Serialism, sonorism, aleatoricism, indeterminism… the musical avant-garde of the last century and their followers generated a breathtaking gaggle of isms of which these four are just a sample. This week we examine a work which bridges several worlds (and quite a few isms), Penderecki’s Saint Luke Passion.
Penderecki was one of the major modernists of the mid twentieth century; his first work to claim public attention, the terrifying and beautiful Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima (1960), was written for fifty-two string instruments and used graphics rather than traditional crotchets and quavers to commit its sound world to paper (you can look at and listen to the score below); six years later his Passio et Mors Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Secundam Lucam [Passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. Luke] became one of the few modernist works to become genuinely popular with the musical public. Why? Well…
plus those (useful!) hardy perennials:
Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as “fair use”, for the purpose of study, and critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of the copyright owner(s).