument would be hard to imagine (except for perhaps including Vaughan Williams' 'Flos Campi'). The viola finds that middle voice between violin and cello, a rich tone with a built in quality of mournfulness. That quality has inspired the works on this recording and the result is some of the more wistful music ever written. Dennis Russell Davies conducts the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra with the superb violist Kim Kashkashian.
Penderecki's international recognition began in 1959 at the Warsaw Autumn with the premieres of the works Strophen, Psalms of David, and Emanations, but the piece that truly brought him to international attention was Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima, written for 52 string instruments. Penderecki's compositions include operas, symphonies, choral works, as well as chamber and instrumental music. He has won many prestigious awards including Grammy Awards in 1987 and 1998 and 2001, and the Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition in 1992.
This wonderful young Polish ensemble continue their exploration of the string quartet repertoire of their homeland with this album of music by two giants of the twentieth century. Witold Lutoslawski, whose centenary is celebrated in 2013, wrote his one and only string quartet in 1964 and it has since maintained an eminent position in the international repertoire. Krzysztof Penderecki (born 1933) was the most talked-about Polish composer in the early 1960s and remains an important presence in contemporary music. His three string quartets (1960, 1968 and 2008) are key works in the history of the post-war Polish quartet.