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The late Krzysztof Penderecki was a legend of contemporary music. In this new limited podcast series, hear two famous British journalists, Jack Pepper and Charlotte Gardner, delving into the maestro's iconic work.

Hosting five episodes each, every episode focuses on a single piece from Penderecki's impressive body of work. From the piece itself and the history of its creation, hear interesting stories from the master's biography, the history of Poland, and the world at the time the composition was created. Learn all about the influence of the composer on the world of contemporary culture, and not only on classical music.

Want to learn more about Penderecki? The show is a companion piece to the site

Jan 17, 2022

On 8 September, 1939, when Krzysztof Penderecki was just a few weeks shy of his sixth birthday, German forces took control of his home town of Dębica with its majority Jewish population. Between then and the liquidation of the Dębica ghetto in 1943, the young Penderecki had to witness the Nazi regime’s systematic...

Jan 3, 2022

Fifty two strings. Eight minutes. Thirty seven seconds. Completed in 1960, Krzysztof Penderecki’s Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima has become one of his most well-known works thanks to its use in soundtracks of films by David Lynch, Wes Craven and Alfonso Cuarón. In this podcast we explore its genesis, how its...

Dec 20, 2021

In the final episode of Jack's curated series, he charts the changing musical styles embraced by Penderecki across his career, using his symphonies as a starting point. Zooming in on the Seventh Symphony, Jack explains how Penderecki paints the epic picture of the founding of a city. Jack grapples with the challenges...

Dec 6, 2021

Jack celebrates Penderecki's score to a classic work of Polish cinema.

We hear how Penderecki embraced a varied musical language for the task at hand, from crashing organ chords to dancing guitars. Plus, we hear about his impact on the next generation of film composers, including a collaboration with Radiohead's Jonny...

Nov 22, 2021

We explore how Penderecki found a world stage as a commissioned composer for the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. We hear about the struggles Penderecki encountered in finding the right musical language for the commission, chart the internationalism of his work, and explore his wider use of electronics in his music.