Excellent and moving performances of Penderecki's orchestral music performed by the Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra. A unique and original work in the musical literature for voices and instruments, Canticum Canticorum Salomonis (1970-1973) is a setting for choir and small orchestra of an erotic text drawn from the Song of Solomon. Crashing, clattering percussion, showers of high bell sounds, bowed gongs and harmonium dissonances, sensual string glissandos, and other unique orchestral timbres underline dense vocal clusters and dreamily erotic choral patterns. Composed in 1966, De Natura Sonoris No. 1 (Concerning the Nature of Sound) is an orchestral study of sonorities and harmonic tension that marked a new creative direction for the composer. He fused several earlier compositional elements with electronic music ideas (applied to acoustic instruments), creating a triptych with the first and third sections open to free playing on notated ideas (including some "walking bass" jazz-influenced passages). In contrast, the middle section uses densely structured serial logic. The result is highly dramatic music with highlighted sound combinations and a forward momentum usually found in more fully notated styles. De Natura Sonoris No. 2 (1971) is a second sound study using a smaller instrumental group than the preceding piece. Texturally creating a sustained and mysterious landscape, it features a large and unusual percussion section including a sliding bird whistle, musical saw, and piece of railway track. Midway into the piece the orchestra breaks loose with a highly dramatic, dense, and compelling sound aggregation featuring huge scrapings on the strings, trombone glissandos, and a brass section that sounds like many oncoming trains. The mysterious texture returns after a few string stabs reminiscent of De Natura Sonoris No. 1, and the piece concludes.
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