This profile of composer and conductor Krzysztf Penderecki reflects on the musician's boundless creative energy and inspiration, with comments from the likes of Julian Rachlin, Anne-Sophie Mutter, and more.
Interviews with:; Lorin Maazel; Jonny Greenwood
What an interesting personality! Krzysztof Penderecki has had a profound influence on musicians and on his audiences since 1960 (when he composed Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima). As a young composer, Penderecki infamously submitted three separate compositions in a national contest under three aliases and three different types of handwriting… and won the top three prizes. His fame has caused him to be sought out by personalities no less than Stanley Kubrick (for whom he “lent” music for the film The Shining) and composer/Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood. But in this documentary, beautifully directed by Anna Schmidt, Penderecki is revealed to be humble, approachable, and sincere. Fans of Penderecki’s music who only know about him through his recordings will discover many things that may help them understand his process of composition. For example, he uses colored pencils when he writes notation. Penderecki doesn’t like to be alone; he likes to surround himself with people he cares about. And he has a penchant for trees. Penderecki helped design the layout of the trees and gardens on his expansive estate, and he goes out regularly to purchase more trees, many of which he plants himself. While there are no complete performances of his works, snippets of Polymorphia, Threnody…, and Symphony No. 3 (among others) can be heard throughout the film. The 1080i Hi-Def picture on Blu-ray is sharp and clear; the audio is 2.0 PCM stereo, which will suffice for a documentary feature. Bonuses are limited to short interviews with Jonny Greenwood (in German) and Lorin Maazel (in German with subtitles, surprisingly), as well as a selection of trailers from the C major label. I would love to see more composer documentaries presented like this. Highly recommended.