Thursday, November 23, 2023

Paradise Lost Media: Krzysztof Penderecki 90

Krzysztof Penderecki - Paradise Lost (excerpt)

Happy Thanksgiving if that's your thing, and welcome to your typical holiday Avant Garde Opera post.

Today's nifty nonagenarian lived well into his eighties, and whilst he did he didn't really cater much to what people thought they wanted to hear.

He was so notorious for difficult, often intentionally disturbing sounds that when today's piece premiered in 1978, the reviews were all shocked that it seemed almost conventional (for him).

Perhaps the weirdest and most challenging of all the 20th Century Classical composers, he began as a disciple of Webern and took off into his own, strange universe from there.

Some people consider Krzysztof Penderecki -- who'd have turned 90 today -- the most out-there musical figure in the history of Poland.

It's completely impossible to put what he did into words, but hopefully this opera of his -- based upon the works of John Milton -- will make a nice and relatively easy introduction for those unfamiliar.

This initial 1978 staging of it, which took place at the Lyric Opera of Chicago almost exactly 45 years ago, was recorded and broadcast once in 1980 by the BBC, but has never seen official release as far as I know.

Here it is somewhat remastered by me, from someone who captured it all those decades ago from the radio in England.

Krzysztof Penderecki
Lyric Opera of Chicago 
Paradise Lost
Civic Opera House
Chicago, Illinois USA

01 Paradise Lost Act I, pt. I
02 Paradise Lost Act I, pt. II
03 Paradise Lost Act II, pt. I
04 Paradise Lost Act II, pt. II

Total time: 2:56:47
disc breaks go after Tracks 01 & 03

Arnold Moss, William Stone, Ellen Shade, Peter van Ginkel, Michael Ballam, William Powers, Melvyn Lowery, Edward Huls, Alan Opie & Frank Little - voices
Paul Esswood, Joy Davidson, Susan Brummell, John Patrick Thomas, James Schwisow, Dale Terbeek - voices of God's Consort
Orchestra & Chorus of the Lyric Opera of Chicago
conductor - Bruno Bartoletti

off-air capture of indeterminate origin of the original 1980 BBC FM broadcast; likely a master reel
tracked, edited, somewhat denoised & in general remastered by EN, November 2023
897 MB FLAC/direct link

I'll be back before the turkey is dry with one more November rainstorm.

I hope this three hour descent into the inferno of Krzysztof Penderecki's one-of-a-kind music makes your holiday weekend as memorable as the age-old struggle between good and evil can make it, though!--J.

11.23.1933 - 3.29.2020

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