The release on the fairly commercially oriented Warner Classics label of box sets of music by Krzysztof Penderecki, conducted by the composer himself, is testimony to the durability of Penderecki's music. It emerges that although his music touches on various streams of contemporary music, including serialism, aleatoric music, structures based on tone clusters, atonal or tonal structures based on intervals, and neo-Romanticism (well before it became the fashion). His distinctive musical personality is apparent whatever the external style. On this double-CD box, collecting various Penderecki a cappella choral compositions with Penderecki leading the Warsaw Philharmonic Choir and Warsaw Boys' Choir, the composer seems to underline the point, including a Missa Brevis comprising movements composed at four different times. All of them fall within the composer's post-Romantic period, but their treatment of tonality is different. Nevertheless, the work holds together as a single composition (sample and see what you think). Another attraction of the program is the group of very recent works by Penderecki (the most recent is 2015's My tez pastuszkowie); Penderecki has experienced a surge of late-life creativity, and these are gorgeous short pieces. But he has in no way renounced his earlier music, and the program includes compelling works from as far back as 1962, with his dense style of that period neatly recapitulated in choral miniature. Recommended, even as an introduction to Penderecki's music.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
Track Listing - Disc 1
|Psalms of David|
Track Listing - Disc 2
|Polskie Requiem (Polish Requiem)|
|A Sea of Dreams Did Breathe on Me|
|Trzy utwory w dawnym stylu (Three Pieces in Old Style)|