MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

Penderecki’s Concerto Grosso for Three Cellos


I’m looking forward to Christoph Eschenbach’s concert with the National Symphony Orchestra tonight. Here’s one of the notes I wrote for the program — on the Concerto Grosso for Three Cellos by Krzysztof Penderecki:

The remarkably lengthy and productive career of Krzysztof Penderecki might be regarded as a kind of microcosm of some of the (seemingly) contradictory tendencies in contemporary music. Penderecki first came to international attention as an avant-garde artist who pushed his experiments with texture to bold extremes, at times bordering on “noise,” in such pieces as Threnos (also known as Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima (1960)-a piece initially titled 8’37” in tribute to John Cage, whose chance aesthetics and other revolutionary attitudes made Cage a profoundly influential figure for several important composers of the Polish Renaissance (as the postwar flowering of new music in that country has been called).

continue reading

Filed under: Eschenbach, National Symphony Orchestra, new music

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

RSS Arts & Culture Stories from NPR

  • The Legacies Of Black Icons Sam Cooke, Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) And Malcolm X
    The film One Night in Miami imagines a night in 1964 where Cooke, Clay, Malcolm X and Jim Brown meet. We listen back to interviews with biographers Peter Guralnick, Jonathan Eig and Alex Haley.
  • Hulu's New Billie Holliday Biopic Falls Short Of Capturing Her Real Story
    Andra Day plays the jazz legend with conviction in The United States vs. Billie Holiday. Nevertheless, the film fails in its attempt to show the heartache and hard living that shaped its subject.
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson
    Jesse Tyler Ferguson discusses his time on Modern Family and his new cookbook, Food Between Friends. Then, he plays a game about his home state of New Mexico.
  • Gettin' Greasy
    Comics Samantha Ruddy and Luke Mones are hopelessly devoted to hearing Jonathan Coulton remix classic Grease songs to be about, you guessed it, Greece!
  • What's The Word?
    Comics Samantha Ruddy and Luke Mones compete in this game about words that are spelled and pronounced the same, but have different meanings.
  • This That Or The Other: Bath & Body Works, Meal Kit, Still Life Painting
    Nico Santos and Zeke Smithhave a carefree time guessing whether different items are Bath & Body Works scents, meal kits, or still life paintings until they are suddenly interrupted by a smoke alarm.
  • Power-Ups and Medical Medical Medical
    Nico Santos and Zeke Smith reveal what actors in hospital dramas are really saying behind their masks, then play a game about superhero power-ups. Go go gadget, PUBLIC RADIO SHOW!
  • Uptop: Reading Is Fundamental
    Ophira Eisenberg and Jonathan Coulton discuss fighting and succumbing to the need for reading glasses. Not related, but has anyone seen my reading glasses? I swear I just had them.
  • Reading The Game: 'The Last Of Us Part 2'
    Our occasional series on storytelling in video games returns with a look at The Last of Us Part II, which pulls a perspective switch on players that forces them to confront their role in the game.
  • Photographers Make Kids' Wildest Dreams Come To Life
    A husband and wife photography team create avant-garde and futuristic shoots for their clients. The couple hopes the portraits transcend the typical images of beauty.