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).

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Filed under: Eschenbach, National Symphony Orchestra, new music

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