Star Tribune from Minneapolis, Minnesota on July 10, 1988 · Page 74
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Star Tribune from Minneapolis, Minnesota · Page 74

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 10, 1988
Page 74
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2F SundayJuly 101 988 Star Tribune Penderecki Continued i IS. ahjj Cultural poverty, he proudly I4ads.a counterlife of luxurious re-finferrient unparalleled outside the exclusive realm of the party since tfye liquidation of the country's aristocracy. hie has done it by transcending his place as a composer and the more typical, semi-outcast status of Eastern Bloc artists to fill a part in an c?der Polish and Central European tradition: the champion of national culture. Like Paderewski before him, Penderecki has come to be a bearer of the nation's pride, revered by Poles who have never hjeard his often difficult music and pandered to by Communist authorities in spite of the great differences irj their ideologies. Perhaps the most remarkable sight at Penderecki's 40-acre manor during the recital and luncheon he staged there recently in the middle of a weeklong festival of his music if) Poznan and nearby Krakow, was that of the crew from Poland's state-run television eagerly recording the event for later broadcast to the masses in their crowded apartments. . ' 'penderecki is very deeply committed to Poland," said Gilbert Levine, the American conductor whom the composer brought to Krakow last year to lead the Krakow Philharmonic. "And you find all over an instant recognition of who this man is on the part of average people Who recognize his importance in the Polish way of life." Such acclaim, of course, has its complexities. Penderecki is constantly on the defensive in his Pol-ishlnterviews, justifying his life sty la and his home against the prevailing ethic of egalitarianism. Even as he accepts privileges and promotion from authorities, he struggles to evade their political grasp aridlages against their cultural bu-re&iracy. . V-' He must also face the criticisms of Poffsh colleagues who accuse him of excessive coziness with the regime; Penderecki's detractors in Warsaw's musical establishment . point out that Witold Lutoslawski, a Potish composer who some critics say Js Penderecki's equal in musical stature, makes do without the m&nrx, the fame or the official attention.. I Yet while the professorial Lutoslawski insists his music bears no underlying political or spiritual commentary, Penderecki has deliberately sought to shape his work as a particularly Polish cultural and Ideo-1 logical statement. If he has shrewdly cultivated his popular and official following, he has also made his jsic a platform. - mps from page 1F "Polish contemporary music appeared on the world map first of all thanks to me," he bluntly told an interviewer from the weekly Poli-tyka. "Before not much was known after Chopin. So my colleagues, instead of criticizing me, ought to thank me." - Though accepted as a major composer since the 1960s, Penderecki has begun to win increasing popular renown in recent years, in part through his own tireless work. By his account, he spends nine months of the year traveling the world, mostly to conduct or attend performances of his own work. Paul Patterson, a composer and friend of Penderecki, suggests that he is the most popular living composer, if popularity is judged by the number of public performances. (During his years as music director of the Minnesota Orchestra, 1960-79, Polish-born Stanislaw Skrowa-czewski conducted numerous works of Penderecki's, including the premiere performance of the Passion According to St. Luke. Penderecki was composer-in-resi-dence at St. Olaf College in North-field in March 1977.) The touchstone of his art, like that of Polish society, is the ritual and values of Roman Catholicism and their implicit clash with Marxism. Beginning in the mid-1950s, Penderecki began to write ecclesiastical music, returning to the forms of the oratorio and choral mass with the new idiom of the avant-garde. "I began when it was a problem to write religious music" because of repressive cultural policies, he said in an interview. "But I'm very aware that we in Poland belong to West-em Christian culture. And I was strongly against the reigning ideolo- gy of Marxism. So I wrote religious music, and in doing so I defined what side I was on." Luckily, international renown came quickly, and with it a degree of protection from Communist cultural authorities. In 1960, when he was only 27, Penderecki made himself a figure in the avant-garde movement with "Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima," a stylistically experimental work for 52 stringed instruments. Despite his early success, the abstractedness and atonal inaccessibility of the avant-garde was ultimately at odds with Penderecki's strong aim of cultural and spiritual identification. In the turning point of his career, he produced "St. Luke's Passion" in 1965; the choral work marked the arrival of neoromanti- ; cism on the international music scene and started Penderecki on a path toward ever-increasing ex- ;,)"( ' i-mrn fa' '"'' Krzysztof Penderecki pressiveness and accessibility in his music. The Passion, with its mix of three choirs, soloists and orchestra, remains a difficult, if haunting, piece for casual listeners. But some of Penderecki's more recent works, like his Second Symphony (1980), are so lushly romantic that they have been compared to the work of such 19th-century composers as Mahler. As his musical integration of tradi-. tion has strengthened, Penderecki has made the moral content of his compositions, their preoccupation with man's damnation through pride, increasingly explicit and ambitious. In 1978, he produced a version of "Paradise Lost" as the second of his three operas. The story of Faust, with its theme of lust for power, also haunts him. An opera version of