Penderecki Symphonies, Orchestral Works

Cat No:
01 - 09 - 2012

Penderecki Symphonies, Orchestral Works

Various Artists

Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki has established a reputation as one of the most revolutionary composers of the 20th Century. The mid-60s saw his style become less aggressively avant garde yet his sonorities remain recognisably modern and compellingly dynamic. His famous Threnody 'To the Victims of Hiroshima' is one of his best known scores. Jerusalem has special significance for Penderecki, who first visited it in 1974, following the 'Yom Kippur' war. He was commissioned then to write a work for the third millennium celebration of the city of David and composed the oratorio Seven Gates of Jerusalem in 1996. It was premiered there the following year, with Lorin Maazel conducting. Following its Polish premiere, the composer decided to call it his Seventh Symphony. Penderecki's Eighth Symphony, which here receives its world premiere recording, is a setting of 19th- and early 20th-century German poems. Humanity's journey though life, as reflected in the decay and rebirth of the natural world, underlies its twelve movements. Scored for not dissimilar forces, the oratorio Dies irae is a very different proposition, commissioned to mark the unveiling of the International Monument to the Victims of Fascism at the former Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Composed in 1958 and given its premiere at Krakow in September the following year, Aus den Psalmen Davids was one of the works that marked Penderecki's arrival on the new music scene.

CD 1 - Penderecki Symphonies Nos 1 and 5 (National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Antoni Wit, conductor)

CD 2 - Penderecki Symphony No 3, Threnody 'To the Victims of Hiroshima', Fluorescences, De natura sonoris II (National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Antoni Wit, conductor)

CD 3 - Penderecki Symphony No 2 'Christmas Symphony', Symphony No 4 (National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Antoni Wit, conductor)

CD 4 - Penderecki Seven Gates of Jerusalem 'Symphony No 7' (Olga Pasichnyk, soprano, Aga Mikolaj, soprano, Ewa Marciniec, alto, Wieslaw Ochman, tenor, Romuald Tesarowicz, bass, Boris Carmeli, narrator, Warsaw Philharmonic Choir, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Antoni Wit, conductor)

CD 5 - Penderecki Symphony No 8 'Lieder der Verganglichkeit' (Songs of Transience), Dies irae, Aus den Psalmen Davids (Michaela Kaune, soprano, Agnieszka Rehlis, mezzo-soprano, Wojtek Drabowicz, baritone, Warsaw Philharmonic Choir, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Antoni Wit, conductor)

Running Time: 5 hr 44 min

4 STARS, Key Recording (Penguin Guide on Seven Gates of Jerusalem 'Symphony No 7')
4 STARS (Audiophile Audition on Symphony No 8 'Lieder der Verganglichkeit')
'Antoni Wit's ongoing cycle of Penderecki orchestral works is yet another of those truly outstanding Naxos projects that?s unlikely to get the attention it deserves. The music isn't easy...but Wit is a marvellous conductor in this repertoire, and his unfailingly intense and idiomatic performances look to become the standard by which all others will be judged.' (Classics Today)
'An artistic statement of impressive intent and compelling execution.' (MusicWeb International)
'The superb new Naxos survey of [Penderecki's] immensely conceived orchestral music is an opportunity to come to grips with this important composer, as his style evolved from 'enfant terrible' to mature symphonist.' (Fanfare)
'Penderecki shocked the world with the sonic experiments of his avant-garde Sixties before adopting a neo-Romantic idiom in his First Violin Concerto (1977) and Second Christmas Symphony (1980)...The catalogue contains a mere handful of his symphonic works...Antoni Wit's readings [of the symphonies] are a genuine alternative to the composer's and an important addition to the catalogue.' (BBC Music magazine)
'Wit has done no less than cleanse these scores, presenting them as pristine and transparent utterances that beg to be heard again and again.' (American Record Guide)