Antoni Wit conducts late works by Krzysztof Penderecki.
‘I am very happy to be able to release another album of works by Krzysztof Penderecki. The extensive collection of my recordings of his music consists – above all – of major works that I often had the opportunity to perform during the composer’s lifetime and in his presence. The works on this new album, however, were composed in the last period of his life, and there was no possibility to consult with Penderecki himself about performing them. But my many years of experience in studying and working with him allowed me to give them a shape that I think would have satisfied the composer.’
Jarosław Bręk, Bass-baritone 1 • Hsin Hsiao-ling, Erhu 1 David Guerrier, Trumpet 2 Aleksandra Kuls, Violin 3 • Hayoung Choi, Cello 3 Norrköping Symphony Orchestra • Antoni Wit
Penderecki’s Symphony No. 6 ‘Chinese Songs’ is an intimate, chamber-scale work for bass-baritone and orchestra. It sets eight Chinese poems in German adaptations linked with interludes for the two-stringed erhu. It proved to be Penderecki’s last completed symphony and is imbued with great pathos as well as melodic beauty. The Trumpet Concertino is taut, spirited and full of dextrous interplay between the soloist and orchestra. His single-movement Concerto doppio for violin, cello and orchestra, is a work of keen unpredictability.
Listen to an extract from Symphony No. 6 ‘Chinese Songs’: IV. Die wilden Schwäne (The Wild Swans)
About the Artists
Jarosław Bręk (1977–2023) was a prominent Polish bass-baritone, who graduated with the highest honours from the Music Academy in Warsaw. He appeared in theatres and concert halls throughout Europe and beyond and collaborated with over a hundred orchestras and 150 choirs from around the world, performing more than 120 oratorio parts and some 20 opera roles. Bręk’s career brought collaborations with orchestras and conductors of international distinction and acclaimed participation in major festivals.
Antoni Wit is one of the most highly regarded Polish conductors and a champion of Polish music. A top prizewinner at the Herbert von Karajan International Conducting Competition in 1971 and an assistant to Karajan at the Easter Festival in Salzburg, he subsequently worked with all of the leading orchestras in Poland before taking up the position of general and artistic director of the Warsaw Philharmonic in 2001 for twelve years. He was music director of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra in Spain between 2013 and 2018, and he is currently conductor laureate of the Kraków Philharmonic in Poland. In 2015 he was awarded the French Légion d’honneur.
Sweden’s Norrköping Symphony Orchestra is regarded as one of the most exciting orchestras in Scandinavia. Through foreign tours and extensive recordings, it has developed a large following and is well respected internationally. Founded in 1912, the orchestra today comprises 85 musicians and maintains a special place in the region’s cultural life. The orchestra’s main repertoire consists of works by the great Romantic-era composers, from Beethoven to Mahler, but places equal importance on performing 20th-century works and Swedish/Nordic music.
More albums featuring Antoni Wit and the music of Krzysztof Penderecki