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2017/09/18

Work of the Week – Krzysztof Penderecki: Symphony No. 6

The genre of the symphony includes many strange beasts: “Unfinished” works, others labelled “No. 0”, and even some with alternate or multiple opus numbers. Krzysztof Penderecki’s Symphony No. 6 may well be one such oddity. His Symphonies No. 7 and No. 8 were completed decades ago and have enjoyed multiple performances, however, Symphony No. 6 has only recently been completed.

Long Yu will conduct the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra and baritone Yuan Chenye in the world premiere on 24 September.

Krzysztof Penderecki – Symphony No. 6: A farewell to the genre?

Subtitled “Chinese Songs”, Symphony No. 6 comprises eight songs based on Chinese texts connected by solo intermezzos played on the erhu, a Chinese stringed instrument. Evoking a melancholic atmosphere, the use of a small orchestra creates an intimate chamber music feel and at just under 25 minutes, the work contrasts his earlier extended symphonies. Penderecki has declared this to be his farewell to the symphonic genre – although one never knows what the future may bring.

I have spent decades searching for and discovering new sounds. I have also closely studied the forms, styles and harmonies of past eras. I continue to adhere to both principles … my current creative output is a synthesis. – Krzysztof Penderecki

Michael Sanderling will conduct the Dresdner Philharmonie in the German premiere on 5 May 2018.