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Wydawnictwo: Chandos
Nr katalogowy: CHAN 9459/60
Nośnik: 2 CD
Data wydania: luty 2004
EAN: 95115945926
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Epoka muzyczna: współczesna
Obszar (język): polski
Rodzaj: requiem

Penderecki: Polish Requiem; The Dream of Jacob

Chandos - CHAN 9459/60
Jadwiga Gadulanka soprano
Jadwiga Rappe mezzo-soprano
Piotr Nowacki bass
Zachos Terzakis tenor
Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Chorus
Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra / Krzysztof Penderecki
Nagrody i rekomendacje
Music Island Recommends
The Dream of Jacob Almost at the beginning of his career Penderecki wrote a number of shorter works for orchestra including Anaklasis (1960), Fluorescences (1962) and the two pieces De natura sonoris (1966 and 1970). On account of their aggressive musical language and distortion of traditional instruments these experiments on the margin between sound and noise created enormous interest and immediately moved the composer into the first rank of the avant-garde of the day. Thereafter his orchestral music centred around his five symphonies, the latest of which was composed in 1992.

In the summer of 1974, a year after the first performance of his First Symphony with the London Symphony Orchestra in Peterborough Cathedral, the forty-year-old composer wrote The Dream of Jacob, a short orchestral piece which summarized such compositional experiences as he had so far acquired: the best of his experimental years with an increasingly developed, highly differentiated compositional technique primarily aimed at a more profound expressiveness

The impetus for the tonal atmosphere of this work came from Genesis 28;16, which follows Jacob’s dream of the ladder which reached to heaven: ‘And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.’ The poetic, mystical character of the music developed out of the words of the Bible is produced by a strikingly sensitive instrumentation. Right at the beginning, after the fourth gentle ninepart brass chord, there is an entry by twelve ocarinas, which are of particular importance in this piece; they provide a strangely buzzing background of sound, to which the tamtam and timpani add delicately shaded colours. Now the brass chords of the introduction are repeated three times, supported by the bass drum. A repeated horn signal sounds as though from afar (quasi lontano) and dies away. Chords on the clarinets and bassoons and gentle tremolo glissandi on the strings are also marked morendo and misterioso. The ocarinas are involved in the middle section which is again introduced by glissandi on the strings. The music grows more lively, describing not merely Jacob’s awakening, but also, furioso and fortissimo, his emotional turmoil, expressed by the contrast between massed wind instruments, almost sounding like a chorale, and abrupt, strongly accented string figures. The last part is once again marked by expressive seriousness, with distant trumpets and horns sounding above the barely audible buzzing of the ocarinas, with which the very soft sound world dies away perdendosi.

The Polish Requiem The Requiem Polskie was originally composed in several stages between 1980 and 1984. Individual parts were performed immediately on particular occasions, others at a concert in Washington on 23 November 1982 to celebrate Penderecki’s fiftieth birthday; finally the complete work received its premiere on 28 September 1984 in Stuttgart under the baton of Mstislav Rostropovich. It was often heard in this form all over the world. Not until nine years later, in 1993, did the composer add the missing Sanctus for the great Penderecki festival in Stockholm in celebration of his sixtieth birthday. The premiere of the complete work was conducted by the composer himself in Stockholm on 11 November 1993. This is the first recording of the whole Polish Requiem.

The work is cast for four soloists, large mixed chorus and full orchestra (most wind instruments quadrupled, six horns). After Penderecki had, in the second half of the ’70s, given free rein to his retrospective ‘romantic’ phase with the passionately expressive music of, e.g., his First Violin Concerto, the opera Paradise Lost and the Second Symphony, the ’80s were the period of the grand musical and conceptual syntheses. Stylistically Penderecki pursued the path on which he had embarked in his Second Cello Concerto of 1982; in other words, he allowed the experiences of his earlier, harder tonal language to impinge on his expressive world of late romanticism. This is neither the old nor the new Penderecki, but the complete Penderecki. He has discovered his own musical pluralism, a predominantly polyphonic chromaticism without tonality, but with themes and motifs that make possible a contrapuntal interaction – a pluralism which, starting from this centre, permits both digressions into pure tonality (Lacrimosa, Agnus Dei) and into the noise-like drama of cluster and glissando (the torrents and cries of the Last Judgement in the Dies irae). With his supreme craftsmanship Penderecki safely integrates such extremes into the mainstream of his personal musical language. He feels that his fascinating confrontation with late nineteenth-century music which has occupied him in recent years has considerably enriched his own compositional expressiveness. This is confirmed by the music of the Requiem Polskie, in which finally everything comes together that moved Penderecki, the man and artist, the patriot and Catholic, in such a difficult period for his country.

