August 11, 2008

Krzysztof Penderecki’s work, reminiscent of Stravinsky and Mussorgsky in its dynamic, dramatic use of the atonal, has been featured promininently in films from “The Shining” to David Lynch’s “Inland Empire.” His influence is also evident in Jonny Greenwood’s masterful score to “There Will Be Blood.”

Four pieces are contained in this Naxos release: his Symphony No. 3, composed between 1988 and 1995; his most well-known work, Threnody (For the Victims Of Hiroshima), originally entitled 8’37” in reference to the duration of the titular attack; Fluorescences; and De Natura Sonoris 2, which was featured in “The Shining”.


More about the pieces, from

Symphony No. 3
Threnody (For the Victims Of Hiroshima)
De Natura Sonoris II

And a very interesting paper on Fluorescences from the Library of Congress. From the paper:

“The most distinctive timbres contributing to the sonic fabric of this work are the eerie voices of the flexaton, siren, sega, and a typewriter, included as members of the sixth percussion battery. The aural effects heard in Fluorescences go well beyond the percussive and glissandolike gestures of Polymorphia; performers are instructed to hum while they play, to saw wood or iron with a hand saw, to rub percussion instruments vigorously with a metal file, and to rub the soundboard of the string instruments with an open hand. For each of these new gestures, Penderecki created graphic symbols, all of which are derived from the initial conceptual graphic outline for the composition. ”

I wish I knew what she meant by “sega”…


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