Krzysztof Penderecki

Krzysztof Penderecki (1933–2020)

Posted on by 5:4 in Announcements | 2 Comments

i feel terribly sad to have just read the news on the Schott website that Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki has died today. Composers impact on our lives in unique and unpredictable ways, and for me, Penderecki’s music has been an omnipresence. When i was still at school, just at the point where i realised composition was the path opening up in front of me, it was with a collection of recordings and scores by Penderecki that i spent a lot of time (in hindsight, my school was absurdly blessed in terms of contemporary music). As a result, several of my earliest compositional experiments were inspired by the likes of De natura sonoris 1 and 2, Fluorescences, the first Symphony, the St Luke Passion and, of course, the Threnody. Fast forward to a few years ago while working on my PhD when, in order to elaborate on the nature and mechanics of some of my compositional techniques, there again was Penderecki, those same works (and others) now sublimated into a fundamental part of my musical language.

His music in more recent years didn’t connect with me as much as his earlier work, i have to confess – though even as i write that, i’m conscious that i’ve rather taken my eye off his output during the last decade, so it’s probably high time to explore those last compositions of his. But i will always be immeasurably grateful and thankful for the ways in which his music impacted on me at such a critical time, and continue to illuminate and invigorate me today. The way he was able to invent such radical, abstract modes of expression – much of it still sounding remarkably vital and fresh – and infuse them so effortlessly with enormous personal depth and feeling was unique and incredible. Contemporary music has lost one of its greatest and most fearless composers.

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Mixtape #52 : Christmas

Posted on by 5:4 in Advent & Christmas, Mixtapes | Leave a comment

For the last of my 2018 monthly mixtapes, which i’ve been doing throughout 5:4‘s 10th anniversary year, i’ve gone seasonal and turned to the theme of Christmas. However, while that theme permeates all the choices i’ve made, the result is quite far from the kind of conventional upbeat playlist we’re using to hearing this time of year. i haven’t in any way set out be deliberately contrary, still less put something together that’s sarcastic or ‘alt Christmas’, but i’m conscious that this is a distinctly subdued and contemplative mixtape (something i’ve reflected in the cover artwork). Like compositions, mixtapes are very personal things, and i guess this collection of music is just what i particularly wanted to be spending time with at the moment.

No need for a breakdown of what’s included this time, i think the music pretty much speaks for itself. 60 minutes of mysterious, melancholic and magical music to provide perhaps a darker, deeper hue for the festive season. Here’s the tracklisting in full, together with links to obtain the music. As usual, the mixtape can be downloaded using the link below or streamed via MixCloud. Read more

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