Penderecki's Garden

By Adam Mickiewicz Institute

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Description

The late Krzysztof Penderecki was a legend of contemporary music. In this new limited podcast series, hear two famous British journalists, Jack Pepper and Charlotte Gardner, delving into the maestro's iconic work. Hosting five episodes each, every episode focuses on a single piece from Penderecki's impressive body of work. From the piece itself and the history of its creation, hear interesting stories from the master's biography, the history of Poland, and the world at the time the composition was created. Learn all about the influence of the composer on the world of contemporary culture, and not only on classical music. Want to learn more about Penderecki? The show is a companion piece to the site PendereckisGarden.pl.

Episode Date
Metamorphosen: Creativity and Intimacy
37:12

Metamorphosen, Penderecki’s Second Violin Concerto, was written for the German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter between 1992 and 1995. Drawing on the contrasts between this work and the First Violin Concerto, which was premiered by Isaac Stern in 1977, and contextualising Metamorphosen with the Second Violin Sonata and La Follia, this podcast will explore a meeting of musical minds in one of the most striking works for violin and orchestra of the late twentieth century. 

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Feb 28, 2022
The Devils of Loudun/Ubu Rex: Possession and Laughter
00

The two most famous operas by Penderecki offer a dazzling contrast in style and subject. Where The Devils of Loudun, premiered in 1969, translates Aldous Huxley’s history of religious possession and persecution in music of unsettling sensuality and brutality, the opera buffa, Ubu Rex, premiered in 1991, wraps a satire on corruption in tart and tangy coloratura, marches and choruses. In this podcast we examine where the operas sit in the wider European twentieth century operatic tradition and whether both works could be termed ‘zeitoper’. 

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Feb 14, 2022
The Passion of St Luke: Belief and Redemption
43:33

“I was aiming for something that seemed unreachable”, said Penderecki of the St Luke Passion, a work written to mark one thousand years of Christianity in Poland, but commissioned by Westdeutscher Rundfunk to celebrate the 700th anniversary of Münster Cathedral. How was such a fundamental expression of faith received in Communist era Poland, and where does the St Luke Passion sit in a lifetime of composing sacred music? In this podcast we reflect on belief and redemption in choral music. 

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Jan 31, 2022
Brigade of Death: Memory and Outrage
35:16

On 8 September, 1939, when Krzysztof Penderecki was just a few weeks shy of his sixth birthday, German forces took control of his home town of Dębica with its majority Jewish population. Between then and the liquidation of the Dębica ghetto in 1943, the young Penderecki had to witness the Nazi regime’s systematic intimidation, segregation and extermination of Europe’s Jews as it played out literally his own doorstep. Twenty years later he took Leon Weliczker’s Holocaust memoir, Brigade of Death, and constructed a work for narrator and electronics which, following its premiere, would not be performed again until 2011. Reflecting on a painful history in this podcast, we explore Brigade of Death and the reactions of different generations of listeners to Penderecki’s work. 

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Jan 17, 2022
Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima: Terror and Sorrow
32:17

Fifty two strings. Eight minutes. Thirty seven seconds. Completed in 1960, Krzysztof Penderecki’s Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima has become one of his most well-known works thanks to its use in soundtracks of films by David Lynch, Wes Craven and Alfonso Cuarón. In this podcast we explore its genesis, how its textures suggest an incomprehensible terror and sorrow, and its transition from abstraction to memorial. 

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Jan 03, 2022
Symphonies - Symphony No 7, 'Seven Gates Of Jerusalem'
26:17

In the final episode of Jack's curated series, he charts the changing musical styles embraced by Penderecki across his career, using his symphonies as a starting point. Zooming in on the Seventh Symphony, Jack explains how Penderecki paints the epic picture of the founding of a city. Jack grapples with the challenges posed by a radically varied musical language, and argues that, far from a weakness, this eclecticism could be Penderecki's great strength.

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Dec 20, 2021
Screen - Soundtrack to The Saragossa Manuscript
21:23

Jack celebrates Penderecki's score to a classic work of Polish cinema.

We hear how Penderecki embraced a varied musical language for the task at hand, from crashing organ chords to dancing guitars. Plus, we hear about his impact on the next generation of film composers, including a collaboration with Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood.

 

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Dec 06, 2021
Aulodia / Ekecheiria: Polish Culture
17:09

We explore how Penderecki found a world stage as a commissioned composer for the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. We hear about the struggles Penderecki encountered in finding the right musical language for the commission, chart the internationalism of his work, and explore his wider use of electronics in his music.

Further reading & listening:

Many thanks to the Penderecki estate for granting us permission to use extended parts of his music. Some of the pieces heard in this episode can be listened to in full elsewhere on the Internet:

Hosted by Jack Pepper

Transcription WCAG

A Polish translation of the audio can be found here.

Nov 22, 2021
String Quartet No 3: Childhood & Roots
20:31

We explore the traumatic events of Penderecki's upbringing, growing up as a boy in Nazi-German-occupied Poland from the ages of 6 to 12. How was his music a reaction to the events of the Second World War?

Further reading & listening:

Many thanks to the Penderecki estate for granting us permission to use extended parts of his music. Some of the pieces heard in this episode can be listened to in full elsewhere on the Internet:

Hosted by Jack Pepper

Transcription WCAG

A Polish translation of the audio can be found here.

Nov 22, 2021
A Polish Requiem: Nationhood
27:25

We use Penderecki's A Polish Requiem to explore the volatile history of the Polish nation, and how this in turn influenced Penderecki's outlook. From trade union protests to sustaining religious faith under communist rule, we discover how a composer can reflect wider issues of state, nationhood and identity.

Further reading & listening:

Many thanks to the Penderecki estate for granting us permission to use extended parts of his music. Some of the pieces heard in this episode can be listened to in full elsewhere on the Internet:

Hosted by Jack Pepper

Transcription WCAG

A Polish translation of the audio can be found here.

Nov 22, 2021
Introducing the Penderecki's Garden podcast
02:07

The late Krzysztof Penderecki was a legend of contemporary music. In this new limited podcast series, hear two famous British journalists, Jack Pepper and Charlotte Gardner, delving into the maestro's iconic work.

Hosting five episodes each, every episode focuses on a single piece from Penderecki's impressive body of work. From the piece itself and the history of its creation, hear interesting stories from the master's biography, the history of Poland, and the world at the time the composition was created. Learn all about the influence of the composer on the world of contemporary culture, and not only on classical music.

Want to learn more about Penderecki? The show is a companion piece to the site PendereckisGarden.pl.

Nov 17, 2021