I’d never go so far as to underestimate the depth of musical knowledge that readers of TMT possess, but just in case you aren’t familiar with Polish composer and conductor Krzysztof Penderecki (as I unfortunately wasn’t until recently), allow me to give you a brief rundown of him and his accomplished history: he looks like exactly like my lawyer uncle from Chicago. Like, spitting image. The uncanny resemblance actually makes me wonder whether my uncle has a long-lost twin brother, which would be odd, considering that he and that entire side of my family was born in the United States and…
Krzysztof Penderecki, 78, has been described by British newspapers The Independent and The Guardian as “Poland’s godfather of the musical avant-garde” and “arguably Poland’s greatest living composer,” respectively. He’s won numerous prestigious awards, including the Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition in 1992, and numerous not-so-prestigious awards, including Grammy Awards in 1987, 1998, and 2001. To give you a sense of the tone of his compositions, his work has appeared in such films as The Shining (1980), Children of Men (2006), and two films by David Lynch. Could it be fate that Penderecki and Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, who has himself scored several films, most notably the Penderecki-indebted There Will Be Blood (2007), are releasing a collaborative album on March 13?
The underpinnings of the album itself began last September when the two artists performed alongside one another in a concert at the European Congress of Culture in Wrocław, Poland. The show was such a success that they ultimately decided to take the same music, alongside an additional piece from Greenwood, to Alvernia Studios in Kraków. The upcoming album includes a total of four pieces performed by Poland’s UKSO Chamber Orchestra. Those pieces are: Penderecki’s Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima and Polymorphia (for 48 strings), both of which date back to the 1960s, and Greenwood’s 48 Responses to Polymorphia and Popcorn Superhet Receiver, both of which were inspired by the aforementioned Penderecki works.
The album is available for pre-order here. And for our tea-drinking readers across the pond, a concert featuring all of the music on the album, performed by same ensemble, will take place on March 22 at Barbican Hall in London. Infinity cool points are most definitely assured if you attend.
Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima / Popcorn Superhet Receiver / Polymorphia / 48 Responses to Polymorphia tracklisting:
01. Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima
02. Popcorn Superhet Receiver: Part 1
03. Popcorn Superhet Receiver: Part 2 A
04. Popcorn Superhet Receiver: Part 2 B
05. Popcorn Superhet Receiver: Part 3
07. 48 Responses to Polymorphia: Es ist Genug
08. 48 Responses to Polymorphia: Ranj
09. 48 Responses to Polymorphia: Overtones
10. 48 Responses to Polymorphia: Scan
11. 48 Responses to Polymorphia: Baton Sparks
12. 48 Responses to Polymorphia: Three Oak Leaves
13. 48 Responses to Polymorphia: Overhang
14. 48 Responses to Polymorphia: Bridge
15. 48 Responses to Polymorphia: Pacay Tree