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Penderecki’s new symphony has Chinese world premiere

September 26, 2017 by norman lebrecht

12 comments.


The Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra marked its 60th anniversary on September 24 with the world premiere of Krzysztof Penderecki’s sixth symphony, titled Chinese Poems.

The work contains German translations of Tang Dynasty poetry.

The premiere was conducted by GSO music director Long Yu, with baritone soloist Chen-Ye Yuan.

 


Comments (12)

  1. Richard says:

    How is it that the Sixth hasn’t had a premiere up till now? The Seventh and the Eighth are well-known and recorded. As is the Fifth.

  2. John Borstlap says:

    Penderecki has been very courageous to have himself converted from shrieking avantgardism to a more tonal, traditional language, although you can hear in his later works how difficult such writing actually is.

    1. Steven says:

      Is ‘converted’ the right word? He doesn’t regret his earlier work as far as I can tell. He certainly seemed to consent happily to the performance of his Luke Passion in London earlier this year.

      1. Nicht Schleppend says:

        Yes – this wonderful London performance conducted by Vladimir Jurowski was preceded by a interview with the composer when he staggeringly claimed that his St Luke Passion was the most important sacred Christian work of the late 20th century!!!!!

        Does anyone agree with this humble opinion?

        If not, what music could be considered for this superlative status?

        1. Steven says:

          Huh, I was there but I don’t remember him saying that.

        2. John Borstlap says:

          I always found P a silly composer turned into a mediocre one.

          1. Ben says:

            whoa!!!!

          2. John says:

            Maybe we should weigh in on your work.

          3. jaypee2 says:

            Which still posts him ahead of egomaniac, boring and third-rate composers reduced to trolls on slippeddisc.

            Just sayin’…

          4. John Borstlap says:

            Silly, and cheap exploitation of associations:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dp3BlFZWJNA

            Mediocre, with cheap chromaticism to create ‘pathos’:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fj8GJ0LsTL8 (but it is still music, which the former piece is not)

            It is an example of progress, but not from the perspective of postwar modernism. In the latter work P tries to write with expression, but the material (themes, motives) use the most obvious procedures, and to my feeling it is all a bit uncooked and therefore often bordering on kitsch. Compare it with how Bartok, or Shostakovich, uses chromaticism.

  3. Wray Armstrong says:

    To be clear, the Penderecki 6th Symphony, Chinese Poems, is scored for orchestra and baritone, and was given a fine performance by baritone Yuan ChenYe and GSO under Long Yu. The GSO’s gala 60th Anniversary opening night audience also enjoyed performances of Dvorak, Gershwin and Sarasate by Jian Wang, Haochen Zhang, piano, and Gao Can, violin respectively.

  4. Jean says:

    Quite interesting. I remember Penderecki working on the 6th Symphony in the mid 1990s as a “work in progress”. However, the information on this new work bears the years “(2008-2017)”. It would seem to me that the composer abandoned the original project and started a new one. But who knows if this work has any material from the original 6th… or is a totally new one ?

    In any case, it is an interesting process!


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