Thursday, November 10, 2016

Penderecki and Nationalism

Grammy award-winning composer Krzysztof Penderecki (1933) provides a great modern-day example of a composer who uses nationalistic qualities in music. Penderecki grew up exposed to music, learning violin and piano as a child. His career as a composer began after he won first prizes in a contest set up by the Polish Composer’s Union in which he submitted three of his works under pseudonyms.

His Polish Requiem provides a great example of a piece with ties to his native Poland. Written for four solo voices, mixed choir, and orchestra, the requiem was written in several stages over a period of time. Penderecki dedicated the work to Poland’s suffering during the period of Martial Law.

A Polish hymn, Holy God, is used in Penderecki’s requiem. Today I’d like to listen to the “Lacrimosa” portion of the Polish Requeim, which was written earlier on in Penderecki’s career and later incorporated into the requiem. This piece was used during the unveiling of a memorial for those killed in the 1970 shipyard riots in Gdansk. 

Next week we head to England for music by Elgar and Mackenzie!

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