Remembering Krzysztof Penderecki

The Polish composer and conductor Krzysztof Penderecki passed away Sunday following what his wife, Elzbieta, described as “a long and serious illness.” He was 86. Penderecki’s early compositions grew out of the modernist tradition associated with composers such as Anton Webern, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Pierre Boulez. Later, his style broadened. Commenting on this evolution, Penderecki said, “I was saved from the avant-garde snare of formalism by a return to tradition.” One of his most …

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Penderecki: “Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima”

On this day, seventy-three years ago, the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Three days later, on August 9, 1945, a second bomb destroyed the Japanese city of Nagasaki. Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima, written in 1960 by Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki (b. 1933), was not originally inspired by the devastation of the atomic bomb. The piece was first called 8’37”- a reference to its estimated duration, with a nod to John Cage. It …

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The 2017 Classical Grammys

Here is an overview of last weekend’s 2017 Grammy Awards in the classical categories. From opera to chamber music, the list features a heavy dose of American contemporary music: Best Orchestral Performance Shostakovich: Under Stalin’s Shadow – Symphonies Nos. 5, 8 & 9 Andris Nelsons, conductor (Boston Symphony Orchestra) This is the second installment in a series of live-concert Shostakovich recordings by Music Director Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony on the …

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