Faust, and another of "Amadeus" with its awesome musical challenge of complementing Mozart remain among his goals. For now, a signal work is the "Polish Requiem, written in and about the time of the country's latest failed uprising through the Solidarity movement in 1980-81. The funeral mass explicitly completes the link between the tragedy and romanticism of Penderecki's music and that of his country's history: The movements are dedicated to such landmarks of contemporary Polish consciousness as the accession of Pope John Paul II, the Warsaw Uprising and Ghetto Uprising during World War II, and the death of the revered Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski. One movement, the "Lacrimosa," was written in honor of workers killed during protests in Gdansk in 1970, and was first performed during a huge ceremony dedicating a monument to the event in December 1980 that is now remembered as Solidarity's emotional high point. It is in one sense remarkable that Poland's Communist authorities would cultivate an artist so explicitly opposed to their rule. But Poland's cultural overseers badly need the prestige of an artist so well known abroad to lend legitimacy to official cultural programs. In the past several years, the composer's implicit bargain with authorities has amounted to allowing them to promote his music through concerts, recordings and festivals and endlesslyinterview him in the state media. Though he has done nothing to promote the regime, he has not boycotted it and thus not stopped it from creating the impression that he is comfortable in its system. Though he is criticized for this concession in opposition circles, the rewards have been considerable. Penderecki has been able to build the Krakow Philharmonic, with its American conductor, into a considerable orchestra with a major touring schedule. He has been given the freedom to travel the world to advance his own career and accumulate a private fortune reported by Polityka, the official weekly, to be the largest in Poland. Then there was the weeklong festival of his music recently in Krakow, a lavish, state-financed event that Penderecki hopes will eventually become his Bayreuth. "I am a Pole, and I want to work within the culture and life of this country," he said. "Boycotts eventually work against society," he said, "but no one tells me what to do. If I were not allowed to travel freely or to build my home here I would simply leave, and the authorities realize that" . . The scale of the cultural legacy he aspires to leave his country can be seen through the prism of the man or in Lusiawice, wmcn ne nas converted in some 15 years from aban donment to a small but glittering showpiece. The 10-room house and adjacent stone Renaissance granary are now crammed with a priceless collection of antique furni ture ana art and surrounded by an arboretum containing more than 1,500 species of trees. On a table during the festival recep tion penderecki neio in uisiawice was a model of what he calls his "dream project": an orangerie that would function as a concert hall for future Penderecki festivals. "You don't do this sort of thing for yourself," he said, with just a touch of his Polish aetensiveness. you do it for future generations." mi' -iC ) cm (UliH lV jiltti ( .ii- ;! ,Siti tflim; HiNMHum, uimwteilto 'Mnmu.iiH r TICKETS GO ON SALE- Saturday, July 16, 9:30am at the. Northrop Ticket Office University of Minnesota 84 Church St. SE and all Dayton's Ticket Outlets TICKET PRICES -i MAIN FLOOR Rows 1-37, 4 center sections $35.00 I- 42, side sections $28.50 38-42, 4 center sections $28.50 BALCONY Rows 1-10, all sections $35.00 II- 23, all sections $28.50 24-34, all sections $19.50 1 ' , '. 'a toot '"bq i. "; y V JA L5F Northrop Ticket Office: (612) 624-2345 j $2.50 service charge per order at Northrop. Visa, MasterCard, American Express accepted. TJimmi MVTW rami in wiimm AUGUST 12-14 ORCHESTRA HALL TICKETS AVAILABLE AT ORCHESTRA HALL AND AT ALL DAYTON'S. PHONE ORDERS CALL 371-5656 m s , In association wmt SHOWTmSQ: Moliere's THE IMAGINARY INVALID An outrageously Junny story about the ultimate hypochondriac trl Wa -a ? 0 wmsffl In repertory with Tennessee Wiiliami' THE GLASS MENAGERIE A poignant American matterpiece Barbara Field's FRANKENSTEIN PLAYING WITH FIRE A world premiere i With Ihti production, the Culhric hunon the RcneitMily of QFInrtBswiks tun Jul Q 1:00 OtS MIKAOHIt " Sun JullO 7:00 IMAGINARY IMVJOIP Jj Tu. JulW 7:30 FKANKtNSTlIM "! WdJull3 1:00 GLASS MI KAGW . r? WdJlllU 7:30 IMAOIMAITT INVAUD Ttlll Jul 14 7:30 IMAOIHAITT IHVAUD -r, ffl Jul 1 00 FKANK1NST1IM f tcj Jul 16 1:00 OtAStMINAOim V f j Jul 16' 0:00 IMAOIWAm IHVAUD ' . j lun Jul 17 7:00 IMAOINAKT IWVAtIO " ',, Tu JulW 7:30 IMAOINAT INVAIIO ' v Wd Jul 20 1:00 IMAOINAUT IHVAIIO Wd Jul 30 7:30 fMHKlHSTtlM fj CALL 377-2224 ?;THE CUTHRIE THEATER Garland Wright, Artistic Director Musicland & WLOL Present The Fat Boys Twist-Off Dance Contest! Twist on over to any area Musicland store, pick up a registration form and bring it to: SOUTHDALE CENTER'S GARDEN COURT MONDAY, JULY 11th 12 NOON SHARP! You could win a Magnavox CD-Video player, CD player or hundreds of other prizes! Contest details in store. Entrants limited to the first 100 dance couples in line WE GOT VHATS HOT., Blln Northtown Shopping Center Eden Prairie Eden Prairie Center Roeeville Rosedale Shopping Center , Btoomlngton Oxboro Shopping Center Edlna Southdale Shopping Center St. Anthony St. Anthony Main ,Near Byer,V Ed'" Ybrktown Fashion Mail. St. Loula Park Knollwood Mall Brooklyn Con tor 5425 Xerxes Ave. N. Maplewood Maplewood Mall St. Paul Saint Paul Center (Across From Brookdale) Minneapolis Northstar Center Third Level) Bumsvllle ... Bumsville Center Minneapolis 705 Hennepin Ave. Weil St. Paul' Southview Square : Dlnkytown 323 14th Ave. S.E. Mlnnetonka Ridgedale Shopping Ctr. Movie Rentals Available 420038.078

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