- Symphony No. 8, for 3 voices, chorus & orchestra ("Lieder der Vergänglichkeit") - Krzysztof Penderecki
- Dies Irae, oratorio for soloists, chorus & orchestra - Krzysztof Penderecki - Ryszard Minkiewicz - Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra - Antoni Wit - Jaroslàw Brek
- From the Psalms of David, for chorus, strings & percussion: 1. Psalm 28 (27) - Krzysztof Penderecki - Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra - Antoni Wit
- From the Psalms of David, for chorus, strings & percussion: 2. Psalm 30 (29) - Krzysztof Penderecki - Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra - Antoni Wit
- From the Psalms of David, for chorus, strings & percussion: 1. Psalm 43 (42) - Krzysztof Penderecki - Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra - Antoni Wit
- From the Psalms of David, for chorus, strings & percussion: 1. Psalm 143 (142) - Krzysztof Penderecki - Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra - Antoni Wit
Penderecki: Symphony No. 8, Dies irae, Aus den Psalmen Davidsby Antoni Wit
Listeners who have been following the career of Polish postmodernist composer Krzysztof Penderecki will have to hear this disc because it features the world-premiere recording of his "Symphony No. 8 Lieder der Vergänglichkeit" (Songs of Transience). Conductor Antoni Wit delivers a committed and satisfying performance that must be considered at least representative, if not definitive. Written in Penderecki's mature post-1970 style -- that is, with tonal harmonies, staid tempos, dark colors, and heavy textures -- the "Symphony No. 8" is in 12 movements setting nineteenth and twentieth century German poetry on the subjects of life, death, and eternity. This style, of course, is a complete volte-face from the style of Penderecki's landmark works of the late '50s and '60s, works that featured cluster harmonies, amorphous tempos, searing colors, and clotted textures. Two works in this youthful style are included on this disc, the "Dies irae" from 1967 and "Aus den Psalmen Davids" from 1958, and the contrast of styles could not be greater. Indeed, many listeners may doubt if the same composer wrote all three works, and some listeners may not enjoy all three works. Still, anyone who likes either Penderecki's old or new style will have to hear this disc. Recorded in Warsaw in 2006, Naxos' digital sound is cool, but colorful and very present.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsAntoni Wit Primary Artist
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Any new release by Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki is cause for celebration, and this world premiere recording of his “Eighth Symphony,” written in 2005, is no exception. It’s a large-scale vocal work based on 19th and 20th Century poems by Goethe, Rilke and others that collectively address the cycle of birth, decay, death and rebirth from the perspective of man and his impact on the environment. As one might expect from such a big thematic canvas, the music embodies a dazzling range of textures and emotions. Those familiar with Penderecki’s avant-garde works may, however, be surprised at how tonal and accessible this symphony is. At this stage of his life, Penderecki no longer seems as preoccupied with being in the vanguard of musical experimentation. While his music is still complex and challenging, it’s assumed a sleeker, more romantic veneer that’s seen to brilliant effect in this latest work. His new symphony is scored for soprano, mezzo-soprano and baritone voices, choir and orchestra, with the instrumentation playing a vital, but clearly supporting role to the vocals. It’s like listening to a set of Lieder, only with larger and more complex musical accompaniment. The singers on this disc (members of the Warsaw National Philharmonic Choir) are profoundly engaged with the material and keenly in sync with the symphony’s many moods. The 12 movements, most of them fairly short, are by turns contemplative, elegiac and mournful, yet never angry or despairing. Indeed, this is among Penderecki’s most inspirational and uplifting works. Also on the disc is a new recording of “Dies Irae,” Penderecki’s 1967 musical response to the Holocaust. This is a much darker, more despairing work. It’s also much more abstract, with otherworldly vocal effects and some orchestral dissonances. Voices and instruments are so well integrated as to be almost indistinguishable at times. Penderecki’s brilliant synthesis makes for an unforgettable, deeply moving experience that both embraces and transcends his personal engagement with the subject matter. “Psalms of David” is an early vocal work (1958) for mixed choir, strings and percussion. The music is aggressive and challenging, and reveals Penderecki, then just 25, already manifesting impressive technical innovation and emotional commitment.