Saturday, October 9, 2010

Krzysztof Penderecki - Passio et mors domini nostri Jesu Christi secundum Lucam

   Krzysztof Penderecki became famous in his twenties. Shortly after completing studies in classes of great Polish composers Artur Malawski and Stanisław Wiechowicz, he gained recognition as a representative of the Polish post-war avant-garde. His debut came about time of breakthrough after 1956 and rejection of socialist realism esthetic standards – finished his studies in 1958, one year later he won three first prizes in competition of Polish Composers Union. Being one of youngest in the group of composers grown after the war, he was as radical as focused on exploring newest formal ideas and possibilities of new sonority. Primarily his creative output in Poland and in whole Europe was mainly judged as experimental. Limited role of the melodic and harmonics, as well as the subordination of other elements to an individual concept of organizing musical narration, determined his original, highly personal composing style, which quickly paved the way for success in whole world’s stage.
   The first period in the artistic work of Krzysztof Penderecki brought such works as Emanations (1958), Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima (1960), Anaklasis (1960), Polymorphia (1961) and Psalmus “1961” for voice and tape (1961). The second period is marked by some more frequent references to traditional forms especially oratorios and opera, which allowed the composer to deepen his search on the basis of sonoristic technique. The first oratorio was Passio et mors domini nostri Jesu Christi secundum Lucam (St. Luke’s Passion) which he composed in years 1963-1965, having been commissioned by the Westdeutsche Rundfunk for the 700th anniversary of Münster Cathedral. The same place in March 30, 1966 the mighty work of young Polish composer had its world premiere.

Krzysztof Penderecki - St. Luke's Passion (1966)

   Next performances took place in Kraków – in Philharmonic Hall and in the courtyard of Polish kings’ castle Wawel. This set of musicians was recorded and published on double album by company Muza – Polskie Nagrania (SX 0325-0326). Though this recording is highly underrated it still has a great impact in Polish artistic life. Soprano Stefania Woytowicz, baritone Andrzej Hiolski and bass Bernard Ładysz were most appreciated singers for decades. The list of solo voices feels out the profound reciting voice of actor Leszek Herdegen and featured as one mighty instrument boys and men groups of the Cracow Philharmonic Chorus prepared by Janusz Przybylski and Józef Suwara. Immense group of voices and Cracow Philharmonic Orchestra were conducted by Henryk Czyż, who was one of brightest Polish artists, conductor, writer, teacher  and popular TV personality.

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