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Penderecki’s Utrenja was inspired by the Orthodox liturgy for Holy Saturday with its focus on the lamentation of Christ’s death and the Easter Sunday morning service commemorating the Resurrection.
The composer remarks that ‘Utrenja is a combination of pure, a cappella vocal writing and orchestral effects (for strings and percussion) very much connected with electronic music’.
Enthusiastically received by audiences, it stands beside his Polish Requiem (8557386-87) and St Luke Passion (8557149) as one of the towering masterpieces of modern Polish music.
Krzysztof Penderecki: Utrenja, Part I, "The Entombment of Christ"
II. Songs of Praise
IV. Canon of the Holy Saturday, Song 9
V. Irmologion (Stichira)
Krzysztof Penderecki: Utrenja, Part II, "The Resurrection of Christ"
I. The Gospel
III. Psalm with Troparion
IV. Passover Canon, Songs 1 and 3
V. Passover Canon, Song 8
VIII. Passover Canon, fragments
1st May 2009
“Utrenja continues the grandiloquent musical synthesis that Penderecki had exploited so successfully in the Passion, mixing his modish harmonic clusters and atonal orchestral writing with elements drawn from Slavonic traditions.”
“In the hands of Antoni Wit's expert Warsaw forces and a fine solo line-up, it all makes a powerful effect, sombre in its Easter Saturday lamentation and wildly joyful in its Easter Day celebration.”
“Antoni Wit and his Polish forces are incomparable in this repertoire”