Sextet for piano, violin, viola, cello, clarinet and French horn

Composer: Krzysztof Penderecki (b. 1933 - d. 2020)
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Composer: Krzysztof Penderecki (b. 1933 - d. 2020)

Performance date: 08/07/2017

Venue: Bantry Library

Composition Year: 2000

Duration: 00:32:24

Recording Engineer: Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation Category:Sextet

Artists: Barry Douglas - [piano]
Hervé Joulain - [horn]
Christoffer Sundqvist - [clarinet]
Anja Lechner - [cello]
Simone Gramaglia - [viola]
Miranda Cuckson - [violin]

extraordinary work with its unusual combination of instruments is
already a modern classic, demand for performances often being led by
performers. For top instrumentalists as well as audiences its
combination of outstanding virtuosity and quartet-like intensity is

furious opening cannot but remind us of Shostakovich battling his way
into one of his famous hard-driven scherzos as the piano sets up an
almost metronomic rhythm from the first bar. This builds irresistibly
until interrupted by a wild, piercing cry from the clarinet, later
taken up by strings, horn and even the piano itself. Through a
combination of dotted chords, repeated notes and abrupt statements of
melodic elements we get an impression of fleeting, imaginary dances
sparked off the insistent rhythmic tread. The dance is momentarily
punctuated for an appearance of the intensely lyrical phrase that
will act as the main theme in the much longer second movement. After
this the music builds in a series of waves of stunning compositional
and instrumental virtuosity, sweeping us away until we reach the
forceful and decisive conclusion.

second movement opens with strings and piano emphasizing in all its
fullness the elegiac nature of the theme we heard hinted at in the
first movement. The music settles into a mood of thoughtful
melancholy, while dramatic intensity is maintained by several brief
and jagged climaxes and the extraordinary originality and
inventiveness of the multiplicity of instrumental combinations. The
theme is looked at in every possible way, perhaps most expressively
in an impassioned
by the cello leading to a moving
by the clarinet. These wonderful pages of the score transform
themselves slowly into a sombre and increasingly dematerialised coda
haunted by almost imperceptible nostalgic echoes of the movement’s