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Symphonies Nos. 1 & 5

Penderecki Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 10.36 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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1. Symphony No. 5
2. Symphony No. 1: Arche I
3. Symphony No. 1: Dynamis I
4. Symphony No. 1: Dynamis II
5. Symphony No. 1: Arche II

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind Bending Ghost Music Jan. 13 2002
Format:Audio CD
First of all, you can't beat the Naxos value. Thier recordings and performances are consistantly very good for an excetionally low price tag. Okay then... Penderecki's music is intense and scary. It is extraordinarily organized for someone who falls under the avant garde label. It sounds like music from a Satanic cartoon. The violin parts stretch out my cerebral cortex like a piece of Big Red. I would highly recommend it. Its breath-taking and quite beautiful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A stunningly visual experience June 22 2001
Format:Audio CD
If you're a fan of atonal and modern music, then you're probably already familiar with and a lover of Penderecki's work.
If you are generally unfamiliar with the atonal experience, this CD is a very good place to start. Symphony No 5 will ease you into the genre and No 1 will immerse you fully without beating you over the head with exoticism.
An old friend of mine once said, "to hear the music of Penderecki is to hear the voice of God." Religious overtones aside, there is no doubt that his work is some of the most interesting and pleasing of the modern genre. At times, his music seems to convey motion or color more than just sound. I was pleased when I heard this CD for the first time, and surprised at its cost: the $6 price tag gets you three or four times that in quality of sound, engineering, and musicianship.
Highly recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Two Excellent Symphonies July 21 2000
Format:Audio CD
The second in the ongoing Naxos series of Penderecki's orchestral works, this disc features two of his seven symphonies, written about twenty years apart from each other and yet sounding thoroughly like middle-to-late period Penderecki - the avant-garde and the neo-romantic rolled into one.
Penderecki wrote his Symphony No. 5 in 1991-92 and decided to leave it as one gigantic 37-minute movement instead of breaking it up into smaller sections, but there are definite changes in tempo that indicate a passage to a new section within the big movement. The orchestra is typically big - 100 players - with many important parts for trumpets and percussion throughout. The work begins with strings and tam-tam echoing the sounds of a Korean folksong, and this melody permeates the entire work. Also noticeable are references to other Penderecki works, most notably to his Flute Concerto written in the same year. The last five minutes of the work are about as dramatic as any symphony has ever been, and the ultra-percussive ending will leave you breathless.
Penderecki's Symphony No. 1 dates from 1972-73 and is typical of his middle period - a blend of the avant-garde with post-romanticism. The beginning bars of the four-movement symphony are scored for percussion instruments only, with strings and brass soon signalling in orchestral chaos. The second movement is full of microtonal glissandi and strange sound effects, and despite this, is actually quite listenable. The third movement is full of unusual string textures and is highlighted by blaring brass and throbbing timpani. The final movement returns to the percussive sounds of the symphony's beginning and concludes almost inaudibly with low notes on the double bass.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Two great symphonies June 11 2000
By Carl
Format:Audio CD
Volume two of Naxos's Cycle of Krzysztof Penderecki's orchestral works continues a successful series of recordings by Antoni Wit and the NPRSO (Katowice) with two massive symphony's, No. 5 and No.1, in that order.
Encountering one of Penderecki's symphonies for the fist time, having known his unabashedly modernist St. Luke Passion and such orchestral works as Polymorphia, I was very surprised by Symphony No. 5. It is largely conventional in language, having episodes that remind me of any number of modern symphonists, from Simpson to Honneger. Once, about nine minutes in, a vividly painted image seems to recall a Sibelian frozen vista and then it shades into a Wagnerian forest scene. Far from an exercise in derivation, however, there is a very individual personality at work here. All of the directness of purpose and clarity of expression that I value in Penderecki's early music is present in this 1992 score. It is a powerful, dramatic and substantive work.
Symphony No. 1 returns to the world of bent notes, sour glissandi and violent, bloody tone clusters we know and love from early Penderecki, though by this date (1973) his style had already started to change. Still, like the 5th, this thirty minute symphony is a dark and moving story told in finely contrasted episodes of subtlety orchestrated and at times arrestingly dramatic music. Penderecki is a part of the great lineage of symphonists and the form is richer for the inclusion of these two works.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two great symphonies June 11 2000
By Carl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Volume two of Naxos's Cycle of Krzysztof Penderecki's orchestral works continues a successful series of recordings by Antoni Wit and the NPRSO (Katowice) with two massive symphony's, No. 5 and No.1, in that order.
Encountering one of Penderecki's symphonies for the fist time, having known his unabashedly modernist St. Luke Passion and such orchestral works as Polymorphia, I was very surprised by Symphony No. 5. It is largely conventional in language, having episodes that remind me of any number of modern symphonists, from Simpson to Honneger. Once, about nine minutes in, a vividly painted image seems to recall a Sibelian frozen vista and then it shades into a Wagnerian forest scene. Far from an exercise in derivation, however, there is a very individual personality at work here. All of the directness of purpose and clarity of expression that I value in Penderecki's early music is present in this 1992 score. It is a powerful, dramatic and substantive work.
