Composer Krzysztof Penderecki received a Grammy Award in the Choral Music category for his “Penderecki conducts Penderecki” album. The awards ceremony took place last night in Los Angeles.It was the 59th ceremony of the Grammy Awards. Among the nominees were two Polish artists – composer Krzysztof Penderecki and singer Mariusz Kwiecień.
Penderecki, one of the most famous contemporary Polish composers, was awarded in the Choral Music category for the album “Penderecki Conducts Penderecki, Vol. 1”. The album includes the first studio recording of Penderecki’s Choir and Orchestra of the National Philharmonic in Warsaw. The album also includes, among others, the “Dies Illa” composition, written for the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.
The album is the first of a planned series, presenting the orchestral and choral works of one of the most famous Polish composers, already awarded a Grammy in 1988 for his II Cello Concerto.
I have enough work fot the next 20 years – said the composer last year – I set the bar higher and higher, and I do not always manage to jump, so sometimes I go under it. I have songs in store that I would like to finish, and it will take me at least 20 years.
The most important works of Penderecki include compositions such as Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima, Passion of St. Luke, Dies Irae, Morning Prayer, Polish Requiem, Te Deum, Seven Gates of Jerusalem and the operas: Black Mask, Paradise Lost and The Devils of Loudon.
Krzysztof Penderecki was born in 1933 in Dębica, and in his childhood he learnt to play the piano and the violin. He began composing at the age of 8. In the 50s he studied composition at the State Higher School of Music in Krakow. He gained international fame with his use of unconventional techniques of extracting sound from traditional instruments, which can be heard in one of the most famous works of Penderecki “Victims of Hiroshima”. This technique is called sonorism.
In his works avant-garde inspirations alternated with periods of calm, almost meditative music. In the early 70s Penderecki walked away from sonorism, focusing on tonal compositions, referring to the nineteenth-century musical traditions. Later the composer devoted himself to conducting, working with Polish and world orchestras. Fragments of his works have also been used by film directors, including Andrzej Wajda in “Katyń” and Stanley Kubrick in “The Shining.”
Listening to classical music is like reading philosophy. Not everybody has to do it. It means that music is not for all people.