Penderecki’s new symphony has Chinese world premiere

Penderecki’s new symphony has Chinese world premiere


norman lebrecht

September 26, 2017

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.



  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Thomas Jackson says:

    Is Penderecki Symphony 6 been released on a cd yet, if not when will it be recorded for