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Krzysztof Penderecki

November 23, 1933 -
born in Debica, Poland, composed during the Contemporary period
One of the best known, most listened to, and most popular composers of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, Krzysztof Penderecki has undergone a marked evolution in compositional style. After achieving fame with such astringent, often anguished, scores as his Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima (1960) and Passion According to St. Luke (1965), both of which stretched traditional harmonic language and orchestral techniques, beginning in the mid-1970s, Penderecki followed a personal imperative in moving toward more conventional tonal music. His Symphony No. 2 embraced pre-serialist notions of melody and harmony. His fertile exploration of a more traditional language, described by some as Neo-Romanticism, has continued to characterize his works since that time.

Penderecki was given violin and piano lessons as a child. He studied art and literary history and philosophy at the local university while also attending the Kraków Conservatory. He privately studied composition before he entered the Kraków State Academy of Music in 1954. In 1959, three of his compositions, each submitted under pseudonyms, won first prizes in a competition sponsored by the Polish Composer's Union. Fame rapidly followed. Both his Threnody and St. Luke Passion received worldwide performances in numbers rare for contemporary works, especially those written with such demanding techniques: glissandi, tonal clusters, unpitched sounds, spoken interjections, aleatoric effects, and shouting. Commissions came in quick succession, a corollary career as a lecturer developed, and in 1972, Penderecki began to conduct his own works. The first of Penderecki's stage works, The Devils of Loudon, became a European sensation in 1969, receiving numerous performances and generating considerable controversy. A second opera, one of epic scale, was commissioned by the Chicago Lyric Opera. Paradise Lost (after Milton) was mounted in 1976 in an immensely expensive production seen in Chicago and Italy. Die schwarze Maske was premiered in 1986, followed in 1991 by the comic work Ubu Rex.

Penderecki has received numerous international honors and awards. He holds honorary professorships in many of the world's most prestigious conservatories and schools of music, as well as several honorary doctorates, and he has been recognized with national orders from such nations as Germany, Austria, and his native Poland. He won the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for his Adagio for Large Orchestra in 1992. He won Grammy Awards for his Cello Concerto No. 2 (1987), his Violin Concerto No. 2: Metamorphosen (1998) and his Credo, for chorus (2001)

Since his conducting debut, he has been a respected podium figure, leading both his own works and a variety of music by other composers. The North German Radio Symphony Orchestra, Hamburg engaged him as principal guest conductor. Though not extraordinarily prolific, Penderecki has amassed a sizeable catalog of orchestral works, chamber music, concertos, and choral works. He wrote eight symphonies between 1973 and 2008 and has devoted increasing attention to choral settings of religious texts. ~ Erik Eriksson, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Penderecki: Cello Concerto; Partita; Symphony; Threnody

x

Track List: Penderecki: Orchestral Works

Disc 1
Title: Anaklasis, For String Orchestra & Percussion

1. Anaklasis, For String Orchestra & Percussion: Anaklasis

Title: Threnody (For The Victims Of Hiroshima), For 52 Strings

2. Threnody (For The Victims Of Hiroshima), For 52 Strings: Threnody For The Victims Of Hiroshima

Title: Fonogrammi, For Flute & Chamber Orchestra

3. Fonogrammi, For Flute & Chamber Orchestra: Fonogrammi

Title: De Natura Sonoris I, For Orchestra

4. De Natura Sonoris I, For Orchestra: De Natura Sonoris No. 1

Title: Capriccio for violin & orchestra

5. Capriccio for violin & orchestra: Capriccio

Title: Canticum canticorum Salomonis, for chorus & orchestra

6. Canticum canticorum Salomonis, for chorus & orchestra: Canticum Canticorum Salomonis

Title: De Natura Sonoris II, for orchestra

7. De Natura Sonoris II, for orchestra: De Natura Sonoris No. 2

Title: The Dream Of Jacob, For Orchestra

8. The Dream Of Jacob, For Orchestra: The Dream Of Jacob

Disc 2
Title: Emanations, For 2 String Orchestras

1. Emanations, For 2 String Orchestras: Emanationen For Two String Orchestras

Title: Partita, For Harpsichord, Electric Guitar, Bass Guitar, Harp, Double-bass & Orchestra

2. Partita, For Harpsichord, Electric Guitar, Bass Guitar, Harp, Double-bass & Orchestra: Partita For Harpsichord And Orchestra

Title: Cello Concerto No. 1

3. Cello Concerto No. 1: Cello Concerto (Siegried Palm, Cello)

Title: Symphony No. 1

4. Symphony No. 1: I. Arche L-dynamics L

5. Symphony No. 1: II. Dynamics Ll- Arche Ll

x

Track List: Penderecki: Orchestral Works Vol. 02

Comments

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That said, Krzy P. is one of my two favorite living composers -- esp. his Threnody for the Victim's of Hiroshima, The Devils of Loudon and the Passion according to St. Luke, which always sounds to me like the musical equivalent of medieval paintings of stations of the cross.
Report as inappropriate
Eeonor: I prefer composers of textiles, myself, but Mr. P. does deliver the microtonal groceries. Odd how his later music begins to sound like late Bartok with more obvious chromaticism . Violin Concerto no. 1, I'm looking at you.
Report as inappropriate
A pleasant little ditty. Just kidding-badd a a a s s s s !
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hands down favorite composter of sound
Report as inappropriate
Incredible.. . M r . P e n d e r e c k i has a fearless motivation to,not only explore,but to create a WIDE dynamic of sound.May many more follow in the spirit of this pioneering man.
Report as inappropriate
mtimyers
Krzysztof Penderecki is one of my favorite composers. I myself compose music and I have found refuge in his. I attempt to parallel his style, however, I will never be able to capture the emotion he endows his music.
Report as inappropriate
WOW!!!!!!!!! ! ! ! !

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