The earliest movements, which were composed individually and subsequently integrated into the whole work are: the Lacrimosa, composed in 1980 for Lech Wa /lesa and his trade union Solidarno ´s ´c in memory of the victims who died during the rising of the Dansk dockers, suppressed ten years previously; the Agnus Dei of 1981, written in a single night after the death of the great Polish churchman and friend of Penderecki, Cardinal Wysz y ´nski; the Recordare, Jesu pie, recalling Christ’s sufferings and death, composed in 1982 for the beatification of the Franciscan Father Maximilian Kolbe who, in 1941, had volunteered to die in Auschwitz in place of another prisoner who had a wife and children. And finally the Dies irae, the scream of tortured humanity with which Penderecki in 1984 wanted to remind the world of the insurrection on 1 August in Warsaw against fascist Germany

These references far exceed the liturgical purposes of the Mass for the Dead, making it into a Requiem for a nation’s sufferings in the past, present and future. To achieve this, Penderecki found a powerful musical symbol in the old Polish hymn Swi¸ety Bozˇ e (Holy, almighty and eternal God, have mercy on us) which is emphatically incorporated into his own new pluralistic style.

Of course the Recordare, written for Father Kolbe, became the centre of the Requiem Polskie; this is where the musical and conceptual relevance of the Requiem’s Polish idiom is most obvious. Penderecki had already used the first four notes, the principal motif of the old Polish hymn, a sequence related to B flat-A-C-B (in German usage b-ac-h) as an integral part of his first, worldfamous oratorio, the St Luke’s Passion of 1966. But not until he wrote the Requiem did the hymn assume its complete textural and musical significance. Maximilian Kolbe may actually have sung this symbol of Polish Catholicism when he chose death to save another. The confrontation of the text of Swi¸ety Bozˇ e with the Recordare, Jesu pie is matched by the contrapuntal treatment of the old song tune with the new melody which Penderecki developed from it for the Recordare.

The Sanctus, written subsequently but placed in its correct position before the Agnus Dei, is in three parts. In the orchestral introduction the low strings play the main theme, evolving into a recitative on the solo clarinet. Only then does the Alto expand this thematic material into the opening words ‘Sanctus, sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth’. The chorus and orchestra raise the first section to its dynamic climax. The central section opens with a variant of the clarinet cantilena. The new text ‘Benedictus, qui venit in nomine Domini’ is based on a different subject, simpler and more succinct than that of the ‘Sanctus’ and clearly embedded in the key of F minor. The Tenor takes up the ‘Benedictus’, rising to the ‘Hosanna in excelsis’, a transition by the solo oboe leading into the final section of the ‘Sanctus’, once again introduced by the clarinet. The subjects of the ‘Benedictus’ and ‘Sanctus’ are treated contrapuntally by the chorus, joined by both soloists in a duet. At the end a three-note motif, a quote from the earlier Lacrimosa, permeates the new Sanctus, which dies away gently

Penderecki altered the liturgy not merely by adding the Swi¸ety Bozˇ e, but also by omitting large parts of the Offertory. To make up for it, he followed up the Lux aeterna and Libera me which conclude the actual Requiem by a large-scale Finale in which all the musical themes recur; he then quotes two lines from Psalm 6 and, at the very end, two lines from the Offertory: ‘Libera animas’ (Deliver the souls of all the faithful departed) from the Domine Jesu and ‘Fac eas de morte transire ad vitam’ (Let them pass from death to life) from the Hostias. Penderecki thus concludes his Requiem Polskie with highly personal utterances of hope: hope for God’s help and hope of a new life. After the first performance in 1984 in Stuttgart the composer said: ‘It is impossible to live without hope. I believe that one day a new life will also dawn for Poland.’ Now it has dawned.

© 1996 Wolfram Schwinge

Translation: Gery Bramall

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