Symphony No. 1 returns to the world of bent notes, sour glissandi and violent, bloody tone clusters we know and love from early Penderecki, though by this date (1973) his style had already started to change. Still, like the 5th, this thirty minute symphony is a dark and moving story told in finely contrasted episodes of subtlety orchestrated and at times arrestingly dramatic music. Penderecki is a part of the great lineage of symphonists and the form is richer for the inclusion of these two works.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Excellent Symphonies July 21 2000
By Dan Albertson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The second in the ongoing Naxos series of Penderecki's orchestral works, this disc features two of his seven symphonies, written about twenty years apart from each other and yet sounding thoroughly like middle-to-late period Penderecki - the avant-garde and the neo-romantic rolled into one.
Penderecki wrote his Symphony No. 5 in 1991-92 and decided to leave it as one gigantic 37-minute movement instead of breaking it up into smaller sections, but there are definite changes in tempo that indicate a passage to a new section within the big movement. The orchestra is typically big - 100 players - with many important parts for trumpets and percussion throughout. The work begins with strings and tam-tam echoing the sounds of a Korean folksong, and this melody permeates the entire work. Also noticeable are references to other Penderecki works, most notably to his Flute Concerto written in the same year. The last five minutes of the work are about as dramatic as any symphony has ever been, and the ultra-percussive ending will leave you breathless.
Penderecki's Symphony No. 1 dates from 1972-73 and is typical of his middle period - a blend of the avant-garde with post-romanticism. The beginning bars of the four-movement symphony are scored for percussion instruments only, with strings and brass soon signalling in orchestral chaos. The second movement is full of microtonal glissandi and strange sound effects, and despite this, is actually quite listenable. The third movement is full of unusual string textures and is highlighted by blaring brass and throbbing timpani. The final movement returns to the percussive sounds of the symphony's beginning and concludes almost inaudibly with low notes on the double bass.
As I've said about the first disc in this series, this series is essential for anyone interested in the music of the 20th-century. This series is superbly recorded, decorated with informative liner notes, and offered at the typically-low (almost unbelievable) price on Naxos. Buy this CD and buy the whole series - you cannot go wrong if this is your musical forté.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunningly visual experience June 22 2001
By James D. Christopher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
If you're a fan of atonal and modern music, then you're probably already familiar with and a lover of Penderecki's work.
If you are generally unfamiliar with the atonal experience, this CD is a very good place to start. Symphony No 5 will ease you into the genre and No 1 will immerse you fully without beating you over the head with exoticism.
An old friend of mine once said, "to hear the music of Penderecki is to hear the voice of God." Religious overtones aside, there is no doubt that his work is some of the most interesting and pleasing of the modern genre. At times, his music seems to convey motion or color more than just sound. I was pleased when I heard this CD for the first time, and surprised at its cost: the $6 price tag gets you three or four times that in quality of sound, engineering, and musicianship.
Highly recommended!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crazy, isn't it? Nov. 10 2009
By Eric S. Kim - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
As my admiration for Krzysztof Penderecki grows, so does my CD collection. Naxos has given us a splendid discography of one of the most famous Avante-garde composers in Europe. Here in the second volume, we are given two symphonies that are thirty minutes in length. Symphony No. 1 (composed in 1973) consists of four continuous movements, and each are an equally enjoyable experience, if you're into modern classical music. The first movement is heavily percussive, with the beginning notes sounding like slow-moving machinery until it gradually grows into a vast empire of metallic rhythms. The second and third movements showcase Penderecki's constant use of atonal imagery. The final movement features a reprise of the first. Symphony No. 5 (composed in 1992), often called the Korean Symphony, uses harmonies of traditional Korean folk songs as its main subject. This is a single 37-minute movement that brings diversity to its tempi and dynamism.

Antoni Wit is an intelligent conductor, and he reads the two scores as if they were authenticated by Penderecki himself. The Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra is really amazing to listen to, considering the fact that this is indeed very sophisticated music to perform (almost as hard as Stravinsky's Rite of Spring). The Naxos sound quality is stunningly great, with some impressive acoustics that can almost be compared to RCA and Chandos.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like dreaming, you'll like this Oct. 13 2012
By Donn Patton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I have been a fan of classical music since I was 10 years old. I have never learned the language to describe it.

So, I will describe it with what I do know. Penderecki's symphonies are not pop songs. They are dense, colorful, explorations of sounds that orchestras can make when they are not trying to win your heart, but captivate your mind.

There is nothing wrong with trying to break, or win your heart with an orchestra, most of the classical music I listen to is in that category. But there is always room for musical compositions that just want to fascinate you with their artfulness.

These Penderecki symphonies are in that vein. And they are monuments of that genre.

Penderecki takes a block of musical marble and instead of carving an easily appreciated Venus de Milo, creates a hyper-dimensional cloudscape of introspection.

It is a wonderful, and edgy experience every time I listen to it.

This particular recording of these symphonies is the best I have heard.
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