Saturday, January 29, 2011

Krzysztof Penderecki
"Velincanija—Psalom 50"

Krzysztof Penderecki
UTRENJA, The Entombment of Christ
(RCA Records, 1971)

I first (knowingly*) heard the music of Krzysztof Penderecki when a buddy of mine who worked in a record store sold me a used copy of Penderecki Conducts Penderecki Album 2 that they'd just gotten in stock. The first piece, Capriccio for Violin and Orchestra, was probably the most violent sounding bit of classical music I'd yet heard, and I became an immediate fan. That piece (same recording, even), along with several of his most famous, including Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima, is available on this excellent dbl-disc set on EMI.

Today's piece, however, is the second section of his longform choral work, UTRENJA, The Entombment of Christ. To the best of my knowledge, it has only been recorded three times, and this is the earliest of those. From what I've read on-line, most people consider this to be the finest version, even though the second part, The Resurrection of Christ, was not included. The full work was first released in 1973 as a gorgeous, dbl-LP box set on Philips. I have that, too, but that recording is readily available on CD (albeit with a hideous cover) from the Polish label Polskie Nagrania. The CD is from the late 1980s, though, so the sound quality may just be crap; I honestly do not know. There's also a recent recording available on the budget Naxos label; I have not heard that one, however.

*I later discovered I'd already heard his music in (appropriately) horror films such as The Exorcist and The Shining.

3 biased opinions:

Living Horus said...

Brilliant, I have just purchased the new Naxos recording thanks to itunes, listening to it now,it's horrifically gorgeous!

Devil Dick said...


Biki said...

ok, i must not be from the same planet as ya all, cause to me, it just sounded like ear splitting painful noise!