Greenwood • Penderecki

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COMPOSERS: Greenwood,Penderecki
LABELS: Nonesuch
ALBUM TITLE: Greenwood • Penderecki
WORKS: Penderecki: Therenody for the Victims of Horishima,; Polymorphia; Greenwood: Popcorn Suprhey reciever; 48 Responses to Polymorphia
PERFORMER: AUKSO Orchestra/Kryzysztof Penerecki, Marek Mo
CATALOGUE NO: 7559796251


This programme has been gathering fame since it was first performed in Poland last September, and the recording is not the end of the project: there was even a dedicated website trailing a performance in July at the Open’er Festival in Gdynia, Poland’s answer to Glastonbury. It brings together Krzysztof Penderecki and Radiohead’s guitarist Jonny Greenwood, who cites Penderecki as a long-standing influence.

Greenwood has four ‘classical’ compositions to his name, and two of them are presented here under Marek Mos’s baton in tandem with a pair of seminal Penderecki scores, conducted by the composer himself. The work that made the young Penderecki famous, Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima, is characteristic of his first, experimental phase and is scored for 52 string instruments, whose players are instructed to make unorthodox, percussive effects. Its dense, clustered sound makes the rest of the programme, even the contemporaneous Polymorphia, sound anticlimactic, but in most contexts the Greenwood pieces would sound lame. Curiously enough, the 48 Responses to Polymorphia resemble a clumsy homage to Vaughan Williams more than anything else. Penderecki’s old-fashioned radicalism is perhaps echoed in Popcorn Superhet Receiver, and the AUKSO Orchestra plays everything with conviction. 


John Allison