Saturday, October 16, 2010

Krzysztof Penderecki – Jutrznia

Born in 1933, Krzysztof Penderecki was first composer in after war generation, who has emancipated from dictatorship of avant-gardism. In mid seventies his style evolved and reach the point close to post-romantic stylistic idiom. Seventies and than eighties were the decades many listeners became weary of conceptual and experimental music. And so did composers who were more and more isolated in close circle of contemporary festivals and workshops. Considerable group of composers was looking for the ways to reunite with the audience expectations. But still it was a kind of surprise when after period of short and formally simple compositions, Penderecki turned towards great cycle-forms leaning on polyphonic structures and traditional narrative ideas of musical construction.
In predominant majority of critical studies, this turn marks second period of Penderecki’s creative output, but from perspective of few next decades it looks like consistent process of creating his own and highly legible style. After St. Luke’s Passion (1965) and Dies irae (1967) he composed two part oratorio Orthros (sometimes called Matins but best know from original Polish Jutrznia or in Old Church Slavonic Утреня). Based on Orthodox canonical prayers of Great Saturday and Sunday oratorio consists of two parts – The Entombment of Christ and The Resurrection of Christ. Oratorio finished in 1971 together with composed five years earlier Passion according to St. Luke forms a Holy Week triptych. Composer was planning and preparing for this piece many years before. Looking for inspiration he studied rites of various Orthodox churches and sects as well the connection between them and religious works of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff. Especially Bulgarian spiritual heritage became significant experience in composer’s research.

Krzysztof Penderecki – Jutrznia

Oratorio Jutrznia or Утреня – the major work of Polish composer was also the great recording project in early ’70s. The Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Andrzej Markowski was good basis for National Philharmonic Choir and Polish Pioneer Choir. Vocal parts, especially massive choral entries are crucial factor in sonoristic structures of first oratorios written in ’60s by Krzysztof Penderecki. Narrative functions were carried mainly by soloists, so this made essential the presence of wide set of solo voices. In this performance took part sopranos Delfina Ambroziak and Stefania Woytowicz, mezzosoprano Krystyna Szczepańska, tenor Kazimierz Pustelak basses Włodzimierz Denysenko and Bernard Ładysz as well as bassi profondi Boris Carmeli and Peter Lagger.  The double album was published in 1971 (Muza - Polskie Nagrania SX 889-890) and become the cornerstone of composer’s international career. In next decades this recording was reedited for digital media, and widely cited.

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